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Coverage: The Dresden Dolls, “Pretty in Pink”

June 17, 2008

Guest blogger Scott says: This comes from a CD of 80s movie theme covers by various artists. Some of the other tracks are nice, but this is the only one that I really feel sounds like the artist tried to make it their own. And I had seriously never listened to the words of the […]

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Coverage: Sarah Harmer and the Weakerthans, “Islands in the Stream”

June 5, 2008

Sarah Harmer and the Weakerthans do the Bee Gees by way of Dolly Parton and Kenny Rogers. What’s not to like? MP3: Sarah Harmer and the Weakerthans – Islands in the Stream

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Coverage: Emm Gryner, “For What Reason”

May 22, 2008

Guest blogger Scott says: I’d call Emm Gryner the Canadian Tori Amos, except that Amos’s covers almost universally terrify me. Sure, it’s nice to have her there so you can actually understand the lyrics to “Smells Like Teen Spirit” for a change, but her affectless approach to Eminem’s “’97 Bonnie and Clyde” or The Boomtown […]

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Coverage: Vampire Weekend, “Exit Music (for a Film)”

May 8, 2008

Guest blogger Scott says: Yet another example of “literate, geeky bands with overeducated lead singers.” Vampire Weekend isn’t the sort of sound I normally like, but any band that writes a song that starts off “Who gives a fuck about the Oxford comma?” is okay in my book. I have an idea for a project […]

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Coverage: I Hate Kate, “Major Tom”

May 1, 2008

Guest blogger Scott says: There are so many things that ought to be wrong with this song. Peter Schilling wrote a conspicuously 80s new wave song that wasn’t so much a cover as an, I don’t know, elaborate retelling of David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”. In the U.S., at least, he was a one-hit wonder with […]

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Coverage: Self, “Ana Ng”

April 22, 2008

Guest blogger Scott says: I have it on good authority from my other purveyor of indie rock opinions that Self is “made of industrial-grade awesome”. This being their only song I’ve heard, I can’t really offer insight into that conclusion, except to say that, were that so, you’d think I’d have an easier time finding […]

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Coverage: The National, “Mansion on the Hill”

April 12, 2008

My friend Scott, who is an aficionado of cover songs, was kind enough to make me a mix CD, including a set of amusing and insightful annotations. I prevailed upon him to be a de facto z=z guest blogger and he graciously agreed; I’ll be posting some of the songs, together with his notes, over […]

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Coverage: Liz Enthusiasm and Gordon Merrick, “Space Age Love Song”

April 4, 2008

This is from an album of covers recorded by Liz Enthusiasm (of Freezepop) and her best friend Gordon Merrick, titled – a little transparently – Best Friends Forever. I’m glad I’m not the only person who thinks that A Flock of Seagulls should be remembered for more than a haircut. Download Best Friends Forever here. […]

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Coverage: The Mountain Goats, “The Sign”

March 18, 2008

Well, I totally failed to post anything about either of the Mountain Goats shows I went to last week, so here’s a taste of what John Darnielle is like in concert – this is their cover of Ace of Base’s 1993 hit, “The Sign“. A quick YouTube search reveals that The Mountain Goats have played […]

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Coverage: The Main Drag, “All My Friends”

March 8, 2008

I should add to my previous post that The Main Drag endeared themselves to me forever when they chose to cover LCD Soundsystem’s “All My Friends” for Coke Machine Glow (I kind of like that song). Their version loses the staccato piano and swaps out James Murphy’s world-weary but assertive voice for the straight-up emotion […]

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Coverage: Stars, ‘This Charming Man’

February 26, 2008

One of the recurring themes in Daniel J. Levitin’s book, This Is Your Brain on Music, is the the centrality of expectations, both fulfilled and violated, in our experience of music. We have expectations at the level of individual phrases (whether chords are resolved or not, say), at the level of the song structure, the […]

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Sat Aug 29th: One Night Band, Middle East [Down!]

August 28, 2009

One Night Band. Saturday, August 29th, 8 pm at the Middle East Up Down! Go. A few weeks ago, I wrote about the new bio of Sonic Youth and I commented that one of the striking things about them was how embedded they were in their community, the 1980s New York art-music scene. And Cory […]

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Watch: Passion Pit, “Sleepyhead”

May 6, 2009

I have a deep weakness for stop-motion animation, and this unofficial video for Cambridge, MA’s Passion Pit far surpasses the original.

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Upcoming: Condo Fucks play WMBR benefit

April 28, 2009

In celebration of Jon Bernhardt’s quarter-century of DJing, he’s convinced the artists that he’s played the most to do a pair of benefit shows. Bernhardt holds down the Friday morning slot at WMBR, one of my three favourite radio stations. Condo Fucks (a permutation of Yo La Tengo, his second-most-played artist), The Bevis Frond (most-played […]

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It’s rumbling time!

April 5, 2009

If you’re in Boston, this is a great week to check out lots of great live music, as it’s the 31st Annual WBCN Rock’n’Roll Rumble, a battle-of-the-bands style competition in which four acts do short sets each night. In typical Boston underdog fashion, there’s said to be a curse on the winners and the losers […]

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Anonymous: “The X-Factory”

March 20, 2009

Okay, these guys get full bonus points for intrigue (not to mention snark). An excerpt from the e-mail I received today, from one Quentin Coward (all links are mine): This year, as for several years, “The X-Factor” and its coven of related “reality” shows such as “American Idol” have been a subject of much debate, […]

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Threesome: Fuck

February 20, 2009

[image: Kayfabe Design] A side effect of the rise of digital distribution on the Internet and the concomitant decrease in the influence of traditional media appears to be the rise of bands with ‘fuck’ in their names. Fucked Up, the Toronto-based punk band, got a head start (not surprisingly, given the genre) with their founding […]

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The Bloodsugars at All-Asia on Feb 7

February 5, 2009

Brooklyn-based The Bloodsugars are doing a show at the All-Asia in Cambridge on Saturday night (February 7). Man, there’s all these great East Coast bands that aren’t making it out to the West Coast. If you’re on the right side of the country, go check out The Bloodsugars  sweet indie pop. While they are presumably […]

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Emerging models for new music: Illius Rock

January 26, 2009

We’ve spent a bunch of time here at z=z discussing different models for the future of music. Here’s an interesting one. Boston-based Illius Rock runs ‘campaigns’ for artists. Emerging artists ask their fans to make contributions, typically for studio expenses, to shoot videos, touring and the like. In exchange, fans get treats, like exclusive songs, […]

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Read: The Pitchfork 500

January 22, 2009

The Pitchfork 500, subtitled “Our Guide to the Greatest Songs from Punk to the Present,” is an excellent example of the upstart music criticism website using its powers for good, not for evil. Covering the period from 1977 to 2006 (with a few late-breaking tracks from 2007 snuck in, including z=z fave “All My Friends“), […]