Yet another reason to like Beck

Record Club: Songs Of Leonard Cohen “Suzanne” from Beck Hansen on Vimeo.

I don’t know how I missed out on this character. In retrospect, it’s understandable. Growing up in the 90s, my first memorable experiences with music were from the albums my dad played around the house, the pop rock radio stations my mom listened to, and bands my friends and I got wind of that we thought were cool. Thus, my tape cassette collection from that period includes everything from the Offspring, Green Day, Weird Al Yankovic, 311, Bush, Boyz II Men, and Mariah Carey. I was all over the place. I could bob my head to the majestic sounds of the Beatles, rock out to Green Day, geek out to Weird Al, and privately sing Boyz II Men with outright embarrassment. Needless to say, I didn’t have an older brother to show me the way. On that note, one musician I’m sure said brother would have introduced me to was Beck. I’ve listened to his late-90s album Mutations all week, simply happy that my own musical instincts gradually led me to his catalogue.

Well, it’s 2009, and Beck has now been on the scene for quite a while. Rather than rest on his laurels, he’s decided to take on any odd or challenging project he sees fit. We previously announced that he’s writing Charlotte Gainsbourg’s new album which will keep his musical ambitions in check. However, Beck has also managed to create one of the coolest web pages I’ve seen for any musician or band. One section, called Irrelevant Topics, has Beck chatting it up with Tom Waits and Will Ferrell about various topics. Recently, Beck’s added a feature called the Record Club where he gathers a group of musicians to cover a classic album in one day. Previously, Beck’s cohorts tackled The Velvet Underground & Nico. Now, he’s recruited Devendra Banhart, MGMT, Binki Shapiro from Little Joy, and Brian Lebarton and Bram Inscore from his touring band to channel Songs of Leonard Cohen. The first track, “Suzanne,” has just been posted.

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Charlotte Gainsbourg + Beck = an album I will buy


Beautiful French actress/musician Charlotte Gainsbourg is probably most familiar to American audiences by way of Michel Gondry’s film “The Science of Sleep,” in which she played the female lead. Muisc nerds, film buffs, and all of France, however, knows her as the daughter of Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin. So far, she’s only released two albums in her entire career and they’ve each contained the pop goodness that her father always brought to the table. Having previously worked with Jarvis Cocker and Nigel Godrich, Gainsbourg isn’t done collaborating with qualified musicians as it’s been confirmed that Beck wrote all of the new record’s music, some of the lyrics, and produced and mixed the tracks. Hm, Charlotte’s voice and Beck’s musicianship together? Sign me up.

Daughter of legendary French songwriter Serge Gainsbourg, Charlotte Gainsbourg worked with Air, Jarvis Cocker and The Divine Comedy in the making of her debut album 5:55, and she hasn’t scaled down the contributor notoriety for her forthcoming follow-up LP. On KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic, Beck revealed that he’s currently working on Gainsbourg’s second album in Los Angeles and Paris.

“I was supposed to work on her last album, but I couldn’t get over there,” Beck said. “Now I’m working on her follow-up record.”

The album, entitled IRM (French for MRI), is set for a January release.


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