There’s a couple of records that have been calling out to us lately. The first is from the young Jasmine van den Bogaerde who’s better known as Birdy. She was the winner of UK’s popular music competition, Open Mic in 2008…and that’s when she was only 12. Now firmly planted in her teens, Birdy is really taking off. To allow herself more time to hone her songwriting skills…and still finish her homework, she chose to release a collection of cover tunes for her self titled debut. It was her version of Bon Iver’s “Skinny Girl” that first started turning heads and made her a bit of a YouTube sensation. Covers like the toned down Phoenix tune “1901” (see the video below) show off her high taste level as well as remarkable vocal talent. You may also recognize her striking voice from the age appropriate soundtracks from The Hunger Games and Brave. If this is what’s she’s capable of now, just imagine what she’ll accomplish by the time she’s 21.
The other has been at this a little longer with several albums under his belt. He’s Andrew Bird, the one man band that makes whistling and violin picking look like second nature. His latest Break it Yourself is the answer to those who think all new music sounds the same. He’s highly regarded in indie music circles and his work is often described as magical. Anyone who can whistle and fiddle like this…and even be known to rock a glockenspiel…is an artist of the highest order. His 8 minute “Hole in the Ocean Floor” is one of those songs that if you heard it late at night back when FM radio ruled, you’d be forever altered, to the point you’d still be talking about it 30 years later. These days, you’ll just have to settle for catching the YouTube video.
We’ve all known of Willie Nelson’s rock star status for some time but seeing his son Lukas following so closely in his footsteps came as a bit of a surprise. He’s a key player throughout Willie’s new record Heroes which features a number of interesting duets including “Roll Me Up” with no other than Snoop Dog. As expected from Willie and friends like Kris Kristofferson and Sheryl Crow, it’s all good stuff but this smokin’ hot version of Pearl Jam’s “Just Breathe” with Lukas riding shotgun with his dad is through the roof. The song choice, all Lukas’ idea, is brilliant and the family resemblance is startling. If at all possible, looks like Lukas may have taken his old man’s already high scoring game and lifted it up a notch or two. Now put that in your Father’s Day pipe and smoke it! From the record Heroes, here’s Willie and Lukas Nelson with “Just Breathe:”
They’re the super hot new band to come out of Iceland and they call themselves Of Monsters and Men. Their stock began to rise in 2010 when they won their country’s music competition but it’s when their song “Little Talks” began getting airplay in the U.S. that things began to really pop. Their debut record was released here last month and they recently made their first TV appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. Though folksier than fellow citizens Bjork and Sigor Ros/Jonsi, their Icelandic roots still show. It’s sort of like Bjork meets Mumford and Sons…and they completely hit it off. Their video for “Little Talks” has already gotten over 5 million views so you don’t want to be left out in the cold. From their album My Head Is An Animal here’s Of Monsters and Men:
It is with great sadness that we honor the passing of Donna Summer today. She’s a legendary voice who left an indelible stamp on the sound of an era. Our own podcast king spoke with The Queen of Disco in 2008 as she was about to release Crayons, her first solo recording in 17 years. At the time, she was very optimistic about her new work and she shared her creative process and inspirations for the new and varied collection of songs (Listen to the Crayons podcast here).
While most will remember her by mega hits like “Last Dance,” “I Feel Love,” “Bad Girls” and “On the Radio,” this record should not be overlooked. It’s some of her best and most personal work and it’s an uplifting collection of music. As she states in the four part podcast series, “My songs are never dead, they’ re only sleeping and I never know when they’ll wake up and begin to breathe.” It is our wish that maybe these songs will take on a new life and carry her shining torch. She also added, “To my last breath I want to be a fire in my life.” RIP, Donna Summer. You’re spirit burns forever bright. From the record Crayons, here is the inspiring “Stamp Your Feet:”
There’s a lot to be said about Bonnie Raitt’s new record Slipstream. It’s comes after a seven year recording hiatus and it marks the launch of her new label Redwing Records. She hooked up with free thinking producer Joe Henry, she’s added some new faces to her lineup including one of our favorite guitarists, Bill Frisell and it’s filled with some really nice material including a couple of Dylan tunes.
But if the only thing you knew about it was the first single, you’d still be sold. It’s her cover of Gerry Rafferty’s “Right Down The Line” and if you’ve been following along with us here at boomitude, you know we take our cover tunes very seriously and this is a brilliant choice. It was a great song when it was first released in 1978, it’s still a great song today and the added reggae offers a good twist. It’s one of those songs that every time you hear, you’re amazed how it never seems to age. Much like the four decade music legend you see performing it below. In her first music video in fourteen years, here is the luminous Bonnie Rait with “Right Down The Line:”
Whenever we come across new music that really grabs us, we like to send it your way. This band is called Polica and they’re just starting to make some noise. They got the young hipster crowd’s attention at SXSW and now the rest of the real world is catching on.
Singer songwriter Channy Leaneagh has ties to GAYNGS and Bon Iver, two bands we gave you a heads up on last year and popular frontman Justin Vernon has been really singing her praises. Channy’s voice has a lovely ethereal quality that is enhanced by a vocal tuner. Not because she can’t sing but because it makes for an interesting effect. Some people may have a problem with that but it speaks to their contemporary signature sound. She might be the heartbeat of the band but it’s the dualing drummers that we’re totally diggin’ on right here. From their debut album Give You The Ghost, here’s Polica with “The Maker:”