Alabama Shakes – EP

This past Monday was my 22nd birthday, and I have to say, I am really feeling my age. I didn’t even do birthday shots at midnight! Also, I found a gray hair. Which is actually not that disconcerting seeing as I had gray hairs as early as nine. All in all, I’m actually doing pretty well.

The first phone call I got on my birthday was from my long-time friend who called at midnight on the dot. (I had just gotten the toothbrush out of my mouth– par-tay.) I’ve known said friend since we were 10, so we go way back. I can thank her not only for the birthday song, but also for introducing me to Alabama Shakes, were actually be on the World Cafe Live last night at 8, if you were lucky enough to catch them. The next stop after that for the band formerly known as “The Shakes” is the Bowery Ballroom tomorrow in NYC.

This band is really, superly good. It’s impossible for lead vocalist Brittany Howard not to impress you with her gritty, soulful voice, and the guitars and rhythm section lend well to a break-out dancing session. Each of the songs on the band’s Bandcamp page, which includes their four-song EP for $4, reminds me of something much older, before the days of over-production, but that doesn’t mean there’s nothing new to enjoy here.

Bless my heart
Bless my soul
Didn’t think I’d make it to 22 years old

You and me both, Britt. Well, actually, I figured I would, but it’s nice to know for sure now that I did.

Alabama Shakes EP by Alabama Shakes

Sonic Youth – Disappearer

Have you heard the terrible, tragic, devastating news?

Kim Gordon and Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth, married for 27 years, have separated. Now, I love Sonic Youth, and shudder to think of the implications this will have for the rest of the band (you can’t break up now! The Eternal = so good!). But, at the risk of sounding supremely callous, why do we care?

I don’t mean “care” in a sense that is synonymous with “compassion.” It’s a terrible thing when a marriage dissolves, especially one that appeared to have such longevity. I feel genuinely sympathetic to the fact that they’re going through what is presumably a very difficult time. Yet all condolences aside, we don’t know them. All we really know of them is pictures and video clips, anecdotes, and interviews. To us average non-celebrities, they’re practically fictitious.

Am I saying that we should never be concerned with the lives of those who don’t directly affect us? No! It’s just that to me, this feels like a form of voyeurism. The fact that they’re public figures doesn’t mean we should included in all matters of their private lives, especially the most personal ones.

Simply put, I feel we shouldn’t place inordinate amounts of attention on those who have not touched our lives in any physical, tangible way. (Besides, in this case, creating some amazing songs.)

Now, while I step down from my soap box, let’s talk about music.  

The sliver lining about this depressing news is that it has renewed my interest in Sonic Youth. Goo is one of my favorite albums of all time. It’s almost frustratingly good at times; every song is so amazing, it’s hard to pick just one to highlight.

For the moment, the closest thing I have to a “favorite” Goo track is “Disappearer.”

Let’s hope for the sake of 90′s alternative fans everywhere that Sonic Youth finds a way to stay together.


Tennis- Tell Her No (The Zombies Cover)

Tennis has a retro air about them both in look and in sound.  Their earlier cover of Brenda Lee’s “Is It True?” and now their cover of The Zombies “Tell Her No” fit them perfectly.  They do a great job of staying true to the songs they cover while also adding their own flare.  Tennis has mastered making the new sound old and the old sound new.  Check out both tracks below and make sure to listen for what Tennis calls “the best use of a lone-clap we’ve ever heard” on “Tell Her No”.

Tennis has also announced that they have completed their second album with the help of Patrick Carney of The Black Keys.  It should come out early next year.

Tennis – Tell Her No (The Zombies Cover)

Tennis – Is It True (Brenda Lee Cover)

Chamberlin – Pumped Up Kicks (Foster The People Cover)

At the risk of sharing a song that some people might be tiring of (although it hasn’t really reached an over-saturation level for me personally), I’m going to share the cover that Chamberlin did of Foster the People’s smash hit, Pumped Up Kicks. Chamberlin recorded the cover after fans voted for its inclusion in the group’s covers EP. The band is teaming up with Vermont Coffee to offer the proceeds of the EP’s sales to the flood victims of Hurricane Irene in Vermont and in their community. You can purchase it at their website.

The other songs that were covered on the EP are Kanye/Justin Vernon’s Lost In The World, Passion Pit’s Little Secrets, Cult’s Go Outside, and Vampire Weekend’s Giving Up The Gun. It’s basically like I picked the covers, so I have to give props to their fans. And Chamberlin delivers on the great choices.

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Pumped Up Kicks by Chamberlin