As an aspiring rapper, I have to say, seeing this kid depresses me and inspires me at the same time:
I just got a leaked copy of Caribou's latest album, Swim, after drooling over the first single for a while. Drool with me:
I love how his gentle singing is merged with the harsh clangs and hoots of the song. This is some great mixing and a really interesting song. The rest of the album is pretty damn good so far. Sadly there's no Caribou from the last two albums on Lala to supplement this with, but I loved their last album Andorra too.
You know, nobody claims to dislike Hendrix. It's just one of those things. He's got like, the most fantastic brand goodwill ever. Not that it does him any good.
But I'm actually one of those rare people: I'm a Hendrix Fan. I love all of his real albums (only 4), I like most of his posthumous work (almost as much), and I even treasure some of his early recordings with Curtis Knight and other soul dudes. I do NOT treasure all that much his drunken live recordings with the Doors or whatever.
Anyway, I was pretty excited to hear that they'd somehow dug up even MOAR posthumous recordings and were basically releasing a new album called Valleys of Neptune.
I've been able to give it a few listens and I'm pretty damn happy. It's a lot of re-recorded versions of songs in the more bluesy style he was starting to get into when he died, and a few unheard originals.
So, I thought I'd do a quick Hendrix tribute post and let you listen to some of my favorites, with a focus on the stuff he never got to release in his lifetime.
First of all, off the new album, I really am liking this great instrumental cover of Sunshine of Your Love:[audio:http://thesweetsnob.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/06-Sunshine-Of-Your-Love.mp3|titles=Jimi Hendrix – Sunshine Of Your Love]
And a cool song called Mr. Bad Luck:[audio:http://thesweetsnob.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/05-Mr.-Bad-Luck.mp3|titles=Jimi Hendrix – Mr. Bad Luck]
Then, moving back to songs released after his death in many different forms, but arguably the best on the one closest to what he wanted, a big album called First Rays of the New Rising Sun. This song is one of my favorite tunes ever, ever, ever, mostly due to it's magnificent and rueful lyrics. It's called My Friend. I recommend you listen to it several times.
A choice cut of the lyrics:
[audio:http://thesweetsnob.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/11-My-Friend.mp3|titles=Jimi Hendrix – My Friend]
Now a lady with a pearl handled necktie
Tied to the driver's fence
Breathes in my face,
Bourbon and coke possessed words
"Haven't I seen you somewhere in hell,
Or was it just an accident?"
You know how I felt then, and so:
Before I could ask "was it the East or West side?"
My feet they howled in pain
The wheels of a bandwagon cut very deep,
But not as deep in my mind as the rain
And as they pulled away I could see her words
Stagger and fall on my muddy tent
Well I picked them up, brushed them off,
To see what they say,
And you wouldn't believe:
"Come around to my room, with the tooth in the middle,
And bring along the bottle and a president"
And sometimes it's not so easy,
Especially when your only friend,
Talks, sees, looks and feels like you,
And you do just the same as him
Also, a little more of a minor work, I also love Belly Button Window, arguably a pro-choicey song?![audio:http://thesweetsnob.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/17-Belly-Button-Window.mp3|titles=Jimi Hendrix – Belly Button Window]
Then, I could sit here and lead you down the primrose path of Jimi's genius albums he released on purpose all day… really you can just listen to the whole albums and you're pretty much in good hands, but I'll just make one pick from each album that you may not have heard.
From his last album, a live album recorded with Buddy Miles: there's so many massive songs on this album, but I'm going to do Power to Love. I knew this kid when he was 5 who loved this song and called it "The Jellyfish Song" because of these lyrics:
[audio:http://thesweetsnob.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/04-Power-Of-Love.mp3|titles=Jimi Hendrix – Power Of Love]
It's so groovy to float around, sometimes even
a jellyfish will agree to that.
I said flotation is groovy and easy,
even a jellyfish will agree to that.
Yeah, but old jelly's been floatin' so long
and so slack, lord, ain't no kinda bone in his jelly back.
Floatin' ev'ry day and ev'ry night is a risk, sometimes
the wind ain't right!
From his crazy last double album with The Experience, I present the crazy, jazzy, Rainy Day, Dream Away, which I love for his little ad-libs that start the song, including some perhaps real joint-hitting noises:[audio:http://thesweetsnob.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/10-Rainy-Day-Dream-Away.mp3|titles=Jimi Hendrix – Rainy Day, Dream Away]
From Bold As Love, which truly blew my goddamn mind at age 17, I present Jimi's way-cool story of an alien dropping back to earth to tell people how messed up things are in the future:[audio:http://thesweetsnob.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/02-Up-From-The-Skies.mp3|titles=Jimi Hendrix – Up From The Skies]
And from Jimi's seminal Are You Experienced? which you'd otherwise think was a greatest-hits album, the groovy space-opera with crazy radio noises, Third Stone From the Sun. Let Jimi land his kinky machine a little closer to you, baby:[audio:http://thesweetsnob.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/09-Third-Stone-From-The-Sun.mp3|titles=Jimi Hendrix – Third Stone From The Sun]
Ok, I'm glad we had this time together, Jimi.
Real Estate – Real Estate
A truly beautiful album, with soft guitar music and soft singing that nonetheless has a wonderful feel to it and somehow never feels boring. Strange for such an even album, where many songs use the same guitar themes. I love it more and more as time goes on.
Real Estate songs… Atlantic city:[audio:http://thesweetsnob.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/05-Atlantic-City.mp3|titles=Real Estate – Atlantic City]
and Fake Blues:[audio:http://thesweetsnob.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/06-Fake-Blues.mp3|titles=Real Estate – Fake Blues]
Jim O'Rourke – The Visitor
One album, one amazing 40 minute track. There's no singing, just the gentlest, subtlest guitar. Then, as it wears on, Jim slowly draws you in with sweet little compositional tricks and weaves in other instruments. This could soothe you while you have a deep conversation with someone, or you could listen to every note and feel its richness. I doubt I'll ever get sick of this album.
Here's just a little sample, the only one I could find… actually not a bad pick, this is where it really starts to pick up:
Beach House – Teen Dream
On the surface, this is easy to compare to Real Estate. Swoony/hazy guitars, gentle singing, an even-gentle feeling. I would say that Beach House is more feminine, and the production is much more dense. Real Estate feels stripped down, where Beach House is a thicker, more layered sound.
Beach House – Silver Soul:[audio:http://thesweetsnob.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/02-Silver-Soul.mp3|titles=Beach House – Silver Soul]
Toro y Moi – Causers of This
A sweet mix of gentle beats, Animal Collective-like singing, electronic sounds, and little hip-hop flourishes.
Toro Y Moi – Talamak:[audio:http://thesweetsnob.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/08-Talamak.mp3|titles=Toro Y Moi – Talamak]
Toro Y Moi – Blessa:[audio:http://thesweetsnob.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/01-Blessa.mp3|titles=Toro Y Moi – Blessa]
Julianna Warwick – Florine
Lay in a huge church with light streaming in the stained glass windows. Take a deep breath and close your eyes. Take a bong hit (this is a very accepting church). Now put on Florine. I think that for twenty-four minutes you'll feel like you made the right decision.
Julianna Barwick – Sunlight Heaven:[audio:http://thesweetsnob.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/01-Sunlight-Heaven.mp3|titles=Julianna Barwick – Sunlight, Heaven]
Anjos:[audio:http://thesweetsnob.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/05-Anjos.mp3|titles=Toro Y Moi – Anjos]
Owen Pallett – Heartland
I've never heard an Owen Pallet album before, but I really am enjoying it. I listen to about 5-10 new albums a week, often in the background. So, when one really jumps out at me after only a couple of listens I know it must be special.
I had heard it once and knew it was a "pretty album" so I put it on in the background as my girl and I lounged in bed. About midway through, I started thinking, oh wow… this album is something!
It is indeed a pretty album, and almost suitable for lazing around in bed with. (Like Real Estate, which I'm going to review next) but Owen doesn't just let his lovely singing and orchestration just meander along. He likes some catharsis; he lets his songs swell into big, beautiful affairs that just fill you up. Swells of wind instruments, string instruments and some impressive percussion all swirl up around his vocal themes, which sounds maybe as much like a Beach Boy than anything else. What's awesome though, is how he also mixes traditional orchestral instruments with more experimental electronic music sounds.
I always heard about but not heard Owen's other musical project: Final Fantasy, which he had to drop for obvious licensing issues, once he started to get big, but I fully intend to go back and listen now. I also found out he wrote some of the arrangements for Arcade Fire, The Pet Shop Boys, and Beirut's The Flying Club Cup, which I also found totally inspiring. (In fact, if you've never seen this Take-Away shows video of one of their songs, it's very worth taking the time to watch.)
This album might challenge you a little if you like mostly muzak, and might seem too poncy if you like tougher music. But, for me, I don't even know what a single song is truly about yet and I love it.
I picked three songs in sequence that represent the part of the album that first thrilled me. See what you think.
First, my favorite… Oh Heartland, Up Yours: (indeed)[audio:http://thesweetsnob.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/1-07-Oh-Heartland-Up-Yours.mp3|titles=Owen Pallett – Oh Heartland, Up Yours!]
Lewis Takes Off His Shirt:[audio:http://thesweetsnob.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/1-08-Lewis-Takes-Off-His-Shirt.mp3|titles=Owen Pallett – Lewis Takes Off His Shirt]
and Flare Gun:[audio:http://thesweetsnob.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/1-09-Flare-Gun.mp3|titles=Own Pallett – Flare Gun]
Two doses of the band Liars today. I don't even know what to call them, but I guess you could call them kind of smooth, experimental post-punk or something like that. If you have to.
They just came out with a new album and I love the song and the video (it's a wittle scawwy, if you're sqweamish):
Which reminded me that although I never really got totally into their highly acclaimed last album, there was a song from it I ended up just loving, called Sailing To Byzantium… seriously this song rocks my world:[audio:http://thesweetsnob.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/04-Sailing-to-Byzantium.mp3|titles=Liars – Sailing to Byzantium]
When I played The Love Language, for my friend Seth, the first thing he said was a rueful, "Oh yeah, a lot of bands are doing this lo-fi thing. The production is just awful!" Indeed, just about every review mentions the productions so, yeah, it sounds like they recorded it at the bottom of a well.
I hung my head a little though… in my mind I was like, "can't you tell they're giving it their all?!"
Later I read reviews of the self-titled album that said things like
cycles through a wide range of indie-rock, country, and early-pop styles, all delivered with shouty charm and in-the-red verve, roughly approximating a sock-hop-era Arcade Fire (pitchfork)
I listen to the Love Language because they write music I wish I’d written. I often picture myself playing these songs for some awkwardly shy, yet strikingly beautiful French girl on a jetty in Quebec, romantically duping her with my plagiarized sentiments. Dishonest, yet undeniably feasible.
and I feel like someone did actually get it. I don't listen to this album in heavy rotation, but ultimately I can't stop listening to it. Bad recording and all.
Lalita! I hear this song in my dreams:[audio:http://thesweetsnob.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/02-Lalita.mp3|titles=The Love Language – Lalita]
And the sublime "Two Rabbits" which I suspect is not strictly about rabbits:[audio:http://thesweetsnob.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/01-Two-Rabbits.mp3|titles=The Love Language – Two Rabbits]
Arctic Monkeys – 505
I'm going back to 505
If it's a 7 hour flight or a 45 minute drive
In my imagination you're waiting lying on your side
With your hands between your thighs
Stop and wait a sec
Oh when you look at me like that my darling
What did you expect
I probably still adore you with your hands around my neck
Or I did last time I checked
Not shy of a spark
A knife twists at the thought that I should fall short of the mark
Frightened by the bite though its no harsher than the bark
Middle of adventure, such a perfect place to start
But I crumble completely when you cry
It seems like once again you've had to greet me with goodbye
I'm always just about to go and spoil a surprise,
Take my hands off of your eyes too soon,
Born Ruffians – Little Garçon
I don't care just where you go, as long as it's with me
and I don't mind just what you do, as long as it's with me too
Well I get told to never get old
But the way it unfolds
I'm a little garçon in my head
With a little fille that's stuck in bed
Oh, okay, yeah, that's where you go
Oh, come and dance with me
Bon Iver – Woods
I'm up in the woods, I'm down on my mind, I'm building a still, to slow down the time.[audio:http://thesweetsnob.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/04-Woods.mp3|titles=Bon Iver – Woods]
Air France – Collapsing at your Doorstep
It's sort of like a dream, isn't it? No, it's better.[audio:http://thesweetsnob.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/03-Collapsing-At-Your-Doorstep.mp3|titles=Air France – Collapsing At Your Doorstep]
Midlake – The Courage of Others
This wasn't very well reviewed. Most people seem to think it's a little too even and consistent to the point of boring. Most people like the earlier "Trials of Van Occupanther" a lot better. I really like that album too, but several listens puts me at odds with other people who aren't as impressed.
To me, this album shows how close Folk music and Heavy Metal really are. At first listen it sounds like a droning, slightly dark folk album. But as time goes on it seems like the construction and content are really more like heavy metal. And if you LIKE the tone, then you get a whole solid album of it. For me, I find this album great to work to, and hear little gems of lyrics, mellowly passionate singing, and some great guitar work pop out every once in a while.
Midlake – Winter Dies[audio:http://thesweetsnob.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/02-Winter-Dies.mp3|titles=Midlake – Winter Dies]
Florence and the Machine – Lungs
You might not have heard of this album, but it hit #1 on the UK charts, which shocked me a little. My girl said she thought a lot of the songs sounded "so Lilith Fair" which I can't disagree with.
At her best though, she is a passionate singer with amazing orchestral + rock and roll backing. There's at least 6 songs on this album you really should hear. Cosmic Love is a grandiose, sweeping statement. Kiss With a Fist is a hot little number (and probably one of the Lilith Fair-ey ones) and I couldn't stop listening to Girl With One Eye for almost the whole month.
Cosmic Love[audio:http://thesweetsnob.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/09-Cosmic-Love.mp3|titles=Florence & The Machine – Cosmic Love]
Kiss With A Fist[audio:http://thesweetsnob.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/05-Kiss-With-A-Fist.mp3|titles=Florence & The Machine – Kiss With A Fist]
and Girl With One Eye[audio:http://thesweetsnob.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/06-Girl-With-One-Eye.mp3|titles=Florence & The Machine – Girl With One Eye]
Ben Frost – By The Throat
Besides the totally wicked album cover, this somewhat dark, mostly ambient album is about as listenable as something from this genre can be. With its musical drones, gentle piano and wolf noises you'll find it almost fades into the background, creating a soundtrack for dark angels to lounge on couches of thorns. I found it works extremely well for playing video games. I would tend to forget that I was playing the album and almost think it was a natural part of the game.
Through The Roof of Your Mouth:[audio:http://thesweetsnob.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/10-Through-The-Roof-Of-Your-Mouth.mp3|titles=Ben Frost – Through The Roof Of Your Mouth]