Monday, July 09, 2007

Acoustically Speaking - the Sensational and the Sensual

Acoustically Speaking
A new music series celebrating artistry in pubs, studios and practice rooms.
I bring you the best acoustic music in the world - both past and present!

Founded by Lou Barlow and John Davis in the early Nineties, The Folk Implosion had a smash hit with "Natural One" - which was a prominent place song in the movie Kids. The regular version of the song reached 30th on the pop charts - making the Folk Implosion officially a one-hit wonder. This is the acoustic version of that song. Very choice.

This machine will not communicate
These thoughts and the strain I am under
Be a world child, form a circle
Before we all go under
And fade out again and fade out again....
lyrics from Street Spirit (Fade Out)

Arguably one of Radiohead's finest songs appearing on the band's 1995 Bends album. The track appears far less often than I would like to see on live set lists - probably because the band has so much material at hand at this point. The song appears acoustically as the B-Side for the Fake Plastic Trees maxi-package (which may have only been released in the UK.) Ultimately, this is some great acoustic guitar and a rare performance. Dig it!

Jorge Drexler is a tremendously talented singer and guitarist. I actually missed him the last time he appeared in Boston at the Museum of Fine Arts (and I had tickets thanks to the good folks at the MFA!!) because of illness. The man is probably one of the top Latin guitar players in the world right now. What makes him special to me? His style is his own, but he marries music from outside the genre to his own. He is creating fusion! Such is the case here where Drexler covers Radiohead acoustically. (Don't you love it when I bring it full circle?)

This three-piece band is named for the motorcycle gang that Marlon Brando ran with in the 1953 movie "The Wild One" - BRMC has an impressive lineage. The guitarist and co-vocalist in the band is Peter Hayes (of RSL former favorite and criminally overlooked the Brian Jonestown Massacre.) The BRMC stepped out into their own with the release of the Howl album in 2005 which birthed "Ain't No Easy Way. The song is powerful, gritty and raw. It's great acoustic too. This version was recorded live at KEXP's studios. Impressive.

Folk revivalist Sufjan Stevens has tapped into something magical, carving his own niche in modern music. He floats in the world between folk/acoustic / Christian rock and modern indie; in such a way I have never seen. Perhaps in his "uniqueness" the only one that comes close is Devendra Banhart - and maybe that comparison is unfair to both artists. It's tough to say. I am only partially won over to be honest, but I know many rabid fans. One thing that cannot be questioned is the man's skill. Here he deftly takes on this R.E.M. classic in yet another powerful acoustic performance.

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