Aug 122016
 

Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!

After The Gold Rush

Surely After the Gold Rush, this “uniformly dull” record, as Rolling Stone magazine put it at the time, is the peak of Neil Young’s output?

Yet somehow I always seem to forget it, tending to immediately opt for the feistier, zeitgeistier options of Zuma and Ragged Glory, and the civilians always go for the milquier toast of Harvest. But nowhere is there such simple beauty as on this 1970 record, his third solo album after leaving Buffalo Springfield. It captures most of Shakey’s tropes on one disc – his ragged guitar, his playing always suggesting playing in mittens if not boxing gloves, his delicate acoustic whimsy, and the left-field oddness, exemplified here by “Cripple Creek Ferry.” True, volume and feedback are restrained, maybe 8/10 rather than his later 11 (at least), and it’s possible that the record is even the better for that.

So when I do remember After the Gold Rush, when I come back to it, it astonishes. I can play it side to side (yes, of course vinyl) and be instantly transported to a teenage me, dreaming of a future I couldn’t ever quite picture (and indeed haven’t quite yet), all hopes and fears, intermingled with tears and joy.
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Apr 092012
 

Record Store Day is approaching on April 21st. If you’re unfamiliar with the event, it’s a day when independent record stores celebrate music, which seems like what they do any day they are open for business, but on this special day, record stores will promote exclusive events, like djs spinning, parades, giveaways (Amoeba in Los Angeles is hosting a contest for a free turntable and a box of vinyl), and limited releases. In the spirit of Record Store Day, Xiu Xiu, and tourmate Dirty Beaches, have recorded a split 7” on Polyvinyl, featuring Xiu Xiu playing Erasure’s “Always” and Dirty Beaches covering Françoise Hardy’s “Tu Ne Dis Rien.”

If you’re familiar with English synthpop bands, perhaps Erasure rings a bell. Their 1994 hit, or at least moderate hit in America within dance clubs, “Always,” is about wanting to always be with someone in harmony, set to a generic snythpop beat and occasional robot sounds. Xiu Xiu doesn’t mess too much with that besides adding some of their signature indecipherable sounds and frantic vocal cadence.

On the other side of the 7” is Dirty Beaches, a one-man band, run by Alex Zhang. The original “Tu Ne Dis Rien,” released in 1964, is delicate and demure, like Hardy. She almost whispers the lyrics, and with the simple beat, and dreamlike vocals of background singers, the song is light and playful. As a cover, Dirty Beaches sings in French, but his version is much more menacing. The beat is still simple, but the electronics make it sound more like a march, and anything but playful. (via Pitchfork)

Listen to more Dirty Beaches here and more Xiu Xiu here.