Mark Ronson, is the highly acclaimed English DJ, producer (Amy Winehouse, Lily Allen, Kaiser Chiefs) and musician whose 2008 album, Version, garnered numerous British awards. He has just released his third album, Record Collection, billed as Mark Ronson & the Business Intl. While we’re absorbing this new offering, he has recorded a live version of Arcade Fire’s “We Used To Wait” which is available as a free download and is the Song of the Day.
“We Used to Wait” by Mark Ronson and the Business Intl.
Old mates, Alien Sex Fiend, have been producing gothic, horror-induced industrial rock since the early 80’s. Mr. and Mrs. Fiend are the duo that is Alien Sex Fiend, and they continue to push the boundaries of their genre without falling into cliché. Alien Sex Fiend live shows are legendary and Death Trip is their latest album. Here is a taste. Something to scare the little kiddies when they come to the door.
“Land of the Living Dead”
Lykke Li is a compelling Swedish singer who has one album and a number of EPs under her name, and has performed with the likes of Röykscopp, Kings of Leon, Drake, Kanye West and Amanda Blank. Her new song “Get Some” has an irresistible “I Want Candy”/Bo Diddley backbeat combined with overt sexual lyrical imagery. She is giving the single away for free here as well as the B-side “Paris Blue”. Dance to this Song of the Day.
Deerhoof is a wildly experimental band out of San Francisco that has been making beautiful noise since 1994. Their sound and personnel have changed over time and are currently a four-piece, although Satomi Matsuzaki, John Dieterich, and Greg Saunier have been the mainstays of the group. Their 10th studio album Deerhoof vs. Evil is not due until later January, 2011, but we do have one song from the forthcoming record. “The Merry Barracks” is the Song of the Day.
“The Merry Barracks” by Deerhoof
TV Girl is a new band from San Diego that cleverly samples Todd Rundgren’s timeless hit “Hello It’s Me” and turns it into a song of lost love and forlorn drunken sex. The TV Girl EP is a free download and “If You Want It” is the Song of the Day.
“If You Want It” by TV Girl
As we have discussed here in the past, Brooklyn has become the new Seattle, the new Athens, the new Orange County, the new Montreal—an area of the world where musicians are releasing music of import. Although dissimilar in sound and style, there are simply too many bands from Brooklyn influencing the current state of alternative music not to acknowledge this geographical incubator.
Frankie Rose is Brooklyn-based and a former member of both Vivian Girls and Crystal Stilts. Her current band is Frankie Rose & the Outs and has recently released an album under the same title. Last year Frankie released the song “Thee Only One” as a solo project. This wonderful rave-up is a free download is the Song of the Day.
“Thee Only One” by Frankie Rose & the Outs
Ari Up was only 14 years old when she formed the Slits in 1976. Embracing the DIY attitude of punk rock, the band charted unknown territory for women rockers, and along with the Runaways paved the way for all-female (or primarily-female) rock bands. The Slits featured three women with Ari Up as the lead singer. Not your typical girl, Ari Up grew up in a household with Johnny Rotten as her step-father and received guitar lessons from Joe Strummer. In 1981 she disbanded the Slits and moved with her family to the jungles of Indonesia and Belize and eventually settled in Jamaica.
The Slits debut album Cut, released in 1979, is an obscure punk classic. The album cover featured the women wearing nothing but loincloths and mud. “Typical Girls” was the single from the album and the 12 inch included a marvelous version of “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”. From the original vinyl, both can be heard here. Ari Up lives through her music.
“I Heard It Through the Grapevine”
It has become increasing popular for various companies to associate themselves with music in the alternative world, particularly apparel retailers; i.e. Converse, Levi’s and Doc Martens to name a few, the latter which we featured the other day. These corporations support new artists and offer free music downloads. Urban Outfitters proffers five free songs every Monday and also offers free playlist downloads from iTunes. Currently a number of artists that we have presented here in the past–Arcade Fire, Best Coast, Deerhunter, Neon Indian, Ra Ra Riot, Magic Kids, of Montreal, Les Savy Fav, and !!!–are free until the end of the year (24 in all). Click here to download. Yeasayer, the experimental rock band from Brooklyn, is part of this compilation with the song “Madder Red” which is the Song of the Day.
“Madder Red” by Yeasayer
Shades of Robert Palmer and the 80’s videos, only Bryan Ferry could pull this off yet remain his classy and elegant self. And having dined with Bryan in the past I can attest that he is all that and more as well as a most enjoyable dinner companion–charming, witty and self-effacing “You Can Dance” is the first song from next week’s release of his new album Olympia. Contributing musicians on the album include Pink Floyd‘s David Gilmour, Radiohead‘s Jonny Greenwood, Nile Rodgers from Chic, former Stone Roses bassist Mani and Flea from Red Hot Chili Peppers, plus the Scissor Sisters and Groove Armada. Also, an almost reunited Roxy Music (Brian Eno, Phil Manzanera, and Andy Mackay) perform the Tim Buckley song “Song of the Siren” inspired by This Mortal Coil. As we await the album, “You Can Dance” is the Song of the Day.
Doc Martens, the boot forever associated with punk rock, has turned 50 years old. In celebration the company has commissioned 10 artists to cover one of their favorite songs as well as 10 directors to create videos for each of the tracks. Included are The Raveonettes performing the Stone Roses song “I Wanna Be Adored”, “If the Kids are United” by Sham 69 from The Duke Spirit, The Cinematic Orchestra covering “Lilac Tree” inspired by Jeff Buckley, and a version of “Dirty Old Town” known to most of us by the Pogues and recorded here by Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. All ten are available here as a free download from Dr. Martens. Here is the Buzzcocks’ “Ever Fallen in Love with Someone You Shouldn’t’ve” interpreted by the Noisettes.
William Orbit produced Blur and Madonna, remixed Sting, Peter Gabriel and Prince, recorded as a member of the group Torch Song and has just released his eleventh solo album, Pieces in a Modern Style, Vol. 2. This is a follow-up to his 2000 Pieces in a Modern Style, where he reworked classical compositions. From the new album hear a rhythmic version of Johann Sebastian Bach’s “Prelude” followed by “Adagio for Strings” by Samuel Barber from the earlier album. This latter song was also remixed for the dance floor and became an international hit, but this is the original Orbit album version which is devastatingly beautiful and one of the saddest songs ever recorded.
“Adagio for Strings”
Reminiscent of The Runaways but younger, Care Bears on Fire formed in 2005 when they were in the 5th grade! Connected to teen and pre-teen kid-core scene, these are not the adolescents of High School Musical. This trio out of Brooklyn (Sophie, vocals/guitar 15, Izzy-drums, 15 and Jena-bass, 16),has released two previous albums and their second EP, Girls Like It Loud, came out this week. A refreshing change from the sugar-coated Disney fodder, “What I Could Be” is the Song of the Day.
“What I Could Be” by Care Bears On Fire
Swanlights is the fourth studio album from Antony & the Johnsons. Another former Mercury Music Prize winner, Antony has one of the most distinctive voices in all of music. His plaintive operatic timbre is instantly recognizable with a melancholy forlorn that is painfully alone but evocatively engaging. “The Spirit Was Gone” is a free download from the album and is the Song of the Day.
(The video can be seen in the YouTube tab in the upper right. Antony pays tribute to Kazuo Ohno, a pioneer of butoh, a Japanese dance form.)
“The Spirit Was Gone” by Antony & the Johnsons
Former Mercury Music Prize winner, singer/songwriter Badly Drawn Boy, has just released It’s What I’m Thinking Pt.1 – Photographing Snowflakes, his seventh studio album. On his website he is offering a free download of a four song EP – demos of some of the songs on the new album. Here is “In Safe Hands”, one such demo, where you can hear a raw stripped version of what eventually became a beautifully produced song.
“In Safe Hands (Demo)” by Badly Drawn Boy
The soundtrack to the film It’s Kind of a Funny Story features a new song from the Canadian music collective Broken Social Scene. And it also includes classical pianist Maxence Cyrin’s brilliant cover of the Pixies’ “Where is My Mind”. Listen to the new Broken Social Scene “Not at My Best” below and view Cyrin’s video of “Where is My Mind”. This video is not from It’s Kind of a Funny Story. Rather it is from the 1928 film The Mysterious Lady starring Greta Garbo.
“Not At My Best” by Broken Social Scene