My favorite Canadian indie-pop band Stars were responsible for one of the most infectiou songs of 2012, with the equally amazing title “Hold On When You Get Love And Let Go When You Give It”. The Montreal-based quintet just generously put up a free EP entitled “Far From Hold”, featuring alternate “Breakglass” versions of album tracks from their latest “The North”, as well as a cover of The Smiths‘ b-side “Asleep”. The latter was actually recorded back in 2010 for a charity children’s music album called “Sing Me To Sleep – Indie Lullabies”. Suffice to say their intimate, low-key take on the song won’t just appeal to hip babies!
Sometimes great visuals can enhance a song to another level. Such is the case with Canadian/NYC-based duo New Look‘s “The Ballad”. Is it just me or both the song and the video are quite David Lynch-ian? It helps that singer Sarah Ruba looks a bit like Milla Jollovich, too. The stark, clinical beats and synths contrasts against her voice and the lyrics, which are like a gentle, consoling pat on the back, though distant, awash, and weary. I highly recommend watching the video first, as it sets up and maintains the mood suitably.
Their dark, atmospheric synth-pop sound is probably too chilling for July, but it will soundtrack grey days and rainy nights perfectly. An album is due this fall on German label !K7. Hopefully there will be more of the same ilk to come.
The video uses a shorter edit, which keeps the song condensed enough. Personally, I prefer it to the full version, which adds 2 extra minutes.
New Look – The Ballad
MP3: New Look – Numbers
To commemorate the 25th anniversary of Madonna‘s 1986 album “True Blue”, Canadian indie label Paper Bag Records has called upon their roster to cover the album in its entirety. The best part is they’re giving it away for free, in return for your email address. I haven’t heard all the tracks, but the acts seemed to be having fun recording them. My favorite cover so far is the Montreal-based band Winter Gloves‘ reading of her sugar-sweet single “True Blue”. They brought the song closer to its ’60s pop spirit, and sprinkled it with synths and a special saxophone solo! A lovely listen. Check out the cover below, and get the album if you’re interested. Now if only they could have roped in Sally Shapiro to contribute…
Canadian singer/songwriter Serena Ryder and her band, The Beauties, have transformed American Idol alumna Jordin Sparks’ hit “No Air” into something that could be straight out of the Twin Peaks soundtrack! Log lady will approve. This interesting low-key reinterpretation was first released on the deluxe edition of her album “Is This OK” in 2009. Now, it will be collected on a limited edition 12″ EP, along with 3 other covers of Band Of Horses (“The Funeral”, on which she sounds like Cat Power), Hank Williams (“Rambling Man”), and Kylie (“Slow” – a rocky take with bassline). Quite an eclectic array of selections there! Her reason for these covers is refreshingly honest, too: to get shows in England. You can stream all the tracks here, or just try her version of “No Air” below.