Cover of the Day: Letters to Cleo ‘I want you to want me’

This is the original:

There are different ways that we measure how time goes by and one of those is things in pop cultural history that remind you of where you were when it happened. The fact that Heath Ledger died five years ago is a little reminder of how quickly the years go and how weird it is that people that we’ve never met can still leave us sad because we’ll never again get to experience their art.

Ten Things I Hate About You will always be one of my all time favourite movies of all time – not just because it was the first time we found ourselves unable to resist the curly haired Australian – but also because it had like, the greatest, most fun soundtrack ever. I always want to like Letters to Cleo outside of the movie – but truth is, their rendition of Cheap Tricks’  1977 original ‘I want you to want me’ (and other songs they perform for the movie) is just so kind of, sing-along- girl perfect and forever associated with ‘the shrew’, Julia Stiles, that they will always be the Ten Things band. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing to be associated with because they took an old song and gave it new listeners (like me, who found out way too recently about the Cheap Trick version) and showed just how universally timeless it is to want someone to want you.

So here’s to nostalgia and good covers and here’s to Heath Ledger who definitely went too soon.

Here’s Letters to Cleo:

Song of the Day: Javelin – Nnormal

Just be prepared because your mind may be blown a little. When the song first comes on (after you get past some eerie beeping) you definitely hear hip-hop and you definitely feel something in your nerves that makes them twitch in a dance-y fashion.  But this song goes just beyond that and takes you into some other type of galaxy , much like Flying Lotus does with completely otherworldy sounds that simultaneously don’t fit but do make sense in this universe. It’s something like future sounds, spacey handclaps and autotune voices that make you see stars and colours. There is a middle section – a bridge if you will – that is an utterly spectacular strip down that leaves you jamming to the sounds of a shaker and a single beat.

Javelin is a set of cousins making DIY electric music with layers of technology and ordinary sounds out of Brooklyn, New York and has been since around 2005. Their entire second album, called Hi Beams, is out on March 5 and available for preview on the Luaka Bop record page, which is a trip of its own with the 90’s neon jukebox flashing colours and, like a Google doodle, there’s stuff you can click on to make music.

But for now here’s “Nnormal” — and seriously, be prepared for four minutes of an ear-shaking ride because this track is anything but.

New Track: Cold War Kids -Miracle Mile

In all honesty, I have to say that I am still unsure of the direction that the Cold War Kids’ music seems to be headed in – the sound that started in their previous album, Mine Is Yours, and seems to be developing further in their new single “Miracle Mile”. The reason why I loved them in the first place – what I think made songs like “We Used to Vacation” as popular as they were and still are – was the real narratives behind them. The incredibly sad stories about life that are delivered in a matter-of-fact kind of way with sounds that are unusual and jarring and banging and clanging. Pianos and falling tambourines and guitar and drum riffs that were a little unlike anything we’d heard before.

But that is not to say that elements of new Cold War Kids don’t have something as infectious in them because I know I went through one of those phases where I could literally, exclusively listen to only one song – “Audience”, a track on a 2009 EP called Behave Yourself  that  came out before Mine Is Yours (which also had an addictive crack song for me called “Skip the Charades”). “Miracle Mile” kind of picks up where this left off – still taking advantage of lead singer, Nathan Willett’s full, soaring watery vocals and the liquidy piano. There are the melodies that make you want to sing a long and the percussion that makes your head bob. But there’s also not much that separates Cold War Kids from other hideously underrated bands with great, great music who have to take what they’re good at and force it into a sellable record box.

If this sounds a little harsh it’s only because I am genuinely a fan of Cold War Kids and that something endearing they have that will always make me give them a listen. But maybe I’m also craving more of that something special that made me an addict in the first place.

 

Two New Songs and One Old One

Happy New year and all that – in the spirit of resolutions and kind of being in charge of my destiny AND doing what I love, I’ve decided to make real all the ideas that I’ve had for Dear Music, I love you that float around in my head when I listen to tunes.

The first idea is Two New Songs and One Old One because the beauty (and kind of scary overwhelming thing) about music is that there is just so much of it – but of course every now and then you get stuck with a new song or two that no matter how much you try, you can’t really listen to anything else. Your guilty pleasure repeat offenders.

And then there’s one old one because another thing that’s beautiful about music is that it can take you back to whatever that song means to you in time and also, there’s always new old songs to discover.

So here they are: Two New Songs and One Old One.

 

The first new song is by FIDLAR , a Los Angeles band  who on this track, “AWWWKAARRRDD” (featuring Kare Nash — whatever happened to her?), manage to sound like Weezer; a mature, not vulgar Bloodhound Gang and Gisli, with the story-adding background noises (if you’ve never heard How About That, I highly recommend it). It’s also pretty universal as a self – deprecating punk song – “I’ll probably end up fucking up and make it super awkward”  is something more than enough of us have to admit happens often. Life is super awkward.

New song number 2 is a little ditty by Dead Times called Feel. The band is also from L.A and the song seems to be popular enough on the web as the band announced on their Facebook page that they had reached the capacity of downloads on Soundcloud (1000) and had to give a new URL for downloads. Dead Times describes themselves as alternative RnB and I guess now that I think about it, you could call Passion Pit alternative RnB too, and there are unavoidable similarities in both the bands that have the elements of RnB and alternative.

The chorus is the most convincing part with the synths as the deal-maker when you wonder whether it’s worth listening to this song again. It’s a blend of old and new – plain piano amid layers of handclaps and raindrop like unnamable percussion. And as a new year song, it’s just good old-fashioned fun to dance to.

The oldie is kind of a newbie for me as iTunes shuffled to this track on Speakerboxx/The Love Below Disc 2. I figured this Outkast collaboration with Norah Jones was appropriate for this year as Big Boi is beginning his with a new album full of great songs and even better collaborations. For Norah Jones 2012 must have been bittersweet – in the beginning she released an oft-repeated album Little Broken Heartsand at the end of it, she lost her father, sitarist Ravi Shankar. So as this first post of the year winds down with a soulful acoustic jam, imagine me in my deep, smooth radio voice telling all you lovers venturing into another one to be brave and just take off your cool.