If you haven’t heard of this collection, you probably have been under a rock. So I won’t bother telling you that it collects many blogosphere nuggets on one CD, with great production value and sound quality, such as Phantom Planet’s cover of Radiohead’s “Just,” Amy Winehouse’s cover of the Zutons’ “Valerie,” Lily Allen’s take on the Kaiser Chiefs’, “Oh My God,” etc. etc. It’s even got Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s version of Britney Spears “Toxic.” Who’dve thought this song would ever be performed by someone who made more of a
mess of his personal life than Britney? When I first heard an import of it, I thought only about half the album was something I’d listen to more than once. But after getting my own hands on my own copy, I stand corrected. It’s more like two-thirds of it. There are a few instrumental bits that basically act as filler, and I can live happy without ever hearing Kasabian perform LSF yet again (they have got to get some new material), but other than that, this is a solid release. And probably a great Christmas present for folks who don’t regularly surf blogs, and therefore might be unfamiliar with these artists or these versions. Yes, it’s a major label release, but I’m giving it the thumbs up anyway.
I just won’t be offering you any MP3s from it. If that’s what you want, read on.
PALE YOUNG GENTLEMEN-“Self Titled”
I was introduced to Pale Young Gentlemen by the artists themselves—or one of the septet (or is it a quintet?), anyway—who described their work as “Jacques Brel meets Randy Newman meets rowdy thespians.” And I must say, this is one time when the artist is completely familiar with his own work. Sounding vaguely like show tunes performed by The Walkmen or Clap Your Hands Say Yeah: A big, full sound that is at once urgent and plaintive, and slightly sarcastic. I understand that these folks are still basically a homegrown secret, staying under the radar in Wisconsin, but I’d expect that they put on a good show. Their music certainly seems like it would lend itself to performance.
Clap Your Hands