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Posts Tagged ‘the beatles’

50. Eagles of Death Metal – Anything ‘Cept The Truth

Palm Beach-based Eagles of Death Metal, despite what Axl Rose might say, have paid proper respect to the almighty desert rock groove. Sometimes light-headed, mindlessly rhythmic rock music is what the soul craves. This track from NHL 10’s soundtrack is just that.

49. Gypsy Soul – Wicked Game

I have felt guilty about liking Chris Isaac’s original version as much as I used to. California-based Celtic pop band Gypsy Soul, with their singer Cilette Swann coaxing the melody to travel to a far more ethereal place, makes me feel cool again.

48. Iggy Pop – King Of The Dogs

Iggy Pop has reinvented himself in a sensibly drunken way. The Godfather of Punk went eclectic jazz and lounge pop in his latest album Préliminaires, shining like a mad friggin diamond on this track. I can’t help but wonder if the meeting with Tom Waits in Jim Jarmusch’s Coffee and Cigarettes had something to do with this.

47. Aimee Mann – One Is The Loneliest Number

Not since Bjork’s All Is Full of Love has a woman’s voice had me feeling this giddy and diffident at once. You might have heard her during one of those wonderfully screwed up sequences in Paul Thomas Anderson’s Magnolia. I heart Aimee Mann.

46. Colin Meloy – Summertime

I have a very high regard for the music of The Decemberists; Colin Meloy’s their singer and songwriter, and a very fine one at that. A million artists have covered George Gershwin’s Summertime but a nay a musician in recent years has done it with such style and restrained grace.

45. KlaxonsNo Diggity

It’s scary how good Klaxons were in conducting this experiment in weirdness. Blackstreet & Dr Dre dare not complain; these London-based new wave poppers have done them proud, with an insanely catchy cover that has no business sounding as good as it does.

44. Mos Dub – Ms Vampire Booty

Max Tannone’s remix project lets Mos Def’s badass verbosity loose on the dancefloor with some funky reggae sampling to keep it company. The killer snares behind acapella vocals dare you to sit still.

43. Circa Survive – Spirit Of The Stairwell

Pennsylvania-based Circa Survive makes common music with uncommon talent. Their brand of lo-fi acoustic music isn’t going to win you over with originality, but the altruistically dreamy psychedelia of tracks like this one will whip your ears into soulful frenzy. Check out their 2010 album Blue Sky Noise.

42. Cold War Kids – Electioneering

This isn’t if for everyone, kiddies. Amongst all the tracks on the OKX album, Stereogum’s tribute to Radiohead’s 1997 masterpiece, the Cold War Kids’ cover is probably the boldest. The militant thumping of percussions, along with Nathan Willett’s dry-throated call for political compromises, takes me back to the first time I heard APC’s Counting Bodies Like Sheep.

41. Josh Homme & PJ Harvey – Powdered Wig Machine

Josh Homme’s decade-long pet project – Desert Sessions – has him collaborating with the coolest musicians from the vastly underrated Palm Desert Scene. PJ Harvey brings sultriness back with the ferocity of a she-wolf in heat, seducing, howling, “Come on, come to me”; very, very sexy.

40. The Constellations – A Perfect Day

I get misty-eyed whenever heavy slabs of soul are injected into the veins of straight-up rock music. Little Richard spawned it. The Beatles stole it. The Rolling Stones lost it. Coldplay and Maroon 5 almost screwed it all up. Now The Constellations have resurrected it on their Southern Gothic album. If only their songwriting improved, they’d be a force to reckon with.

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Don’t hold More Than Words against Extreme. No…honestly, they don’t play pop rock. Listen to their masterpiece of a concept album – III Sides To Every Story – and fill that void that stems from the fact that The Alan Parsons Project never got pissed off during the Seventies.

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the_dissociativesLately, Silverchair has apparently gone insane for our pleasure. Diorama and Young Modern hardly rock, and roll even less; instead they mesmerize with erstwhile nods to Porcupine Tree and Nineties’ indie rock. Lead singer Daniel Johns has done one better. Along with the Sydney-based disco punks The Presets, he has formed the terribly addictive indie-pop-rock-trip-whatnot hoppers The Dissociatives.

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The Black CrowesSouthern Harmony And Musical Companion made them immensely popular on the radio. Their next album Amorica made the radio drink cheap whiskey and cause havoc. Singer Chris Robinson’s inner devil kicked the shit out his inner preacher and gave his brother’s guitar a reason to swagger without a care in this world. One of the finest collection of southern-fried rock gems, if you ask me. Cursed Diamond shines the brightest.

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john_lennonStop making fun of The Beatles. They sound preposterously good when John Lennon and George Harrison snarl and gnarl their precious hearts out. Mr Mean Mustard and Glass Onion really should have acquitted them of the sugar-stained sins perpetuated by that McCartney fellow.

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I don’t recommend any Indian rock band because my dad was nice to me during those post-college years. He gave me enough spending money and a nice bike to boot. I say this because it seems impossible to like Indian rock/metal without harboring any irrational ill will towards one’s parents, peers, pet dogs and gasp society. Most of what I have heard so far has been rather juvenile in progression and almost diabetic in its loathsome admiration for Iron Maiden and Metallica. However this is not the harsh truth; it is merely a harsh opinion. I don’t get out much and I don’t remember when I last attended an Indian rock concert. It also doesn’t help that I hate Iron Maiden. I will tell you that I once had much love for four local bands – Acquired Funk Syndrome, Killer Tomatoes, Menwhopause and Bombay Black.

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The Rolling Stones’ Gimme Shelter pales in comparison to Merry Clayton’s blues-tinged version. In other news, Merry Clayton friggin rules. Listen to When The World Turns Blue or I Got Life and have your soul swept under the carpet. She has also sung backup for Ray Charles, Neil Young, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Who and Tori Amos.

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The passionate intensity with which The Dave Matthews Band have crafted the latest  Big Whiskey And The Groogrux King album can sadly be attributed to the loss of one of their fallen band members/friends – saxophonist LeRoi Moore. Once again the connection between the listener and the musician is consecrated by common denominators – sadness and anger. When Dave Matthews screams, “Baby when I get home, I wanna believe in Jesus” on the blistering Time Bomb, even the nihilist in me shakes his head and says, “Yeah man, me too.”

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In life, there are quite a few certainties in life. For instance, it is always ironic. And you can bet your ass that you will learn more from your first day at the job that you would have from three years of college. Art too has certainties without which it will probably be better off, but that’s a story for another day. When it comes to films, you can be sure of a lot of things. For example, About Schmidt will remain the finest testament to Jack Nicholson’s talent and Charlie Kaufman is the best scriptwriter in Hollywood bar none. It would also be safe to assume that Wolf Creek is the best Australian outback film ever made.

With the sheer enormity of its content, it might be a bit foolhardy to make the same assumptions about music. But there are a few undeniable cases. For instance, there is no denying that Nina Simone had the loveliest voice that side of the Atlantic. Or how Beach Boys made some of the most melodious pop music that ever was. Also I believe that Bob Dylan’s “Masters Of War” will reign supreme as the greatest chetatkinstommyemmanuel-thedayfingeprotest song ever written.

Last week, another such certainty crawled up to my ears. I heard what I think is the best Beatles’ cover of all time.

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Tommy Emmanuel & Jake Shimabukuro – While My Guitar Gently Weeps

Tommy Emmanuel – an Australian guitarist known for his intricate fingerpicking style and Jake Shimabukuro – a Japanese American ‘madcap’ ukulele player with his roots in freestyle jazz – performed this version of George Harrison’s classic at some random concert in Sydney.

The Beatles crafted harmonies that were ridiculously simple and just as effective. I’d prefer The Rolling Stones to the Fab Four any day of the week, but still I can’t help but have a ton of respect for their dedication to create pitch-perfect melodies.jakeshimabukuro_11

Through the ages, musicians have covered them to hell and back. Right from Joe Cockers blistering version of “With A Little Help From My Friends” and Aretha Franklin’s awesome rendition of “Eleanor Rigby” to a really weird cover of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” by William Shatner and Siouxsie Sioux’s gothic take on “Dear Prudence”, diversity has been the keyword when it comes to Beatles’ covers.

Emmanuel & Shimabukuro’s instrumental cover of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps” is stunning with its simplicity. If Jimi Hendrix got brainwashed Don Felder and drank Absinthe through a ukulele, he might approve of this. And that can never be a bad thing.

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