Beck Covers John Lennon's "Love"

beck_hansen_0100If the last few weeks have been any indication, winter seems to be the season for cover songs. Between The Flaming Lips, The Joy Formidable, Ke$ha and more, there hasn’t been any shortage of classics getting a new lease on life. Beck‘s new cover of John Lennon‘s “Love” only cements that tradition. Made for Starbucks’ fifth compilation album, Sweetheart 2014, “Love,” originally from Lennon’s 1970 Plastic Ono Band album, sits alongside tracks by Vampire Weekend, ThaoThe Head and The Heart, and many more in an easy listening covers paradise. Check out the new song, along with the track listing below, and pick up Sweetheart 2014 beginning Feb. 4. (more…)

Fiona Apple And Blake Mills Hit The Road

Everyone’s favorite heavy-duty, mood shifting, piano banging, modern day torch songstress Fiona Apple has announced a new tour, where she will perform as part of a duo with her frequent guitarist and opening act, Blake Mills. Mills himself is a collaborator to the stars, having been a member of Dawes (then known as Simon Dawes), and working with Band of Horses, Jackson Browne, Lucinda Williams, Julian Casablancas, Cass McCombs, and more.

According to a willfully but lightly obstinate press release, the two have yet to determine how the show will go, but that leaves a world of possibilities open, and may well produce results that will surprise even the most die hard of fans.

Apple’s last couple of records have been very solid, showcasing an artist who always demonstrated brilliance, but who is now fully in control of her talent and creative output. Her latest is The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do, which produced the single “Hot Knife,” a pretty spectacular song for which you can see the video below.

Mills released Break Mirrors in 2010, and is currently at work on a second album for Verve Records.

The tour is called “Anything We Want: An Evening with Fiona Apple & Blake Mills” and dates are below.

5 Best Movie Soundtracks of 2012

2012 has been a fantastic year for movies, but it may have been an even better year for movie soundtracks. From action and horror, to comedies and dramadies, the world of film was made more enthralling in 2012 than any year in recent memory thanks to music, and today we’re highlighting our five favorite releases. I would suggest you see every film mentioned on this list in order to fully appreciate the accompanying music, but perhaps one of the greatest features of each of these releases is how well they play outside the context of cinema. So whether you’re a cinephile or you refuse to pay ridiculous cinema prices, there is something here for everyone. Click through the “Read more” link and enjoy. (more…)

The Editorialist: 5 Band Names That Drive Journalists Mad

Okay, we all know there are plenty of terrible band names out there. From Anal Cunt to The Tony Danza Tap Dance Extravaganza, we music journalists have seen it all… that is, of course, until the next new pile of grammatical regurgitation comes along to agitate our articles. Some names in particular, however, really grind my gears because of how frustrating they are to write or include in a sentence, with their unnecessary punctuation or drawn-out clauses. I know there are no definitive rules to making a band name, and I know we live in a progressive, liberal culture where artistic expression is all about pushing the envelope, but some bands are just trying too hard (or not hard enough). Call me closed minded or old fashioned, but while I respect the artistic decision to do whatever the hell you want and not care what anyone thinks, I still think there should be some sort of parameters to naming a band. So I’ve decided to highlight my top five most frustrating band names, specifically for music journalists and any English nerd concerned with grammar, punctuation, or syntax.

(Disclaimer: This list is not a direct commentary on the bands themselves or the quality of their music. In fact, I happen to like most of the bands on this list, which I think might be what frustrates me the most.) (more…)

Fiona Apple Rants About Arrest

You may have heard about indie/experimental singer-songwriter and certified crazy person Fiona Apple‘s arrest in Texas last week for possession of hash. Now a video has been released from her show in Huston, TX on Saturday of the singer’s statement in regards to the matter.

She first makes a public apology to her jailer for her “attitudey” behavior, but then goes on to condemn four unnamed individuals who apparently handled the matter very poorly. She gives them the ultimatum of revealing themselves by saying “I’ll make you fucking famous any time you ask… So why don’t you stay in your fucking holding cell?” Sounds like the wrong person to mess with. Watch the video below, and try to figure out how this woman’s brain works. Rant is as follows:

“There are four people out there¦and I want you to know that I heard everything you did. I wrote it all down with your names and everything you did and said, stupidly thinking that I couldn’t hear or see you. I then ripped the paper up, but not before I encoded it and “ I got two lock boxes. We’ll call them ˜holding cell one’ and ˜holding cell two.’ In ˜holding cell one’ is the encoded version of the shit that you did that I know was inappropriate and probably illegal. In ˜holding cell two’ is the decoder. I’m the only one who holds the key, and you and I will be intimate forever because I will hold that secret forever. Unless of course the celebrity that you had so much interest in but you wanted to accuse me of bringing up while you laughed at me all night? Unless you’re interested in being a celebrity, I’ll make you fucking famous any time you ask and I’ll open those boxes. So why don’t you stay in your fucking holding cell?”

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Monday, September 24, 2012

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Exclusive Q and A: Pony Boy Talks Poetry, Pop, and Production

Pony Boy, the brainchild of Marchelle Bradanini, is a self-described “junkyard country” group that sounds like a dusty old Ford rumbling down a deserted road. Having already put in time as a member of the eclectic Bedtime for Toys, Bradanini channeled her rediscovered love of classic country, blues, and Americana into her latest project. We caught up with her to chat about her poetic past, her distaste for manicured pop, and what really separates her from R. Kelly.

OS: You’ve been involved in some eclectic musical projects in the past such as Bedtime for Toys or you DJing project Pony vs. Tiger. What got you interested in the aesthetic of your current band?

MB: I started out just as a girl with a guitar influenced by Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan. Then, I ended up starting a band with some friends and that was about playing music that a group of people came up with collectively at a different point in my life. When that band broke up, I was trying to figure out what I was doing next. Oftentimes you get asked to DJ after playing a show, and I had a pretty decent vinyl collection. While I was working out exactly what the solo project would be, I started getting asked to DJ all over the place. The nice thing was that those gigs were for people who wanted rock ‘n’ roll or classic country, and it was a great opportunity to go back and rediscover all of these old, great artists that I love: John Prine, The Allman Brothers, and even Ram Jam [laughs]. There’s the electronic DJ scene, but then there are also people who want to hear actual songs that were initially released on vinyl. Getting into that scene was really great because I got to work on playlists all day. (more…)

Your Country's Right Here: Sara Watkins Soars Beyond Nickel Creek

Sara Watkins may be best known for her brilliant fiddle work with Nickel Creek, but expect that to change as more critics and fans hear her extraordinary solo release Sun Midnight Sun. Clearly, the fiddle virtuoso is a solo artist with whom to be reckoned.

Watkins credits her time touring with The Decemberists for revving up her creative juices, resulting in the lush 10-track Americana album. Guests include Jackson Brown and Fiona Apple, and songs range from the Everly Brothers‘ “You’re the One I Love,” and Willie Nelson‘s “I’m a Memory,” to iconic songwriter Dan Wilson‘s “If It Pleases You.” But make no mistake, Sun Midnight Sun is all Watkins. Not only did she write or co-write the other songs on the album, but the guests and even the cover songs emerge simply as accents to her own unique songwriting.

“I really couldn’t point to my finger at any one thing,” said Watkins when asked how she honed her songwriting skills, which she’s criticized in the past. “Everyone hopes to get better at their craft and the way to do it is to write, and a lot has to do with listening to other people’s music and admiring their work and trying to get that to rub off on you in some way.”

Watkins credits co-producer and songwriting partner Blake Mills, formerly of Dawes, with providing support as she balanced her music between Nickel Creek’s bluegrass roots and a bit more rock sensibility.


The Re-Launching of Fiona Apple

Here we go again again! Another online article where the subject is Fiona Apple. For the last few weeks, it seems, it’s been virtually impossible to turn on the computer without stumbling across a new headline about the 34-year-old singer-songwriter. I can’t think of any other musical celebrity this side of Kanye West who, in recent memory, has gotten quite so much mileage out of being both ridiculously talented and endlessly quotable.

And Apple doesn’t even tweet (yet)”or date a reality TV star!

Her musical gift and her gift of gab pretty much ensured that the June 19 release of her fourth album, The Idler Wheel Is Wiser Than the Driver of the Screw and Whipping Cords Will Serve You More Than Ropes Will Ever Do, would arrive with more fanfare than the expected critical gushing. In fact, after one week of release, the new set sold 72,000 copies, good enough for a No. 3 debut on Billboard’s Top 200 album chart, immediately making The Idler Wheel… the highest-charting album of Apple’s career.

That would be chump change in the coffers of Adele or Lady Gaga, but considering that Apple released her last album, Extraordinary Machine, way back in 2005, before the world had heard of Adele, Gaga, or Katy Perry, and the year in which Rihanna released her debut album, it’s as extraordinary as one-half of her last album title.