While your Music Directors-turned-Blog Directors may disagree on the worth of celebrating holidays indiscriminately (for the record, Caroline’s in favor of personally celebrating all holidays from Cinco de Mayo to Mardi Gras to St. Patrick’s Day, while Igor has some self-restraint), there’s one type of “holiday” that’s almost universally loved: the long weekend. Memorial Day is a perfect example, kicking off lazy summer days and putting an end to the awkward purgatory in between the end of the semester and the real start of summer. Weekends are great– in the words of Dr. Dog, it’s time to pick yourself up off the floor– and nothing’s like falling asleep Sunday night to the sweet realization that you have another entire day off. Below, some of this summer’s recent quintessential jams, designed specifically to replace the mind-numbing chant of Gaga’s inane “Alejandro,” ever-present on the airwaves. (Not that I feel strongly about it).
1. Villagers: The summery, harmony-heavy chorus and Shins-like phrasing leave this song on repeat for me.
2. The Franks: Noisy power chords, garage band riffs and puppy love.
3. SSLYBY: A new one complete with handclaps from the kings of simple indie-pop feel-good music. Groovy, pleasant, and so so hooky. Why aren’t they more famous yet?! Pretty girls don’t just park where they want to, they gotta go round in circles like we all do.
4 .Taio Cruz & Luda: Oh come on. This is the best.
5. The Donkeys: A recommendation from our biz director Jared. Stones-esque, with a chorus that kills: I know I’m handsome, but I get lonely too.
6. Outkast: So glad this is making a resurgence. Real guys go for real down to Mars girls!
7. Miike Snow (DJ Medhi remix): Well damn, if this isn’t the most pleasant yet captivating jam since The Girls Can Tell remixed the Beach Boys.
8. Dead Gaze: Nothing spells summer like some lo-fi surf pop, but this is even better, straight outta Mississippi (not exactly the surf pop capital of the world) with a children’s chorus opening and sleigh bells (no, not those Sleigh Bells). And no, not that Simple Man.
The 1960s band The Mynah Birds was a Canadian R&B group who, although they never released an album, was known for featuring a surprisingly large number of big-hitters, including Neil Young, Nick St. Nicholas, and Rick James. Embracing the ‘60s group’s name as well as their adoptive attitude, singer/songwriter Laura Burhenn and producer Richard Swift began the contemporary musical project, The Mynabirds‘ What We Lose in the Fire We Gain in the Flood. Read More »
Ashley Brooke Toussant came into the WGTB studios on Saturday, May 22nd and played some songs off her EP, All Songs in English, as well as some new material. Listen below to hear her perform and tell the moving story behind the song ‘And Its Yours.’ Also, she tells us about why sad songs are OK, and then plays us her only love song, the charming, ‘World.’
Don’t lie to me – I know you listened to Nada Surf in the 90’s. And you loved them. You played “Popular” so many times even your mother had to sit you down and tell you to seriously, knock it off. Or at least alternate it with the similar sounds of Weezer. Then when Death Cab for Cutie’s Chris Walla produced their next semi-widely played album in 2002, you probably revisited them for kicks (until you realized that yeah, that album sounded like it was produced by someone who plays in a band with Ben Gibbard).
Well, two years after their last release – 2008’s Lucky, which got as much play as you think it did – the band has come out with their sixth studio album. Allow me to introduce Nada Surf’s latest album, a collection of covers ranging from Spoon to Kate Bush, by saying that its title incorporates two of my favorite things: a lack of capital letters, and a palindrome. Look! if i had a hi-fi. Isn’t it cool?
Yes, yes it is. The album itself is pretty cool as well. It is Nada Surf at their alternative rock pop-y best, upbeat and somehow cohesive despite the wide range in song choices. Each cover is very obviously homage to the people and melodies that impacted the members of Nada Surf, lovingly and thoughtfully crafted to reflect both the original and the band’s own particular sound. By doing so, it doesn’t seem so weird that Depeche Mode’s gloomy synthpop “Enjoy the Silence” and The Soft Pack’s garage rock “Bright Side” share the same track listing.
But why a cover album, and why now? That’s a question that the band has apparently not decided to address, at least not yet. It’s a risky move if done incorrectly – people will likely speculate that the band has run out of material, or decided to take the easy route to make a few bucks. Nada Surf doesn’t seem to lean towards either of these motives, though, which is interesting in itself. This cover album feels more like the band is rediscovering its sound by examining the sounds of others that they find appealing. In my opinion, they have succeeded in doing exactly that. This sounds like Nada Surf to me, the Nada Surf that broke out in the nineties and refused to step off the stage in the years that followed. Want to know why I think I’m right? This is also the first record that the band has produced completely independently. No DCFC guitarists, no Ric Ocasek. Just three guys in their forties looking to make the music they love, and I think that’s great.
if i had a hi-fi, with Matthew Caws’s smooth vocals and the familiar, not necessarily ground-breaking but still enjoyable, alternative nineties rock sound, will most likely be gracing my summer rotation more frequently than I ever expected a Nada Surf album to. Sitting by the kiddie pool in my tiny backyard, I will be able to listen to Kate Bush and Spoon re-imagined by a band from my youth without even getting up to mess with iTunes. Life – and this album – is good. Really, surprisingly good.
- Emily Simpson