Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tegan & Sara Covered Bad Religion: Not Gonna Lie, I Liked It

Everyone knows I'm a big Tegan & Sara fan. But do not be fooled, that does not mean I love everything they do. I was excited when I found out there was new material from the band to be heard. Excitement quickly morphed into fear when I learned that that new material was a Bad Religion cover.

Tegan and Sara are not new to covering tracks by rock icons, however, to this point rendering these songs in Tegan and Sara form seemed to have happened effortlessly. But, Bad Religion? Tegan and Sara doing Bad Religion-does not compute. My first thought/fear was "Oh no, they're going to suck the life out of this song". I mean for as punk/indie as Tegan's material can sometimes get she's never gone this far into this sound. If Sara was taking reign on the production then I expected an odd interpretation with random riffs and keyboards. I was probably sweating by time I pressed play.

Once I did hit play I was immediately pleased with what I heard. I heard lyrics. For what felt like the hundredth time when hearing a Tegan and Sara track my attention was pulled directly to the words being sung instead of how they were being sung. With punk rock music or any fast, high energy genre I listen to I find myself sucked into the vibe or the pace of the song. When this happens I forget to pay attention to the message. And the message Bad Religion is trying to get across here is painful and relevant and I'm glad Tegan and Sara recreated this song in such a way that the lyrics were what stood out above everything else.

Some might say my initial thought was correct, that they sucked the energy from the very aggressive, "Suffer", I disagree. Yes, Sara stripped it WAY down but she took what was left and turned it into a deeply moving, intense track. The track was already like this but this version is slow and lined with that signature Tegan and Sara heartbreak fans have come to love.

What we end up with is a powerful Bad Religion track translated by a once two-piece band that have become accustomed to using sad lyrics and acoustic guitars as emotional daggers-doing just that with this nearly-naked cover.

This cover is born of the new Tegan & Sara format; Finger picking, Vocal collaboration, Con keys, Sainthood synth and Sara's less quirky more sultry lead vocals.

Tegan and Sara covered Bad Religion and I liked it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Quick Discussion: Vanity Theft

Damn, I love blogging this week!

Vanity Theft is an indie-pop (this is what I hear, labeling is never my thing...listen for yourself) band out of Ohio. They're currently signed to Adamant Records. I just wanted to give a little introduction to my few faithful readers cause this band has really been impressing me lately.

I'll admit I initially checked them out because of their connection to Sick of Sarah, whom you all know by now. Given they're label-mates of that band I was hoping I would like their material. I did. So far I'm liking the new material even more. I loved bobbing my head to "Where's The Action?" but more than that I'm loving the chorus on "Anatomy". The bass is smooth and prominent, the drums are upbeat and the vocals just flow. You have to sing along, it's an irresistible combination.

That smooth bass is delivered by new band member, Lalaine Vergara-Paras. YES, she's who you think she is, moving on.

One thing that still holds my attention is Vanity Theft's snappy lyrics. Every song has me hearing a hallelujah chorus of "BURN!" in my head. This was true with Postscript: Pace Yourself and still is with new tracks from The Anatomy EP.

Speaking of snappy lyrics and that new EP, here's a new video/song from it called "Limb From Limb". The song is catchy but not sickeningly so. It's cool. It's a fist air-pump kind of catchy, not a sway catchy. What's the difference? If you have to ask, clearly you need to go to more concerts. Alicia's voice is sensual, she sounds angry on this song. It's a bit darker than the first single, "Anatomy". Darker is better my friend, always.

And again, Lalaine, with the bass! Seriously, my main complaint is always "Where's the bass?", "I can't hear the bass"- NOT an issue here folks, not at all!

Impressive track. And Shane Nelson proves yet again he knows how to make a good video with simple concepts.

It's likely this track will never get the attention it deserves. The indie scene is as competitive as ever, and there's lots of stuff getting thrown at us these days. But don't let the gems pass you by homies.


Monday, September 20, 2010

Use Your Imagination: Dream Cover Record

Let's pretend we live in a world where I get what I want all the time.

Got it?

Good, now one of the things I want is my very on cover compilation record. NO not people covering all my songs (oh hey Steel Train), I have none, but artists I love covering songs I love by other artists I love. I tweet about this all the time. I can't help it. I can't help that I fall in love with a song and often wonder what it would sound like interpreted by another artist whose ideas I usually like.

This would be the 16tk-tracklist of said imaginary cover compilation record. This is only put together in my mind by artists I've been listening to lately which is why the same names appear all over the place. I could do this every few months with dozens of bands really. But let's focus:

Covered by: Tegan & Sara

Covered by: Holly Miranda

Covered by: Fences

Covered by: Steel Train

Covered by: Against Me!

Covered by: First Aid Kit

Covered by: The Gaslight Anthem

Covered by: An Horse

Covered by: Sleater-Kinney

Covered by: Paramore (Hayley's voice here...think about it)

Covered by: Kaki King

Covered by: Dallas Green (tell me that that's not epic)

Covered by: Sara Bareilles

Covered by: St. Vincent (oh she would make it so much cooler!)

Covered by: Metric (perhaps my best idea yet)

Covered by: Lucas Silveira (so determined to get Lucas to cover Dallas)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Jim Ward: Gear Stolen

On Friday, August 27th, Jim Ward's (Sparta, At The Drive-In) trailer was stolen. The trailer contained loads of expensive and rare gear. He has sent a list of all things stolen that was in the trailer to fans signed up to his mailing list. Below is the information from that email:

Hello friends, friends of friends, friends of friends of friends....

Our trailer was stolen early Saturday, August 27th, from a parking lot next to the Marriott in downtown San Antonio, TX. We lost a substantial amount of gear, some of which is pretty unique, so we area keeping our fingers crossed it'll show up somewhere, someday... can you please pass this email along to anyone you know who tours or buys gear, especially if they live around central Texas. The pawnshops should get the list from the police report, but every little bit helps-
if you see this stuff out there please email or call our studio
Clap of Thunder

thanks everyone, be safe out there
Jim Ward

-1961 Pelham Blue Les Paul Junior (SG Shape) w/ case stenciled SPARTA
-Blonde Fender Esquire black stripe across body, hotel key screwed into body w/ case stenciled SLEEPERCAR
-2008 White Gibson Firebird w/ case
-2001 Les Paul Wine Red Flame Top w/ case stenciled Sparta
-Fender Stratocaster Sunburst w/ case
-Epiphone Sheraton Blonde w/ case
-Squire P-Bass Brown w/ case
-Carter Pedal Steel Single Neck E9 w/ case
-Takamine EF360SC Acoustic in case stenciled SWIFT
-Kawai 88 key electric piano w/ case
-Roland Juno D Synth w/ case
-Fender Twin Amp 100w w/ case stenciled Sparta
-Ampeg SVT III in rack
-Fender Deville 4x10 w/ case
-Vox AC-30 in case stenciled SLEEPERCAR
-Vox 2x12 Extension cabinet in case stenciled SLEEPERCAR
-Acoustic Bass Cabinet 1x15
-Marshall 2000 2x12 Cabinet
-Electro Harmonix Swtich Blade A/B Switcher
- 4 Boss TU-2 Pedal Tuners
-Electro Harmonix LPB-1
-Ibanez Tube Screamer Keeley Mod
-Ibanez Tube Screamer
-Ibanez analog delay
-Klon Overdrive
-Boss DM-3 Analog Delay
-Boss DD5 Digital Delay
-Electro Harmonix Holy Grail Reverb
- 2 Ernie Ball Volume Pedals
- 2 Voodoo Labs Pedal Power 2s
-Rogue Volume Pedal
-Morely A/B Switcher
-Furman Surge Protector
-Sennheiser E840 Vocal mic
-Shure Beat 58 mic
-Ludwig "Butcher Block" drum set
16x22" Bass
16x16" Floor Tom
10x12" Rack Tom
-Ludwig "std Acrolite" Snare drum 5.5x14"
-Ludwig "Red Sparkle" Snare drum 5.5x14"

-Zlidjian 22" K light ride
-Zildjian 21" Sweet ride
-Zildjian 18" K medium Crash
-Zidjian 15" Vintage Hats, no markings but have Zidjian stamp on them

-DW serires 9000 cymbal stand x3
-DW series 9000 snare stand x2
-Tama "Iron Cobra" High Hat Stand (strap model)
-Tama "Iron Cobra" Single Bass drum pedal
-Pork Pie Throne

-22"x22"x52" Flight Case