Friday, May 28, 2010

The Best Cover Songs

Okay, the title may be slightly misleading; the songs I'm going to mention are probably not "THE BEST" cover songs in the world.  But what makes a good cover song anyway?  I think it depends on the material.  For me, my absolute favourites are when an artist covers a song from a different genre.  Here I'm thinking Rebuilding the Wall by Luther Wright and the Wrongs, Cake's I Will Survive or Yael Naim's cover of Britney Spears' Toxic.

As long as whoever is doing the cover brings something of their own to the song, and it's not just a straight play (like you'd hear of any generic band in a pub), it's probably good.  So here are some of the newer tracks I've discovered (and don't forget Allison Crowe's cover of Creep I played a few podcasts ago!):

  • A.C. Newman - Take On Me - Listening to this, you could swear that this was an original New Pornographers tune.  At the same time, you can recognize the iconic a-ha song in there.
  • Library Voices - Help - This is a very good cover of a Beatles tune by a very good Canadian band.  There's also some background to this track: Library Voices recently lost the bulk of their instruments in a flood, and this song was released for free (or a donation) to support the band.  Also of note: not a cover, but they have a free track of the week up on iTunes called Drinking Games that is also very good.
  • Gord Downie & The Sadies - Search & Destroy - This one I haven't listened to, but it has the potential to be the best of this list in my view.  Famous Canadian artsit + great bluegrass band + covering Iggy & The Stoogest = awesomeness; it can't be anything but!
  • Cover Lay Down - This isn't a particular song, but a blog.  A very good blog.  The basic premise?  Folk artists playing cover songs.  Usually there are some really great gems - the specific post I'm linking to features some cool hip hop covers by folk artists.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Singletons

As I mentioned the other day, I have about 30 unread messages in my inbox for Alternative Airwaves.  All of it is music I've forwarded to myself (which is somewhat unfortunate, because I'd love to hear from readers/listeners), and I just haven't found the time to listen to them.  Most of the music is creative commons licensed stuff, while other bits are just free tracks from various artists that I may or may not mention.  Anyway.  First up we have The Singletons and their self-titled album, The Singletons.

FrostClick calls them "British Mod Influenced Spanish Scenesters".  I'm not exactly sure what they mean by that, because I'm not the most versed in the music scene; but I do hear the British influence in their music.  If you weren't listening to the Spanish lyrics, you could probably easily mistake them for a British punkish kind of band.  Oh yeah, about the Spanish bit - they're from Barcelona, apparently.  That would not have been my first guess (I would have figured South America or something).

There's a little bit of everything too, including some surf influences.  Overall, I really liked the guitar work on most of the tracks - these guys are definitely very talented, there's no doubt about that.  However, I agree with FrostClick's assessment: this album isn't going to blow your mind, but it's a good listen.  Check them out if you get the chance.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

#7 - Long Weekend Party Tunes

Or the title is something like that.  Anyway, I uploaded my podcast to iTunes over the weekend and never did a blog post to go along with it; shame on me!

So, here are the notes:
  • I recorded the show while trying out some new software, Virtual DJ.  You can download the program free for 30 days (and I think the basic version is like $50).  There are some moments where it is a little awkward, but I think overall it sounds great!
  • Oh, in addition to that comment - if there is an  open source program that does what VDJ does, let me know - I feel it would fit better with the spirit of the podcast.
  • I featured two bands: Houdini Roadshow and The Liquid Kitchen.  They both rocked the house during the recording process.  Well they would have, if they were playing live.
  • That's it I think?
You can download the podcast via iTunes, or this direct link here:  This show runs approximately 33 minutes.

Also - I mentioned that my next podcast won't have a feature artist exactly, but will be more of a "trying to catch up on the emails in my inbox" show.  Well, at this time I have at least 30 unread notes about various free music.  I'm going to write about some of them and include the rest in a two-part podcast.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Jamie Rumley Covers Tom Petty

Quite a while back, I wrote a little post about Jamie Rumley and her EP, "Insert Title Here".  I really liked her music, and was pleased to see this little post on Twitter:

Tom Petty - You Don't Know How It Feels (Cover)

12:54 PM May 1st via web 
Yeah, I realize I'm about 20 days late, but I think I did establish I'm very behind with my music updates.  Here is said cover:

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

This Week's Podcast + Upcoming Episode

I've got some really good music planned for this week's podcast, which should be coming Friday night.  But I didn't want to talk about that right now - I wanted to mention that I've got a different type of show planned in a couple of weeks.

Basically, I'm way behind in the music I want to feature so I'm going to do a little bit of a "music dump" show, where I play a bunch of different artists rather than feature a single album.  I'm going to do this once every few months from now on to prevent getting too far behind again.

So look for that approximately June 3rd!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Podcasts available once again

In case you only follow the blog, but don't follow me on Twitter, I thought I should mention that the host site I use is back up and podcasts are now available for download again.

Things have been pretty busy the past two weeks - I hope to get back on a regular posting schedule quite soon.  Look for a podcast next week!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Podcast Temporarily Unavailable

Just thought I should give people a head's up that previous episodes of the podcast are temporarily unavailable; my gracious host (which gives me web space for free - awesome!) is down for the moment, and I don't have any back-up storage for the episodes.

So if you're trying to get the episodes and it's not working, just hang tight; hopefully the problem will be fixed soon enough.  If you really want to get the episode, just send me an e-mail and I can try to get a copy to you.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

#6 - Not South American Banjo Ska

Here it is, episode #6!  Unfortunately, it is not the "South American Banjo Ska" genre my brother wanted, but instead is Celtic Hip Hop - coming from Oakland, California, no less!  Here are the show notes:

  • The opening theme is as always a modification of Brad Sucks' song Making Me Nervous
  • The opening track was called Drunken Kitchen Kisses, by The Destroyed Room, which I heard about thanks to FrostClick.
  • Wikipedia movie summaries really are awesome; check out the one for Twister
  • Today's feature artist: Beltaine's Fire; their album is The Weapon of the Future
  • Tomorrow I have a meeting with the prosecutor about a bylaw ticket concerning my dog, Hank.
  • The last band was one I mentioned last week - Glossary.  Their album is called The Better Angels of Our Nature

Monday, May 3, 2010

This Week's Podcast

According to my calendar, I've got a podcast to put together this week.  I haven't decided on a particular band - or even genre - to focus on, so I thought I might get some input from any readers and listeners out there.  What kind of music do you want to hear this week?

Some things I'm considering doing is finding some music conductive to writing, as I am trying to start up a writing project or two.  I'm trying to get into the habit of writing on a regular basis again.  Also, this way I can say I have two interesting hobbies - podcasting and writing!

Anyway, please feel free to leave some suggestions.  I have a short list of albums that I am considering, but I'd like to play somebody I haven't written about yet.