Friday, March 30, 2007


(image: Worth 1000)

The Voom Blooms - Politics & Cigarettes

A little flash-back to a recent yesteryear (I believe this was recorded in 2005?), which is still relevant today. Insistent, marching drums, interwoven dual-guitar riffs, and passionate vocals struggling to be heard, all leading to the mildly dramatic chorus: "you and I, we're coming home". All done with just a slight nod to Interpol.


I first heard this track on the sadly departed blog, The Man Who Stepped Into Yesterday.

Thursday, March 29, 2007


U2 Songs - Live, Covered, Remixed

Scala & Kolacny Brothers - With or Without You
Rogue Wave - Seconds
J-Lo vs. U2 - I'm Real A Little While (Mash-up)
RX - Sunday Bloody Sunday
The Edge - Sunday Bloody Sunday (live) (incorrectly labeled)
Benjamin Costello - Sunday Bloody Sunday

Today, Bono (lead singer of U2; real name: Paul Hewson) was awarded an honorary knighthood. Due to being Irish, he will not be able to use the title 'Sir', though he did suggest some alternatives: "Lord of lords, your demi-godness," he quipped. His new title, is in fact, Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) and he believes he will be able to put it to good use in the never-ending fight against world poverty - "An award like this actually really helps me get through a few doors I wouldn't get through", he remarked. Last year MTV named him the most influential pop star of the past 25 years. Ends.


I finally updated my blog-roll. It took ages. That will be all.


Montag - Sorry We Are Closed
M83 - Teen Angst (Montag Remix)

I'll confess: I know little about Montag. But what I have heard (the songs above and a variety of other things) is enough to get me interested. I love the Teen Angst remix - the first time I heard it my breath caught. Well, he has a new album, entitled Going Places, coming out on May 29th and a quick run-through of the contributors is enough to get the pulse racing. Here's the ones that excite me the most: Owen Pallett of Final Fantasy, Anthony Gonzalez of M83, Amy Millan of Stars, Au Revoir Simone. I will be awaiting the album with eagerness and anticipation. Will you? [Tracklist]


Au Revoir Simone

Sad Song

A little maracas from the bench beside the park. A few fingers tapping on the picnic table, just inches away from a couple of friends with their heads laid down. An effort to remain cheerful even though you can see the clouds taking shape overhead, the sky slowly darkening. You can see the lake through the trees. There's a sailboat on it doing it's daily trip back and forth. And there's people with trumpets in it! They're giggling and laughing, smiling at you. You try to return the gesture; to suppress the fear of loss. You remember that it's only when you have something beautiful that you are able to fear its loss. And you have that; so you smile back, and count yourself lucky. [Buy / Info]


Final Fantasy cover versions of songs by Mariah Carey, Bloc Party, Arcade Fire, Joanna Newsom, and more, are still available here.


The stunningly beautiful Lisa Lobsinger's profile rose, quite noticeably, when she started touring with indie-rock legends (nay, GENIUSES) Broken Social Scene. She became another member in their ever changing roster of female vocalists (Feist, Emily Haines, Amy Millan). She likes to sing barefoot. When she sang "Anthem For A Seventeen Year Old Girl" my eyes welled up with tears. When she moved, my eyes followed her. I had to force myself to stop staring, so I could concentrate on the other members of the band. Broken Social Scene at Mandela Hall, Belfast = best live gig I have ever attended? Damn right.

Reverie Sound Revue

An Anniversary Away (demo)

Anyway, she's also the lead singer in a little known band called Reverie Sound Revue who make dreamy ("Reverie" coming from the French word, "Rever", meaning "to dream") lullabies, full of soothing syllables, and easy going ambiance. I thought that after her Broken Social Scene recruitment they had broken up, but no... it appears they are now working on their debut album some five years after their formation. And above you'll see the first available track (a rough demo) from it. Pretty sweet, huh? It's a bit more eerie and ethereal than previous songs, and I like it. I am EXCITED. Although, I think it's also the thought of getting a physical disc with sleeve-notes featuring her beautiful face. And people call me shallow.

Reverie Sound Revue

Walking Around, Waiting Downtown
This City Belongs To Us
Rip The Universe
One Marathon
Passes and Passports

Enjoy catching up on what the band sound like, and learning what you should (maybe) expect from their forthcoming album (which as yet has no release date, and (I think) no record label).


Broken Social Scene

Anthem For A Seventeen Year Old Girl
It's All Gonna Break (live)

By the way, if you've never experienced Broken Social Scene live, you've never lived. If you haven't discovered their music yet, now is the time. Actually. One of my favourite bands, despite only finding out about them with the advent of mp3 blogs (and my subsequent discovery of said blogs), and the release of their FANTASTIC, yes, FANTASTIC, chaotic, beautiful, swirling, production-wise absolutely-spot-on, self-titled album. I really love this band. [Buy]

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


Damien Rice released his debut album, O, in Ireland in 2001. I doubt you knew about him then unless you were an Irish resident at the time. My brother was just getting over his first big break-up, and brought the album home from Dublin one weekend, and I was instantly won over. The songs meant a lot to him, mainly for the bitter, caustic lyrics which he could relate to: "God may forgive me, but I, I whip myself with scorn" / "Cheers darlin', here's to you and your lover-boy...", etc.

Time went on, Damien Rice released a radio-friendly version of the song "Cannonball", the public went mad (long-time fans got mad) for the good-kid-done-heart-broken shtick. And consequently, Damien Rice became a household name. It took him close to six years to finally release his second album 9, much to the dismay of his fans. Irish animated piss-takers Eyebrowy made a sketch wherein an excited Damien Rice talks with his secretary on the phone. The conversation topic? The possibility of once again re-releasing O, this time in America: "What's the title they're thinking of? 'Cannonball Plus Nine Other Songs'?! That's brilliant! Why didn't I think of that?! Yea, tell them to go ahead with it!" Slightly scathing, perhaps, but definitely not without a grain of truth. In between the release of the O and the eventual release of 9 came a plethora of singles, re-releases, and of course the B-Sides album (which is, in itself, fantastic).

Many fans rejoiced when 9 was finally released. Some just replied, "Damien Rice? Who's he again?" No matter. It's a quality album with some brilliant tracks; some critics say it surpasses O, but for me that's definitely not the case - perhaps due to my emotional connections with the album, or perhaps due to O actually being the stronger album. [Buy]

Damien Rice - Radio 3FM

9 Crimes (live on Radio 3FM)
Rootless Tree (live on Radio 3FM)

Anyway I thought it was time to share some Damien Rice with you all. You'll notice that the piano that characterised lead single, "9 Crimes", is absent - replaced by guitar. Lisa Hannigan's vocal contribution is fantastic, as always. Piano takes main-place on "Rootless Tree", softening a song that before was an angry mess of fucked-off vocals and reckless guitar playing - Damien Rice creates an emotional ballad out of a song that was originally titled "Fuck You"; impressive. [Buy]

Damien Rice - KCRW

Delicate (live on KCRW)
Volcano (live on KCRW)
The Blower's Daughter (live on KCRW)

Perhaps the greatest strength of O's construction was the plentiful use of strings to add drama and emotion; thus it's interesting to see how the songs fare without any tricks - songs rendered as songs; simply guitar and voice; a father telling a story to a child and then seeing how well "the story of O" holds up when not seen in a cinema with SFX-galore. And the songs, like good stories, fare very well indeed.

Damien Rice - Extras

I Remember (live on Letterman)
Creep (Radiohead cover live on Today FM)

"I Remember" was one of my favourite tracks off O, for various reasons: the lyrics, including the line "I remember December"; the way it starts like a ballad and then veers off-course into a chaotic emotional frenzy. If you compare and contrast Radiohead's acoustic version of "Creep" (to be heard on the My Iron Lung EP), to Damien Rice's, then the latter is thoroughly underwhelming. Still grand though.


Benjamin Costello

Volcano (Damien Rice cover)
Older Chests (Damien Rice cover)

Nothing to say about these other than: they're enjoyable covers. Benjamin Costello is currently working on recording his first album.


I'm going to tell you something now, that I obviously don't need to: There are a lot of pleasures in listening to music. Like, yea Frank, I know! One of them though, is when you get stuck on a single track off an album (for instance, on !!!'s newest LP it's "Must Be The Moon"). Slightly strange however, when you're stuck on Track One Side One, as they say. It's not that the CD player's broken, but your fingers are. It's an uncontrollable urge to sacrifice hearing any other song and contentedly settle on the first song instead.

(image: Euro Disco)

Sally Shapiro

I'll Be By Your Side

Well, that's how it is with Sally Shapiro's Disco Romance, anyway, (the track in question called "I'll Be By Your Side"). It's almost shameful how much I like it; it feels like a guilty pleasure. It's a throwback to eighties Euro-Disco, full of melodramatic flourishes and pretty vocals (with the occasional one awash in synths). I can't shake the feeling that I'm listening to an indie version of "Final Countdown" (yea, that one, by Europe). In the end though, I'm not too fussed. I'll stick to my guilty pleasure, my hairbrush hit (as Radio 1's detest-worthy Sarah Cox would say), 'cause my fingers move and all of a sudden it's on repeat; so what's a guy to do but give in?


Sally Shapiro's Disco Romance got a glowing review in Pitchfork. I don't know whether it was merited, because, as you know, you can't judge a book by its cover (incidentally, that's how I decide which books to consider buying), and you can't judge a CD by its first song (I have the CD is its glorious entirety, but I'm not feeling inclined to turn off "repeat" just yet). Pitchfork probably had a similar problem: "I'll Be By Your Side" came in at #27 on their Top 100 Tracks of 2006. [Buy]


I've never been one of the hardcore fanatics. I discovered The Moon & Antarctica (Modest Mouse) the same time I discovered Perfect From Now On (Built to Spill), Emergency & I (The Dismemberment Plan), Either/Or (Elliott Smith), Finally We Are No One (Múm), Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven (Godspeed You! Black Emperor!) and a couple of other gems. It was near Christmas and I'd just read a post on a message board listing a user's ten favourite albums. I respected his taste and so I went with it, straight onto Amazon, and about four weeks later straight into my CD player. The wonder of it all is that this was back (must be about six years ago now? I lived in a different house then!) in the time of Napster (which I rarely/never used) and dial-up. A time before blogs and the Hype Machine. A time when there were far fewer ways to sample an album. I bought all of those albums on good faith, and good faith alone - I knew nothing about, and had heard nothing by, any of the artists.

But wow. Yes, WOW. A word that succinctly indicates jaws-dropping; a short word suggestive of awe. Its use is just: a lot of those albums are gemstones, precious things I hold close to my heart. Albums I listen to either frequently or every now and then that still hold a magic sparkle. Albums that made me, very seriously, truly appreciate music for probably the first time ever.

However, as I said, I'm not a fanatic. I've always appreciated Modest Mouse, but at times they're too raw, or difficult, or inaccessible, and I don't have the patience. The Moon & Antarctica however, is a great album. But, in my opinion, so is their new one. As an avid fan of The Smiths, obviously I'm likely to be swayed by the inclusion of their guitarist, Johnny Marr. And he does lend a touch of accessibility.

Many bloggers/critics/etc either hate (yea, hate) or merely dislike We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank, some find it mediocre, but few like it. I am one of the few. I guess I've never really been ecstatically delighted by the Modest Mouse sound, and thus I have no problem with their slight diversion from it. Perhaps surprisingly, the album is likely to end up one of my favourites of the year. Therefore, you should get the album (no, but actually: do it) and see for yourself what all the fuss (positive-and-negative) is about. There are too many aspects to discuss here (the fragility of "Little Motel", the clear-cut pop-single "Dashboard", the constantly brilliant vocal-deliveries, the guitar-work of Marr, etc, etc).

Modest Mouse

3rd Planet (album version)
3rd Planet (live at KVRX)
3rd Planet (live)

One of the first times I ever listened to The Moon & Antarctica was in an ex-girlfriend's (the term is for clarity - in reality it's too cold; too dismissive of everything that's been & gone, everything that still is) house. It was the first time I ever stayed the night there. The first track on the album, "3rd Planet", is, in retrospect (I don't know if it was actually during this song, but that's how I remember it) the song that sound-tracked the first kiss since we had separated, and consequently the sound-track to the entire rekindling of the relationship. Unfortunately, that line that everyone remembers, "I've got this thing that I consider my only art of fucking people over" is applicable. Nevertheless, the song is magical, personal, beautiful. [Buy]

Modest Mouse

We've Got Everything

"We've Got Everything" should be played in house-parties, in kitchens of University Residences, in bedrooms of young lovers. It's an exclamation of joy, of delight; a proclamation of a fierce and burning love for life. Maybe it's sarcasm, a piss-take of people who do think they know and have everything. Maybe not. I like to think of it as a semi-serious (the chuckle at 1:09) celebration - but of what? - of EVERYTHING. Of life, love, knowledge, science, literature, the world. Fuck it, it's all out there and it's ours for the taking. Coming from a mature* Isaac Brock it just sounds like a reminder to University kids, youngsters, hipsters : you have the potential to be anything / everything! ; so do it: aspire to it and achieve it. And it makes perfect sense coming from an underground indie band done good. [Buy]

Some other music for you to get your fanatical teeth into:

Modest Mouse Covers

Josh Ritter - Blame It On The Tetons
Goldspot - Float On
Sun Kil Moon - Tiny Cities Made of Ashes

*Incidentally, the message on "3rd Planet" was the exact same: "My boss just quit the job, says he's going out to find blind spots, and he'll do it" [i.e. Do whatever the fuck you want. You might as well. You can. And once you realise that, the possibilities are endless].

Monday, March 26, 2007


Previously on Say Anything Syndrome: "Heartbeats is a great song, and by using the foundations of it, it's pretty hard to go wrong."


The Knife - Heartbeats (Leitworks Rework)[Info]

This cover concurs and reaffirms the previous statement. Leitworks keep it simple and turn Heartbeats into a slow-burning electro lullaby; if that wasn't what it was to begin with.


[Seven Versions of Heartbeats]


David E. Sugar

Just Like Heaven (The Cure cover)

I was predisposed to like this cover, (I've always liked the song), thus, I'm bound to fall for a restless electronic rendition with earnest, excited vocals. The sense of frantic motion, the urgency and immediacy. The desperation to run, run, run, and tell her, tell her, tell her, that you love her! The pauses between the vocals feel forced - caused by a pair of out-of-breath lungs, a need to think, or something else entirely; the sense of never wanting to stop, to stand still, not even for a second - always wanting to stay in motion. Like lovers in a park, prior to their picnic - walking, running, skipping, laughing, for hours.

Taking Back Sunday

Just Like Heaven (The Cure cover) (56kbps)

Maybe you dislike Taking Back Sunday, but this isn't a full-band playing. It's a guitar and a voice - the way the song feels like it should have been recorded - real, true, cough intact, vocal cracks remaining. A pillow-soft serenade, a kiss with sleep-soft lips - yet not as smooth as the metaphors suggest, still slightly coarse; dreaminess kept in check by reality.

The Cure

Just Like Heaven (.m4a)

So, bearing that in mind, maybe the original is too crowded? Maybe it should be stripped down, with all those drum beats, piano keys, and fiddly bits removed? Or maybe it's perfect?


Say hello to a weekly installment of covers, each and every Monday, until I run out.