Amanda Palmer: Amanda Palmer Performs the Popular Hits of Radiohead 0n Her Magical Ukulele


RIYL: The Dresden Dolls, Radiohead, Hawaiian music

A lot of bands have cribbed the “pay what you want” album release method from Radiohead since the release of In Rainbows. But Amanda Palmer has to be the first to do it with a Radiohead covers album.

Amanda Palmer Performs the Popular Hits of Radiohead on Her Magical Ukulele is just that, Amanda Palmer performing six of Radiohead’s most well-known songs on her ukulele, with the occasional piano and string accompaniment. Oddly enough, the songs of Radiohead lend themselves well to to these sparse renditions. On the openers “Fake Plastic Trees” and “High and Dry,” Palmer’s powerful voice add punch to the bleak lyrics, even when they’re accompanied by the naturally upbeat sound of ukulele plucking. Other times she doesn’t really have to do much the source material; nothing could make “No Surprises” bleaker, and the piano and ukulele arrangement here is nearly identical to the original. And “Exit Music (For a Film)” is straight cover of the original with piano and strings (not one of which sounds like a ukulele). “Idioteque” also captures the feel of the original well, with the manic breakbeats of the original transformed into lightning-fast finger-picking. The only time this goofy concept actually sounds goofy is during both versions of “Creep,” which just sound like novelty cover tracks.

If you like Amanda Palmer, or Radiohead, and want to see what a mad woman with a ukulele is capable of, then there are definitely worse ways to spend 84 cents (the minimal cost for buying the record). (AFP 2010)

Amanda Palmer website

  

Me, Myself, and iPod 4/14/10: Amanda Palmer, the blowjob queen

esd ipod

Big, big, big selection of free downloads this week. Let’s get to it, before any more songs show up.

Teenage Fanclub – Baby Lee
If your first impulse when you saw the words ‘Teenage Fanclub’ was to say something snarky like “They’re still making records?” – or worse, “Who’s Teenage Fanclub?” – may we suggest keeping your fool mouth shut and giving this tune a listen. They’re not as in love with the feedback as they were in their Bandwagonesque days, but this golden slice of sunny guitar pop has medicinal powers that those Jamba Juice energy boosts can only dream of.

Amanda Palmer – Do You Swear to Tell the Truth the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth So Help Your Black Ass
“When I was seventeen, I was a blowjob queen, picking up tips from the masters / I was so busy perfecting my art, I was clueless to what they were after / Now I’m still a blowjob queen, far more selectively / I don’t make love now to make people love me / But I don’t mind sharing my gift with the planet / We’re all gonna die, and a blowjob’s fantastic.” Note to self: arrange a meeting with Amanda Palmer.

Olney Clark – Tea and Thunderstorms
The orchestral pop market has been positively flooded with sensitive minstrels…really, really sensitive minstrels, if you know what we mean. (Most of them are sissies, all right?) This track from Olney Clark, a duo comprised of a Scot and a Yank, gets the balance just right. And better yet, it’s available in Amazon’s download store, even though the album is still only available as an import. Better move fast, though: those imports tend to get delisted pretty quickly.

Kate Miller-Heidke – Politics in Space
Take the drum beat from Johnny Cash’s “God’s Gonna Cut You Down” and give it to KT Tunstall’s well-read older sister, and this is what it would sound like. Love those lower register background vocals, and the stinging indictment, “The ’60s were 50 years ago, you know.” True, dat.

Emanuel and the Fear – Dear Friends
ELO, kiddies. And unlike Cheap Trick, we mean the pun in that first sentence, because any Lynnephiles will instantly take to this nifty piece of baroque pop.

Charlie Faye – Whirlwind
We will readily admit to approaching modern-day country with a healthy dose of skepticism; that country-pop stuff feels like a wolf in sheep’s clothing to us, which is why we’re happy to see someone like Charlie Faye come along. Her voice is weathered (yes, Charlie is a girl) but not whiskey-soaked, and she’s mounting a rather ambitious tour where she’ll spend a month in each city, form a band, play a show, and then move on to the next stop. We still haven’t heard her debut album Wilson St., but if it’s anything like “Whirlwind,” we’re sure going to check it out.

Echo & the Bunnymen – Proxy
As much as we love when the band takes the occasional detour into mellow groove territory like 1999’s What Are You Going to Do with Your Life, they’re at their best when they reach for the rafters. This song, from their album The Fountain, doesn’t scale the frenzied heights of songs like “Do It Clean,” but good luck getting that piano riff out of your head.

Codeiene Velvet Club – Hollywood
This swinging side project of Fratellis frontman Jon Fratelli is still in power rotation. A boy/girl album of songs that recall ’60s-era Hollywood, this shows that the Fratellis’ last album may not have hit the mark, but don’t write them off yet. Indeed, Codeine Velvet Club might be Fratelli’s finest moment yet.

Ex Norwegian – Fresh Pit
This Miami trio casually sent us a friend request on MySpace last week, and proceeded to knock our guitar pop socks off. We asked if they would send us their last album (they’re currently working on a new one), they did, and we were amazed at the band’s versatility. This tune should pacify those jonesing for Band of Horses’ upcoming album.

Deer Tick – Twenty Miles
Is it just us, or did about a dozen Deer bands hit the scene at the exact same time? Whatever the timing, there will be no mistaking Deer Tick from the rest of the pack after hearing this track from their upcoming album The Black Dirt Sessions. Singer John McCauley sounds like David Gray crossed with James Hetfield, and the band’s blend of Southern Gothic will have Joseph Arthur pissing with envy. Good stuff, this.

  

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