Apr 202021

3 Imagined“Different” was one word applied to McCartney III upon its release in December 2020 (a good thing or a bad thing? I’m not sure). But other descriptors were, quite rightly, “fresh,” “adventurous,” “surprising,” and “chameleonic.” Never “dull.” The album was, accordingly, a UK #1 and US #2 success, elevated by its poppy first single, “Find My Way,” and its much-touted availability on a hierarchy of exclusive colored vinyl: yellow, blue, white, black, and numbered red, or, if you were ludicrously quick off the mark, yellow with black dots.

With or without the brightly hued grooves, it was impossible to resist the sheer versatility on display on McCartney III, with its plethora of highlights. Album-opener “Long Tailed Winter Bird” impressed as an inspired, near-instrumental slice of acoustic blues that built unpredictably from a stunning guitar riff. “Slidin'” hit home as a supremely dirty rocker, “Deep Down” a groovy, soulful joy, and “Women and Wives” a poignant ballad touching upon the questions of mortality and personal legacy. And they were all, of course, written and performed almost entirely by Paul McCartney of Liverpool, in the fine DIY tradition of 1970’s McCartney and 1980’s McCartney II, but with added Covid restrictions.

So now comes, well, what is it? A covers album? A remix album? A tribute album? Let’s just go with the catch-all term “album of reworkings,” particularly as some of its tracks feature the great man himself, and some don’t. It’s made up, according to the promo material, of “an A-List assortment of friends, fans and brand new acquaintances, each covering and/or reimagining their favorite ‘McCartney III’ moments in their own signature styles.” It also emanates puns galore in the aftermath of “recorded in Rockdown,” which serve to enhance its experimental, melting-pot vibe: “III-imagined,” “What’s Your Take On It?” etc. You see, the songs aren’t set in stone, man! They aren’t limited to one viewpoint, or subject to boundaries and rules. Roll the dice for different results!
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Sep 082014

Arthur Russell is one of those artists I keep promising myself I’ll make some time to listen to. I’ve heard and read lots of good things about him. But the only familiarity with his music I have is through covers of his songs. Joel Gibb’s version of ‘That’s Us/Wild Combination’ off the tribute EP ‘Four Songs By Arthur Russell’ is an absolute stunner of a song. Continue reading »

Jan 252013

Dev Hynes AKA the former lead singer of Test Icicles AKA Lightspeed Champion AKA songwriter/producer/colloborator of Solange and Sky Ferreira AKA Blood Orange (whew!) is clearly a musician with range and experimentation in terms of genre, and, to put it simply, a very talented individual. In between his producing and writing collaborations with some of R&B-infused dream pop’s up and coming artists and working on his solo project Blood Orange, Hynes decided to take a “break” and cover Kindness’s “Cyan.”

“Last night as a break from production work I’ve been doing, I decided to cover my good friend Adam “Kindness” Bainbridge‘s song Cyan. I used drum elements from Everything Is Embarrassing, then I invited my friend Tracy Antonopoulos (from the band Cable) round to come and sing some backing vocals. Here’s the end product, enjoy!”

The song (and the video his friend Adam created using unused footage from the original song’s music video) is nothing short of dreamy and somewhat cautious, despite its voyeuristic feel (credit tavorus here). Watch below and let us know what you think in the comments section.

Get more into Blood Orange by visiting Hynes’ Tumblr for the project.

Jan 242013

Solange, the baby sister of Queen Bey, has been making quite a name for herself over the past few months. While the pop singer has made solo efforts in the past, it is her latest EP, True, that is garnering her both critical praise and an exponentially growing fanbase. A self-proclaimed fan of the 90s pop and R&B scene, Solange invited Oliver Sim of the xx and producer/Blood Orange‘s Dev Hynes to cover Nicole Wray’s “Make It Hot” during a recent concert in London. Continue reading »

Jul 272011

Earlier this year, NewVillager made a distinctive first impression with their off-the-wall costumed video for “Lighthouse.” Well, really, second impression, following their strange 30-person, 10-room RichDoors Game performance art piece last year. In neither case is the viewer quite sure what is going on, but one thing becomes instantly clear: this band is strange in the best way possible. Continue reading »