Andrew Bird – Three White Horses

Andrew Bird in a familiar pose with his violin

It’s interesting to note that Andrew Bird is from Chicago, because to me, he looks and sounds European. It’s probably a combination of his wardrobe and his clear, melodic voice that is often emphasize with vibrato. I am starting to hear some similarities between Bird and Rufus Wainwright, not only their voices, but they both seem to have classical and Broadway influences in their music.

The song Three White Horses is from his latest album, Hands of Glory. The song has some some elements that sound like Country Western (Think Southwestern), but Bird’s crooning voice gives it a ballad feel and there’s the interesting pitch modulation technique used on the lead guitar parts. There’s an interesting contrast with some of the other songs on this album like Spirograph, which also has a bit of an old country feel to it, but I would say it is more melodic than Three White Horses. When That Helicopter Comes has a little bit of a 50’s rock sound to it. I’m really enjoying the exploration of this latest album.

It looks like he’s on a South American tour currently and will be coming back to America, but not anywhere close to us poor Minnesotans in the near future.

There’ll be three white horses
All in a line
There’ll be three white horses
In a line

Three white horses
When you go on that way
You will need somebody when you come to die

Don’t dismiss it like it’s easy
Tell me what’s so easy
Bout comin’ to say goodbye
You’re gonna miss her in the evenin’
You know all you needed
Somebody when you come to die

There’ll be three white horses in a line
There’ll be three white horses in a line

There’ll be three white horses
When you go on that way
You will need somebody when you come to die

It’s not desperation that we’re breedin’
It’s just a need we’re feedin’
Before we say goodbye

You’re gonna miss me in the evenin’s
You know all you needed
Somebody when you come to die

Yeah all you needed
Somebody when you come to die

The Vaccines – Teenage Icon

 

Hailing from West London, the Vaccines just passed though Minneapolis last Saturday on their first headlining US tour. Their second album came out last September and hit #1 on the UK album charts. They are a great mix of 80’s pop and the modern indie rock movement. Think Tears for Fears meets Noah and the Whale. Unfortunately we have no idea when they’ll be back state side, but we’ll keep our ears open. In the mean time take a look at the music video for their song Teenage Icon, a song that would not be out of place in The Breakfast Club. I honestly don’t have a ton to say about this song except that I really love how they did the music video.

Let us know what you think.

Don McLean – American Pie

Today on Throwback Thursday we remember the “day the music died”. This week marks the 54th Anniversary of the tragic and untimely deaths of Rock & Roll founders Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. Richardson. These music pioneers were among the first to introduce the world to the new sounds of Rock & Roll in the late 1950’s and were all on the path to success (and indeed had already achieved it) when their small plane crashed in a blizzard on a short flight from Mason City, IA to Fargo, ND. Valen’s death was especially tragic. 17 years old and only eight months into his career, he had already achieved fame with his hit song La Bamba.

It might have been better to choose one of Buddy Holly or Ritchie Valens songs, but I thought it would be more appropriate to showcase Rock & Roll’s most famous tribute to the day the music died. I am confident that you all have at  least heard Don McLean’s “American Pie,” even if you don’t have all the lyrics memorized (which along with Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” is the really the most important song to be able to sing along with when it comes on the radio – so get on that). However, if you haven’t had a chance to check out the rest of the album, I encourage it. The music is fairly low key, but the lyrics really are great and make it one of my favorite all time albums.

Don McLean – American Pie

Also, find a version that doesn’t have the horrible sound quality of a youtube video and listen to that too. Then tell us what you think of it.

Local Natives – Ceilings

The Local Natives

 

Today marks the official release of Hummingbird, the second album from Los Angeles based Local Natives. Local Natives came out with their album Gorilla Manor a few years back much to the joy of indie rock fans everywhere. They have been compared to bands like Arcade Fire and Fleet Foxes, but their new album definitely puts them closer to the former band than the latter. If I had to describe Hummingbird in one word, it would be messy, although I say that as a fan and in the best possible way. Their instrumentals are all over the place (think white noise) and they moved away from some of the crisper melodies (comparatively crisp that is) they showed in their earlier album. To be fair however, judging from the picture above, messy just might have been the goal and I can’t deny that it works well for them.

I’m going to say right out that the track I picked to share with you all here is not the most representative song on the album. It is cleaner and more put together, which is undoubtably why I was most drawn to it. But then as a whole this entire album shows more diversity than their debut album did so picking a “representative” song would have been difficult even had I chosen to attempt it.

Local Natives – Ceilings

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaXCPfqZRMY

As always, leave us a comment and let us know what your opinion of the Local Natives new album is.

The Joy Formidable – Wolf’s Law

The Joy Formidable

The Joy Formidable hails from Wales and is made up of three members:

Ritzy – Vocals / guitars
Rhydian – Bass
Matt – Drums

I really like to listen to an entire album from a band before I start to form an opinion of who and what they are, but I just began delving into this band today and will have more to share soon. That being said, I haven’t yet decided who I might compare them to, which could be a good sign since they seem to be unique without bordering on strange; which seems to be a tough balance these days.

The band released their latest album, Wolf’s Law, yesterday and I’d like to share the title track with you.

I take that back. You could call it the title track, but it’s actually a hidden track on the album. If you listen to the final track on the album, The Turnaround , you will discover the hidden track at the end. The song begins with simple, soft piano and vocals and builds into a pounding, stirring anthem. The music video complements the song very well with lots of striking images; much of which seem to represent birth, life and nature.

If you like what you hear, they will be playing at First Ave on April 3.

Secret Heart by Feist (Ron Sexsmith Cover)

Feist
Leslie Feist

I heard Feist’s cover of Ron Sexsmith’s Secret Heart while listening to The Current the other night (of course) and it was love at first listen. So much credit goes to Sexsmith for the composition of this tune, but Feist’s smooth, soft, melodic voice brings out aspects of the song that make it that much better. The little runs Feist does so well give the song a bluesy feel, but overall it feels like “easy listening” or “light rock”.

I could’ve sworn the version I heard the other night was more piano-driven and the stops were more emphasized than the recording below, but I could’ve imagined that.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QP1nnMyaQ5o

Nothing Else Matters by Lissie (Metallica Cover)

I’m guessing most Metallica fans wouldn’t like this cover, but I really like that Lissie draws from the softer pieces of this song but keeps some of the rock feel to it. Her guitarist does an amazing job and I love the harmonies on this. Obviously the credit for the lyrics and composition of the song go to James Hetfield, but nevertheless, I really like this version.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bFQvdrOW29w

So close no matter how far
Couldn’t be much more from the heart
Forever trust in who we are
And nothing else matters
Never opened myself this way
Life is ours, we live it our way
All these words I don’t just say
And nothing else matters
Trust I seek and I find in you
Every day for us something new
Open mind for a different view
And nothing else matters
Never cared for what they do
Never cared for what they know
But I know
Never cared for what they say
Never cared for games they play
Never cared for what they do
Never cared for what they know
And I know

Think That You Might Be Wrong by Great Lake Swimmers

I’ve been listening to Great Lake Swimmers here and there over the past few months but it wasn’t until this week that I fully delved into their music. I must say, Tony Dekker (Lead singer and songwriter) has been very prolific over the past decade. The band dabbles in a number of styles ranging from bluegrass to blues, but I would probably describe them as folk rock or alternative.

Their music does seem to maintain a melancholy theme throughout all these styles, and the song Think That You Might Be Wrong is no exception to this.

What time is it?
Would you tell me wolf?
Are you coming around here?
With your teeth so sharp
And I never gave you the best part of me
I just left you in charge for a little while

Must’ve been some
Must’ve been some great fury
That took you so far
Took you so far away

Think that you might be wrong
Think that you might
Think that you might be wrong
Think that you might be wrong
Think that you might
Think that you might be wrong

And look at you now
With your confidence
Riding around on a lion’s back
Mistaking shadow for a stranger’s love
Well, you’re larger than life
When the lighting is right