Thursday, November 24, 2011

Seasonal Music Roundup: A Thanksgiving Playlist

I really cut the work out for myself with this playlist, not because there are no songs about food, but because:
  • I tried to make the list out of serious songs.
  • I wanted representations of multiple food groups.
  • I avoided songs that were too blatantly not about food (i.e. "Pulling Mussels from the Shell" by Squeeze).
  • I waited until the last minute to start the playlist.
Believe it or not, when you sit down to think about songs that have to do with food, it's pretty hard. As such, I apologize for the concentration on fruits and sweet foods.

Without further ado, here is a list of food/eating related songs to get you in the mood for Thanksgiving (explanations after the image):

 

"Hungry Like the Wolf" by Duran Duran
This song represents one in a very small handful of Duran Duran songs that I like. I chose it to kick off this playlist because it was one of the best "hunger" songs I could think of.

"The Sound of Settling" by Death Cab For Cutie
Even though this has more to do with Ben Gibbard's apparent inability to communicate feelings, he does say he's pretty hungry.

"Dinner For Two" by Deerhoof
I don't want to hear any complaints about Deerhoof. Portabello in exploding candle light. I understand.

"Pork and Beans" by Weezer
I never thought Deerhoof would fade into Weezer as well as they did. Rivers Cuomo is going to eat his candy with the pork and beans. 

"Raw Meat" by Black Lips
This song was added as an after-thought when I realized I had almost no main course songs. At least it mentions food fairly exclusively.

"Green Onions" by Booker T. & The M.G.'s
One of the most popular instrumental rock songs of all time! I don't even have to worry about the lyrics conflicting with the playlist.

"Eat the Music" by Kate Bush
Fruits galore are mentioned as Kate Bush prepares to "Eat the Music." This video was part of Bush's production of "The Red Shoes," which I must have watched a hundred times as a kid (as well as doing my own version of it). Song starts at 0:16:


"Pineapple Head" by Crowded House
Another song about fruit. I don't have much to say about it, apart from that Crowded House can be really amazing.
 
"Coconut" by Harry Nilsson
This song is probably the only Harry Nilsson song most people know by Harry Nilsson. It's a classic.

"Banana Man" by Tally Hall
Continuing the tropical fruits theme, we have Tally Hall's "Banana Man." A part of me thinks Tally Hall may regret this song by now, but I still like it.

"Apples, Peaches, Bananas and Pears" by The Monkees
This is very much a mid-late 60s pop song. At least it does sing of foods.

"Vanilla Sky" by Paul McCartney
This song from the movie of the same title was nominated for an Academy Award. It actually fits the theme better than most of the other songs.

"Apple Pie Bed" by Lawrence Arabia
If you're up for a very beautiful, but creepily sexual video, I recommend this one. Obviously, Apple Pie has very little to do with it.


"I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch)" by The Four Tops
This is such a classic song. It's not really about food, but there are vague mentions.

"A Taste of Honey" by The Beatles
While this isn't one of the best Beatles songs, it still shows what they could do prior to their prime.

"Lips Like Sugar" by Echo and the Bunnymen
This was actually one of the first songs I thought of for this playlist. I hope he doesn't eat his girlfriend's lips though. That would be horrific.

"I Want Candy" by Bow Wow Wow
How great are Bow Wow Wow? This is a cover of a 60s song, yet they totally make it sound relevant to the 80s.

"Savoy Truffle" by The Beatles
George Harrison's song to ween Eric Clapton off of sweets. One of the few songs in this playlist that's actually about food.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Concert Review: Robert Schwartzman in Columbus, Ohio

Sometimes, the way I run things around here is a bit unfair. For example, Robert Schwartzman was not the headliner for this concert, yet he's the one I'm primarily going to review. There is a reason for this though: I don't feel that I can give a fair review of someone whose material I am unfamiliar with. Concerts are much more enjoyable for me when I know the songs being performed and it's not fair to take that sort of thing out on the other acts. So excuse me, if you will, as I review an opening act primarily.

Robert Schwartzman and his band.

Robert Schwartzman and his band took the stage at just after 8. The girls to my left greeted him with a giddy chorus of "we love you Robert!," to which he replied in falsetto, "thank you!" The band opened up with "Out of My Mind," a great opener, but something I would have expected to come a little later had they been the main act. From there, they moved through the remainder of the first four songs off of the album in order. Everything sounded great, all the notes in place. Even "Someone 2 Love," which was probably my least favorite song from the album, sounded great live. The keyboardist, whose name never seemed to be brought up, was amazing. It wasn't just her ability to pound the keys either, she seemed to have an incredible presence on-stage. After "You Don't Have to Lie," they moved into "Funny Money." At the close of "Funny Money," someone in the audience yelled something about moving on to Ocean Grove, jolting a polite reaction from Schwartzman, followed by a much faster "Love Is All Around." "Just a Dream Away," which was one of my favorite tracks, came off wonderfully. I somehow thought it would have been difficult to pull off live, but they managed. The band closed their set with "Innermission" and "I Know Why," and the drummer, keyboardist and bassist left the stage, leaving Schwartzman on alone to perform an acoustic rendition of the Rooney song "When Did Your Heart Go Missing?" before leaving the stage. It sounded really great, and made the fans of Rooney in the audience quite happy. Personally, I would have been content without it, but I appreciated it anyway, along with the fact that he cared to think what his fans would want to hear.

Because the other acts weren't ones I was familiar with, I joined the rest of the Schwartzman fans in heading for the merch table at this point. I exercised my usual inability to pick from two cool designs by purchasing both of the shirts he had out. Just as I'd slung them both over my shoulder, someone rested a hand on my shoulder the way my brother will often do. As I turned around to say something, assuming it was my brother, I found myself face-to-face with Robert Schwartzman. I got my CD signed and he thanked me for coming and gave me a hug. I did my best to thank him for his music, but Ocean Grove had already taken the stage and I'm not sure my quiet voice got through.

From here, I joined my brother in the seats at the edge of the room and watched Ocean Grove perform. Ocean Grove went on second, despite the fact that they were billed as the headliner. They were very loud, but fun and enjoyable. I hadn't realized until he announced it, that lead singer of Ocean Grove, John Lloyd Taylor, is the same man from JR & Jr, a side-project with Robert Schwartzman. He called Schwartzman to the stage and they performed "Emily" from the JR & Jr ep.

Ocean Grove joined by Robert Schwartzman. Photo by Gareth Sedam

Ocean Grove finished their set and Voxhaul Broadcast took to the stage. I still wasn't familiar with any of their material, but Voxhaul Broadcast had a strange kind of energy and rhythm that attracted me back near the stage. Their instrumental parts were very cool. When Voxhaul Broadcast closed the show, the evening felt as though it had been ended prematurely somehow. I wandered out to my truck still feeling a little like there was another act yet to come (there wasn't).

Sunday, November 13, 2011

I've Got This Covered: George Harrison's "Thirty Three & 1/3"

Whilst taking my truck in to be worked on yesterday, I was listening to the free CD that came with this month's Mojo. Mojo have a reputation for arranging cover CDs of complete albums. This particular one was just a series of artists covering George Harrison songs, but it gave me an idea for a new series of articles on here. What if some of my (or your) favorite modern artists came together to create a complete "covered" album? What if a series of dead artists managed to travel through time to cover a modern album? I started with my initial idea- Owl City does "Dear One"- and went from there. I'm a big fan of cover versions, they have a tendency to be interesting if not beautiful. So, this is my dream covered version of George Harrison's Thirty Three & 1/3.

1) Woman Don't You Cry For Me -Speak
Everything from the funky bass and 70s drums to the lyrics is perfectly suited for Speak. I can just imagine Speak adding their energy to it to create a great cover version.

2) Dear One - Owl City
As I mentioned before, this was the first cover version that I thought of. Not only could Harrison's ghostly instrumentals be effectively covered, but I think Adam Young is one of the few modern pop artists who could sing about god with as much sincerity as Harrison.

3) Beautiful Girl - Alex Winston
I had trouble picking an artist for this one until I thought of Alex Winston, and then it was the easiest thing in the world. I haven't quite visualized the instrumentals yet, but I feel I can actually hear Alex Winston's beautiful warbley voice flowing its way through this song. Not familiar with Alex Winston? Hear "Sister Wife" below.

4) This Song - Ben Folds
Who can handle both the keyboard-intensiveness of this song and the doubtless humor? My money's on Ben Folds. Folds could be just as angry and amusing as Harrison himself.

5) See Yourself -fun.
I feel that this song is a great fit for Nate Ruess's voice. Lyrically, I hear it as more of a Format song than a fun. song, but I can hear Andrew Dost pounding out the keyboard parts too.

6) It's What You Value -The Mountain Goats
Maybe I'm the only one who thinks John Darnielle really likes to sing about cars, but I still think it. That's not the only reason I think he should cover this song, it's just a bonus. I also think the phrasing is perfect for a Mountain Goats cover. I'm sure they'd make it folkier, but I'd love to hear their take on it.

7) True Love - Miniature Tigers
Technically, this would be a cover of a cover, but it wouldn't be Thirty Three & 1/3 without "True Love." I know Miniature Tigers could handle this because I've heard their cover of Ray Noble's "The Very Thought of You" amongst other things.

8) Pure Smokey - Paloma Faith
This song needs a very soulful voice, one you can believe is thankful for Smokey Robinson. Paloma Faith's vocals would give this song a wonderful sound.

9) Crackerbox Palace - Coconut Records
Something about the method of story telling in this song seems great for Coconut Records. Jason Schwartzman also adds just enough whimsy to his songs to be able to do this one.

10) Learning How To Love You - Bat For Lashes
This would obviously be a much more ethereal version of "Learning How To Love You," but I can hear Natasha Khan singing this song.



That's how I think it should go down. Questions? Better ideas? Drop me a comment. Or if you're a major magazine that has magical powers over artists, feel free to make this happen.


If you're a fellow fan of George Harrison, feel free to join me in re-listening to all of his albums next week. Follow Emotionsleaking on twitter for more updates.