Married musicians Josh Ritter and Dawn Landes entertain with a performance of “Southern Pacifica” in their Brooklyn apartment. The song is from Ritter’s new album, So Runs the World Away, just released this week.
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Theresa Andersson may be Swedish, but she has Americana deep in her bones. So, it’s fitting that she uprooted herself from Scandinavia and planted her flag deep in New Orleans at age 18 to play her fiddle with Anders Osborne. On “Oh Mary”, a classic black spiritual from the pre-Civil War era that Mike Farris recently virtually claimed as his own in a smokin’ version, Andersson takes a jazzier, but still soulful approach to the tune. She loops her emotive fiddle licks through a synthesizer and does the same thing with her voice towards the end to achieve a choral effect. This clip is from the recent DVD release Theresa Andersson: Live at Le Petit, available at theresaandersson.com.
That the TeenBeat label is commemorating its 26th anniversary is definitely something worth celebrating: So, even if it has been left behind by 1990s indie peers like Matador and Merge in terms of cultural relevance and marketplace success, TeenBeat continues to deliver quirky pop and a total artistic experience on a DIY budget. In honor of the label’s more than a quarter century in existence, its signature act Unrest is playing a series of East Coast shows this July, supported by on the bills by various combinations of TeenBeat’s best-known cult favorites like Versus and the Rondelles. Plus, TeenBeat honcho Mark Robinson is back with yet another post-Unrest project, Cotton Candy, which released an album earlier this year. Go to the TeenBeat anniversary site for the details on who’s playing when. For a sampling of all the superfast strumming you’re in store for on the mini-tour, check out the YouTube video below of a vintage Unrest performance from 1993.
Any project featuring one of the world’s most famous opera singers reinterpreting the songs of Arcade Fire, Band of Horses, and the Mars Volta must rate pretty high on any WTF scale, right? But that’s just what Renée Fleming is doing on Dark Hope, which could be pretty compelling whether you’re interested in the vocal pyrotechnics or the possibility of a stylistic trainwreck. If the song samples in the promo video are any indication, it sounds like today’s art rock hits might make for tomorrow’s easy listening, as Fleming puts the diva in emo on numbers by Death Cab for Cutie and Muse. And maybe we don’t need another version of “Hallelujah” even if it’s performed by the best singer alive, something that Fleming herself seems to appreciate in the video. But as the promo attests, one thing you have to give Fleming credit for is taking this somewhat absurd idea seriously. Dark Hope will be released on June 8, while Fleming’s cover of Muse’s “Endlessly” is already available at iTunes.
Band of Horses have been dropping a steady trail of bread crumbs toward the May 18 release of their third album, Infinite Arms, with videos for the songs “Compliments” and “NW Apt”. Now we’ve got a four-and-a-half-minute teaser about the making of the album, featuring an expanded band line-up and what appears to be a significant lightening-up of frontman Ben Bridwell, who has a reputation for being “difficult”. The new songs sound great and Bridwell seems genuinely excited about the prospect of this album being a much more collaborative effort than past Band of Horses releases.