You all remember Duncan Sheik, he found massive success with his single "Barely Breathing" from his self-titled debut album from Atlantic Records. He won a Grammy for "Best Male Vocal Performance, Pop", you know, no big deal.
So it's been a while, but Duncan Sheik returns to pop music, and it's obvious that Sheik wears his influences on his sleeve with his all covers album, Covers 80s (released earlier this month via Sneaky Records). I can only imagine that Sheik is a bit of an anglophile, considering the artists covered here: The Cure, The Smiths, Howard Jones, Love & Rockets, Tears for Fears, Japan, Talk Talk, Blue Nile, The Psychedelic Furs, Depeche Mode, Thompson Twins, New Order. No Cyndi Lauper, no Madonna, no cheesy Def Leppard.
I can tell that Sheik loves these songs, it really shows in his covers, and especially the song choices. The Smiths' "William, It Was Really Nothing" isn't one of their more popular songs, and even the almost-random The Blue Nile (from Glasgow) song, "Stay" doesn't quite belong, but he loves it enough to include it on the album. The pronunciation is a little off on the Smiths cover, it sounds like Duncan is saying "Willie-um", which may be a disservice to one Steven Patrick Morrissey.
If you like 80s synth, which many of these artists are, especially Depeche Mode, Howard Jones, and Japan, you may be disappointed that the synthesizers are nowhere to be found on Duncan Sheik's covers... which are more low-key. This is a good thing, in my opinion. Sheik is trying to put his own spin on these songs, and like or hate it, I feel it's the right course.
Other notable mentions is that Holly Brook and Rachael Yamagata appears on the record. I am assuming that is Yamagata singing with Sheik on "Shout" and Brook on "Hold Me Now", which is my favorite cover on the album.
Covers 80s, the seventh studio album by Duncan Sheik is out now.
Yeah, you know the story. I think these guys are great, calling them top for 2008, and to this day, I sometime hear "Around the Bend" at clubs - which is pretty amazing how far the band's come.
I finally got a copy of The Golden Age EP for review. Guess what? The Asteroids Galaxy Tour covered "Safety Dance", what perfect timing since I just saw Men Without Hats (they are still alive and breathing). The Asteroids Galaxy Tour's version has a bit more horns and that unique Danish vocals from Mette Lindberg. Their version doesn't take into account the extended remix, but that's just fine, it's a perfect pop song.
As for the rest of the EP, lots of horns, giving it a more 70s flavor to it. It is obvious to me that these songs are meant for the dance floor, especially for "Fantasy Friend Forever" and "Safety Dance" cover ("because if your friends don't dance...") If you don't believe me, listen for yourself on their soundcloud set. If video's your poison, their 2+ million youtube video is 70s spectacular: one-eyed villain, kungfu and a spy flutist (yes, it's also a Heineken commercial).
Here's what left of their galaxy tour on Earth:
7/10 – Hungary, Balaton Sound Festival
9/23 – Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, Rock in Rio
I love covers and I love the Smiths, and if my math is right, I should love all Smiths covers. That isn't always the case, especially when I heard Emily Browning's "Sing Me To Sleep" on the awful, awful, awful Sucker Punch movie. The song is about suicide, hearing it as a pop song is just.... but anyway, Stranded Horse's cover of "What Difference Does It Make" is actually pretty good. If you listen to it (available as a free download at soundcloud.com), it's basically deconstructed to just singer Yann Tambour's vocals and plucky kora acoustics. It has a very medieval/madrigal feel to whole thing.
Stranded Horse is not actually not a brand new band, it's just shorten from his ex-band, "Thee, Stranded Horse", and just to give you a little background on Tambour, he is French, but based on the Smiths cover and And The Shoreline It Withdrew In Anger, his English is impeccable. His latest album, Humbling Tides was written and recorded in Bristol, UK, but he is returning and touring to France this Fall:
oct, 01 • Bruxelles (b) • Festival 'Comme à la maison'
nov. 03 • Pau • la Centrifugeuse
nov. 04 • Bayonne • le Microscope
nov. 08 • Clermont Ferrand • l'hôtel des vils
nov. 09 • Allonnes (72) • la péniche w/ Arlt
nov. 17 • Martigues • Scène Nationale, Théâtre des Salins w/ Piers Faccini
nov. 18 • Katowice (p) • Festival 'Ar Cameralis'
nov. 24 • Paris • la maroquinerie w/ Arlt
These guys, I only know because I liked their cover artwork. They make attractive CDs.
Their best of album, strangely titled Best of I AM LOVEDRUG is not really a best of Lovedrug, but a best of covers by "I Am Lovedrug". I know, it's confusing.
You can see the songs covered for yourself at freefallmediagroup.net, the album is available now (June 28th). You can download their cover of Fleetwood Mac's "Dreams" for free via their Facebook-thingy.
They didn't list the artists, but here's what I've compiled:
Dreams (Fleetwood Mac)
Hysteria (Def Leppard)
Me and My Arrow (Harry Nilsson)
Talk To Me (Stevie Nicks)
Plug In Baby (Muse)
Pure Imagination (Willy Wonka)
Billie Jean (Michael Jackson)
God of Wine feat. Kevin Cadogan (Third Eye Blind)
Endless Day (The Kinks)
It's called 'Best of I AM LOVEDRUG' b/c all the recordings are from fans pledging for cover songs as part of their PledgeMusic campaign which was called I AM LOVEDRUG (www.IamLovedrug.com).