“Story Board” by The Album Leaf // One Day I’ll Be On Time (2001)
I don’t know what it is about the pretty simplicity of this track that reminds me so much of the autumn months, but it certainly does. It’s dreamy acoustic guitar carries most of the weight but once that quiet synth comes in at about the three minute mark everything just starts to melt away. It feels like a somber movement in a film score to some small town drama that only ever existed in my head. I’ve loved this thing since the first moment I heard it, in the back of a van heading through Pennsylvania in the spring of 2001. I still like to dig it out from time to time.
“We’ll Begin Tomorrow” by Release the Sunbird // Come Back to Us (2011)
Sometimes it’s just nice to step back from the constant rush of new music that’s chasing the latest trends and genres and to just hear something that’s simple and stripped back. Rogue Wave’s first few albums were that kind of music for me. Straight up indie-rock with catchy melodies and sweet instrumentation. Zach Rogue’s new project, Release the Sunbird, feels like an acoustic off-shoot of those sounds. It’s an album of mostly acoustic, singer-songwriter material that just feels like a stack of familiar, sweet memories. It’s got a great autumnal quality as well. I know it might not be the sort of thing that I usually post, but it’s worth a listen for sure and you can even hear the whole album over at NPR right now.
“Nutshell” by Ryan Adams // Originally by Alice in Chains
Ryan Adams has been selling a 7” on his most recent European tour that features a great new song, (“Empty Room”) and this wonderful, stripped back cover of an Alice in Chains track. This is that track. Definitely worth a listen.
“Bedbedbedbedbed (Acoustic Version)” by Deleted Scenes // Bedbedbedbedbed EP
The new EP from Deleted Scenes covers a wide variety of sounds in a very limited amount of time, tracking from an experimental cover of a Smiths song to some damn near dubstep beats and back around to this track, a sweet little acoustic version of one of their dark, warped-beat, electronic tracks. Personally, I’m kind of in love with the stripped back version of Bedbedbedbedbed (the album version is quite good too). The vocals are more prominent and the simple guitar has a perfect accompaniment in the pretty strings that flow in and out of the instrumentation. Definitely worth a listen. Highly recommended.
I’m always amazed at the random discoveries of talented people on Tumblr. Especially when they’re solidly cool people. That’s surely a bonus. In this case, Shanz was kind enough to let me share her gorgeous, dark, atmospheric take on MGMT’s “Kids” with those of you following my site. She absolutely knocks it out of the park. I think you’ll all agree.
“Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)” by Arcade Fire // Acoustic & Live via WBEZ Sound Opinions
Arcade Fire performed a couple of in studio tracks for Sound Opinions, which resulted in some new arrangements. Including this synth-free take on live favorite, “Sprawl II”. This one sounds pretty similar, but the changes are still interesting. . Check out the strings-filled version of “We Used to Wait” at WBEZ.
“We Used to Wait” by Arcade Fire // Acoustic & Live via WBEZ Sound Opinions
Arcade Fire performed a couple of in studio tracks for Sound Opinions, which resulted in some new arrangements. Including this stripped back, strings filled take on “We Used to Wait”. Check out the synth-free version of “Sprawl II” at WBEZ.
“The Eagle, or the Serpent” by Case Studies // from the album, The World Is Just a Shape to Fill the Night
This certainly feels my need for dark, acoustic based autumnal sounds for the day. Case Studies is the solo project of Jesse Lortz of The Duchess and the Duke, and he sounds a bit like Matt Berninger of The National (sing-speak baritone) on this bare, gloomy, melancholic beauty. It feels like a chilly autumn evening, and it certainly makes me wish I was experiencing one. Great stuff. Highly recommended.
Deadwood Floats - Mr. November (The National cover)
from Jumping into bodies of water (and happiness)
“Mr. November” by Deadwood Floats // Originally by the National
Another night, another cover based on the brilliance of The National. Deadwood Floats does a pretty solid stripped back cover of “Mr. November”. Cutting away the intensity of the original and leaving just the sad, lonely words and pretty melody. It’s a good version. You can get it for free on their Bandcamp page alongside covers of Radiohead, Neutral Milk Hotel and more.
“Fake Empire” by Lotte Kestner // Originally by The National
Covering The National is a difficult proposition, but it can be done without totally botching the job. Here, Lotte Kestner holds her own with one of the most familiar tracks by The National and thought it loses some of the dark, brooding intensity of the original, it holds up really well. A nice somber little thing to lead out the Sunday night.
“Reach a Bit Further” / “Bed of Nails” / “Deeper” by Wild Beasts
From Telerama’s Garage Sessions
Wild Beasts turn in a few gorgeous acoustic performances of tracks from “Smother” for French TV Magazine, Telerama, which places them performing with just a guitar and some microphones inside of a working garage. Really good stuff.
“That Birthday Present” by The Twilight Sad // from the FREE Acoustic EP
The Twilight Sad recently sad down to record some pretty, stripped down versions of new tracks that they’re now giving away on their blog for the price of an e-mail address. Definitely worth picking up as these guys are always worth a listen.
(Blog Giveaway // Click the Widget on the right of the blog mainpage)