|Various Artists / Sing Me To Sleep: Indie Lullabies|
|Add Date:||2010-07-11|| ||Pull Date:||2010-09-12|| |
|Week Ending:||29 Aug||15 Aug||8 Aug||1 Aug||25 Jul||18 Jul|
[ Okay okay, so maybe I expected too much from a record called “Sing Me To Sleep” -- I’m in the mood for razor’s edge indie, and these are meant to be, well, kid-friendly lullabies. Let’s put it this way: There’s that secret handshake subset of us (not to expose my age here) who got into The Smiths via one song, and that one song via a slim lime green novel that got passed around in the alcoves behind the high school auditorium where kids used to cut class and smoke. I still remember who gave it to me (I was a book hoarder even then and kept it rather than passing it), and how it wrecked my (ab)use of the word “incidentally”, like, forever after. It is too much to ask to have this record mirror that year, and the music that defined it? Like, I want indie somewhere between innocence and longing, with a heavy dose of listlessness mixed in. Certain tracks accomplish this balance beautifully -- and surprise surprise, the best ones here are by the indie brand names you trust: Telekinesis!, Papercuts, and Say Hi. ]|
THE REVIEW: Classic rock and pop and kid songs covered by indie bands, compiled “for a good cause”. I know, watch out. Lots of gratuitous ambiance and fuzz. Lots of piano and acoustic guitar. All the vocals sort of sound the same -- soft and sweet -- but that’s to be expected. This is indie rock that’s a parody of itself, and all the more apparent because the originals here aren’t indie by any stretch.
The runaway single (which manages to single-handedly evoke all the feelings associated with that goddamn bible of a book) is the fuzzed out cover of “Boys Of Summer” by the Papercuts (you will remember them fondly as last summer’s chart toppers) -- it helps that the original is one of the greatest (and saddest) classic rock songs ever written. Is it summer or is it summer? Play the shit out of this track.
try: 19!, 18, 8, 2, 12, 6
1. note-for-note cover of a great song by a great band, yet still oddly lacking -- probably because it misses the, uh, ‘offing self’ tone of the original. strummed effectsy acoustic, crystal femme vocals. solid, but uninspired.
*2. oh yeah, red house painters. straight strummed acoustic. simple, nostalgic, pretty. sounds like regina spektor.
3. cutesy music-box/scratch-vinyl carousel waltz tune (cue: bells, triangle, singing in a round) that scorns the rich elite. for some reason i have visions of bret ellis listening to this on a european speed train.
4. it’s... a cutting room floor casualty from the guys and dolls soundtrack! super 50s, super theatrical. could score one of those old synchronised swimming movies.
5. willy wonka woo. overbearing violin and trademark bells under spoken intro. strong male vocals -- very close to the original, the only differences: some random feedback chatter, unsettling time changes and pauses between phrases.
*6. an unexpectedly eerie/pretty beatles cover. too-cute chipmunk femme vocals over drone down-strum guitar and dragging piano. like getting serenaded by the bride of chucky. somehow, it works.
7. starts & ends with vinyl popping. old hawaii guitar. super slacker hammock crooner. it’s... the miss piggy song, afterall. yeah, i gots me der 3D glasses. whatcha gonna do?
*8. ELO! melancholy strummed guitar. achy echoey vocals & light tambourine. it’s “walking”, not “fucking”, i swear.
9. slowish. sky-high femme vocals, very wood-vibe sounding strings, gobs of fuzz.
10. mid-slow and pretty. picked acoustic and mandolin, female vox. big level-breaking bridge.
11. slowww. piano and brushed drums. jazzy female vox.
*12. folk banjo & deep drums, miles-across-the-prairie vibe, airy roses-esque male vocals. i do happen to really love the original.
13. pedal piano waltz & plink bells. female lead vocals and harmonies. sounds like a dollhouse ballet. or, you know, a christmas carol.
14. it’s... the kermit the frog song. very stripped down to start. single fingerpicked acoustic and upfront chick vocals, some soft-chord piano throughout. comes off a lot like “somewhere out there”.
15. mid-slow. heavy pedal piano, doubled chick vocals and thick harmonies. loads of sustain.
16. who the fuck covers “you are my sunshine”?! i can’t deal with this. technically male-fronted dreampop, but... arrgghhh.
17. dinner par-tay moosic. jew harp bells & whistle business that likely fell of the fantasia train. are those... bassoons?
*18. soft recording. clear rapid/soft bass/guitar, lone snare, piercing low oft-spoken vocals. say hi’s delivery, as usual, is haunting and deliberate. explodes just a little bit in the last minute.
*19. airy, shimmery, primal hollow bass-driven fuzz cover of the don henley classic. at times the vocals crack the ceiling on this thing, which haunts the hell out of it. the fastest track on the record. funny, i suddenly remember why i couldn’t get the last papercuts single out of my head.
20. fuzzy, warbly, echoey, piano/vibey. interesting instrumental take.
21. yeaaah, it’s the sound of music song. scratch soul female vox. lots of gently pulsing ambience and muted horn.