Tag Archives: acoustic

Sweet Thing – Van Morrison

26 Jun

Once in a while I love to bring out a golden oldie. Van Morrison is one of those guys whose albums sit in my iPod, but I tend to ignore them whenever I scroll past them because they’ve been there for so long. Well, you can thank shuffle for reminding me of how much of a sweet thing Sweet Thing is. “Van the Man” is the man in every sense of the word. Take a listen to this absolute classic.

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Lego House – Ed Sheeran @ The BRIT Awards

2 Mar

I have to confess… I didn’t actually fully watch the BRIT Awards this year. I was too busy watching football. However, at half time I did flick channels just to see how everyone was getting on and was pleasantly surprised by a juxtaposition of the two worlds; Cesc Fabregas presenting an award (for absolutely no apparent reason). One of the night’s big winners was Ed Sheeran and he capped it all off with what I thought was the night’s best performance.

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The One That Got Away (Acoustic) – Katy Perry & Jon Brian

19 Jan

This newly released TOTGA cover is notable for a few reasons and as I’m tired I’m going to list these numerically (because sometimes, maths is useful.):

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Terra Incognita – Atlas Sound

11 Oct

Had an obnoxious amount of work tonight, and the first single from Brandon Cox’s relatively new Atlas Sound LP, entitled Parallax is what got me through it. 

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Hackensack – Fountains Of Wayne

2 Sep

Fountains Of Youth: A sound of the 90s

I might be wrong here (and most likely am) but I often feel my music taste alines more naturally with American music. I love our British classics, but when it comes to contemporary British music, I find myself tolerating most acts and disliking the rest. And while The Beatles and The Kinks will always take up a significant portion of my iPod’s memory, it’s bands like Fountains Of Wayne and Nada Surf that remain closest to my heart. In fact, Fountains Of Wayne and Nada Surf are similar artists, musically and thematically. Both bands started in the 90s, neither found mainstream success until a decade later. I’m still not quite sure if Nada Surf have found mainstream success but they should. Most of you will know Fountains Of Wayne from their 2003 Stacy’s Mom which would be the equivalent of Nada Surf’s 1996 MTV anthem, Popular. The latter feels like a precursor to Kelly Rowland’s Stole and comfortably sums up how I’ll look back on high-school through an Angela Chase perspective. I’d show you the video of Stacy’s Mom, but I really don’t like it. Instead, here’s a song from their excellent latest album, Sky Full Of Holes called Richie and Ruben:

Fountains Of Wayne will always have a place in my 1990s-orientated heart thanks to Hackensack:

It has an unmistakable Fountains Of Wayne feel; the blend of wry, bitter popular humour that they’ve perfected over their career. What I also love about Fountains Of Wayne is their sense of popular culture and references seen in Hackensack‘s lyrics:

 I used to know you when we were young, you were in all my dreams
We sat together in period one, Fridays at 8:15
Now I see your face in the strangest places: movies and magazines
I saw you talking to Christopher Walken on my TV screen

It’s nostalgic without being sentimental and is surprisingly heartfelt for Fountains Of Wayne who always lean on the cynical side. There’s also a wonderful reference to the changing times of music consumerism with:

I used to work in a record store, now I work for my dad

Call me weak but that brings a tear to my eye. It’s Empire Records, a loving look back at the teenage years and a completely lost time all in one. For her MTV Unplugged (so 90s again!) Katy Perry covered Hackensack. If anyone ever questions her live talents, I can always refer them to her Unplugged album which boasts a hugely competent, Jagged Little Pill quality. Allmusic.com complemented Perry’s good taste in her choice and it seems a perfect match. Hackensack seems to have influenced Perry’s sometimes nostalgic Teenage Dream. The One That Got Away (which shares startlingly similar themes to Hackensack) opens with:

Summer after high school when we first met
We make out in your Mustang to Radiohead

Fountain Of Wayne-esque popular culture references are rife in Perry’s lyrics from Ur So Gay (H&M, Myspace and Mozart) to The One That Got Away. Sure, Perry’s June and Johnny Cash (I was June and you were my Johnny Cash) might be the sugar-coated Reese Witherspoon version but at least a new generation are going to grow up, knowing who Johnny Cash is. Here’s her cover:

Money Is Not A Thing – Chase Holfelder

22 Aug

It’s so difficult to post during the summer! Seriously! Sorry about not giving you anything yesterday, but trust me this is tough. It’s about to get worse, because I’m going away on a tour of Italy for a week, and won’t be able to post at all, but lets focus on the good shall we? Chase Holfelder seems to have a cult following, and has unfortunately never been able to hit it really big, but take a listen to Money Is Not A Thing and see what you think:

It’s that kind of whining acoustic with a couple of harmonies, that creates a really raw sound. I quite like this song, although this genre is not quite one of my favorites. There seems to be something really genuine about this that makes it stand out from the crowd. Don’t forget though, for better or for worse, money is a thing.

Blood – The Middle East

8 Aug

Although the title of this post might seem like an ominous headline in a newspaper, I can promise you that today’s song is as beautiful as they come. The Middle East, a ten-person band originating from Queensland have stormed onto the radar after releasing their first full album I Want That You Are Always Happy in April of 2011. A friend had told me about them, but they had slipped my mind until I went to see Steve Carell’s new movie, and guess what song played during the film?

This song is gorgeous. The lead singer’s falsetto works beautifully with the backing track, which in case you hadn’t noticed, is full of whistles and wind chimes. These actually go really well with the song, and add to its overall tone. I also love the harmonies in the chorus, and the eventual crescendo. Really, there’s just so much in here. Their album is gold also, you should most definitely download it, and make sure to watch the music video below:

Fast Car – Tracy Chapman

18 Jul

A classic for today because it has been completely stuck in my head for the past few days. Fast Car is my favourite song by multi-platinum and four-time Grammy Award winner Tracy Chapman. Chapman began writing songs at the tender age of eight, and it becomes crystal clear that songwriting is her calling when you take a listen.

Yeah, breathtaking. Sorry, just had to fit that one in today even though you all probably knew it. Recently I have become a huge Tracy Chapman fan, and am on the verge of worshipping her, so hopefully you can all join me. As I was watching the live performance on YouTube, this comment stuck out to me: “If you’re younger than 20, watch and listen carefully because this is what they used to call talent.”

Lack of Colour – Sunday Lane

10 Apr

So here’s another up and coming artist, Sunday Lane (fittingly featured on a Sunday). After having listened to Sunday Lane’s entire album, Bring Me Sunshine, I found it extremely difficult to pick one standout track to focus on for you guys simply because they are all so good. In the end I decided to go with Lack of Colour because it’s so instantly appealing.

So there you go. Sunday Lane seems to be like that kid we were all really jealous of at school. The kid who was super smart, madly popular, and great at sports and drawing. Musically, Sunday Lane seems to have it all; the ability to write catchy yet genuine melodies and blend them with meaningful lyrics, and lets not forget the looks 😉 (a notable occasion- the first time I have deemed it appropriate to use a smiley face). Check out Sunday’s video for Won’t Go Back Down and check out her site here if you’re hungry for more.

You’re The One That I Want – Angus & Julia Stone

30 Mar

Lazy Days: Angus & Julia Stone have carved a niche all of their own.

Angus & Julia Stone are probably the best sibling musical act to come out of Australia (do the Veronicas really provide much competition?) As the sun shines more brightly and Summer holiday prospects become more and more tangible, they’re the perfect alternative to tiresome Jack Johnson. Although they’ve been around since 2007 (their debut album reached number 1 in their native country) they haven’t fully broken out into the U.K yet. Surprising really, given their laid-back, intelligent records are radio-friendly and that there’s no-one quite like them in the mainstream. Their most popular song, Paper Aeroplane was featured on the Hotel Costes’ annual album, which is always a good sign:

Their albums are worth listening to, providing  a neatly formed narrative and musical thread. It’s definitely an album you should listen to in one go. However, my favourite song of theirs is a cover. I had completely forgot about it for my article about music covers which is a great shame because it is a remarkable song. Somewhat surprising, Angus & Julia Stone decided to cover one of Grease’s biggest songs, You’re The One That I Want:

It’s quite unexpected and brilliant at the same time. There’s often a danger with covers to fall in love straightaway, as the U.K did with Florence’s You Got The Love and this seems no different. If it were to played on mainstream radio, I have no doubt it would follow in Adele’s cover of Make You Feel My Love. However, in the mean time I’d recommend basking in its dreamy vocals and take pleasure in sharing it with friends, if only to remind them in three months time who found the song first.