Sunday, November 30, 2008

Oy Division!

Last night, I had this idea. I realized that I want to start a Klezmer-Rock Joy Division cover band called "Oy Division."

Almost immediately after announcing my intention, I was informed that it'd already been done. I briefly flirted with the idea of a street punk version called "Oi Division," but decided I wasn't as crazy about it. Now you may be asking yourself, "where is all of this coming from?" Well, it's pretty simple. Last night I went to BAM to see the aptly titled documentary Joy Division.

The film was fantastic, far better than my last trip to the movies to see
Zach and Miri. The editing and composition were fantastic but the best part of movie was the involvement of so many people who were integral to the band's history. The surviving members of the band all gave lengthy commentary, along with Ian Curtis's extra-marital girlfriend Annik Honoré, Factory Records founder Tony Wilson, graphic designer Peter Saville, and Buzzcock Pete Shelley. The included interviews focused less on what happened and more on how it happened, which made for an extremely compelling story. Near the film's end, however, it was mentioned that the story doesn't conclude with Curtis' death, going on to gloss over the band's transition into New Order. This was the only part of the film I could say I was disappointed with. It seemed odd that filmmaker Grant Gee would make a point of saying how it's important to note that the story doesn't end with Curtis' death, and subsequently end his story with Curtis' death. I've always been curious how a band like Joy Division could evolve into a band like New Order, and I'd hoped this documentary would shed some light on that.

That gripe aside, the film was alternately funny and poignant, and informative. It was playing as part of BAM's Thanksgiving film series, Punk 'n' Pie, which unfortunately is over as of tonight. The movie is available on DVD, however, so if you're even a little interested in some of the stories behind an important band, check it out.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Pears, Plums, Books, Peaches

Even though it was released almost three years ago, I just recently heard the Final Fantasy cover of Joanna Newsom's "Peach, Plum, Pear." It's one of my favorite Joanna Newsom tunes and I really enjoy the cover too. Pallet's strings offer a pleasant parallel to the sounds of Newsom's harp and his voice is well suited to the song's delicate vocals.

I've also been really getting into the books lately. Ive had their first album for quite some time, but it never garnered anything more than passing interest; something I wouldn't skip in shuffle, but probably wasn't seeking out otherwise. Last week though, a friend showed me a video from their 2007 dvd,
Playall. This is "Smells Like Content."

At first I was drawn in by how wonderful the video is, but immediately after watching, I wanted to hear the song again. Initially I heard similarities to Broken Social Scene's "I'm Still Your Fag" (another great video and fantastic song) but the more I listened, the more I could hear Paul Simon in the melodies and harmonies of the vocals. I don't offer these comparisons to detract from the duo's originality, but rather to trace the development of my appreciation for the song. Since then, I've been listening to Lost and Safe near constantly and while "Smells like Content" stands out as my favorite, it is a solid album of experimental balladry.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Colin Meloy Sings...

Colin Meloy released his third (or sort of fourth) Colin Meloy Sings... record this past April focusing on five jams by the late Sam Cooke. Since I've been listening to a lot of Sam Cooke lately, I decided to put the Colin Meloy versions into rotation.
It's possible that this owes more to Sam Cooke's merits than to Colin Meloy's faults, but I had a lot of trouble getting into Meloy's versions of the songs. It's not that they weren't well executed, they absolutely were. It's just that I would rather listen to the original version of every song on this EP, if given the chance. In my mind, good covers expand upon or deconstruct the original in some interesting way. Meloy did it excellently with the first EP in the series, Colin Meloy Sings Morrissey. His versions of "I Know Very Well How I Got My Name" and "Everyday is Like Sunday" are stripped down to a completely bare and vulnerable sound and it suits both songs beautifully.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

I'm a Mac, I'm a PC, and sweetie call me Toney Starks, Ghost if ya like ta

Some new Ghostface id making its way around the internet. The thing is, it's consistently linked within posts about Ghost's upcoming compilation album The Great Ghostdeini, yet it's never included within the tracklist. So where did this song come from? If I ever get an answer, I'll be sure to pass it along.

The song is definitely better than anything off of Big Doe Rehab. That being said though, the Zapp sample, while enjoyable, is hardly original. Ghost is strong on the track, but not particularly strong enough to make this one a classic. Is it worth downloading? Absolutely. Are you going to remember you downloaded it a couple months from now? Probably not.

Monday, November 10, 2008

New Blake Schwarzenbach Project

I went to a show last night at the Jerk house in Sunset Park and I got there kind of late, figuring that house shows never start on time. I was wrong about this one and ended up missing the first three bands. I did dance into people excitedly for a long set by Shellshag, but unfortunately that couldn't make up for the fact that I missed Blake Schwarzenbach's new band play a surprise set. I'm not sure what the band's called and since I didn't actually see the set, I can't really say much about the sound, but I heard from everyone that they were pretty awesome. Not terribly shocking.

This may not have been all that informative, but hopefully I'll start getting to shows on time and more Blake Schwarzenbach news will follow.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008