First Listen: Tokyo Police Club – Ten Year Project.

I love me a good cover. I love me some Tokyo Police Club. Dear Lord, do I ever love me some nostalgia! So when you take all three of those things and mix them together, you get one very happy Stephanie. Which is exactly what’s happening with Tokyo Police Club’s Ten Songs project…. officially titled Ten Songs, Ten Days, Ten Hours, Ten Years.

Ten Songs

These four Canadian dudes, which I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing when they opened for Weezer in 2008 here in Vancouver, have decided to revisit the aughties by recording ten covers, one from each year and releasing them day-by-day. I knew they were doing the project but I hadn’t paid any attention to the start date. Anyway, they’re four songs in and so far, I am diggin’ it. Here’s what’s been released to date:

2001: Moby ft. Gwen Stefani – “Southside
2002: Jimmy Eat World – “Sweetness
2003: The Strokes – “Under Control
2004: Kelly Clarkson – “Since U Been Gone
2005: Queens of the Stone Age – “Little Sister” (Release: Aug. 28)
(Sidenote: You can follow the project by visiting their Soundcloud page where new tracks are posted each day.)

Imitation as Flattery

Covers are always a difficult thing because depending on what the song is, people interpret your intentions differently. Are you covering this song because you think it’s awesome? Are you trying to be ironic? Or are you trying to leech off someone else’s popularity? Not to mention, if you do a bad job, it’s kind of a kick to the shins for the original song and you end up turning off more fans instead of the opposite.

A Quick Review

I am pretty into the “Southside” cover. It might be because I remember when that song came out and I was super into it. The song and the music video had this strange 90s cool, very neon-everything-raver-life quality to it. Don’t ask me why that was ever popular but at one point, it was.

The music video for “Southside” featured Gwen and Moby on the set of
a flashy video shoot, complete with fur jackets, light-up signs,
platform shoes and plenty of backless raver clothing.

The Jimmy Eat World nod is pretty understandable. I’m just glad they didn’t do “The Middle.” “Sweetness” was a way better choice, for sure.” The Strokes’ cover is actually the one in the bunch that doesn’t do much for me. Strange because “Under Cover” is one of my favourite Strokes songs. Kelly Clarkson’s “Since U Been Gone” is a cheeky choice of song and, despite being a pop song, TPC seems to understand there’s a place in the world for pop music, whether you value it or not — it’s “popular” for a reason.

On the Topic of Covers…

Anyway, I’ll leave you off with the video for Tokyo’s “Bambi” off their album Champ. I love this video because of its lights, colours and faded, vintage quality — very cool, very fun. Another sidenote since we’re on the topic of covers, check out Stereogum’s Stroked, a compilation tribute to the Strokes’ Is This It, currently celebrating it’s ten-year anniversary. Some tracks to highlight are the Morning Benders’ “Last Night” and Heems’ “New York City Cops.” You can download the album for free over on their website.

Photo: Google Images.

Playlist: The Mix Tape.

Those who know me, know that I’m a hopeless romantic. I spent five years focusing on finishing my degree and in that time, I didn’t date at all. I did, however, pine after a few gentlemen during that period. While none of those crushes came to fruition — probably for the best — my romantic tendencies usually got the best of me and would manifest itself in poorly written poems, unfinished letters, and mix tapes that sit on my shelf, collecting dust.

Here is my favourite of them all.

The Mix Tape.
Summer 2010

1. She & Him – “I Was Made For You”

2. Hannah Georgas – “The Deep End”

3. Justin Nozuka – “My Heart Is Yours”

4. Jack’s Mannequin – “Dark Blue”

5. Landon Pigg – “Falling In Love At A Coffee Shop”

6. Joshua Radin & Schuyler Fisk – “Paperweight”

7. The Beatles – “I Will”

8. Beach House – “Take Care”

9. John Mayer – “Edge of Desire”

10. The Perishers – “Nothing Like You And I”

11. Cat Power – “Sea of Love”

12. Buddy Holly – “Everyday”

13. Iron & Wine – “In My Lady’s House”

Featured Photo: John Cusack in High Fidelity.

First Listen: When the sun goes down on your street.

UPDATED: Like many others, I thought this track was a Death Cab For Cutie cut off their upcoming album, Codes and Keys. But! It’s actually a solo Gibbard track. He took to Twitter to clarify:

Hey y’all! Just for the record, “…sun goes down…” is not a dcfc track. It’s a solo and will be in the new “Arthur” film. enjoy!
— Ben Gibbard, @gibbstack

Death Cab for Cutie is one of my all-time favourite bands.

I’m not sure what it is but there’s something melancholy and ethereal about Ben Gibbard’s vocals. Death Cab lyrics are always a little dark, a little haunting and leave you unsure about what it is they’re actually singing about. Either way, Ben Gibbard has a new track online called “When the Sun Goes Down On Your Street” and I am really enjoying it.

A while back, there was a video circulating of Ben performing an new untitled track but the lyrics were about Seattle, from what I could figure. Anyway, that track has a very similar feel to this song. So when I’m back on my computer at home, maybe I’ll post that too when I can find it again. But for now, enjoy. I’ve also transcribed the lyrics too for those of you who are like me and love a well-written verse. (Also thanks to The Peak for posting the track on Soundcloud.)

Ben Gibbard – “When the Sun Goes Down On Your Street”

When the sun goes down, down on your street
Oh, let me be the one you meet
In the lamplight haunt when the night has just begun
Though you fear where shadows fall
There’s nothing there to harm you at all
Uncover your eyes, presume uncertain skies

And rise, arise and step into the night
It’ll be alright

When the sun goes down, down on your street
And you’re feeling strangely incomplete
Oh, please don’t grieve for days that fell like leaves
‘Cause under a moon that hangs from silver strings
We know not what this darkness brings
The stars all gleam with possibility

And rise, arise and step into the night
It’ll be alright

When the sun goes down, down on your street
Oh, let me be the one you meet
For I’ve waited years for you to return to me

So rise, arise and step into the night
So rise, arise and step into the night
So rise, arise and step into the night
It’ll be alright

Playlist: Your smile’s on fire.

This mix started off as just whatever I had been listening to that week. But, like everything else in my life, it quickly became something more than that.

I know I sound extremely dramatic and overwhelming but that’s how I felt that week. Each song in this mix made me feel bigger than my body, to borrow words from John Mayer. There were a couple days where I drove home from school under a huge expanse of bright blue, feeling like I could’ve kept driving for miles and it wouldn’t have mattered to anyone else but me.

I wasn’t exactly happy or feeling perfect — but I knew I would be okay.

Xavia, Who Will Save Us?
February 2011.

1. The Submarines – “Xavia”
“Xavia, who will save us? / Your smile’s on fire / And still my hear won’t let you down.” I first heard this song on the Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist soundtrack and wish I’d heard the Submarines sooner. The song is adorable and cute but I think what I love about it are the lyrics. They make sense and yet, not quite.

2. Miike Snow – “Song For No One”
I heard this song at Lucy’s when I was having a post-break up relationship dissection with Alisa. The song’s jaunty guitar riff catches me off guard everytime, which is probably why I liked this song so much at first. I was too busy feeling down on myself and this song picked me up again.

3. The Strokes – “Under Cover of Darkness”
Finally! I’ve been waiting for new material from the Strokes for YEARS. And that’s not even an exaggeration. The song is funny partially because it’s so very Strokes-esque, but at the same time, I can’t help but feel like they’ve fallen short of all the expectations we had drawn up for them in their extended absence. Either way, Julian Casablancas will forever look like he needs a shower.

4. Felix Cartal – “Popular Music Intro”
Felix Cartal is the DJ name of Taelor Deitcher, a sort of Vancouver wunderkind. He’s my age and strangely enough, I used to take photos of his old band, Orange Orange. Now, he’s Felix Cartal, jetting around the world, hanging with Steve Aoki and whoever else is hot in the electronic music world. A girl I went to high school with is tight with him and mentioned him a couple times but I didn’t start listening to him ’til this month. I dig it. It’s rad. Proud that he’s from Vancouver.

5. Ratatat – “Bare Feast”
A classmate and I were talking about the crossover between indie and electronic bands, music that you can dance too without feeling like a top 40 fool. She suggested Ratatat as a band that even those who were into all the subtle nuances of electronic music could appreciate. A confession though. I wathced Eat, Pray, Love the same day I heard this song so in my mind, “Bare Feast” makes me feel like I’m riding a bicycle down a dirt path in Bali or something.

6. Caribou – “Odessa”
Another friend noticed that I was on a bit of an electronic music kick recently and offered up Caribou. I’m still slowly familiarizing myself with their album, Swim, but this track caught my ears. It has a bit of a dark, club feel to it but it’s not stagnant or morbid. It’s still very danceable and moves along nicely.

7. Trentemøller – “Miss You”
I don’t want to say too much about this song since it speaks for itself. Simple, peaceful, honest.

8. Rusko ft. Amber Coffman – “Hold On”
A friend was trying to explain what “dubstep” was and sent me this as a sample. I don’t know if this exactly fits into what dubstep usually is, but Amber Coffman’s voice makes this track so much more. Without her, I doubt I’d pay attention to the track at all. Sorry, Rusko.

9. Kings of Leon – “The End”
Pained vocals over a sparse bassline, clashing guitar riffs, the obvious title… this is a break up song, dudes. It hurts to listen to and yet, I can’t stop. It’s the song they play in the scene of the movie where they’re kissing passioantely and you know it’s the last time they’ll ever see each other. And then someone dies? Yeah, that’s usually how it goes.