Band: Walk the Moon
Label: RCA Records
Genre: Indie Rock
Sounds like: The Talking Heads, The Killers, and Ra Ra Riot, with a hint of Vampire Weekend and Dirty Projectors
They hail from: Cincinnati, Ohio
What to expect: You will be kept on your toes as the sound shifts from synth rock to catchy pop. The hormonally charged lyrics send you straight back to those lusty days of high school crushes, as do the occasional yelps of falsetto. It’s fresh, it’s youthful, and it’s fun.
Fun Fact: “Anna Sun”, Esquire’s 2011 song of the summer was named after lead singer, Petricca’s professor, Anna Xiao Dong Sun.
Standout Tracks: Anna Sun, Quesadilla, I Want! I Want! and William Blake, the sped up chipmunk version of I Want!, I Want!. Some things just sound better chipmunked.
”My eyes are on the road/ But my mind is on your body.”
Twitter is sweeping the nation! Some love it. Some hate it. Some just don’t get it. But the truth is every one seems to be talking about it. Me myself, I am an avid twitter follower and updater. I love the constant connection with friends and famous “friends” and the fact that you can be tuned in to their musings at all times. I find enjoyment in each tweet, no matter how random. Actually, the more random the better! Here is a list of some of my favorite “famous” twitters for your consideration. Enjoy!
Rob Thomas (@ThisIsRobThomas) has been filling up my twitter page these days. Through his random musings, I feel as if I am intimately acquainted with the Matchbox 20 front-man. From the political (commenting on the Sonia Sotomeyor justice nomination) to the mundane (spending time with his wife, Mari) to the “rock star” (getting interviewed and photographed by Rolling Stone), Thomas covers the spectrum. Even if you don’t like Matchbox 20, you have to appreciate his ability to stay personable to all 48,000 of his followers.
Michael Ian Black (@michaelianblack) is one of my favorite parts of the “I Love The…” series. In his twitter, he tweets about his family, mostly. But each entry is funnier than the last one. HIs self deprecation-filled brand of humor is what makes him so enjoyable, as well as such movies as “Wet Hot American Summer” and involvement with “The State.” For example, who can’t not laugh at this sample tweet: “Khakis are to cool pants what math students are to cool people.” It is a daily dose of the M.I.B. we have all come to love.
Jon Cheese (@JonCheese) is an unknown name to most, but to me he is the most beloved member of Limbeck. Most of his recent tweets have been regarding several nights out on the town that ended up with hangovers and complaining. One night he updated 4 times in a 20 minute period, all with the same message: something along the lines of “i’m a drunk idiot.” Who can’t relate to that? In addition to booze-fueled entries, he also talks about missing the road, riding the greyhound bus with all “the crazies” and his addiction to “I’m On A Boat.” Don’t you just want to be his real-life friend? Because I most definitely do!
John Mayer (@JohnCMayer) is a constant updater. If you think he is a pretentious and overindulged asshole, like some people do, do not subscribe to his twitter. His twitter is really just another manifestation of how into himself he is (by my count, it is in a good way of course). He talks about the Titanic, song-writing, current events and family (several entries include the @carlmayer tag). He is incredibly random. There is almost no filter. It is great – just great fun.
Ezra Koening (@arzE), from Vampire Weekend, runs a twitter that is sparse but has the potential for daily witticisms. Like this May 29th tweet: “faux-accent Friday! today I’m from New Hampshire.” He is as New York-centric as any Ivy League New Yorker, as displayed in this May 21st entry: “At my cousin dan’s graduation from St. Jude’s. Can’t stand the UES. so much pretension and backstabbing.” Funny. Keep it coming, Ezra.
Other Notable Twitters:
Colin Meloy, of The Decemberists: @ColinMeloy
John Roderick, of The Long Winters: @JohnRoderick
Jim Gaffigan: @JimGaffigan
Ingrid Michaelson: @IngridMusic
Justin Timberlake: @JTimberlake
Matt Pond PA: @mattpondpa
Dr. Tobias Funke: @DrTobiasFunke
On a related note, I was extremely disappointed by the twitter of Real Housewife of NYC Bethenny Frankel (@Bethenny). I expected it to be filled with musings in line with the persona she presented through the two seasons of RHWONYC. But instead, she just updates you on the going-ons in her life, from to her book signings to upcoming magazine interviews. Booooring Bethenny, real boring.
This just in: Wes Miles, the frontman of Ra Ra Riot and Rostam Batmanglij, keyboardist of Vampire Weekend, have combined forces for an awesome side project. It is like Ra Ra Weekend or Vampire Riot, as Jenna put it. There is not much of a description for the new band but a collaboration between these two musicians from two great bands is definitely a notable one.
The two songs posted on their Myspace, “Orange Shirt” and “Osaka Loop Line,” are just a taste of what it is to come from Discovery. The tracks are infused with electronica. Wes’s signature vocal style stands out. The lyrics are generational and self-aware, like “Every text that I get from you is so so serious” from “Orange Shirt.” Overall, the charm of both bands are ever present throughout the songs. The album will be out in the early summer, according to a post on their Myspace page.
The art of the cover song is a delicate subject. Many people believe it is impossible to achieve a perfect rendition of a song already recorded by another artist. Others believe that a band’s ability (and chutzpah) to play a classic song is the true test of their strength as a group.
I have a love/hate relationship with cover songs. In many cases, I believe the cover song is one of the best parts of a band’s live set (ie. The Decemberists/Death Cab for Cutie/Stars performing Fleetwood Mac’s “You Can Go Your Own Way” to close the Central Park Summerstage show in 2005). In some other cases, I find the cover song an overdone and unnecessary practice (especially if it is cliche ::cough cough Every Indie Act Covering “Womanizer”).
In order to make a cover song work, as far as I am concerned, the artist has to inject their own style into the song instead of just playing the song exactly as it originally appeared. The artist has to believe in the original as well as taking steps towards exercising some artistic license.
Here is a list of some notable cover songs (with corresponding mp3s)…
- Matt Pond PA covering Neutral Milk Hotel’s “In The Aeroplane Over the Sea” mp3
Recently I have realized that Neutral Milk Hotel’s songs are very often covered by my favorite artists. (Jesse Lacey of Brand New, for one, has been known to cover “Two Headed Boy” in his solo show set list). The song, “Aeroplane,” is one of my favorite songs off the album by the same name. This cover is a beautiful acoustic piece sort of close to the original version. From listening to so much Matt Pond PA recently, it is a fair assumption that MPPA is heavily influenced by Neutral Milk. But injecting violins into the melody, he adds a sense of softness and romanticism to the song. It is what MPPA does best.
- Bats for Lashes covering Kings of Leon’s”Use Somebody” mp3
Recently posted on Stereogum, this cover features many of the things that I love about cover songs. First off, it is a female vocalist singing a song originally recorded (and performed) by a male-fronted band. Secondly, the tempo is slowed down slightly. Thirdly, one or more instruments are added (an organ and a tambourine). Although I don’t listen to much Bat for Lashes (and am a casual KOL fan), this cover is a great example of a cover where the song is softened up successfully.
- Stars covering The Smiths’ “This Charming Man” mp3
What? A Smiths cover? Someone attempted to cover the Smiths! That is preposterous! No. I am just kidding (even though many think – Morrissey included – The Smiths are one of those untouchable bands). Stars fuses the melody with electronica sounds. The whispering vocals of Torqui Campbell accompanied with the ever-so-charming (haha) Amy Milan is a new spin on Morrissey’s signature style found in this song. Yes, it is possible to appropriately cover The Smiths. Stars have done it. Death Cab for Cutie too (in a version of the same song – download here).
- Peter Gabriel and Hot Chip covering Vampire Weekend’s “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” mp3
When I originally heard that this cover existed, I thought it would be one of those cover songs that came off silly. I mean, a 59-year-old famous English musician who is name-dropped in an indie song covering said indie song as a duet with an electronica-dance-pop band? However it is one of the greatest things I’ve heard in a while. He covers the song with a bit of humor and even inserts, “But this feels so unnatural to sing your own name” at the part where one would expect to hear “But this feels so unnatural, Peter Gabriel too.”
- She and Him covering The Beatles’ “I Should Have Known Better” mp3
When a female vocalist covers a song written from the point of view of a man, it is expected that any “her” pronouns will be turned into “him.” In this case, “girl” is replaced with “guy.” This version has a country twang and slow finger-picking tone, unlike the original (which is only slightly twangy due to the harmonicas). The tone is casual yet dreamy. In addition, it is one of the few times on “Volume One” where M. Ward actually takes a verse (in this case, the chorus). There is even a bit where Zooey lets out a giggle. Too cute Zooey, too cute.
Coming soon: Top 10 Bruce Springsteen cover songs…
A few weeks ago, I befriended an awesome Norwegian girl named Celine, while we were being photographed for a top-secret project. It will surely reshape the hair salon industry as we know it, but I can’t tell you anything about it because I signed one of those non-disclosure agreements. Too bad! Since our fated meeting, Celine has been nice enough to visit me in TriBeCa during my lunch break and of course, I dragged Allie along with me! Over smoothies, salads, and sandwiches, an idea was born. Word of the week! Celine’s English is exceptional and she has an adorable accent to boot, but Allie and I decided to teach her a few of our favorite words to spice it up a bit.
We were brainstorming about what new words we could pepper into Celine’s already impeccable vocabulary. I looked down at my new Gunmetal tweed kicks, an incredible thrift store find, and it dawned on me. The word of the week is “dapper”.
Etymology: Middle English dapyr, from Middle Dutch dapper quick, strong; akin to Old High German tapfar heavy, Old Church Slavic debelu thick
Date: 15th century
1a : neat and trim in appearance
2 : alert and lively in movement and manners
dashing, spruce, modish, jaunty, natty.
Used in a sentence: Ezra Koenig was looking very dapper in a button down shirt and an argyle sweater vest.
Used in a song: “I’m no high society man/ No suit and tie, no Dapper Dan” – from the song Caveman, by Cursive mp3
Dapper website: Check out my pal, Lily’s Etsy, Supper Club. With neckties like these, you’ll be looking dapper in no time.
Examples of some of our favorite dapper fellows:
*Special thanks to Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary, Dictonary.com, Theimproper.com, and Caymansgirl.blogspot.com for the images and definitions used in this post.
No. 93 in an ongoing series of Les Concerts A Emporter or ‘Take Away Shows,’ this Bon Iver performance is one of my favorites. Produced by La Blogothèque, brainchild of Chryde and French indie filmmaker Vincent Moon, the artistically filmed live performances take music out of the concert halls and into the streets, literally. Bands play acoustic and/or acapella sets walking down the street, in parks, bars, apartments and even elevators!
The groups, with guitars strapped to their backs, portable percussion (maraca’s, a single drum) and vertically carried keyboards travel through quaint city backdrops and everyday soundscapes (birds, rushing traffic, surprised screaming fans a la The Kooks video) like bands of roving troubadours. In an I’m From Barcelona video, lead singer Emanuel Lundgren leads an unprompted ever-growing pedestrian chorus that follows behind him, like a pied piper of indie rock.
On Parisian boulevards lined with trees and in the interiors of architecturally aesthetic buildings an honest, clean sound is captured in continuous, single-takes, through a lens that makes the images appear to have been sepia-toned and then filled in with water colors. The minimalistic performances paired with facial close-ups, lends an authentic experience to online viewers, granting intimate access to your favorite bands. The only audience is the omniscient camera, or occasionally impromptu crowds of curious locals drawn in (as are we), by the music.
Started in Paris in April 2006, the project has now spread globally and involves other directors in addition to Moon, who shoot bands in locations around the world such as Jerusalem, Montreal and Austin, TX. Lykke Li, The National, Cold War Kids, Fleet Foxes, Bloc Party, Beirut, Margot and The Nuclear So & So’s, The Shins, Andrew Bird and many others have performed for the web outfit. For a full listing of bands and videos go here.
Other Favorite Performances (in no particular order):
- Bon Iver- For Emma
- Arcade Fire- Neon Bible
Squeezed into an elevator, the 8-piece outfit still manages to churn out a heartfelt rendition of “Neon Bible,” off their album of the same title. The jigsaw puzzle of guitars, violins, brass instruments and bodies are fitted together in a claustrophobically tight space, making for an intimate performance venue. Band members bang on the ceiling and rip magazines, while bowing violins swell in a tide of emotion, producing a sound that the small space cannot contain. Or if that doesn’t do it for you, the sheer fact that the whole band with instruments fit in that elevator is a feat in itself!
- Vampire Weekend- The Kids Don’t Stand A Chance/Oxford Comma
The camera encircles the foursome in a gated courtyard/parking lot as they play acoustic guitars, a keyboard laid down on the concrete, and use dumpsters as a drum set. Surrounded on two-sides by the windows of high-walled apartment buildings, Ezra Koenig’s squeaky voice echoes and amplifies around the courtyard. Something about the open space and stripped down rendition of “The Kids Don’t Stand A Chance” with big drum sounds and a simple guitar riff just works. Then almost like an afterthought the video cuts to the band walking single file down the street playing a minimalistic guitars/vocals/maracas version of “Oxford Comma.” The band’s sparse song stylings echo Moon’s single takes and shaky panning shots, the marriage of which is a match made in heaven . . . or maybe Cape Cod by way of Paris.
- Fleet Foxes- Sun Giant/Blue Ridge Mountains
You don’t need to do much to make Fleet Foxes look and sound good. With their beautiful, ethereal harmonies and signature Pacific Northwestern flannel outfitting, the group was one of the best to break out 2008. What makes this video great is that Moon in fact doesn’t do much, using subtle filming techniques such as an enhanced dark/light color contrast, and strategically picked locations to compliment the band’s sound and image. A slowed, acapella version of the “Sun Giant” on a park lawn brings to the foreground the naturalistic imagery abundant in the lyrics, and the epic “Blue Ridge Mountains” is performed in a deserted, high-ceilinged area of the Grand Palais, an old palace that fills and echoes with their brazen saccharine voices.