Tag Archives: Indie

Nashville Symphony with K.S. Rhoads at Live on the Green in Nashville, TN [SHOW/NEW MUSIC]

Live On The Green is a free yearly concert series that takes place every fall in downtown Nashville.  Last Thursday was the first show and kick off event for a number of great concerts yet to come featuring some great local artists.  After attending this show from start to finish, I highly recommend that you check out music from an artist named K.S. Rhoads.  He was the headline act of the night and performed with the Grammy Award winning Nashville Symphony Orchestra… but that’s not all.

It’s not everyday that an artist get’s an opportunity to play a show with an entire orchestra, but it’s quite a fitting opportunity for Rhoads.  Kevin grew up in Fort Myers, FL, where at age 15 he began focusing intensely on music, learning many instruments including bass, piano, and harmonica.  He purchased a four-track recorder in ninth grade and started to record his own music.  He moved to Nashville in 2001 after attending school in Texas, but it wasn’t until 2007 when he began work on his first album.  His debut, critically acclaimed album Dead Language was released in 2007.  It received excellent reviews from publications like American Songwriter who said it was “an exhibition in style, grace and limitless possibilities…”  Being a composer and music-producer, he has since written string arrangements for artists like Trent Dabbs, Erin McCarley, Third Day and By The Tree.  In addition, Rhoads has had continued success as an American songwriter with songs on shows like CSI: Miami and World of Jenks on MTV.  From songwriting and performing to composing and producing, K.S. Rhoads has immersed himself in music and isn’t stopping anytime soon.  Check out this video of “Dark Hotel” from the album Dead Language by K.S. Rhoads.

After months of preparation, he took the stage last Thursday with his band and the 70-piece Grammy winning Nashville Symphony Orchestra in downtown Nashville to put on one of the greatest performances of his career.  Rhoads had been working on this performance since March 2011 and scored all of the music himself.  He began the set with a really cool new song called “Invisible Fortress” by looping beat box, vocal harmonies, and piano riffs.  After establishing this creative foundation for the song, he added his band and orchestra to produce a beautiful full sound.  They continued to perform songs from his new album, and even covered Paul Simon and Katy Perry with the full orchestra.  While the covers were truly entertaining, I really enjoyed his original songs.   My favorite song of the night was a powerful new song by Rhoads called “The Wilderness.”  The song’s presence resembled that of “Wake Up” by Arcade Fire, and it was awesome.  Rhoads said that his ultimate goal with this project was “for people to come hear it and really get how important and still current classical music is,” and how it relates to the music of today.  It’s a great goal, and Rhoads definitely accomplished it.

But wait, there’s more!  His big performance also marked the debut of a five song EP called Cannons containing three unreleased songs from his soon to be released second album called The Wilderness.  Click on the album cover below to snag a copy and/or visit his website for more music and information on K.S. Rhoads!

By Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play, Music Without Labels, LLC

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Introducing… Kendrick Lamar [NEW MUSIC]

In his neighborhood of Compton, Kendrick Lamar is as known as K. Dot . I don’t need to explain how much of a struggle it is growing up in an environment that is built to fight social and individual progress. With such suppression Lamar has harnessed this emotion to be recognized as one of  West Coasts’ top lyrical geniuses. He dedicates much of his success to his upbringing and being surrounded by his father and the rest of his small family that consists of around 13 aunts/uncles, baring at at least 6 kids apiece. Lamar grew up around it all as a youngster; the good, the bad, the drinking, the smoking, the gangs and the violence, all of which seems to be portrayed in his music.

His music has been acknowledged by the best of the west. I saw footage a couple weeks ago of a concert where Snoop Dogg, The Game, Dr. Dre and The Dogg Pound all publicly showed their full support of the young rapper and his style of music. Have a look at the footage below:

Let me throw some examples your way,

The Heart.1

A.D.H.D.

In the song A.D.H.D. Kendrick makes continuous drug references, attributing this to experiences that he has come across along the west coast streets. This song is not about him, but rather the generation that he sees beside him being too often brought down the wrong path of drugs and violence. Lamar speaks openly on not even smoking weed (a very rare thing coming from the coast that brought you such green-leaf endorsing rappers such as snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, game, Cypress Hill, Nipsey Hussel)

Now Kendrick does not look highly on featuring big names in his music, for he doesn’t look for such quick exposure, or fake press. Another +1 in my respect book, ya, I keep tally. What are some artists that Kendrick would love to include on some of his upcoming music you might ask? Well the list includes such names as Erika Badu, Andre 3k, Bilal, and Floetry. When I heard those names come out of this dudes mouth I about dropped my glass. These are all artists that put out music with a message, not just a club hit. You can instantly tell by listening to just a couple of songs of his that he is different. Then you listen to a couple more songs, and realize that Kendrick Lamar is the truth. He is every hip-hop fans great hope, lyrically he can only grow. Having such a rich west coast background look for a couple exclusive Dr. Dre beats to be thrown his way to be used as canvas for Lamar’s lyrical masterpieces.

After reviewing his thoughts on the music industry you can’t help but get excited for lies ahead for Kendrick Lamar.  He seems to fully understand the way the industry works and is taking advantage of the benefits of owning your music.  His music is art and, seeing how great music spreads, I can’t wait to see where he is this time next year.

Lamar’s newest mixtape, Section.80 grabbed much attention and is now on itunes.

Hiiipower

Kian Bardikalaie | San Diego, CA| @KianwithMWL

Beat-Play and Music Without Labels, LLC

Guster’s Caught Up in The Game’s latest “Pot Of Gold” [MUSIC]

gusterAll hip-hop beats come from great samples that are guaranteed to instantly stick into the heads of millions of listeners. That’s exactly what New York independent rock group Guster provided in their 1997 hit single “Rocketship”. It was one unforgettable guitar riff that caught the attention of star hip-hop artist The Game to be used on a track featuring Chris Brown off his latest album release The  R.E.D. Album. Now they obviously didn’t create the new Game song but they were a contributor of it so they will be receiving royalties from all sales. But they are giving to charity… which is lovely.

This is why we love our independent community! They know how and when to do the right thing. The band will be donating a portion of the money they earn from The Game’s track “Pot Of Gold” to the Crittenton Women’s Union. The band actually made a few comments regarding the new use of their creation in this written interview. When asked specifically about this track they responded:

I think we feel some flattery and some confusion.  The Game’s album just came out a week ago and the video for “Pot of Gold” already has over six million views.  Do we feel exploited? Well, we’ve been in this business a long time and it’s not our first time watching “Rocketship” get plucked from us for the glory of others.

With an incredible debut chart ranking of #1 on the Billboard 200, Guster will have a great shot at some high-level exposure, hitting the ears of youtube viewers 6.64 million times. Unfortunately the band feels differently on this matter, as drummer Brian Rosenworcel stated,

Mostly we’re flattered to have been sampled in a hit song. I don’t think it’ll send droves of people out to discover our ‘Goldfly’ album…

You’ll notice, that there is no version of this Guster song to be heard within this post, and I’m hear to tell you that you won’t find one either. That’s pretty sad, considering they have another version of their song out for everyone to enjoy without ever knowing where it came from. I mentioned something to the individual who was running their campaign, so if something comes up on Youtube like suggested, you all will be the first to hear it!

Written By: Mark Gregory Valente | @MarkwithMWL | Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC 

Purity Ring – Belispeak [NEW MUSIC]

Purity Ring - Belispeak

Don’t be thrown by the band name, because Purity Ring is the truth. It seems like only a month ago that we were bumpin’ the latest from this electronic duo with the release of their Lofticries single, but time sure flys by and with 5 months having gone by we hear more! This music is the real deal, and growing quickly throughout the internet pushing them forward in their current North American tour going through October with 18 more cities to go. But the focus here is really around the incredible vibe of their latest release “Belispeak”, which perfectly captures the intricate experimental production Purity Ring has delivered in the past. I’m definitely in favor of an upbeat tempo in music so I am going to have to say this new track is at the top in my book for this group. Hopefully, with the release of a bit more music we could really see a strong push from Purity Ring at the end of this year. Lookout for the track on a 7″ to be released in October with Braids. Have a listen for yourself and be the judge:

If you have not had the privilege of hearing previous Purity Ring tracks, not a problem, because we can provide those for you as well. This is going to be a new sound you’re going to want to pay attention to in the coming months. It’d be best if you checked out Lofticries first because that was the first track that turned me onto this New York sensation. The group can be found at a number of areas like Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr.

 

Washed Out “Within and Without” [NEW MUSIC]

The dawn of a new electronic musical era is upon us.  As if you didn’t already know.  Now more than ever its easy to get your hands on a synth and some fancy computer apps, a cheap mic and a mbox and you can make music for the masses.  For most this is both a blessing and a burden.  It’s a blessing because the potential is at the tip of our talentless fingertips only to be lost in a “oh man I wish I could do that” moment.  It’s a burden because of the frustration the consumes you when you hear someone doing it right.  Washed Out has recently released “Within and Without.”  If you are feeling euphoric and ready for a sonic blast from another planet throw some cans on lay back and turn it up.  This is Washed Out.

Eyes Be Closed – Washed Out

I’m sitting in my bedroom right now as I write this.  Earnest Greene other wise known as Washed Out is putting people like me in a euphoric trance as I listen to the music he is making from his.  His “chillwave” style of music caught the attention of many music bloggers like myself and propelled him to indie fame having been chose by Battles and Pitchfork to perform at their respective curated festivals.

Amor Fati – Washed Out

I’m just now getting into this kind of music.  I find it incredibly relaxing.  It’s the type of music playing at a dark LA club.  Not much dancing just something cool and ambient to listen to as you fade into the night.  I’m not really a “fade into the night kind of guy,” but hey if the tunes take you there I’m all for giving it a shot.  With that said I love the synth work and the simplicity of the drums compliment the spaceyness of Mr. Greene’s voice.

You and I – Washed Out

I normally post the album cover at the top of the blog entry, but this time it’s here:

Ding Ding Ding.  This is one of the sexiest album covers I have ever seen.  Maybe move the dude out of the way, but hey we can’t win em’ all.  I was going to bring this up earlier, but resisted.  Then I saw the album cover and realized how sexy this music is.  I don’t think I have ever said that before, but hey today’s a new day and these tunes are incredibly sexy.  Like right out of a movie where the heroin is getting out of a pool with perfect hair (somehow) or the big reveal at the top of the stairs as she blows the room away kinda stuff.  When my girlfriend get’s back from her trip I’ll throw this on and see what happens.  I think it’s a safe bet she’d call me an idiot, turn it off and put on Katy Perry.  Here’s the last track from Washed Out’s “Within and Without”.

Dedication – Washed Out

Washed out currently resides in Georgia and is also currently, and appropriately, on tour with Cut Copy making a stop in Los Angeles on Wednesday October 12.  I think I might make my way down.  See you there?

Here’s a fan made video for the song “Feel It All Around” which has been making a splash recently.

Get it?

By: Steve Rippin | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @stevewithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

PUJOL from Nashville, TN [MUSIC]

Alright, it’s time for some more music from Nashville’s indie music scene. PUJOL is a southern gothic rock band from Nashville, TN.  The band was started by Daniel Pujol after he moved to Nashville and began writing songs about life, theology, and family.  After growing up in Tallahoma, TN, Daniel is now a very talented punk singer/songwriter in Music City who has made a name for himself the last couple years.  His band consists of Adam Tanaka on drums, Sean Thompson on lead guitar, and Joey Scala on bass.  They’ve been described as “buds bonded by the brain.”  Other members include Dan Burns, Mitch Jones, Steward Copeland, Forever Young, Angelbaby, and The Wez.  Check out this song by PUJOL called “Black Rabbit.”

As you can hear, PUJOL has developed their own distinct sound.  From the intricate guitar riffs to the scratchy vocals, their music has true originality.  It also doesn’t hurt to have Jack White producing songs for your band.  In an interview with SPIN Magazine, Pujol said, “Jack White was very polite and professional.  It felt good to finally be in a situation where knowing what you wanted to sound like was just normal and not high maintenance. Everyone involved respected my judgment as an artist, and we all worked together to help mutually refine the single as a satisfactory meeting ground between the Third Man aesthetic and my own.”  The music is a great new take on the punky garage rock music that has been coming back with a strong underground following in major cities like Nashville.  This is a band that you should definitely see live if you haven’t already.  Here’s another one of their songs (by Stewart Copeland) called “Too Safe.”  The song is “a b-side from PUJOL’s “Black Rabbit” 7-inch, which is being released by Jack White’s Third Man Records.”  You can download it here: DOWNLOAD MP3

Daniel Pujol is an advocate for vinyl records and “almost exclusively releases music on tape, vinyl or digitally.”  In an interview done by Nashville SCENE last year, Daniel describes his very intriguing view on CDs and why he chooses not to release music in the CD format.  He has some great points that I think should be discussed by any independent band thinking about releasing an album these days.  His main ideology on the topic is basically something like “CDs blow, they’re overpriced and nobody cares.”  It’s definitely something I haven’t thought about much, and I can’t really argue with the stunning truth in his argument.  Check out this video from the interview:

Pretty interesting huh?  If you like the music and like the discussion, check out PUJOL’s music here, buy one of their albums, or move to Nashville and come see for yourself some awesome concerts.  Live music has really been coming back the last couple years, so continue to support local music in your hometown and don’t be afraid to go to a concert even if you have never heard of the band.  If you’re an optimistic adventurous music lover, you’ll usually find something that you like about the music.  Thanks for listening!

By Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play, Music Without Labels, LLC

The War On Drugs “Slave Ambient” [NEW MUSIC]

Tuesday’s are funny days.  In most cases I hate Tuesday far worse than I hate Monday’s.  I don’t really have a point to make here just a casual dumb statement from the mind of me.  Tuesday’s suck, but one good thing came out of yesterday’s specific Tuesday, The War on Drugs.  Dum dum dummmm.  Now I’m not here to give you a lecture about the pot you hide in your sock drawer or under your mattress, I’m giving you the good tuneage to listen to while you may or may not use said drugs.  An indie rock outfit who embraces mellow sounds and intense euphoria, The War On Drugs might just be the next big thing.

Best Night – The War On Drugs

The War On Drugs most recent release is called “Slave Ambient.”  It has all kinds of goods.  It has the elements of a great 60’s/ 70’s classic rock record mixed with awesome effects and synth touches we have come to love from modern indie rock.  Bright guitars and cool laid back vocals are the keys to this record.  Easy going back beats with keen bass work all come together for me on this record.  Upon first listen I was immediatly hooked.  This is music I like to listen to.  This is the kind of stuff when you play it in your office on re-peat people ask you “who are these guys.”  And then you say nothing and just point to the album cover on your spotify.

I Was There – The War On Drugs

The War On Drugs is from Philedelphia PA.  Current members include Adam Granduciel who seems to be a jack of all trades on vocals, guitar, harmonica, keyboards and samplers.  He is joined by Dave Hartley on bass and other guitars and Mike Zanghi on drums, percussion and sampler.  Past members included Kurt Vile who had some fame on his own with his solo project and was recently chosen by Animal Collective to perform at this years All Tomorrow’s Parties.  But he’s not in the band any more so enough about him.  Stripped down to three members this record doesn’t sound like it at all.  With all the samples and loops coming from all different directions its easy to get lost in the harmonic and euphoric over load.

It’s Your Destiny – The War On Drugs

I read a bunch of reviews (pitchforks rave review is here) and people dig this band just as much as I do.  I think it brings new appreciation to a tired classic rock folk scene elevating it to a new level while keeping the continuity from past to present.  It’s almost as if they are re-inventing the wheel in the best way possible.  These are new sounds for a new generation who happen to love the music of the old generation.

Come to The City – The War On Drugs

The theme of Americana runs steadily throughout this record.  This music is well traveled.  There is experience behind the words.  Ramblin’ and drifting as is quoted from that last track “Come to The City” seems to be what it’s all about.  This music will put your ass in a euphoric trance from first track to last simple as that and I don’t think I’m alone in saying it’s pretty rare for bands to do that these days.  I listen to this record (for the 4th time now) and each time I hear something new in the songs and bob my head along even more so than the first or second time.

Baby Missiles – The War On Drugs

I’m excited to see where this band goes from here.  They have a pretty extensive tour in the works hitting Europe and multiple spots in the US.  Having already appeared on big time indie music blogs (this one included) I wouldn’t be surprised is these guys blew up more than actual Baby Missiles (hilarious/ terrible to think about, but your thinking about it already so you might as well chuckle).

Their tour page is HERE if you can read it.  I had to squint so hopefully they fix that shit soon because I have a feeling people are going to want to see them live.  They are playing The Satellite Lounge in LA on October 22nd and at 10 bones a ticket it’s 100% completely and utterly worth it to go and go twice.  I bought a pair of tickets already so basically if you have a poor excuse for a credit card like me you don’t have an excuse not to.

Black Water Falls – The War On Drugs

That was the last track.  I would give these guys some serious attention.  I know I say a lot of bubbly good things about a lot (all) of the bands I write about and I mean it all, I really do.  Once in a while a band comes around that has the potential to do a little more damage than your average small rock club indie band.  Mark my words.  Let them get some shows under their belts and soon they will be playing big venues in a city near you.  They have a sound that people have liked for decades.  They have taken that sound and turned it on its ass… so you should listen to them.  It’s as simple as that.  Oh yea and buy their record here.

By: Steve Rippin | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @stevewithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC

Heavy Cream, Useless Eaters, and Feral Beat at The Basement in Nashville, TN [SHOW]

It’s a Sunday evening in Nashville and you’re not quite done with your weekend, so what do you do?  You check out the bands that you could possibly see for only five bucks at The Basement on 8th Avenue South!  This past Sunday was a night filled with indie punk rock music derived from soul and rock-and-roll influences.  The show started at 10:00pm with a band called Feral Beat.  I had a chance to talk with their lead singer Seth Sutton after the first set, and learned that he was also fronting Useless Eaters and playing bass for Heavy Cream.  A very talented guy from Memphis, TN, Seth moved to Nashville to fully pursue music, and you can tell that he’s going after it.  The second set required a change at bass and drums in preparation for Useless Eaters, a Neo-soul trio from Nashville.  After a driving, high-energy set, Heavy Cream took the stage as the headline act, which closed out a great night of underground Nashville indie punk rock.

Feral Beat is a very new band in Nashville, TN featuring Seth Sutton on guitars and vocals, Allison Waid on drums and vocals, and Mimi Galbierz on bass.  It seems as though the group formed as a side project from Useless Eaters and Heavy Cream.  This was a fun new band to see live, and I hope that they continue to play around town.

Useless Eaters is an indie neo-soul band from Nashville, TN.  With pumping beats and infamous bright guitar tone, they seemed to have locked in a sound that suits them.  It almost makes you feel like you’re part of a early 90s garage band show, but this band is far removed from playing for themselves in some old box with poor acoustics and oil on the floor.  They have positioned themselves in a new light within Nashville’s independent scene.  Check out this song from Useless Eaters called “Daft Love.”

Heavy Cream

Heavy Cream is a local punk rock visual band featuring Mimi on guitar, Daniel on bass, Tiffany on drums, and Jessica on strings.  They are the most well known of the three groups that played on Sunday night, and their performance showed it.  The band describes their journey simply; “We started in 1997, broke up in the fall, got back together January of 2009 and sealed the deal on Valentine’s day.”  They also uniquely describe their genre as “Stonehenge punk.”  Check out one of their songs called “Tina.”

Be sure to check out The Basement’s “New Faces Nite” most Tuesdays for free shows with great local artists!

By Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play, Music Without Labels, LLC

Two Door Cinema Club from Northern Ireland [SHOW/MUSIC]

The summer drag in the music industry is coming to an end and the touring season begins!  Things are about to get a little nutty in the music industry.  Bands will be starting their fall tours, students will be back at college, and I will be officially moved into my new house in Nashville.  Fortunately, there won’t be any mid-terms, lectures, or group meetings because I finished up with school in May!  As I look back on a solid year of changes, music, and transitions, I can’t help but think about my favorite bands and concerts that I experienced last year.  One of those bands is Two Door Cinema Club.  From only being active for four years, this indie rock group from Northern Ireland claimed my attention from first listen of their debut album Tourist History.

This spring marked the year anniversary of this historic album released by their Europe-based label called Kitsuné, and let me tell you, it’s still just as good as it was a year ago.  Two Door Cinema Club filled my summer of 2010 with pumping grooves and fresh original music.  Well, enough of me trying to describe their music, give yourself a listen!

For me, last fall was my first time in Nashville, and I wanted to experience Music City in all of its glory.  If it meant eating less so that I could afford to go to more concerts, that’s what I did.  I never regretted that decision, especially after seeing Two Door Cinema Club at Mercy Lounge.  The place was packed with your typical indie-rock crowd, but the show was anything but typical.  Alex Trimble (lead vocals, guitar, synths), Sam Halliday (guitar, vocals), Kevin Baird (bass, vocals), and Benjamin Thompson (drums) put on a killer show with high energy from start to finish.  They truly own their sound, which can be easily recognized over their contemporaries.  Songs like “I Can Talk” have been featured in video game soundtracks and TV, while other songs have appeared in dozens of other promos around the world.  Want to hear more music?  Check out their newest music video for “What You Know.”

Two Door Cinema Club has gained a lot of attention in a short amount of time since they started in 2007.  With previous interest and support from fans online, the band released their first recording on an EP “Four Words To Stand” in January 2009.  After quickly increasing in popularity in only six months, they decided to begin recording their debut album in July.  Tourist History was released in the spring of 2010 in Ireland, the UK, and the USA.  This strong dedication to producing music didn’t go without reward.  The last year for Two Door Cinema Club has featured countless advances in all aspects of their music.  From new remixes to appearances, they have been hard at work and their music has been well-received.  The band has played a number of festivals this year including Orange Evolution, Glastonbury, Coachella, and Lollapalooza, and has toured with bands such as Phoenix, Metronomy, and Tokyo Police Club.

Two Door Cinema Club will be touring the US in September 2011 with special guests Bombay Bicycle Club and The Lonely Forest.  Unfortunately, Nashville will not be one of their stops next month, but be sure to check out if they are coming to a city near you.  This is going to be a tour that you don’t want to miss!

By Steve Harpine | Nashville Ambassador | @Steve_MWL | Beat-Play & Music Without Labels, LLC

Stroked “Is This It” [ALBUM REVIEW]

One of the best parts about writing this blog is the music.  Learning about new music and constantly listening to new bands and sharing it with you is a major perk.  Thinking you have your finger on the pulse of the Los Angeles music scene is also nice and completely unrealistic in this massive behemoth of a musical metropolis.  LA has so much to offer music wise and the ever changing musical landscape here is mind boggling but there are certain things that are definitive and one hundred percent accurate and one of them is popularity.  Good or bad popularity of a rock and roll act can’t be denied.  This blog is about one of the my favorite bands of all time and a very popular one at that.  They are called The Strokes.  Now your probably ready to punch me in the face for writing about something so mainstream?  Hold your horses cowboy and let me explain.  This year marks the 10th anniversary of The Stroke’s seminal album “Is This It.”  It’s a hit fest from start to finish.  Stereogum has put together a special tribute to “Is This It” with major and non major indie artists doing takes on the songs.  Get excited.

Peter Bjorn and John – Is This It

I don’t know or have heard a lot of the bands on this awesome tribute but I will highlight some of the best.  The opening tracks guitar laden effects slathered and the awesome vocal stylings of Peter Bjorn and John of “Young Folks” fame brings some major indie cred and star power to this record.  “Is This It” is one of the best / my favorite Strokes songs ever.  As a fitting introduction to the band ten years ago it has now become yet again a fitting introduction to “Stroked.”  For those keeping score I’m going to skip “Modern Age” and move into the third track on the record.  This version of “Soma” by Frankie Rose is a completely mellowed out pseudo electronic version of the original.

Soma – Frankie Rose

Pretty awesome version if I do say so myself.  A lot of these artists are new to me so perk up and leave a comment if you know more or can suggest something I should listen to.  This next track is The Strokes most famous and popular song.  It’s called “Last Night” and it’s done by a great band called The Morning Benders.  Recently The Strokes have toured the festival circut and released a new record of great music as well as efforts after “Is This It,” but for whatever reason I can’t get enough of this pop gem.  People (mostly me) go nuts when they play it on a nightly basis and it has defined the band since it was released 10 years ago.

Last Night – The Morning Benders

Awesome cover, awesome song.  Deep breaths, I’m getting all worked up.  The synth in that version kills it (kills it in a good way).  There is just enough of the original, great melody mixed with a quick pop beat, awesome cover.  Ok moving on.  This is where it get’s interesting.  I said earlier this record is a complete and utter hit fest.  Obviously I wouldn’t lie to you.  Many of the concert staples The Strokes play come off this record and from what I’ve read they actually enjoy playing them on a nightly basis.  On of the tunes I love so much is called “Hard To Explain.”  For me it’s the iconic example of how good of a singer Julian Casablancas actually is.  The tribute version keeps that in mind giving it the acoustic treatment, more specifically the string quartet treatment.  It’s a light touch with heavily effected vocals and I think it does the trick while keeping in mind how good the original is.

Hard To Explain – Owen Pallett

Gorgeous composition and great vocals from Owen Pallett that track is a stand out in the second half.  The next song is “New York City Cops.”  Yet another fan favorite and live staple.  The version on this compilation is, in a word, interesting?  It’s a hip hop song.  SAYYYY WHATTTTT?????  But, Steve “NYC Cops” is one of the most rockin’ tracks on the whole record why would they give it the hip hop treatment?  To be honest I have no idea, but its a pretty cool version of the song using a sample of Julian’s vocal as the chorus.  Check it out here.  I won’t judge if you won’t.

New York City Cops – Heems

This brings us to the end of the record.  We’ll skip over “Trying Your Luck” and get right after it with “Take it or Leave It.”  This epic show closer tells you like it is and that’s the way The Stroked have been since day one.  They make their music and quite frankly don’t give an f-bomb what anyone else thinks.  They have made some of my favorite music of all time and this tribute Stereogum put together is a fitting tribute to a great record and a greater band.  Enjoy The Strokes.  Enjoy this entire compilation for FREE HERE, take it or leave it.

Take It Or Leave It – Computer Magic

By: Steve Rippin | Beat-Play Ambassador Los Angeles | @stevewithMWL|Music Without Labels & Beat-Play, LLC