Something We Heard Before

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Many moons again, I briefly mentioned the Brit punk stylings that Black Rebel Motorcycle Club exuded, despite their American origins. Well, here is a song that upends that trend by sounding more like ZZ Top! Yeah! Go America!

Fortunately, it seems that whatever style the Club dabbles in, something pretty danged amazing will materialise: it is another bit of crunchy rock/roots that I’ve been quite digging lately.

Oh, and best be careful with the embed below: it’s a tad bit not safe for work, for numerous reasons.

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What a delightful collection of tunes I’ve enjoyed this evening! Thanks to my real-life work colleagues and their birthday gift to me, I was able to treat myself to Camera Obscura’s Desire Lines and Nick Drake’s Pink Moon on vinyl. Both albums are chock full of wonderful tunes, which made it quite difficult to choose which one to post about. But I’ve gone for Place to Be, as it is one of my favourite Nick Drake tunes.

It’s the kind of song that eases you away from difficult situations, as, like all of Drake’s songs, it is just effortlessly, and hauntingly, beautiful. It’s nothing but his voice and his guitar, but is saturated with the kind of style and warmth that studio engineering just can’t match. Time to go wile away the rest of the evening with this!

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There’s a scene in Back to the Future Part III in which, during the Hill Valley festival, the band starts up a great bit of old-timey country-western music, prompting a dance. I’ve always loved this tune. Years later, I found out that the tune is actually a cover version of Doubleback, a song ZZ Top wrote for the film. As well as that, ZZ Top play the part of the band performing the song! So they covered their own song. Songception!

I love both versions of this song. It’s wild and rollocking and chock full of ZZ Top goodness, which everyone needs as part of a healthy music diet.

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Sometimes, you need a bit of romance in your musical life. And not just songs about whatever dude Taylor Swift can’t seem to get over these days. No, sometimes you need perennially sweet and lovely, genre defining songs. So you should be pretty gosh-danged glad that you came to either/or to satisfy your needs, because we totally got your back.

This song has been covered to death, but nothing beats this original duet between two Motown greats. Ain’t nothing pretentious, overly sappy or overwrought here, folks: just pure delight!

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Bruce Foxton! With his former bandmate, Paul Weller! Whoa nelly, that can only be a good thing! Yes indeed. While this isn’t something that can be called The Jam 2: The Jammening, it has the same kind of bounding energy that their earlier group had. Quite pleasing, and will no doubt spur on a bout of rigorous toe-tapping.

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Michael Franti from Spearhead has featured on either/or before, but it’s safe to say that it was a little different to what I’m bringing you today. From a classic soul tune to something that, while inspired by soul, feels totally different. And in a good way! Would it be weird to call this lusciously smooth? It is, you say? Well dang, I’m going to go with it anyway, because that’s what it is!

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Ok yes, I will admit that my interest was piqued about this group due to Dhani Harrison’s involvement (son of my favourite Beatle, George), but I will also admit that nothing that Dhani has been involved with has been particularly pleasant to listen to. For me, at least. So, I was coloured with a nice shade of scepticism before hearing what his latest efforts have borne, which are substantially more entertaining.

Harrison made comparisons to the Traveling Wilburys, and I can see why: with Ben Harper and Joseph Arthur as founding members, and a style rooted in bluesy folk, they’ve got the makings of quite a fine super group. The music feels a bit peppier and more unique than what the Wilburys released back in the day, so bring on more!

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There is nothing inherently complex or showy about this song. Standard beat, fairly common instrumentation, a nice, raspy voice. So far, so and so. But then, that chorus hits, bringing with it a minor chord switch, vocal harmonies and a perfectly written melody. No doubt that anyone who’s only ever heard this song in passing will recall the chorus without any trouble. Truly the mark of a great song, I’d say!

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Considering it’s Friday, and that I saw his guest appearance on the Muppet Show last night, I believe it’s high time for some classic rock! Time and its appearance in stuff like American Idol may have dulled it’s rebellious impact, but it’s still a punchy, crunchy hoot of a song.

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Now that a bit of the fuss around the XX has died down, I can now swoop in and… pretend I was in on the group the entire time, and that I’d known of them for ages. Yeah! The XX! Capital group! I really like that song of theirs! You know the one! Yeah!

I can, of course, be accused of being a filthy wretched liar, because truth be told, I really wasn’t aware of their existence. Just because I write for a music blog doesn’t mean I have any knowledge of music! Just like how most newspaper writers don’t know anything about news. But enough about that – this is a smooth cocktail of downtempo tones and alternative beats that I most certainly dig. So I may not have known about them before, but I certainly know now!

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