Archive for February, 2012

I have to admit, I love a good duet.  True, they are generally sweeter than a nanaimo bar a la mode and do tend to walk a fine line between being sentimental and trite.  But I can’t help it.  I’m a sucker when it comes to a romantic collaboration between a male and female singer.  I believe it dates back to the 70’s, watching Sonny and Cher close their show each week with I Got You Babe.

Over the years, there have been many classic duets which were big hit songs; some are powerful and moving like Crying by Roy Orbison and kd lang, some are corny and fun like Don’t Go Breaking My Heart by Elton John and Kiki Dee and some are cool and uninhibited like Jackson by Johnny Cash and June Carter.

In the last 20 years or so, other than R&B and Hip-Hop (which has it’s own form of duet between rapper and singer), movie soundtrack duets and Disney songs, and duet albums of standards by ex-rockers, there really hasn’t been many notable duet songs in the traditional sense – man and woman singing to each other, face to face.  Good duets are still being made, but few and far between and often difficult to find for the singles downloading public.  Here are a few of my favourites:

Move Me To Tears category: Don’t Give Up by Willie Nelson & Sinead O’Connor (original by P. Gabriel and K. Bush)

Caramel Corn category: Modern Nature by Sondre Lerche & Sylvie Lewis

Lustful Cool category: I Dig You by Jon Spencer & Cristina Martinez (aka Boss Hog)

I now have a new favourite which, like an old favourite Fairytale Of New York by The Pogues & Kirsty McColl, can be categorized as all of the above.  The duet in question is Home by Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros and it’s from their 2009 debut CD Up From Below.

…by Sandy Gritt

 

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I like to think that my tastes in music are quite broad.  I don’t listen to much Hip Hop or Pop music at home or in the car but I can appreciate I good Hip Hop song in the right place at the right time.  Like on the dance floor.  I’ve been DJing for about 18 years so I have a pretty decent gauge for what people like to dance to and what songs may have some staying power and still be looked upon fondly in 2 to 5 years.

Adele did release a great album last year and she deserves the recognition she’s getting.  But come on, 6 Grammys!  And Foo Fighters, 5 Grammys!  Best Pop performance by a duo or group goes to Tony Bennett and Amy Winehouse!  And best new artist is Bon Iver who released his first album in 2007!  I don’t get it.   So I’m taking off my Indie music hat and throwing on my DJ headphones and here’s how I think it should have gone down:

Album of the year: 21 by Adele

Song of the year: Rolling In The Deep by Adele

Record of the year: Born This Way by Lady Gaga

Rock album of the year: The Whole Love by Wilco

Rock song of the year: Lonely Boy by The Black Keys

Best Hard Rock/Metal performance: White Limo by Foo Fighters (because they’re nice guys who scream)

Best Alternative music album: Bad As Me by Tom Waits (because his music really can’t be categorized)

Best new artist: Foster The People

Best performance by Pop duo or group: Moves Like Jagger by Maroon 5

Best Rap/Sung collaboration: Good Feeling by Flo Rida

Best Dance/Electronica album: Sorry For Party Rocking by LMFAO

Best short or long-form music video (because 1 category is enough for music videos): Sadness Is a Blessing by Lykke Li

Well, that’s about all I would change.  Oh yeah, nicest guys and best acceptance speech can go to Foo Fighters.  Because seriously, that’s got to be why they did so well.

…by Sandy Gritt

I’ve purchased a few compilation records in my day.  I think it all started with K-Tel’s Goofy Greats. What an album.  Four sides of some of the wackiest songs of the 70’s.  Fonzie’s Favorites was another one I must have played a thousand times.  Then, as I got older, into my teens and my taste in music began to expand and refine, albums like Life In The European Theatre, Dance Craze and IRS Greatest hits Volume 2 & 3 became the catalysts to what would become my unquenchable thirst for discovering new underground and independent music.

My latest compilation purchase is 2011’s Live From Nowhere Near You.  It’s a three CD, 64 song collection put together by Kevin Moyer.  It consists of songs by Moyer’s friends, professional and street musicians recorded in Moyer’s attic studio and on the streets.  It’s simply amazing.  So many artists, some well known, some playing in unusual combinations, all contributing music and stories in the theme of life on the streets and the journeys to and from them.  All recorded exclusively for this project.

With all the different styles, settings and approaches to these songs, the CDs have an incredible amount of fluidity from song to song, artist to artist.  Artists include: Bright Eyes with Britt Daniel; Josh Homme with Eddie Vedder and The Strokes; Elliott Smith; Ryan Adams and The Dandy Warhols just to name a few.  But some of the best performances are by street musicians from all over the US’s Pacific Northwest, many recorded for the first time.  I’ve been playing the collection in my car for a few weeks now and I’m still discovering some real gems.  I picked it up at the record shop for just $10.  It’s less on itunes.  If you love raw and innovative Indie music, I think you owe it to yourself to get this remarkable compilation.

…by Sandy Gritt