Album of the Week: She Keeps Bees

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Artist: She Keeps Bees
AlbumNests
File Under: Lo-Fi Indie Rock
Recommended if You Like: Heartless Bastards, Cat Power, Nina Simone, PJ Harvey, Jack ‘n Meg
Featured Tracks:

“Gimme”

My Last Nerve”

No frills, stripped down, raw, lo-fi, bluesy indie rock.  You like that kinda music? Me too. And this Brooklyn-based duo, comprised of Jessica Larrabee (vocals, guitar) and Andy LaPlant, gives it up in spades.  The first hit I got when I heard their album was a stripped down version of the Heartless Bastards. Like Erika Wennerstrom and Cat Power, Larrabee’s voice has a similar bluesy, soulful quality. And given their relationship status (boyfriend/girlfriend) and blues rock vibe, it’s hard not to draw comparisons to The White Stripes.

Oh, and then there’s the songwriting! Powerful and seductive, it’s hard not to get caught up in Larrabee’s conviction on “Gimme” as she pleads “Gimme, gimme, give it to me daddy/ Work me like my back ain’t got no bone.” And my personal favorite, My Last Nerve”, where she growls “Lord, I am tired of this same old bullshit…” just gets me every time.

Nests, originally self-released by the duo in 2008, has been reissued this year under Names Records along with their Revival EP. Go get it.  You won’t be disappointed.

Thanks See What You Hear for turning me on to this one!

Speck Mountain – Some Sweet Relief

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Artist: Speck Mountain
AlbumSome Sweet Relief
File Under: Dream Rock
Recommended if You Like:  Neko Case, Mazzy Star, Cat Power
Featured Tracks

“I Feel Eternal”:

Have you met your musical soul mate yet? Karl Briedrick and Marie-Claire Balabanian of Speck Mountain have – each other. Self-described “musical soul mates,” Briedrick and Balabanian write as a team, communicating in intuitive, womb-curled melody, exploded texture and spiky rhythm.  

Their new album, Some Sweet Relief, is atmospheric, sexy, headphone hypnotica – or ambient soul as the duo likes to classify it.  A fitting sound for the theme of their latest effort, which is about desire and fidelity. Balabanian has a beautiful voice with a timbre very much like that of Neko Case – a sleepier, sexed up version of her. It’s a great late night listen, especially on such a sultry evening as tonight where ‘Some Sweet Relief’ from this heat would be nice.  Time to check out and tune in.

Here’s the video for “Angela“.

Alina Simone – Everyone Is Crying Out to Me, Beware

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Artist: Alina Simone
Album: Everyone Is Crying Out to Me, Beware
File Under: Folk-Punk
Recommended if You Like: Cat Power
Featured Track:  Half My KingdomBeware

Listen to ‘Half My Kingdom’:

Listen to ‘Beware’:

I had never heard of Alina Simone, or Yanka Dayagileva for that matter, until I saw this album show up on a couple Best of 2008 lists.  Intrigued I loaded it up in my Rhapsody account and now I’m hooked.  

Alina Simone’s, Everyone Is Crying Out to Me, Beware is a collection of cover songs paying homage to the late Yanka Dyagileva, a young Soviet poet reminiscent of Patti Smith who found cult fame only after her death in 1991. The Brooklyn-based, Ukraine-born Simone sings the songs in Russian and brings an aching passion to Dayagileva’s lo-fi folk punk material. It’s very Cat Power.  Beautiful, haunting and powerful.

Get this album free via eMusic’s 50 Free MP3 Promo

buy it at insound!

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the OCMD Mixtape – Best Covers

Lately, I’ve been obsessed with cover songs.  And nostalgic for the mixtape.  I miss the mixtape, frankly, and wish it would come back. Mix CDs are great and all, but the ‘drag and drop’ medium doesn’t require the same amount of effort, thoughtfulness and dedication as making a mixtape did.  It’s one thing to find the right songs and arrange them…but to actually time the songs so you didn’t run out of tape?  That’s an art form.  

And in that sense, they seemed more meaningful too.  I just can’t recall anyone today being particularly impressed by a mix CD they were given.  But remember when someone gave you a mixtape in the day? That was…WOW.

It’s been far too long since I’ve made or have been given a mixtape.  But I’m changing that today with my first mixtape to you (albeit digital) – a collection of my favorite indie cover songs.  There will be more to come.  So if you like this and want more, you’ll have to subscribe to my Mixtape Podcast to receive them.

the OCMD – Best Covers Mixtape

1.  Cryptacize – Peg (Steely Dan cover)
2.  Johnathon Wilson – La Isla Bonita (Madonna cover)
3.  Midnight Movies – Mes Reves de Satin (Moody Blues cover)
4.  Japancakes – Only Shallow (MBV cover)
5.  Sonic Youth – Superstar (Carpenters cover)
6.  Grizzly Bear – Owner of a Lonely Hearts (Yes cover)
7.  We are Scientists – Hoppipolla (Sigur Ros cover)
8.  Jose Gonzalez – Teardrop (Massive Attack cover)
9.  Marissa Nadler – No Surprises (Radiohead cover)
10.  St. Vincent – These Days (Jackson Browne cover)
11. Cat Power – Ramblin’ (Wo)man (Hank Williams cover)
12. Vampire Weekend – Exit Music (for a Film) (Radiohead cover)
13. Sons and Daughters – Killer (Adamski cover)
14. The Cloud Room – Blue Monday (New Order cover)
15. Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – Another Satellite (XTC cover)
16. The Paper Scissors – I can’t Go for That (Hall & Oates cover)

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