Robert Levon Been of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club recently got a privilege that few musicians ever get: to pay tribute to his family’s recording legacy by performing the tunes himself. Been’s father, Michael Been, was part of the Call, a band who in an eight-year stretch recorded seven LPs—an impressive run by any metric.
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With a dusky voice and a visual flair not unlike the kind seen in the music videos of Lana Del Rey, Sara Jackson-Holman took to Oregon’s beautiful coastline to film the alluring music video for the title track off of her latest release, River Queen. Tastefully accented with pizzicato strings and horns, “River Queen” has a hook that’s pure pop in its contagious appeal, but its moodiness adds an appropriately ominous sense of mystery to the tune.
Jackson-Holman says of the song, “The making of ‘River Queen’ was an amazing experience. The song explores the desire to be everything to someone, to be a catalyst for healing and for getting in deep—wanting and embracing the good and the bad. It’s definitely a love song, but from the vantage point of a woman who is confident and commanding about her dreams and the way in which she will love, and that’s what we wanted to come across in the video by making it dreamy, romantic, and warm. We shot the video over a couple days at the Oregon Coast, one of my favorite places in the world.”
During their recent tour of the US, the British pop/rock sensations Kaiser Chiefs took to a rooftop in Brooklyn to perform a tune from their latest record. The song, the wistful “Coming Home”, benefits from a largely acoustic arrangement; though the pulsating bass of the original version is missed, the acoustic guitars bring a heightened emotionality to this already solid ballad.
In his review of Peter Himmelman‘s 2005 album Imperfect World, Matt Cibula writes, “Imperfect World sounds like the work of someone who has a lot of things to say, and doesn’t much care in what order he says them.” Years later, there’s something that rings true about that assessment. Himmelman, famous for being the son-in-law of Bob Dylan, has never shied away from mystery and confusion in his work, and all the better for it. As the story behind the new video for his song “Too Afraid to Lose” attests, there’s great songwriting potential to be found in the unexpressable.
Anyone who has ever jammed with a couple of friends in a garage or a basement will immediately feel at home upon spinning “Dead in a Graveyard”, the latest tune by the Birmingham, Alabama rock outfit Dirty Lungs. From its shouted, simplistic chorus, to its rough-around-the-edges guitar distortion, and especially its improvisatory-sounding guitar solo, the song has all the hallmarks of a gritty, lo-fi rock tune. It’s no surprise that this quartet has become a staple in the Birmingham music scene; the vitality and energy in Dirty Lungs’ songwriting is palpable, even in the quick burst that is “Dead in a Graveyard”.
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