This alternate version of “Psycho Killer” just resurfaced thanks to an Arthur Russell tribute event boasting “never-before-heard and unreleased songs” from the great cellist/producer. All recent reports have followed suit on that description, but in truth this cut was a B-side to the 1977 single — albeit buried a bit on a reissue disc ever since. Regardless, it’s an awesome take everyone should hear. The drama Russell brings to the strings (un)settles the mental battle David Byrne describes in early stages between making it “aggressive-sounding,” which “the singer in the song says you shouldn’t do,” and “if you kind of downplay it.” The twain shall meet above.
Apparently we need to get Wits back into rotation, as Neko Case tore the roof off Minnesota Public Radio earlier this month and few beyond the Fitzgerald Theater have yet to hear her go full metal (with the highest sung note in her repertoire in tow). Featuring comedian Rob Delaney and longtime Case collaborator/solo artist Kelly Hogan, she performed a number of sketches and musical performances on the variety show’s May 10th broadcast. For the closing portion, though, Case invoked “The Number of the Beast.” Proof that those sneakers and shirt only begin to describe her true Iron Maiden fandom begins at the 55-minute mark here.
Wilsen‘s new single, “Dusk,” has been in the queue for a few weeks now, but it’s a good thing we waited, as today brings the perfect pairing for that dream-folk gem. The NYC group’s hushed take on “Oblivion” also marks a second Grimes cover of note this week, following yesterday’s impressive take from Katie and Allison Crutchfield. Both of these do Claire Boucher’s 2012 tune justice in decidedly different ways: the Crutchfield sisters reimagine it as a raw and jangly garage-rock jam, while Tamsin Wilson & Co. numb its edges into a calming bedtime lullaby. A single for the original cut arrives on June 10th — hear the B-side above and A-side below:
Ray Manzarek, the iconic keyboardist and co-founder of the Doors, died today at 74. “I was deeply saddened to hear about the passing of my friend and bandmate,” guitarist Robby Krieger said. “I’m just glad to have been able to have played Doors songs with him for the last decade. Ray was a huge part of my life and I will always miss him.”
Upon hearing the news, my thoughts kept coming back to two places: Manzarek’s great ’00 interview on Fresh Air, when he recounted (with piano soundtrack) Jim Morrison’s 1969 arrest for indecency in Florida, and — perhaps because he’s one of the best keys players around — Benmont Tench. As it turned out, Benmont reacted on Twitter: “Ray Manzarek. His playing showed me the path to, and the joy of, improvisation. Indescribably important. Rest well. Rest well…”
This clip on the jazz behind “Light My Fire” audio-illustrates the latter beautifully.
We took a break from effusive praise of the new Laura Marling record last week with her Bruce Springsteen duet cover, but back to 2013′s first-half topic at hand: Once I Was An Eagleis now streaming in full – complete with “Master Hunter,” that opening 4-song medley, and a cohesive journey characteristic of any Ethan Johns-produced LP. First impression: this is her best record to date, covering indelible simple numbers, sprawling character studies, and more. Take it from start to finish here or below:
We’ve heard Kristian and Amanda Hollingby Matsson duet before, namely live onstage for the Tallest Man on Earth’s “Thrown Right At Me” and for an intimate cover tune on Swedish television. But this collaboration is a little different: “Heart is Like a River” finds the pair co-writing an original on their first film soundtrack project, setting respective stage names aside for Once A Year (En gång om året in Swedish). Featuring 7 compositions from the Matssons, director Gorki Glaser-Müller’s romantic drama about a couple’s annual trysts over 30 years opens Friday night in Sweden with an international (and hopeful OST release) forthcoming. With thanks to producer Kristofer Henell, we’ve got the premiere of this lovely recording above.
“As I Roved Out” — a standout cut on Sam Amidon’s new record, Bright Sunny South – just arrived with excellent visual treatment from director John Hardwick. For a simple, banjo-backed tune on the surface, there’s something haunting, off-kilter even, that he brings to this old Irish folk tune. The video starts off simple, too, with Amidon introducing the song’s narrative alone in a wooded clearing:
This song is about how you might be out on a cold winter’s night — maybe you’d bring a bottle of wine — and head out into the woods, into the mountains ’cause maybe you’re trying to find some sort of inspiration. You look around, but at a certain point as you get out there, the sun goes down and the shapes of the trees start to emerge. They start to remind you of people you were trying to remember… or people you were trying to forget about. It’s full of inspiration you weren’t intending.
Before long, drummer Chris Vatalaro shows up along with disorienting hints of stop-motion surrealism. Watch it above. Meanwhile, Amidon recently played a live Pocket Show rendition worth checking out: Continue →