Watch This Pakistani Orchestra Cover Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five”

Pakistan’s Sachal Studios Orchestra, an orchestra based in Lahore, Pakistan, does this wonderful and essential cover of Paul Desmond’s “Take Five”, the jazz standard made famous by the Dave Brubeck Quartet on the essential Time Out (1959). It’s one of those songs that you’ve already heard a million times, yet it sounds so fresh in a different context that it’s like you’re hearing this music for the first time again.

Supposedly Brubeck was a fan of this cover and called it the most interesting version of “Take Five” that he had ever heard.

This orchestra also does equally great covers of R.E.M. and The Beatles.

Thanks Open Culture for this story.

Listen to Brubeck’s original “Take Five” below:

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20 Songs For September 2015

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Every month I make a playlist of the songs, old and new, that I listened to the most this month, and I write about why I picked each each song. At the bottom is a Spotify playlist with all these songs.

Grandaddy – “A.M. 180”

(This month Grandaddy announced that they were making a new album. It was the perfect excuse to go back through their discography and rediscover some great songs that I forgot about. Under the Western Freeway and The Sophtware Slump are the two albums you want.)

The New Pornographers – “Use It”

(I don’t listen to the New Pornos a lot, but when I do I really get into it for a couple of listens. Twin Cinema is a great starting place for newbies.)

Elvis Costello – “(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes”

(This month I went through a pretty intense, albeit brief, early Costello phase. This is one of his best singles off his debut album.)

Tweedy – “Nobody Dies Anymore”

(This is one of those songs that you can listen to a million times and each time you hear something new that will blow you away, whether it be in the cryptic all-meaning lyrics or in the disarmingly simple arrangements. This is also a great “Summer is ending and Fall is finally here and it makes me sad but it also makes me glad” kind of song. Sukierae has really grown on me and I can see it gaining some sort of cult status, much like how 808s and Heartbreak was a low key influential album until Pitchfork decided to do a thinkpiece about it.)

Blink-182 – “What’s My Age Again”

(Because I turned 23 this month…)

IGBO – “Creamy”

(It was on one of my Friday Mixtapes, yet I still love this song oh so much.)

R.E.M. – “King Of Birds”

(See my note about Elvis Costello.)

Craig Finn – “Newmyer’s Roof”

(I’m a big fan of this album, especially this song. It’s a genuinely strong song that tackles 9/11 and doesn’t try and force or exaggerate any dishonest feelings for the sake of imagery or patriotism.)

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists – “Bottled In Cork”

(Ted Leo was one of those musicians I always heard about from friends to check out. For one reason or another I never did, but this month I was finally given a specific starting point: The Brutalist Bricks. It’s a fun album, bouncing around between different styles and, like the best rock & roll, it never takes itself too seriously. If you like this then you’ll want to check out the rest of his work.)

Bob Mould – “The Descent”

(I ignored this album when it came out 3 years ago because I wasn’t a Hüsker Dü fan back then. Now I know better, and Silver Age is a worthy solo album that makes a case for Bob Mould The Songwriter instead of Bob Mould The One Guy In Hüsker Dü.)

The Libertines – “Anthem For Doomed Youth”

(Anthems For Doomed Youth is a great album in the same way that the most recent Strokes albums are great; it’s good music that has virtually no hype or press trying to turn it into an event. All you have is the music, but for some people that’s not enough. Oh well. It won’t convert you into a Libertines fan, but for the rest of us it’s a nice thing to have another Libertines album in the world, especially one this good.)

Gillian Welch – “I Want To Sing That Rock And Roll”

(Like a lot of musician I love, I discovered Gillian Welch through Ryan Adams. She sang and played instruments on Heartbreaker and she was an associate producer and performer on the Grammy winning and essential listening O Brother, Where Art Thou? soundtrack. Time (The Revelator) is a great album if you also like Heartbreaker.)

Deerhunter – “Breaker”

(I’ve always liked the idea of Deerhunter, a band that combines nearly every great genre of the past 30+ years, throws them into a magical blender, and churns out Amazing Southern Americana Gothic Rock that is brilliant down to the very jangly riffs that they steal from their fellow Georgia neighbor R.E.M. However I can never finish an album without getting bored. Both Microcastle and Halcyon Digest are considered masterpieces (and they probably are) yet I can never listen to them from start to finish. Sometimes it’s just too ~weird~ man. However “Breaker” is already my favorite Deerhunter song because it sounds like the Deerhunter that I want to fall in love with. I’m sure that this new album won’t be the masterpiece that triumphs Halcyon Digest (though you ever know), but I have a feeling that this new album will be this band’s gateway drug.)

Josh Ritter – “Right Moves”

(Josh Ritter is one of my favorite songwriters, and when he premiered a new song off his upcoming new album I celebrated by listening to all his albums. The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter is probably the album I’ve listened to the least, but I still fall in love with the wide range that this album covers.)

The Promise Ring – “Is This Thing On?”

(The best part of this year’s emocore revival is probably all the old albums that I’ve discovered from the late 90s and early 2000s. Nothing Feels Good (a very emo album title indeed) is getting a reissue, thus I play this song in celebration.)

Ryan Adams – “Bad Blood”

(Of course.)

Buffy Sainte-Marie – “Ke Sakihitin Awasis (I Love You Baby)”

(I had no idea who Buffy Sainte-Marie was when she beat out Drake at this year’s Polaris awards. So I wrote about her.)

Built To Spill – “Velvet Waltz”

(I was going to go see Built To Spill this month so I spend some time with their old albums. It didn’t work out, but at least I have a few new favorite BTS songs.)

Jeff Tweedy – “The Ballad Of The Opening Band”

(I usually try and stick with one song per artist, but this song is one of my cornerstones of my Fall Playlist, so it belongs here.)

The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die – “You Can’t Live There Forever”

(This Album Is Not The Masterpiece That It’s Hyped Up To Be & That’s Ok Because Because It Still Has A Lot Of Great Songs.)

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13 Random Velvet Underground Covers To Prove That Yes, They Really Were That Influential

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I usually try to stay away from listicles, but this one was way too much fun to make.

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David Bowie – “I’m Waiting For The Man”


R.E.M. – “Femme Fatale”


Joseph Arthur – “Heroin”

Note: Joseph Arthur recorded an entire Lou Reed acoustic tribute album that you can find on Spotify.


Bryan Ferry – “What Goes On”


Galaxie 500 – “Here She Comes Now”


Nirvana – “Here She Comes Now”


Joy Division – “Sister Ray”


Swervedriver – “Jesus”


Cowboy Junkies – “Sweet Jane”


Phish – “Cool It Down”

Note: Phish covered all of ‘Loaded’ live. It’s also on Spotify and it’s pretty great.


Cat Power – “I Found A Reason”


The Decemberists – “I’m Sticking With You”


U2 – “Satellite of Love”

Note: I know this was officially released as a Lou Reed solo song, but this song was written while Reed was in VU. You can hear a rough demo here.

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Playlist: 20 Songs For July 2015

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It’s been a while, but monthly spotify playlists are back. Fun fact: there was a Neil Young song on this mix before he took (most) of his albums off of Spotify. I will try and survive somehow.

Here are my 20 songs for July 2015:

1. The Presidents Of The United States Of America – “Video Killed The Radio Star”

2. Charanjit Singh – “Raga Madhuvanti”

3. Grateful Dead – “Eyes Of The World”

4. Hiss Golden Messenger – “Mahogany Dread”

5. Excuse 17 – “Watchmaker”

6. Neneh Cherry & The Thing – “Dream Baby Dream”

7. The Weakerthans – “Aside”

8. White Reaper – “Pills”

9. State Champion – “Don’t Leave Home Without My Love”

10. The Death Of Pop – “Nowhere”

11. Houndstooth – “No News From Home”

12. Wilco – “Magnetized”

13. R.E.M. – “Strange Currencies”

14. Yo La Tengo – “Friday I’m In Love”

15. Vince Staples – “Summertime”

16. Tame Impala – “Yes I’m Changing”

17. Titus Andronicus – “I Lost My Mind (+@)”

18. Deafheaven – “Irresistible”

19. Spraynard – “Applebee’s Bar”

20. Communions – “Forget It’s a Dream”

 

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Playlist: 15 Songs For April 2012 (Via Spotify)

Time for some April showers – of good music that is.  This month’s mix is a little more on the rocking side, but there’s something here for everyone.  I even threw in a classical piece for all my sophisticated viewers out there.

Here are my 15 songs for April 2012.

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Music Video Theater: R.E.M. – “Everybody Hurts”

What does Michael Stipe do when he’s stuck in heavy traffic?  He gets out of his car, walks out to stroll around to the other cars, and inspires everyone to get out and walk away – typical stuff for an R.E.M. music video.

The song is powerful and so is the video.  The video sends a heartfelt message about dealing with the serious struggles of life, but it still has that R.E.M. touch that keeps the video from being cheesy.

 

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Music Journal: What I’ll Remember The Most About Music In 2011

2011 was a good year for music.  It got weird at times (LuLu anyone?), and sometimes things were just plain bad (LuLu anyone?), but in 2011 there was always something to talk about in the world of music…like Lulu.  There are a few among many moments that I’ll remember the most – the first time I saw the music video for “Yonkers”, the death of Amy Winehouse, the new Radiohead album suddenly being released and then all the extra drama over its quality, and many more.

Here’s what I’ll remember the most about music in 2o11.

2011: The Year of Adele

No one had a bigger year than Adele in 2011.  She was inescapable, and her mega hits “Rolling In The Deep” and “Someone Like You” played everywhere and at all times.  Her second album 21 is America’s best-selling album since Usher’s Confessions back from 2004, with 5.28 million copies sold and counting.  Many, including myself, got cynical about this Brit sensation and how big she got, but nobody can deny her talent.  Just listen below to her cover Bob Dylan, and realize the power that is Adele.

 

The “Yonkers” music video, and the arrival of Tyler The Creator and Odd Future.

The first time I saw this music video I didn’t know what to think, but I knew it would get big soon.  Sure enough, Tyler the Creator and the rest of his rap group Odd Future became famous, or infamous depending on the person.  If you’ve never seen this video then you’re in for a treat.

 

The End of R.E.M., The White Stripes, and LCD Soundsystem

Nothing last forever, even great bands have to end eventually.  This year, three major acts called it quits, each leaving a huge void in the music world where they made their impact.  R.E.M. basically invented what we call “Alternative” and “Indie” music (sorry for the bold claim, but it’s hard to dispute it).  The White Stripes were the leaders of the back-to-basics rock revival of the early 2000s, and Jack White is a modern-day guitar hero.  LCD Soundsystem, the creative vehicle of James Murphy, was to me the modern day David Bowie, an artist who combined various genres and creative unique music that refused to compromise commercial success for artistic value.  Each of these acts will be greatly missed.

 

Arcade Fire Wins A Grammy

Back in February Arcade Fire, the biggest band nobody knew, won the Grammy for best album for 2010’s fantastic The Suburbs. The win came as a shock, mainly because most people had never heard of this little big band from Canada.  The win was huge for the indie world, and showed that the Grammys weren’t totally out of touch with the world.  The video below is fun to watch, neither the announcers or the band could believe what had happened.  For the article I posted the day after the Grammys, click here.

 

The King of Limbs: Proof That Radiohead Can Do Anything And Still Be Loved

Radiohead have been known for pulling some big stunts, and this year’s shenanigans ranks up near the top.  Let’s backtrack to pre-King of Limbs.  Radiohead hasn’t released a proper album since 2007’s In Rainbows and have been hush-hush about their plans for an upcoming album.  Then all of a sudden, they tell the world they’ll release an album within the week!  Fans were freaking out, the Internet exploded, and both Radiohead fans and haters were curious.  This was a truly an event, and it just goes to show how popular Radiohead truly are, that they can get the world excited over an album in a time where the value of an album has gone dramatically down.

I remember counting down the days, waiting for what I was hoping to be the album of the year.  Then, in another crazy move, they released the album a day early!  I woke up to the news and within the hour I had the new Radiohead album.  I stopped everything, downloaded the album, began playing it on my iTunes, and I listened.  Thirty-seven quick minutes later the album was over, and a realization came, something I didn’t think I would ever hear myself say.

The new Radiohead album…kinda sucks.

The songs all sounded the same and I felt there was much left to be desired.  I was shocked that, after four years of nothing, this was the best the band who brought us The Bends and OK Computer could give us.  There was no way that Radiohead could have done this, that they put so much hype behind, what I truly thought at the time, a piece of crap.  I thought there had to be more, this was a cruel joke, there would be more music coming out.  More music never came out.  What followed was a huge division among fans and critics – you either loved or hated the album, no middle group.  I was apart of the latter, and I was bothered by how many people were raving about the album.

Much time has passed, and though I still don’t think it’s that great, I have come to appreciate some of The King of Limbs.  It’s art, and Radiohead have always created great art that is challenging.  I thought Kid A sucked when I first heard it, but over time it grew on me and now I love that album.  The  King of Limbs is nowhere near as good as Kid A, but it’s not a piece of crap.  Plus the album gave us my favorite music video of the year.

If anything, this event showed to me that Radiohead could do anything they want and still be loved.  Thom Yorke should released an album of him of just farting, just to see how well it does.  I’ll end this rant with a link to a Spin article released in 2009 about Radiohead.  It’s very interesting, and it might change your perspective about the band.  Read the article here.

 

Spotify: A Game Changer

Spotify finally came to the US, and it caught fire fast.  Spotify’s popularity could very well put an end to the MP3, with strictly all-digital music becoming the way of the future for music.  Good for fans, bad for the artist and labels, but it’s truly an evolution in the music industry.

 

The Death Of Amy Winehouse, And Other Great Losses

No death this year was as shocking as the death of famed British soul singer Amy Winehouse.  She died so young and unexpectedly, and her death at twenty-seven added her to the infamous twenty-seven club.  She was a true talent, a kind of artist with a voice and personality that comes only so often, and a promising career was cut tragically short.  This year we also lost Clarence Clemons, saxophone player and founding member of the E Street Band with Bruce Springsteen, famed musician-poet Gil Scott-Heron, and Steve Jobs, whose iPod technology changed how we listen to music.  All these and more talented people were taken from us in 2011, and they will be greatly missed.

 

And Of Course…Lulu

A bad idea that was even worse when realized.  Lou Reed and Metallica came together and created a piece of crap.  This album had so much buzz behind it, it was already one of the most talked about collaborations in recent time.  The backlash it has received only cements this album more into music history as the greatest WTF moment of 2011.

 

I’m sure I forgot some big events, but these are the events that defined 2011 for me.  It was a crazy year with many ups and down, but some fantastic music was released.  I’m excited to see what 2012 has in store for us.  Enjoy the rest of the holidays and have a fun and safe time bringing in the new year, and make sure to continue keeping up with Headphone Nation for all that is music.

Tune in. Tune out. Live on.

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Playlist: R.E.M. Songs That Will Make You Miss Them

When R.E.M. broke up back in September I didn’t really care too much about it.  Sure I knew the band was important and I loved the handful of songs that I knew, but the band’s end did not make me stop to reflect on their awesomeness, cause frankly I didn’t think they were too awesome.

But last week I got into Automatic for the People, and I have a newfound respect for the band – right when they break up!  I’m slowing going back through their discography and I’m finding some great music that I’m really enjoying – I guess they truly are a college band.  R.E.M. isn’t the easiest band to enjoy, but once you “get the band” they don’t leave you.  In the 80s they were the first band to piece together different types of American underground music and created what we know as alternative music.  Very few bands were as game-changing as R.E.M. – Everything before them was post-punk, and everything after was alternative.

The follow songs are sort of a greatest hits collection, songs that remind us why we care about this band in the first place.  I am still making my way through R.E.M.’s catalog, so there are probably some great songs that I’m missing that hardcore fans will be upset about by their absence – forgive me!

“Radio Free Europe”

The song that started it all.  R.E.M.’s first big hit is also considered to be their best.  The opener to Murmur, with its jangle guitar and the unique singing of Michael Stripe, sounds like an Americanized Smiths – except this was before The Smiths (so are The Smiths an Europeanized R.E.M.?).  Good luck trying to sing along with the song though.

“Perfect Circle”

R.E.M. were considered the first alternative band, so this must be the first ever alternative ballad.  A slower song will less jangle and more melody which grows on you after each listen.  A highlight from Murmur.

“Harborcoat”

Another song that reminds me of The Smiths, this song is bouncy and really gets you going.

“Driver 8”

This song has been covered many times, but the original always kills.

“It’s The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)”

You might not know R.E.M. well, but you do know this song.  This is for sure one of R.E.M.’s most appealing songs, with a humorous look at a very unfunny time in America.

“Loosing My Religion”

Probably the band’s most well known song.  Even if nobody knows what the song is exactly about, it’s a powerful song and a true standout of the 90s.  Plus you gotta love that mandolin.

“Sweetness Follows”

Right now this is probably my favorite R.E.M. song.  This is one of their deeper songs, both lyrically and musically.  Like much of Automatic for the People, themes of death and life are present, but here the band has never sounded so human.

“Nightswimming”

Also from Automatic, this song is maybe the band’s most stripped down song.  Mainly piano with strings accompanying Stripe reminiscing an innocent time in the past.  Fun fact: the strings in the song were done by John Paul Jones aka the bass player from Led Zeppelin!

Any songs that I missed? Hit me up on Twitter and let me know @BradyWGerber

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Extra! Extra!: R.E.M. Breaks up.

R.E.M., one of the great alternative bands of the 80s and 90s, have called it quits after over 30 years of playing together.  According to the band’s official site, The band have ended their incredible career, including 15 albums and being inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, on good grounds.  The specifics of the breakup are unknown as of now, but hopefully more news will come soon.

The band’s debut album Murmur is regarded as one of the greatest albums of the 80s, and 1992’s Automatic For The People is considered one of the best albums of the 90s.  R.E.M. were one of first alternative rock bands, definitely the first majorly popular band of the genre, and they were also one of the important developers of indie guitar rock.

For all us R.E.M. fans out there, this could very well be the end of the world as we know it – be we don’t feel fine 🙁

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Playlist: (Good) Songs about America

4th of July weekend is upon us!  This is a glorious time of cookouts, fireworks, and great tunes, and I can provide at least one of these. Here are some songs to celebrate (for the most part) our glorious nation that is America.

“American Saturday Night” – Brad Paisley

“American Girl” – Tom Petty

“American Baby” – Dave Matthews Band

“American Pie” – Don McLean

“American Idiot” – Green Day

“North American Scum” – LCD Soundsystem

“Little America” – R.E.M.

“Do Miss America” – Ryan Adams

“America” – Simon & Garfunkel

“Ashes Of American Flags” – Wilco

“Born In The U.S.A.” – Bruce Springsteen

“I’m So Bored With The U.S.A.” – The Clash

“R.O.C.K. In The U.S.A.” – John Mellencamp

“Geek U.S.A.” – Smashing Pumpkins

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