Dec 122011
 

In the Spotlight showcases a cross-section of an artist’s cover work. View past installments, then post suggestions for future picks in the comments!

With a voice as natural as a hunk of dry bark and a guitar style so vivid you’ll swear you can hear the dust coming off the strings, M. Ward rose from Portland, Oregon, and settled down on back porches all across Americana. His warm, enduring melancholy and his playing ability has won him fandom not just from listeners, but from his peers, who seek him out for collaborations and tribute albums aplenty. With his work with Zooey Deschanel in She & Him, not to mention with Jim James and Conor Oberst in Monsters of Folk, Ward’s never been more visible, and yet his music still retains the earthy intimacy it had when he first started out. Continue reading »

Oct 142011
 

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

Richard Thompson’s solo debut, Henry the Human Fly, began with a song that contained the line, “Don’t expect the words to ring too sweetly on the ear.” This would become his songwriting credo, as he penned lyrics that were incisive, emotive, and not the least bit sentimental, bringing them home with an equally biting guitar. His wife Linda sang with a powerful clarity, her voice full of aching, mischief, mourning, celebration, or whatever else the song might call for. She’s fully entitled to her equal billing. On their debut release as a couple, 1974’s I Want To See the Bright Lights Tonight, Richard and Linda Thompson report what they’ve encountered on a very British Desolation Row, in a musical language that could have been written half a millennium ago or the day after tomorrow. Continue reading »

Oct 112011
 

She & Him – Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward – aim for a nostalgic ’50s vibe on most everything they do, so a classic Christmas album makes sense. The first cut off it surfaced a few days ago and it sounds about like what you’d expect: indie music you can play for the whole family this holiday season. Continue reading »

Jun 202011
 

They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s special day with other people singing his or her songs. Let others do the work for a while. Happy birthday!

What is it about artistic geniuses that make them so fragile, so seemingly unable to operate in the real world? Vincent Van Gogh, Sylvia Plath and Alexander McQueen all perished by their own hand. J.D. Salinger became a notorious recluse after the success of The Catcher in the Rye. Brian Wilson, the musical genius behind The Beach Boys, sunk almost as low as these, spending the first half of the ’70s mostly in bed doing drugs and then a number of years under the spell of a “therapist” who controlled his every move. Continue reading »

Apr 152011
 

Zooey Deschanel already makes up roughly 70 percent of Internet content with fashion articles, music blogs, and personal tumblrs of every hipster boy who would do anything just to see her in the flesh. By adding an adorable cover of the Winnie the Pooh theme song to her resume, she has caused said hipsters to suddenly feel a little tight in the pants. Continue reading »

Mar 282011
 

The 4onthefloor has four members. Gabriel sings and plays bass drum. James plays guitar and bass drum. Chris plays bass and bass drum. Mark plays drums, which includes – you guessed it – a bass drum. Yes, the name “4onthefloor” is meant literally: four bass drums, on the floor, pounding out the beat on each and every song. If the current dubstep wave has you yearning for a steadier, stronger rhythm, this band is for you. Continue reading »