What I’m Listening to: Franz Ferdinand Covers Grimes’ Oblivion

I know I just posted about Franz Ferdinand‘s new album, but they popped up on my radar this morning for performing this Grimes cover of Oblivion while doing press and I like it so much I had to share.

I didn’t realize how little detail I paid to the lyrics of the original until I heard this acoustic version.  The original, which I love, is still awesome but far from acoustic so it’s neat to see this version preformed, and performed well.

Here is the cover:

…and here is the original for those who haven’t heard it.

3 Female Buzzbands I Don’t “Get”

Sometimes the greater music blogosphere and I have a difference of opinion.

As a writer of a music blog, I’ve often felt like there’s an unwritten expectation to pander to the tastes of the Pitchforks, the Stereogums, or Gorilla vs Bears of the world, instead of writing about what makes me feel good.

I want to be able to say “this is bad” without being concerned that the musician is going to sic their Twitter army on me.

I guess what I’m asking is this:

Why aren’t there more music CRITICS out there?

It’s like the entire music industry is asking bloggers to give them one big hand job.

And so, here are some female Buzzbands I Don’t “Get”.

Lana Del Rey Desperate Housewives meets desperate songwriting

"This is me smiling."

The Twitter-verse has already ripped into this poor puffy-lipped crooner for her weak performance on SNL last night, so I’ll go easy on her about that. Nobody sounds good on live television.

I also don’t have a problem with the fact that she created an alter-ego to sell her music. Tons of musicians have done it. The problem I have is with her inability to create anything that excites or moves me. That, and the fact that she likes to perpetuate the mystique of growing up in a trailer park – when in reality, her dad is a domain-name millionaire. I’ve seen the photos from when she was still Lizzie Grant, and they’re just as yawn-inducing, except with fewer insipid flower bouquets.

Sometimes her voice sounds pleasant, dipping down to caramel-toned low notes (Video Games) before swooping up to Kate Bush-heights (Blue Jeans). Other times, I wonder if I’m listening to songs that were written by someone heavily dosed with Ambien. When I hear a Lana Del Rey song, I don’t get the same “woah, bro, check it out, super chill, deep ‘n’ inspiring, stoned hottie, Florence and the Machine” vibe that everyone else does. I get bored out of my freaking mind.

The only reason that I keep an eye on her is because I’m convinced that one of her lip injections is going to explode one day. That, and her nails terrify the fuck out of me. At any moment, I have to be prepared for her to reach through my computer screen and scratch my eyes out.

Grimes – Canada’s Favourite Kelpie

"Okay, Grimes, you can do it. The power button on your synth is marked ON. All you have to do is press play."

I first heard about this Grimes character when she opened for Lykke Li’s 2011 North American Tour. I thought it was pretty cool that this young Montreal unknown was opening for a substantial Swedish export. And then I watched a performance.

Make no mistake, Grimes does fit the bill for those interested in post-internet “DIY bedroom recordings”. But her live performances are simply underwhelming. Ladies, (Lana Del Rey, take note) you cannot simply rely on your looks to get you through a song.

I actually don’t have that much to say about Grimes, because listening to her music bores me. I appreciate that she’s trying hard to be artsy with her choppy black bangs and music videos that don’t make any sense. I understand that she doesn’t know how to play any real instruments, so she plays up her looks. And yeah, I get that she was probably subjected to too many Donna Summers recordings while in utero. But I certainly don’t have to buy into the hype. I don’t think my ears could stomach it.

Tickets for Grimes’s next show at Horseshoe Tavern are only eight dollars, so in this case, you’re getting exactly what you pay for.

Dum Dum Girls – The Poor Man’s Best Coast

"We're so alt, we're the alternative to alternative."

There’s a fine line between appreciating music of the past.. and repackaging it, revamping its sex appeal, and rendering it sterile. Dum Dum Girls is the perfect example of an all-girl summer fun band that should have stayed in the dark of their garage, smoking cigarettes and complaining about men.

Maybe the charm of their music comes from the subtlety in their songwriting, as in “don’t all of these songs sound the same?”

Maybe some genius record exec thought: “Hey, hot chicks in skirts playing fuzzy, distorted rhythm guitars… we’re gonna turn the music industry on its head!”

The next time I need a garage band fix, I’ll listen to Shannon and the Clams or Smith Westerns instead.

———–

Alright folks, I’m going to crawl back under my troll bridge and wait for the next passerby.

NXNE Sampler: Saturday June 18th: The Great Hall

Tonight, I’m heading over to The Great Hall to check out a plethora of lovely bands with my dear friends. The free Stars concert in Yonge-Dundas square last night was more than a bit disappointing, and there were way too many people trying to get into Cults, so we never ended up seeing them.

Therefore, I’m looking forward to tonight! Even though I’ve never listened to Duzheknew or Jennifer Castle, I’m quite excited because these two tracks have totally hooked me.

THE GREAT HALL

Duzheknew – 9:00-10:00PM

MP3: Came out the other side, okDuzheknew

Jennifer Castle – 10:00-11:00PM

MP3: NeverrideJennifer Castle

BRAIDS – 11:00PM-12:00AM

MP3: Glass Deers (Teen Daze Remix)BRAIDS

Chad VanGaalen – 12:00-1:00AM

MP3: CorvetteChad VanGaalen

Grimes – 1:00-2:00AM

MP3: Crystal BallGrimes

Joel Plaskett & Best of the NXNE Line-up

Today, I have a few reasons to shake the dust off my two typing fingers.

First, Joel Plaskett is playing a free outdoor concert tonight that you should probably go to. I’ll be working at the merch table, so feel free to stop by and say hi!

Pheromone’s Beast and MapleMusic Recordings’ Joel Plaskett are opening The Luminato Festival with a free show on Friday June 10th (that’s tonight!) @ 8 PM.
The concert will take place in David Pecaut Square, conveniently located in the heart of the Entertainment District.

As a matter of fact, as I’m writing this, Joel Plaskett is saying “Hi!” to all of my co-workers. Yeah, he’s here in my office (if you will all care to remember, I work at MapleMusic) signing records to be later sold on our website.

Second, let’s talk about NXNE!

Here are a few of the concerts that I’ll be checking out at the upcoming Toronto NXNE Festival. Yet another job perk is that I get my NXNE wristband for frizzle. Check out the schedule yourself and make your own dream NXNE skedge! (that’s phonetic/abbreviation talk for schedule. But really, it sounds like something you’d find inside your underwear after a frightening experience).

    Thursday June 16th, 2011

    Snowblink @ The Music Gallery, 7pm
    The Dodos @ Phoenix Concert Theatre, 9pm
    Deerhoof @ Phoenix Concert Theatre, 10pm

    Friday June 17th, 2011

    Dirty Beaches @ Lee’s, 10pm
    Dum Dum Girls @ Lee’s, 10pm
    Cults @ Lee’s, 10pm

    Saturday June 18th, 2011

    Whale Tooth @ The Rivoli, 2pm
    Slow Hand Motem @ Wrong Bar, 9pm
    BRAIDS @ The Great Hall, 11pm
    Chad Vangaalen @ The Great Hall, 12am
    Grimes @ The Great Hall, 1am

Well, I’m off to go meet Joel Plaskett. Job perk!