David Gray just released his new greatest hits album, which has two new tracks on it including his current single, "The World to Me," available only on iTunes.
But big fans who already have all his albums will be happy to know that he also just released a live album full of covers on his website. I've been listening to it a lot, and it's very good. All the tracks are pretty low-key, most of them just David and his guitar, some backed by Clune and his band. It seems that this is a collection of the covers that Gray plays for a little change-of-pace at his live shows. The sound of the crowds suggests smaller arenas (which is really all he plays anyway--relative to most musicians of his popularity), and contributes to the intimate feel of these songs.
I've always thought of David Gray as my generation's Bob Dylan, because I consider him the best lyricist since Dylan (if you don't believe me, listen to/read his earlier albums especially). It's fitting, then, that this album's title is named after Bob Dylan's song "One Too Many Mornings." It's also very interesting to see what Gray's influences are, at least to the extent that he covers these artists (three by Dylan and two by Springsteen, among various others).
Download the album here on his website's store.
Friday, November 2, 2007
Being attractive definitely helps in the music business, for better or worse. I checked out this new girl group because I saw their pictures in one of my latest issues of Spin, which had all these accolades littered around their polka-dot dresses and sexy poses. Good decision! (This wasn't the first time I've found a musician I've liked based on their looks, but hey, you've got to sort through all the music out there somehow, right?)
Anyway The Pipettes are Riot Becki, Gwenno, and Rosay. They are backed by a four-piece band called The Casettes, and hail from the UK. Unfortunately I won't be able to see them in Chicago in a couple weeks, but if you have the chance I hear they put on quite the show, complete with coordinated outfits and dance moves.
Okay, their music. Apparently these girls (who write, sing, and switch off on the keyboards) / the band (led and managed by the guitarist Monster Bobby) thought that the music scene in the UK the last few years sucked (I wonder if the local radios over there are any worse than most of the garbage on ours...), and when Bobby was DJing / promoting all over the place he realized that whenever he put on 60's girl band records people just started dancing, and reacted more enthusiastically than with all the other stuff that he'd play. So they came up with the idea of going back to that sound and putting a modern spin on it. They wanted to go back to a time before the Beatles changed everything.
"We Are the Pipettes is a modern indie pop album, and a classic one at that," raves Pitchfork. The U.S. version of the album (the yellow cover) has two additional songs and has been completely remixed so the tracks sound cleaner. It's a short album, with an average track length of about 2:30, but it's a really fun album to listen to, and the variety throughout is surprising. I suppose with music like this the only drawback would be getting sick of it, but the songs are so damn catchy that they'll be in your head for weeks. The songs' subjects suggest that these girls are very confident, and like Lily Allen show their independence and their disdain for clingy guys, as well as their somewhat insatiable sexuality..."Pull Shapes" is definitely my favorite track, because it just makes you want to dance and be happy (I just want to move / I don't care what the song's about)-and who the hell knows what it means to "pull shapes" anyway? Also check out "Judy," "Because It's Not Love" and the rest, streamed at their official website. This is very fresh, inventive stuff that fills a much-needed niche in one's listening repertoire.