This column has served as myriad things on different weeks, but basically always come down to what one or two things were happening within rock's domain that got me the most excited (because why else would we be doing this, you know?). This week, however, we've been away for a while and quite a few little nuggets popped up that seemed worth a brief moment of reflection: covers, b-sides, side projects, etc. And those need love too. Here's a tasting menu:
Wye Oak Cover/Own Danzig's "Mother" For The AV Club
You don't often see a male-female shoegazy duo and think to yourself, "Man, this cover of a metal song is about to get me psyched." But damned if Wye Oak didn't do just that here. It didn't hurt that Civilian has been in pretty heavy rotation at my apartment, but this was something far more unexpected. Jenn Wasner and her partner Andy don't try and be anything they aren't. They're quite obviously earnestly into the whole thing (Sharpie "Wolfsblood" tattoo and all). Wasner makes the vocals her own and they nail the breakdown, which is at least half the battle. This week Wasner also let loose some solo jams she'd been working on under the alias Flock of Dimes. She humbly prefaced the songs by calling them a “vanity project of questionable skill and intent,” but we're pretty intrigued. The girl has got some pipes.
Yeasayer's B-Sides Are Better Than Most Bands' A-Sides
After oversleeping Record Store Day, we can't give you an opinion one way or the other on that coveted Nirvana rarity. What we can say is this Yeasayer b-side collection is some top-notch stuff. Tripwire has long been vocal about its affection for Odd Blood. At face value, End Blood goes a long way to compliment it's predecessor. Standout track "Phoenix Wind" shines all on it's own, though. The track may be stilted in comparison to much of Odd Blood. It's hard to say exactly why it didn't make it. Aside from that, the it's comforting music that speaks for itself.
Leonard Cohen's Still Got It
In a whole different realm, Leaonard Cohen supposedly still has a self-produced album coming out sometime this year. While there is no set release date, TwentyFourBit dug up four clips of new material he has performed on world tours. These clips are dated (all from the 2009), but it's the first time I've seen the likely candidates for the new album gathered in one place, some of which were new to me. "Feels So Good" takes the cake, but each of these suggest Cohen hasn't lost a step.
Titus Andronicus Strap The Garden State On Their Back
Our final notable here doesn't quite fit in with the whole b-sides and covers thing, but we'd feel absolutely remiss not bringing it up, so exceptions were made. The Tom Scharpling-directed clip for Titus' "No Future Part Three: Escape From No Future" serves as a love letter to the parts of the Garden State not typically showcased on reality television and documents the bands' raucous live shows. Also, to those out there who only knew them as the Shakespeare band that talked shit on Vice Magazine, hey look, they are fun and passionate dudes who've made some jams, too! The last column here was about the power music can have when you realize it's made you nostalgic for a place or feeling you've never experienced. With this clip, Titus and Tom Scharpling surely made us proud of a state we have no roots in.