The Juan Maclean – You Are My Destiny (2013)

The Juan Maclean‘s new single “You Are My Destiny (edit)” is a bit like viewing a comet from tail to head; you start with a misty, imposing pulse where vocals satellite around a massive kick, and before you know it you’ve reached the main section, an obelisk of puttering sytnhs and flatly emphatic vocals (courtesy of ex-LCD Soundsytem-ite Nancy Whang) that allow the brighter stuff to really shine. Really, it’s house funk that could have only come from a universe like DFA Records, where reverent archivists like The Juan Maclean continues to thrive and pay homage. You can pick up the extended version of the single on April 1st. [Source]


Green Gartside – Fruit Tree (2013)

“Every week, somewhere in the world, singers gather in clubs and halls to sing the songs of Nick Drake. It is sobering to think that more people now hear his songs in a month than ever heard them in his lifetime.” – Joe Boyd

Undoubtedly one of the most influential English singer-songwriters of the last 50 years, Nick Drake found little mainstream success during his lifetime; however, since his untimely death at the age of 26, his fragile acoustic, autumnal music has touched the hearts of millions of people. Over the years since Drake’s death, his original producer Joe Boyd has explored the possibility of producing an album in tribute to his songwriting. But despite many well-known artists wishing to participate, he always resisted, because it seemed the only practical way to accomplish it would be for each artist to supply a track recorded separately, with their own chosen musicians. Boyd felt that the only way to avoid the pitfalls of the typical Tribute Album would be to have everyone together for a week in a rural studio, backing each other with harmonies and guitar parts, creating an organic whole of an album. By performing Way To Blue fifteen times over the course of four years, he has accomplished something resembling his original dream. The songs have been honed and shaped over the course of time, and the spirit of togetherness among the Way To Blue company has proved inspiring to all participants. The recordings on this new CD are the edited highlights of concerts in London and Melbourne; the interpretations provide evidence, if such evidence was ever needed, of the timeless depth of Nick Drake’s qualities as a songwriter. The result is an album with the quality of a studio production and the spontaneity of a live performance. Writing in the album sleeve notes, Joe says, “Selecting singers has been one of the most rewarding parts of this exercise. One criterion was that none of them should sound like Nick.

“Shortly after the Birmingham Town Hall show, as I was preparing a concert of Incredible String Band songs at the Barbican, I learned that Green Gartside, whose Scritti Politti recordings I had loved in the ‘80s, wanted to come and ‘play some back-up guitar or sing harmony’. I asked him whether he was equally fond of Nick Drake. You can hear the response in his performance of “Fruit Tree” on this cd.


Robyn Hitchcock – Parasite (Nick Drake Cover Version) (2013)

On April 16, 2013 StorySound Records will release ‘Way To Blue: The Songs of Nick Drake,’ a live concert recording presented by Drake’s producer, Joe Boyd. ‘Way To Blue’ was originally conceived as a series of tribute concerts featuring artists hand-picked by Boyd, including Robyn Hitchcock, Vashti Bunyan, Lisa Hannigan, Teddy Thompson, Green Gartside of Scritti Politti, Danny Thompson (who played bass on Nick’s records) and many more. The concerts – nine in the UK, four in Australia and three in Italy – were staged at historic venues like the Sydney Opera House, and a show at London’s Barbican aired as a special concert on the BBC. The Times of London called the Barbican show “truly revelatory” adding that “there wasn’t a soul in the room that didn’t feel it,” and the Guardian called it “spellbinding.” This 15-song set to be released on StorySound features highlights from the ‘Way To Blue’ concerts – some faithful to the Drake originals, others radically reworked. All artists were backed by a house band led by Danny Thompson, and several of the performances feature the original orchestral arrangements of Drake collaborator, Robert Kirby. The result is an album with the quality of a studio production and the spontaneity of a live performance. Joe Boyd produced Nick Drake’s first two albums for his Witchseason production and management company, also home to Fairport Convention, The Incredible String Band, and John Martyn. Boyd wrote about his experiences with Drake in his acclaimed memoir ‘White Bicycles,’ but he’s resisted making a tribute album until now. “In my opinion, the only way to make a tribute record work, is to get everyone together in the same place so there’s a unity of sound and spirit. The performances these artists came up with exceeded my dreams of what was possible. The fact that none of them sounds like Nick makes you realize what a great songwriter he was.”


‘Way To Blue: The Songs of Nick Drake’ Tracklist:
01. Luluc – “Things Behind the Sun”
02. Scott Matthews – “Place to Be”
03. Green Gartside – “Fruit Tree”
04. Shane Nicholson – “Poor Boy”
05. Krystle Warren – “Time Has Told Me”
06. Robyn Hitchcock – “Parasite”
07. Danny Thompson & Zoe Rahman – “One of These Things First” (instrumental)
08. Vashti Bunyan – “Which Will”
09. Lisa Hannigan – “Black Eyed Dog”
10. Shane Nicholson – “Rider on the Wheel”
11. Teddy Thompson – “River Man”
12. Luluc & Lisa Hannigan – “Saturday Sun”
13. Scott Matthews – “When the Day Is Done”
14. Luluc – “Fly”
15. Teddy Thompson & Krystle Warren – “Pink Moon”

About StorySound:

Back in 2005, Dick Connette, together with Scott Lehrer, opened up a recording studio they built in an old industrial building in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. StorySound Records has grown, naturally enough, out of the social and professional life of that studio – the sessions, the pantry hangs, the players and producers, engineers and arrangers, composers, singers and songwriters that are part of Dick’s daily life there. The label has no grander ambition than to make a good home for music that he cares about. The first CD the label released, High Wide & Handsome by Loudon Wainwright III, won a 2009 Grammy for Best Traditional Folk Album. Other StorySound artists include Rayna Gellert, Gabriel Kahane, the Brooklyn Boogaloo Blowout, and Margaret Glaspy.

Yoko Ono – Woman Power (1973)

From the Yoko Ono Plastic Ono Band & Something Different album ‘Feeling The Space’. Feeling the Space is Yoko Ono’s fourth album, her last one on Apple Records, and her last release of the 1970s. (A fifth album, A Story, would be recorded in 1974, but not released until 1997). The entire album adopts a feminist theme, focusing on the plights of women in the 1970s. Its liner notes parody adult advertising, giving the telephone numbers, birthdates and vital statistics of the male band members. (John Lennon appears as “John O’Cean”, with his number listed as “Not For Sale”.)



You’ve heard of woman nation,
Well, that’s coming, baby.
What we need is the power of trust,
That it’s coming.
You’ve heard of the law of selection,
Well, that’s how we’re gonna do it, baby.
We allow men who wanna join us
The rest can just stay by themselves.


Two thousand years of male society,
Laying fear and tyranny.
Seeking grades and money,
Clinging to values vain and phony.


Do you know that one day you lost your way, man?
Do you know that some day you have to pay, man?
Have you anything to say, man, except
“make no mistake about it, I’m the president, you hear?
I wanna make one thing clear, I’m the president, you hear? ”


You don’t hear them singing songs,
You don’t see them living life,
’cause they’ve got nothing to say, but
“make no mistake about it, I’m the president, you hear?
I wanna make one thing clear, I’m the president, you hear? ”


You may be the president now,
You may still be a man.
But you must also be a human,
So open up and join us in living.


In the coming age of feminine society,
We’ll regain our human dignity.
We’ll lay some truth and clarity
And bring back nature’s beauty.


Ev’ry woman has a song to sing,
Ev’ry woman has a story to tell.
Make no mistake about it, brothers,
We women have the power to move mountains.


Did you have to cook the meals?
Did you have to knit?
Did you have to care for life instead of killing?
There’s no mistake about it, sisters,
We women have the power to change the world.


[Dedicated to H.K.]

John Lennon – Watching the Wheels (1981)

“Watching the Wheels” is a single by John Lennon released posthumously in 1981 after his murder. The B-side features Yoko Ono’s “Yes, I’m Your Angel.” It was the third and final single released from Lennon and Ono’s album Double Fantasy album, and reached number 10 in the US and number 30 in the UK. In “Watching the Wheels” Lennon addresses those who were confounded by his “househusband” years, 1975–1980. During this period, he “retired” from the music industry to concentrate on raising his son Sean with Ono. The acoustic demo of “Watching the Wheels” is featured in the ending credits to the 2009 film Funny People. The song features a hammered dulcimer accompanying the lead piano. The photograph on the cover was taken by Paul Goresh, a fan of Lennon who also took the infamous photo of Lennon signing a copy of Double Fantasy for his killer, Mark David Chapman. Both photos were taken at the same place, in front of the Dakota building, which was the site of his 1980 shooting. Later, Chapman was recorded in police custody reciting the line “People say I’m crazy” from the song.


Written by: Lennon
Recorded: 6 August-13 October 1980
Producers: John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Jack Douglas

Album Released: 17 November 1980
Single Released: 13 March 1981 (US); 27 March 1981 (UK)

John Lennon: vocals, keyboards
Earl Slick, Hugh McCracken: electric guitar
Tony Levin: bass guitar
George Small: keyboards
Michelle Simpson, Cassandra Wooten, Cheryl Mason Jacks, Eric Troyer: backing vocals
Andy Newmark: drums
Matthew Cunningham: hammer dulcimer
Arthur Jenkins: percussion

Available on:

  • Double Fantasy
  • Power To The People – The Hits
  • John Lennon Anthology
  • Acoustic


FaltyDL – She Sleeps (2013)

She Sleeps is the second single from FaltyDL‘s coming-of-age masterpiece, Hardcourage, and perhaps the centrepiece of the album. The only vocal song on the full length, “She Sleeps” features a brilliant, haunting turn from the Friendly Fires’ Ed Macfarlane. Mysterious, tender and reflective, his lyrics weave around the driving, purposeful percussion and a melody that’s singularly exploratory and gentle. The single comes with a remix package that more than does justice to the quality of the original. Holland’s electronic pioneer Martyn has reworked the track into a writhing, muscular dancefloor stomp. Gang Gang Dance need no introduction, and their take on the song proves why once more. Lifting the inter beauty of the song to the fore, they’ve turned it into an opus of rich texture and uplifting, melancholic melody. Ital is the solo moniker of Planet Mu’s Daniel Martin-McCormick, and his remix takes things a touch darker and industrial edged, warping the melody into something altogether more ominous. Finally, exuberant London boogie-ists 2000Black have worked “She Sleeps” into a deep, hypnotic soulful groove. [Source]


Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Sacrilege (2013)

After the hi-fi pop leanings of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ 2009 album It’s Blitz – a release marked by the fact that guitarist Nick Zinner barely picked up his chosen instrument – lead singer Karen O promised fans a scrappier, more rough-and-ready followup, similar in tone to their debut, Fever to Tell. “It’s extremely lo-fi,” Karen O told Pitchfork last month of the band’s latest effort, Mosquito. “We had a shitty drum machine, a shitty sampled keyboard, tons of delay on the vocals.” And so what makes Sacrilege, the album’s first single, such a curveball is that it opens in a fairly muted style, with Karen O’s multitracked vocals weaving eerily in and out of a fuzzy bassline and Zinner’s distant guitar scratches. Like Gold Lion, which quietly opened the campaign for second album Show Your Bones, it’s a slow-burn success that builds confidently, taking the listener along for the ride as opposed to giving away its treats immediately. Just as it seems to be settling into its own skin, however, a 24-piece gospel choir starts to bubble up from beneath the surface. Seemingly lifted from Madonna’s Like a Prayer and plonked into the song’s final minute, it’s a brilliantly unexpected addition, and as Karen O and the choir chant “sacrilege, sacrilege, sacrilege you say” during the song’s final 10 seconds, all that talk about lo-fi recordings using a tin can and a bit of string seems a bit nonsensical. [Source]


Depeche Mode – Heaven (2013)


“I want people to feel good about listening to this record, to get some kind of peace. It’s just got something magical about it.” – Martin L. Gore

Heaven [official web site] is Depeche Mode’s 50th UK single, and the first taken from their thirteenth studio album Delta Machine. Listen to the single on the official Depeche Mode Vimeo channel via the radio station KROQ here. Listen to a podcast of a KROQ radio show with Dave Gahan as guest here.

The tracklisting for the “Heaven” CD single is as follows:

“Heaven” CD SINGLE:
1 – Heaven
2 – All That’s Mine (b side bonus track)

“Heaven” CD MAXI:
1 – Heaven
2 – Heaven (Owlle Remix)
3 – Heaven (steps to heaven rmx)
4 – Heaven (Blawan Remix)
5 – Heaven (Mathew Dear vs Audion Remix)

Press clips:

Fun fact:

Note the Mute logo on the Columbia Records/Sony Music release.





The Dictators – Faster and Louder (1978)

In the late 70s, NYC punk godfathers, the Dictators, brought down the house at CBGBs with this raw, hardcore song. Bloodbrothers is the third album by The Dictators and their second after switching to the Asylum label. “Faster and Louder” features an uncredited guest appearance from Bruce Springsteen.


[via Petri H. Lundén]

Chicago – Saturday in the Park (1972)


“Saturday in the Park” is a song written by Robert Lamm and recorded by the group Chicago for their 1972 album Chicago V, with Lamm on piano and lead vocals and Peter Cetera on bass and backing vocals. The single version hit #3 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming the band’s highest-charting single to date and helping lift the album to #1 on the charts. The single was certified Gold by the RIAA.

According to fellow Chicago member Walter Parazaider, Lamm was inspired to write the song during the recording of V in New York City on July 4, 1971:

“Robert came back to the hotel from Central Park very excited after seeing the steel drum players, singers, dancers, and jugglers. I said, ‘Man, it’s time to put music to this!'”

The line “singing Italian songs” is followed by “Eh Cumpari” and then Italian-sounding nonsense words, in the studio version of the song, rendered in the printed lyrics as “?”. Piano/guitar/vocal sheet music arrangements have often read “improvised Italian lyrics” in parentheses after this line. However, in a film of Chicago performing “Saturday in the Park,” at the Arie Crown Theater in Chicago, in 1973, Robert Lamm clearly sings, “Eh Cumpari, ci vo sunari,” the first line of a song known as “Eh, Cumpari!”, which was made famous by Julius La Rosa in 1953. “Saturday in the Park” has also been used in a popular commercial in Japan, advertising a marketing campaign known as “Parkhouse”. The song is played at Saturday afternoon baseball games at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Yankee Stadium in New York, and Coors Field in Denver. Comedian Paul F. Tompkins has called it: “the least patriotic song in popular culture.”