rock posts

Song: Wonderwall

Tuesday, June 14th, 2005 by Paul Irish

pop-rock -> somber indie -> big-band swing

The most satisfying covers are those that transform the song into a completely new setting. Today, you’re getting two unique covers of the Oasis classic ‘Wonderwall’, easily my favorite track from the Gallagher brothers. Ryan Adams (who’s coming out with two more albums this year) presents a slow but deliberate guitar and reverbed vocal track. From the subtle voice crack to fingertip-string treble to his emotional howling, Ryan’s cover emotes a clear and true representation of the song’s meaning. On the complete and opposite side of things, Paul Anka’s take, from Rock Swings, is a glitzy big-band version with spot-on vocals and instrumentation. The arrangements are well done – not sleazy covers like Richard Cheese.
One version subdued and sincere. The other bright and boiling.

Ryan Adams – Wonderwall
Paul Anka – Wonderwall
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Mint Royale

Friday, May 20th, 2005 by Paul Irish

vocal brighton downtempo // big beat

The starry-eyed look of love. The romantic dance under the lantern-lit tree. The music swells and supports that perfect moment, amalgamating the texture of her dress, her soft fingers curling around your nape, her breath combing down your cheek. Mint Royale, a duo that was once mistook as a pseudonym for Norman Cook, traditionally leans on the more brash party big beat sound, but in “Little Words” they deliver a soulful ballad of calming intent. It fits the perfect soundtrack moment where two strangers fall for each other, dance in the warm summer air, and land in a place of congruent love.
Falling back into bed with her never felt so good.

Mint Royale – Little Words
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Wednesday, April 20th, 2005 by Andrew Ladd

acoustic guitar // tranquil indie rock

Interstellar are a Toronto duo, much like the classic team of The Skydome and The CN Tower (only less architectural). Their music is an odd blend of synths, vaguely manipulated vocals, and a soft, acoustic sensibility―guitars, crickety cymbals, and well-rounded chords. I got hold of a promo of theirs about a year ago when their last album was released, because Sean from Said the Gramophone was getting ready to move to another country and was trying to jettison the heaps of CDs he had lying around. I picked it, admittedly, because it came on a cool-looking mini CD, but its quiet charm turned out to be utterly captivating, so there you go: you can judge a CD by its cover. Comparison-wise, think Blue States, Bedspace, and maybe Departure Lounge.
Dreary and calm, like a cup of tea on a rainy day.

Interstellar – Painting And Kissing
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Sunday, February 13th, 2005 by Paul Irish

experimental // shoegazing // idm

In elementary school, you like girls. In middle school, it’s cute girls. In high school, it’s cute girls in the same classes as you. By now, you have an (un)determined set of specific criteria by which you select potential mates. Your personal maturity and development has made romantic compatibility into an elusive and challenging goal. Now personally, this song feels like it finds the nooks and crannies of my musical compatibility and fills them to fulfillment. Nothing exceptional stands out audibly, but it gives me the exact sonic mood that I need — in this case, complex beauty.
The electronica cover and original of a classic shoegazing tune.

Limp – Souvlaki Space Station
Slowdive – Souvlaki Space Station
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Tom McRae

Monday, January 31st, 2005 by Paul Irish

acoustic rock // singer-songwriter

Brit Tom McRae has a way with music. Critics lauded his 2001 self-titled release and it earned him a Mercury prize nomination. Many suggest comparisions to Nick Drake and early Dylan aren’t such a stretch. It’s his warm and homey while intimately gloomy mood that creates such a stir. His blisteringly bare vocals create a vocal line that slowly wraps around you like a smile. His quiet guitar strumming provides the pillow for your wondering head to crash down on.
It’s the soundtrack to your 3am drive away from that girl you can’t not like.

Tom McRae – Draw Down The Stars
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Sunday, December 5th, 2004 by Paul Irish

somber vocal downtempo // pensive indie rock

This song isn’t about Faultline. It’s not about how as a child he blew out his left lung while playing clarinet in orchestra. No. What distinguishes this song from the rest of the tracks on Faultline’s recently re-released album is the melancholy voice of Coldplay’s Chris Martin. It’s bare, fragile, and leaking wistful emotion at the sides. This should have been the hidden track on Rush of Blood to the Head.
You listen, you lose focus, and you beat yourself up over why you let her leave; why aren’t you holding her tight right now?

Faultline – Your Love Means Everything (Part 2)

Sigur Rós

Sunday, November 21st, 2004 by Paul Irish

space rock // ambient post-rock

We all have our favorite untitled track from Sigur Rós’s epic 2002 record ( ). We have no idea what those words are, but they’re so entirely soothing; the emotion wrought out by that voice matches the soft, glowing and powerful ethereal sounds of the band. “Ba Ba” was part of an experiment called Split Sides; a collaboration between Sigur Ros, Radiohead, and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company to explore the interaction between avant-garde music and dance. The music and art that emerged is something I’d call breathtaking.
Lay down with this music. It’ll carry you on fingertips of contentment into a restful sleep.

Sigur Rós – Ba Ba

The Stranglers

Monday, November 15th, 2004 by Paul Irish

psychedelic rock // jazz

How many dazzling songs do you know that feature a harpsichord? “Golden Brown” throws one right at you and carries it in a waltzing 3/4 time signature. Well known from the Snatch soundtrack, it’s a psychedelic carnival loop of a rock song. The Better Daze cover comes off the delicious Ubiquity Rewind album and delivers a jazz rendition of the classic. A loose doublebass partners with a strummin’ guitar and cooks up a tasty pot of golden brown sonic sound.
The first for the uninitiated. The second for the jazz guitar twist.

The Stranglers – Golden Brown
Better Daze – Golden Brown

Gabriel Mann

Wednesday, November 10th, 2004 by Paul Irish

folk // acoustic rock

I don’t know what can convey how simple and lovely this song is better than the lyrics, so: My, my you’re just like pie, when I call you on the phone. You say hello and that’s the crust, the filling is yet to come. My, my you’re just like eggs. You’re all slimy on the outside and yolky in the middle. Wait a second… that’s not right; what I really meant is that I love you in the morning. Oh, I love you in the morning.
No joke you’re an artichoke. You have to peel away the outside which is good ya know but the inside is better…

Gabriel Mann – Artichoke

The Standells

Thursday, October 28th, 2004 by Paul Irish

rock ‘n roll // 60’s garage rock

I just gotta throw some love on my Boston boys. 1918! See, my parents used to be in a rock ‘n roll band, and as a rambunctious music-loving six year old I always boogied down at their jam sessions. My mom tells me I requested ‘Dirty Water’ at every single practice and I totally can now understand why. It’s got a gritty feel, very Stones-ish, and the guitar line snags ya.
‘Cuz I LOVE that dirty water…. Ooooh Boston, you’re my home!

The Standells – Dirty Water