Soulive: Rubber Soulive

RIYL: The Beatles, G Love & Special Sauce

There is a reason why so many artists have taken a whack at the Beatles’ catalog – it quite literally has something for everyone, which is why everyone from Aretha Franklin to Motley Crue have covered them. Curiously, despite the fact that they were a driving force behind a million pop acts, it’s the soul singers that have gotten the most mileage out of their material. This makes perfect sense, really; before Brian Wilson came along, Paul McCartney wanted to be Little Richard.

Enter New York jazz funk hounds Soulive, who have tackled songs from both ends of the Beatles spectrum (the soul singers tended to stick to the earlier material) for Rubber Soulive, finding the funk in even the more white-bread songs in the Fab Four’s catalog. One wonders if the band heard the Beastie Boys’ cover of the Jam’s “Start!,” because the goings here are very similar in nature, though Soulive clearly have musicianship on their side. Their version of “In My Life” is surprisingly soulful, and Eric Krasno does as good an impression of George Harrison (on guitar, that is) as you’re likely to hear. Sometimes the band seems to be trying harder than the song deserves (“Eleanor Rigby,” “Revolution”), and as nifty as their arrangements are, they don’t exactly make any of these songs their own, as a certain “American Idol” judge is fond of saying. Still, it’s a perfectly enjoyable trip through the finest catalog in music, and the kind of thing that will likely land as backing music in movies for years to come. (Royal Family Recordings 2010)

Soulive MySpace page
Click to buy Rubber Soulive from Amazon


Seen Your Video: The Coral, “More Than a Lover”

Their new album Butterfly House is still one of the top ‘holy shit, we didn’t see that one coming’ moments of the year, and the love parade keeps rolling on with second single and Butterfly House opening track “More Than a Lover.” The video’s another ’60s-ish pastiche of quick cuts, backwards film, and silhouette shots of singer James Skelly against the mooon. And check out that chorus – does anyone else hear America when that comes up?


Me, Myself, and iPod 7/21/10: Elefants with guitars, robots with out holes

esd ipod

Hesta Prynn – Can We Go Wrong
Formerly of “female Beastie Boys” Northern State – and the author of this great couplet: “If you got a sweat suit and you’re dripping in diamonds / Tell me, are you a rapper, or a mom from Long Island?” – the girl her mom calls Julie Potash goes the indie pop route on her debut EP of the same name as this song.

Yacht – Nausea
Their 2009 song “Afterlife” beat every other synth-pinking wannabe act all to hell, and as they prepare to make their next record, they’ve recorded an X song, just in case we didn’t already know that they get the ’80s in ways that most other bands only dare to dream.

Diego Garcia – You Were Never There
Forsaking the full-blown glam of his previous day job Elefant for something closer to his heritage, Garcia delivers a gorgeous acoustic gem that sounds like a modern-day “Walk Away Renee.” Man, we hope the rest of his first full-length album, due next year, is on par with this.

PVT – Window
We will confess to being new to the band formerly known as Pivot, but if their new material has the drive and flair of this song, we’re in.

Radio FreQ – Where You Been
New York ’80s synth pop with a bit more…fabulousness, if you catch our drift. And look, more silly capitalization. We get it, Eq, blah blah blah, but still, enough already. Just spell the damn name in a manner that doesn’t give people splitting headaches. And while we’re on the subject of band names…

Shit Robot – I Found Love (TBD Remix)
Naming your band is a lot harder than people think. It’s your invisible handshake, the first impression that makes people decide whether or not they wish to get to know you better. The name needs to be something catchy but not annoying, and no matter what kind of music you play, the name should still maintain a sense of accessibility.

Which is why we laughed out loud when we learned that someone concluded that the best possible name for his band was Shit Robot. Well played, sir.


The Coral: Butterfly House

RIYL: The Zutons, Super Furry Animals, The Moody Blues

One can’t help but feel a little bad for the Coral. Once tabbed as England’s best new band, their profile of late on the other side of the pond has been so far below the radar that even the Anglophiles on the staff had not thought of them in a good six or seven years. Look for that to change with Butterfly House, the band’s sixth album and first in three years. Singer James Skelly has traded in the Burdon-esque bluesy growl from the band’s debut for a smooth, harmony-drenched crispness that could serve as the backing track to your neighbor’s home movies of a fall weekend in the late ’60s. Lead single “1000 Years” offers a little bit of everything you can expect from Butterfly House as a whole – effects-heavy vocals (a watery flange in this case), a catchy mid-tempo groove, and a sudden burst of guitar, all tastefully played and expertly recorded by UK music legend John Leckie. There is an admitted sameness to the material, but the mood of the album strikes such a strong emotional chord that it’s difficult to complain. One of the biggest, and best, surprises of the year. (Indie Europe 2010)

The Coral MySpace page
Click to buy Disconnect from Desire from Amazon


Me, Myself, and iPod 6/23/10: A literal animal collective

esd ipod

!!! – AM/FM
I am admittedly late to the !!! party, as I spent a good year trying to figure out how to even say the band’s name (Jason Thompson finally set me straight by going “Ch-ch-ch”), but after hearing this Frankie Goes to Hollywood-sampling number – and if it’s not Frankie, it’s gotta be something produced by Trevor Horn – you can bet I’ll be keeping an eye on them going forward.

Joemca – Big Dreams
It’s like a glitchy Bruce Springsteen song. That’s a good thing, by the way.

Brock Enright – Maybe
Blissed out Jesus and Mary Chain? Sounds good to me.

Marco Benevento – Greenpoint
There are few things that make me roll my eyes faster than seeing “sound sculptor” in quotes in a press release. Having said that, this is a neat little instrumental.

Unicycle Loves You – Mirror, Mirror
I wrote a piece a while back about how band names have gone to shit. I cited Unicycle Loves You as an example of this. Their fans let me have it, though in a playful way, unlike the unfiltered hostility that one normally finds on the web. A few weeks later, the band sent me a friend request on MySpace. Had to give them points for that. Now they have a new album, and wouldn’t you know it, I like the first single. Still hate the band name, though.

The Rattles – Wavy Lane
These guys are animals. Literally. The album cover shows a cat, a hippo, a lizard and a goat. Not sure if this is just another Wiggles act or a really meta joke, but the song will have Nuggets fans dancing in their seats.


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