Readers of a certain age might remember Sub Pop’s subscription service in the ’90s, which helped introduce subscribers to a cool new band ever month (the first shipment was the debut single of an unknown local band called Nirvana). Well the record label Polyvinyl has revived the concept, but their version has a catch: All the songs are recorded on a 4-track machine. In fact, they’re all recorded on the same 4-track machine, mailed from musician to musician.
Every year, interfaith suicide prevention charity To Write Love on Her Arms rounds up some of their many musician supporters for a fund- and awareness-raising concert in Orlando. Last week, Chris Carrabba (Dashboard Confessional), David Bazan (Pedro the Lion), William Fitzsimmons, Noah and Abby Gundersen (The Courage), and Mariah McManus performed short sets, then came back out for the custom sing-along encore. As happens in 40% of such situations, they chose Bob Dylan/The Band’s “I Shall Be Released.”
Christmas covers come pretty fast this time of year (duh), so we periodically step back to collect a bunch in a single post. Our last set was a few weeks ago and since then we’ve posted new Christmas songs by My Morning Jacket, Josh T. Pearson, Dawes/Peter Wolf Crier/Mannequin Man, and Red Wanting Blue/Tristen. Even with all that, though, there have been even more we haven’t gotten to. So here’s a bunch, crammed together for a holiday mixtape or just some Christmas cheer.
Last we heard from David Bazan, Death Cab for Cutie’s Ben Gibbard was covering his song “Big Trucks.” Now Bazan returns with a performance of his own. As part of his No Depression video series, he covered Radiohead’s “Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin Box” during a Charlottesville power outage. The blackout forced him to cancel his concert proper, but he performed some songs acoustically while a fan held a flashlight. The spare setting emphasizes the naked emotion.
The Amnesiac track is not Bazan’s first venture into Radiohead. His band Pedro the Lion covered “Let Down” for a 2004 tour EP. Then just two weeks ago he covered “Creep” solo for WBEZ (below). Maybe he’ll follow Amanda Palmer with a Radiohead covers EP.
David Bazan is endlessly fascinating. Known primarily for his work with Pedro the Lion, he has spent decades on the Christian rock circuit questioning the religion’s basic tenants. The fantastic Body Piercing Saved My Life: Inside the Phenomenon of Christian Rock aptly describes him as “leading his listeners out of the desert of certainty, preaching the gospel of doubt.” He won’t play most Christian music festivals and most Christian music festivals wouldn’t have him anyway.
A few months ago Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie fame performed Pedro the Lion’s first single “Big Trucks” at a Stereogum SXSW event. After all this waiting though, a video just surfaced. It’s a close-up pro-grade recording (shot for Stereogum I’m guessing, though they never posted it) that looks good and sounds better. Nice of Gibbard to shout out a fellow Seattleite, who actually opened for Death Cab on tour in 2007 (that’s Bazan on the left in the photo above, Gibbard on the right).