[Cover up] Call me Maybe

Call Me Maybe is a great pop song. It has midi strings, a ridiculously  catchy chorus and it’s even possible to look past the average verses. but if you’re one of those people who are ashamed of liking pop music, here are some Call Me Maybe cover that it’s okay to like.

 

Firstly, here’s the version fun. did live on Dutch radio. It’s not a huge departure from the original, but as a big fan of The Format (their old band, do yourself a favour, they’re great) it’s been in high rotation. Also love that they used the midi strings, which is one of the best things about the original.

If you like your pop songs a little darker, Ben Howard did a a great folk version on Live Lounge. He managed to turn the cheesy pop song into something that extends beyond novelty value and it completely fits his style.

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Music News Round-Up 28/05/2012

In recent months we’ve had The Vengaboys, Hanson, Aqua and S Club 3 tours Australia. However if you haven’t had enough of a nineties nostalgia fix, Everclear will be touring Australia in October.

The band haven’t been to Australia in fourteen years and have a new album due out later this year, which if the current trend of 90s bands continues, will be a little bit rubbish.

Wednesday 10th October – Cooly Hotel, Coolangatta
Thursday 11th October – HiFi, Brisbane
Friday 12th October – HiFi, Sydney
Saturday 13th October – HiFi, Melbourne
Sunday 14th October – Capitol, Perth

The National have recorded a song for the Game of Thrones soundtrack. I’ve never seen the show so have no idea how it relates to the storyline etc but the song itself is pretty menacing.

Rufus Wainwright will also be coming to Australia in September following the release of his latest album Out of the Game. 

Saturday 8th September – Canberra Theatre, Canberra
Sunday 9th September – Opera House – Concert Hall, Sydney
Wednesday 12th September – QPAC Concert Hall, Brisbane
Saturday 15th September – Hamer Hall, Arts Centre Melbourne
Monday 17th September – Her Majesty’s Theatre, Adelaide
Wednesday 19th September – Riverside Theatre, Perth

Boy & Bear @ The Forum 16/05/2012

You can always tell when a band has made it when the bogans in the crowd outnumber the hipsters, and for Boy & Bear’s sold-out show at The Forum that was definitely the case. The band were solid, the Jim Beam was flowing and the venue, as always, was lovely.

If the Stonefield theory is to be believed, Jungle Giants will be massive. With an average age of 17.5 and a track on high Triple J rotation, their jangly indie pop won over most of the crowd.  Bass player Andrew Dooris contributed to about 90% of their stage presence, while guitarist Cesira Aitken stood motionless on the other side of the stage. It was a strange sight that dampened the excited of watching a female guitarist but given the size of the venue, nerves could certainly be a factor. Mr Polite went off and was a fitting end to a solid set.

Boy & Bear walked on stage to ominous music and for the first time, a background which was one of the more interesting aspects of the show.

The thing is, Boy & Bear make pleasant music. It sounds good in supermarkets or on national youth broadcasters but when watching them  live it becomes clear how much their music all sounds the same. There’s no conviction or passion, or anything that you would hope to see from a band who play vaguely folky music.

That said, Their sound  translates well to stage and they are growing as live performers. Rabbit Song kicked things off with a decent amount of reverb on the vocals and Lordy May got a few members of the crowd excited. The middle of set slumped as they only have a limited amount of material and their new song Three Headed Woman was nothing to write home about. And Dave Hosking apologised for swearing in it. How scandalous.

Fall At Your Feet was the highlight of the set, both in terms of it being a classic song and crowd involvement. The inclusions of Neil Young’s Heart of Gold in the middle added a nice touch.

The latter part of the set was more inspiring with a string of their most popular songs. Feeding Line, and the double whammy of Mexican Mavis and Golden Jubilee was a satisfying end to a solid, but largely uninteresting set.

The Mountain Goats @ The Corner Hotel 10/05/2011

Photo: Ben Christensen

With songs about dysfunctional relationships, child abuse and a decent sprinkling of biblical references, it would be easy to assume Mountain Goats shows would be a sombre affair. Instead Thursday night’s show at The Corner felt like a massive party dedicated to shouting lyrics back at the stage, great banter and swooning during each song. And I loved every minute of it.

Catherine Traicos and the Starry Night kicked things off, but failed to grab the restless crowd’s attention. Her mellow folk songs were nice but given the anticipation for the headliner’s set, they acted as background music. Despite her efforts to entertain the crowd with her between song banter, it was hard not to think that she would be better in a headlining show.

Opening with In Memory of Satan, the first of many from the upcoming Transcendental Youth album, the Mountain Goats completely captivated the sold-out crowd.

Photo: Ben Christensen

The setlist drew from a number of the band’s 17 albums, with a heavy emphasis on fan favourites The Sunset Tree and Tallahassee.

See America Right saw the former acoustic lo-fi band in full-blown rock mode and Birth of Serpents

A brief solo part of the set was extended at Darnielle’s insistence as the crowd sang along to Jenny, The Colour in You Cheeks and You or Your Memory.

It’s clear that The Mountain Goats have the ability to move people. Between the girl on my left gasping at the start of each song, the tall guy up the front who knew every single lyric, and the countless song requests, to the uninitiated it probably looked like a scene out of Jesus Camp

The band also seemed to be enjoying themselves and by the end of the night it was hard to tell if the audience or John Darnielle was having more fun.

The new tracks Transcendental Youth and The Diaz Bothers were both catchy and incredibly well received, with the former being a piano based ballad that caused maximum swooning up the front.

The final part of the set went well into singalong territory. Love Love Love got a great reaction and This Year went off completely.

The band’s no planned encore policy lead to a conference about how to play Never Quite Free and the most entertaining  tuning I have ever seen (Nobody would probably object if the band chose to release Guitar Explorations part 2).

The band left us with No Children and as we hurled insults at each other it was clear that there was no place anyone in the room would rather be.


Photos are by Ben Christensen. He’s a camera master and has a gig photography blog: bensgigs.tumblr.com

The Magnetic Fields- Love at the Bottom of the Sea

In 1999 The Magnetic Fields released 69 Love Songs, a triple album that did just what it said on the packet. What was remarkable about this album, aside from its scope, was the witty songwriting, genre hopping and clever use of synths. Over 10 years after its release it is still considered a classic and has the magical ability to make indie fans froth at the mouth.

In the time since 69 Love Songs and Love at the Bottom of the Sea the Magnetic Fields set themselves new sonic challenges. All of the titles on began with that letter and Distortion and Realism saw the band explore lo-fi scuzz and acoustic instruments respectively. While they were all interesting listens, even just for what they said about pop music, they we more miss than hit.

Love at the Bottom of the Sea was billed as a return to form. More synths, a return to Merge records and for the first time in over a decade, no concept tying the songs together. Unfortunately the result is less than triumphant.

For a thirty minute album, it sure feels long. The synths may be back, but they’re applied so liberally that the result is a muddy, confusing mess that ruins perfectly good melodies. It’s hard to resist the urge to rip out your headphones in frustration.

There are signs of what this album could have been. Andrew In Drag is three minutes of pure pop perfection, with lyrics detailing unrequited love for a drag queen who did it as a joke. With cleaner production and a singalong chorus it could easily qualify for love song number 70.

Your Girlfriend’s Face is delightfully vengeful and is reminiscent of Carlifornia Girls from 2008’s distortion. Quick is the most sincere sounding song on the album and features a line about the mating calls of sarcastic sharks, which is everything you could ever want from a Magnetic Fields track.

But on the other hand, you have tracks like I’d go Anywhere With Hugh which tires the moment you get the joke (and chances are you just did) and All She Cares About Is Marachi, a ponderous ode to terrible rhyming. Infatuation (With Your Gyration) sounds like a Depeche Mode parody songs while Machine in Your Hand is about a smartphone. You read that right.

While Magnetic Fields albums are always a mix of throwaway joke tracks and emotional songs that are worthy of more listens, previous albums have had a balance of the two. I wish I could say the same for Love at the Bottom of the Sea. If you’re a fan, the few decent songs are worth a listen or five. But in reality, it’s probably best to put 69 Love Songs on instead.