Mp3 Digest: August 23, 2006

Every Christmas morning, my mother would construct elaborate treasure hunts—one for me and one for my brother. We’d get a riddle whose solution would lead us to another spot in the house (or when she got elaborate, the subdivision), where we’d find an envelope that contained another riddle, and so on until we solved the final riddle, which would lead us to that year’s “best” present. One year, when I was seven, my brother, who is seven years older than me, received a Casio synthesizer with a built-in drum machine that had six different rhythms and a tempo control, 32 different preset sounds, and a keypad that produced a thick, fuzzy bass. “Rad” doesn’t begin to approach this instrument. I coveted it for an entire year.

The next Christmas, at the end my treasure hunt, I received my own synthesizer: a tiny, pink, toy one with no bass keys and no class. My father was waiting there to snap my photo when I found it, and I caught sight of him, then burst into tears. Not because he scared me, but because my keyboard sucked and so did Christmas.

When my brother left for college, I liberated the Casio from the top of his closet. Now it’s at the top of my closet, but I’m not crying about it.

» Hear “Dance Sweet Dracula” by Thrust Lab at 20 Jazz Funk Greats

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I recently wrote about “not-quite cover versions,” songs that are based on existing songs—and could even be the same song—but stand on their own, hardly inviting comparison to their original source music. Over at Moistworks, the Overton Berry Trio’s extraterrestrial, souled-up version of “Hey Jude” follows in this vein. (Don’t miss Ramsey Lewis’s “Dear Prudence” and “Cry Baby Cry” or Donny Hathaway’s “Jealous Guy” or the Wailers’ “And I Love Her” or—don’t miss any of it.)

» Hear Beatles soul covers at Moistworks

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If you ever thought you knew jazz flute, you did not know it until you heard the Kashmere Stage Band’s cover of the “Theme From Shaft.” Now you know jazz flute. Brilliant stuff.

» Hear the Kashmere Stage Band at Gorilla vs. Bear

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If you like early ‘90s guitar rock like My Bloody Valentine, Smashing Pumpkins, and even Swervedriver, you will like Silversun Pickups. But if you totally love Silversun Pickups but don’t know who any of those other bands are, then don’t worry about it. (Didn’t your dad listen to Smashing Pumpkins?) Silversun Pickups’ new video is the bees’ knees, though.

» Watch the Silversun Pickups’ video for “Well Thought Out Twinkles” at Blown by the Wind

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With Lollapalooza back in business, it’s 15 years ago all over again. It’s enough to make you drop your smart drink—but wait, it wasn’t all silly. Remember Dinosaur Jr.’s version of “Just Like Heaven?”

» Hear Dinosaur Jr. live from Lollapalooza 1993 at rbally

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Viva Voce, who will soon be touring with Silversun Pickups, are getting a lot of attention right now. The anthemic “We Do Not Fuck Around” is a good reason why. It’s like “We Will Rock You” but for indie-rock types who play soccer in blue jeans. And expensive blue jeans, so watch out.

» Hear “We Do Not Fuck Around” by Viva Voce at Earfarm

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Album of the Week: The Thermals’ new album, The Body, The Blood, The Machine, was released yesterday. Political music that’s crappy is too frequent—though never acceptable—but the Thermals are relevant no matter who’s in the White House.

» Hear “Test Pattern” by the Thermals at My Old Kentucky Blog


Andrew Womack is a founding editor of The Morning News. He is always working on the next installment of the Albums of the Year series at TMN. More by Andrew Womack

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