I haven't posted anything recently because I haven't felt that excited about anything I've heard. I like the new Arcade Fire album, Neon Bible, a lot, but so much has been written about the band and the album, both online and in the mainstream press, that there hasn't been much to say. (Although I found it interesting that Win Butler went to Exeter, the prep school I attended, for better and worse, in the '60's. Exeter was where I was first exposed to a lot of great music, everything from the Seeds to John Mayall to Jimi Hendrix. It was also where I first played in a band - the Psychosomatic E Train, a Mothers of Invention rip off that featured the New England Prep heavyweight wrestling champion playing stand up bass as if it was a Fender, and also featured Benmont Tench, later a member of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, on keyboards.)
The only other comment I would make about Neon Bible concerns the Prefab Sprout references on "No Cars Go." Horns, strings and harmonies are all strongly reminiscent of Jordan: the Comeback, Prefab Sprout's 1990 double album. I've never been that enthusiastic about Prefab Sprout. (I've always associated them with late '80's, early 90's English bands like Deacon Blue, Blue Nile and Everything but the Girl, that I've actually liked a lot more.) But this is the second musical reference I've noticed in the past month, so I'm starting to pay more attention.
Prefab Sprout - Carnival 2000
Other things I've heard recently that I felt like playing more than once: a cover of Love's "Message to a Pretty" by an English band called the Duke Spirit. I have never heard a Love cover I didn't feel was worthy of posting. Love rules, and I applaud any band that seeks to carry that message. This one reminds me of Mazzy Star's cover of "Five String Serenade."
The Duke Spirit - A Message to a Pretty
Click here to purchase Duke Spirit's ep "Covered in Love."
There is band from Wales that I've been enjoying a lot, called Los Campesinos! They sound like a cross between Arctic Monkeys and Camera Obscura. Very hyper verses and very sweet boy-girl harmonies in the chorus.
Los Campesinos! - We Throw Parties, You Throw Knives
Los Campesinos! website: www.loscampesinos.com/
The Grammies were lame, what else is new. I'm glad the Dixie Chicks won a bunch of awards, even though I think Taking the Long Way Home is their weakest album. But in honor of all those trophies, I'm posting a version of Townes Van Zandt's "Snowing on Raton," sung by Pat Green, a country singer/songwriter very popular in Texas and unknown everywhere else, and Natalie Maines, the Chicks' lead singer.
Pat Green and Natalie Maines - Snowing on Raton
Also on the Grammies telecast, Mary J. Blige sang a song I hadn't heard in a long time, Barbara Ellison's "Stay with Me, Baby." The first version of that song I ever heard, back in the late 60's, was by Terry Reid, the English singer who was supposedly offered the job of singing lead in Led Zeppelin, but turned it down to pursue his solo career. Good thinking.
Terry Reid - Stay With Me, Baby