Frequent Triple J Like a Version visitors The Maccabees returned to the studio this week for another live session. Last time they stopped by the studio, they covered The Black Keys’ “Lonely Boy.” During this visit, they reached a little further into the musical past and performed Neil Diamond‘s oft-covered track “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon.”
Every Wednesday, our resident Gleek Eric Garneau gives his take on last night’s Glee covers.
In “The First Time,” McKinley High prepares to open their production of West Side Story, but stars Rachel (Lea Michele) and Blaine (Darren Criss) find themselves full of indecision after musical director Artie (Kevin McHale) suggests they need sexual experience to properly portray their roles.
West Side Story‘s over, and I’m not sure how much there’s left to say about McKinley High’s (really professional-looking) production of the classic musical. I’m really surprised this plot sustained itself over five episodes (with its songs making it into three of the last four), but it seems that for now we’ve seen the last of the West Side. Is that a good thing?
A couple of weeks ago, KEXP radio set up a studio at the KEX Hostel in Reykjavik during Iceland Airwaves ’11 to broadcast some live performances. One of those was Icelandic indie singer/songwriter and musician Ólöf Arnalds, who was joined by her younger sister Karla on a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Mr. Tambourine Man,” and you can watch it below.
You know the story. The Jews needed eight days of oil to purify the Temple in Jerusalem. There was only enough oil for one day. Miraculously, though, that small amount lasted for all eight nights. And on every one of those nights Yo La Tengo played a concert.
Well, maybe they passed on that first Hanukkah, but it seems they’ve played eight crazy nights of shows every year since. Twenty-ten was no exception. As chronicled at BrooklynVegan, the nights of December 1-8 each saw a unique Yo La Tengo show go down at Maxwell’s in New Jersey. Every evening featured surprise openers and comedians, including heavy hitters like the National and Jeff Tweedy.
Last month Neil Diamond released a pretty lame covers album. What made it all the worse was that last year, however briefly, his interpretive abilities shone. Sure, the horribly-titled A Cherry Cherry Christmas album featured “White Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland,” and twelve other treacley clichés. No surprises there. All was forgiven upon hearing the last track, though – a hilariously sincere cover of Adam Sandler’s “The Chanukah Song.”
What Neil Diamond means to you depends on your frame of reference. It could mean The Jazz Singer film and soundtrack with the iconic hit “America.” It could mean singing “Sweet Caroline” during the eighth inning of Red Sox games. It could even mean Will Ferrell parodies on Saturday Night Live, but few don’t recognize the name. A prolific songwriter and performer, Neil Diamond sells out arenas and, unlike certain schmaltz-rock peers (read: Billy Joel), regularly releases new material. On his newest disc Dreams, Diamond interprets classic songs by Bill Withers, Leonard Cohen, Randy Newman, The Eagles and others. Johnny Cash‘s American series remains the most obvious point of comparison for any aging singer releasing back-to-roots covers, but unlike Cash, Diamond chose not to cover any current artists. He didn’t exactly unearth any buried treasures either. No, he chose to cover songs like “Hallelujah” (over 200 covers to date) and “Ain’t No Sunshine” (144). Interpreting standards is a tricky business and albums turn out badly if the artist doesn’t choose the songs and arrangements with care. We’re looking at you, Rod.