Wednesday, October 28, 2009

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Under Cover: Ben Gibbard

Posted: 28 Oct 2009 11:00 AM PDT

’s frontman seems to be all over the  music news outlets these daybengibbards. First the guy gets attention for his marriage to Zooey Deschanel. Now his band’s getting attention for being  the lead single for the popular “Twilight” series’ next movie “New Moon.” I think his name constantly coming up in half the headlines on my Google Reader was a sign that he needed to be featured on PopWreckoning as well and what better place to feature somebody so in the spotlight than by putting that person under cover?

Give Gibbard a guitar and put him alone on a stage and inevitably the guy slips into some sort of cover song. No matter the original quality of the song, he’ll cover it. Indie or pop, he’s done it all. I’m actually really surprised there hasn’t been a Death Cab cover album yet.

So for this week I bring you the best (or maybe the worst if you don’t have a sense of humor) of ’s cover songs. He’s done a ton, so look for this to be a multi-parter.


.Backstreet Boys – “I Want It That Way” (original, 1998)
.“I Want It That Way” (cover, 2001)

Bellingham, WA. If I could go back in time to any show, it would be this tiny show at the 5th Floor Coffeehouse in January 2001 in Bellingham. Gibbard’s local, so it was intimate with family and friends. This was also his first public solo show since Death Cab formed four years prior. The atmosphere was already special. So when Gibbard acts all serious and hypes up this little cover he is about to whip out, it was like the icing on the cake for an already perfect show. A big breath…the anticipation builds…”You are – my fire.” Laughter. Backstreet Boys was not expected, but like I said, this show was a special occasion. This cover isn’t mind-blowing. Gibbard is pitchy in spots. And it is just downright silly that he is playing it off as this great masterpiece of a song that he is covering as a simple acoustic piece. Yet that is the genius of so many of Gibbard’s covers. Musically, they’re nothing too complicated, but he brings such a fun performance to his versions, that they really are treats.


.Michael Jackson – “Thriller” (original, 1984)
.“Thriller” (cover, 2007)

Gibbard covered this song  at Theater of the Living Arts and I was unsure about including it on here. Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” sounds nothing like this and yet that is exactly what won me over to this cover. Gone are the glossy synth notes that cue Jackson’s “Thriller” so well that you know what it is within two notes before it hits that lovely rolling bass.  Gibbard’s version is definitely that signature Death Cab indie folk sound. He’s managed to strip the Jackson hit into a simple strummed guitar tune. I also am a dork and I think it is hilarious that Gibbard had to read the lyrics off a piece of paper for this and still forgets lines midway through. I find it part of his charm.


. – “Complicated” (original, 2002)
.“Complicated” (cover, 2008)

I’m pretty sure I wanted to shoot myself whenever Avril’s “Complicated” came on the radio in 2002. Her voice was just so nasally and her idea of punk was just so…pop. Not too mention she had that ridiculous intro, “Uh huh. Life’s like this.” Gag me. I guess you could say she was acting on her lyric: “trying to be cool, but looked like a fool.” Then Gibbard comes along and nearly six years later and turns it into a slow, folky number. About 50 seconds in, Gibbard starts chuckling and says, “This is a serious song.” I’m not sure if he is telling that to the audience or a reminder to himself, but either way, it is his personality that makes this song worth the listen. Heck as much as I love his music, the best part is the end when he gives a little commentary on the song, “It’s pretty cut and dry. Complicated? What the hell are you talking about? I like to dress in different clothes.” Aw, Ben. This is why we love you.

: website | myspace

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Lady Gaga ‘The Fame Monster’ Tracklisting

Posted: 28 Oct 2009 10:00 AM PDT

has finalized the tracklisting for the re-release of her debut album The Fame. The re-release, entitled The Fame Monster, has eight new songs and a duet with Beyonce. gaga

The new tracks are:

• “Bad Romance”
• “Alejandro”
• “Monster”
• “Speechless”
• “Dance in the Dark”
• “Telephone” (duet with Beyonce)
• “So Happy I Could Die”
• “Teeth”

A collector’s edition of the re-release will come with a numbered art book that also includes the following:

• A lock of ’s hair
• A collectible puzzle
• Pictorials
• A behind-the-scenes look at ’s creative process
• Pull-out posters
• Themed fanzines
• A paper doll collection
• 3-D glasses to view forthcoming visuals
• Personal notes from

Look for this Dec. 15, 2009.

: website | myspace

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Little Girls ‘Youth Tunes’ Video

Posted: 28 Oct 2009 09:30 AM PDT

Canadian indie rockers new video from “Youth Tunes” comes from their recent release on Paper Bag Records entitled Concepts.

I’ve watched this video multiple times in an attempt to explain it…plus it is weird and I happen to love it, so it is easy to watch over and over. It sticks with you in a cool, yet haunting way.

: myspace

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Interview with: Diane Birch

Posted: 28 Oct 2009 09:00 AM PDT

It's rare that an artist can just float into a jaded music scene and calm it down for a minute, make it take notice, and remember what it meant to just groove to the beat. We had the pleasure of catching up with such an artist, and her name is .

Thomas Starks, PopWreckoning: Good Afternoon Miss Birch, How are you? I'm Thomas Starks with PopWreckoning. diane
: I'm good…I'm good. Sorry I'm in a cab, can you hear me?
PW: Yes I can, sounds like you're on the move.
DB: (chuckles) Yeah, always.
PW: So where are you now, as in what city?
DB: Right now I'm in New York City.
PW: Now you just finished a tour am I correct?
DB: Yes I did, whew. Glad to be back in New York. I missed it.

PW: I bet. So I'll get right to it if ya don't mind? Now Bible Belt is your "debut" LP am I correct?
DB: Yes it is my first record.
PW: Now is that with a label? Meaning do you have any underground works as well, like an unlabeled LP before this?
DB: Oh no, none recorded anyway, this was the first.
PW: Really great first outing by the way. "Nothing But a Miracle" is truly a great song.
DB: Aww, thank you, I really appreciate that. We worked hard on it.

PW: So you're a bit of a world traveler, where do you call home?
DB: Well, my parents moved us around a lot. He was a pastor, but I would say Portland.
PW: That's kind of my old stomping grounds. I love the Roseland. So you have a bit of a worldview but also I read that "Valentino" was written about an imaginary friend, I love that.
DB: Well, I spent a lot of time on my own growing up, certainly. I don't have imaginary friends now, just something I did. I liked creating.

PW: That's fair. So is that a part of your process, in writing, I mean? I was listening to the contrast in songs, I played "Fools" and "Nothing But A Miracle" back to back about 10 times.
DB: Yeah I wrote "Fools" first, and about a year later wrote "Nothing But A Miracle" so there was a big difference in feeling over the year.

PW: So you certainly ran the gamut of emotion of the year then huh? I respect that. So did you think when you were playing in Prince’s living room that you had finally arrived?
DB: Ya know, it was less that, and more that I felt validated. Here I was writing these songs, and someone comes along and wants me to play them. I began to say to myself "I can do this."

PW: So what's the next big project for you, sometimes artists immediately go back to studio to keep it rolling. Is that your case as well?
DB: Oh mentally, I'm on my 7th record. I know that's really far ahead and I tend to do that, so I'm trying to "live" in this record right now. It's hard because I'm always moving forward.
PW: Well I have to say I truly admire this record, you put a lot of honesty and heart into it, I respect that.
DB: Well, thank you. That means alot.

PW: So I promised I would only keep you for 20 minutes and I will remain a man of my word, but one last question Miss Birch. Since beginning this record and now, what is the most memorable moment to date?
DB: Wow, there are so many. I'd say being on Letterman was pretty amazing.
PW: Well. I thank you, Miss Birch for talking with me and I want to encourage you to keep doing this as long as you can. We need more of you. I hope you have a great rest of the day.
DB: Thank you, Thomas, and take care.

: website | myspace

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The Killers Live! at Select Movie Theatres

Posted: 28 Oct 2009 08:30 AM PDT

See the Killers live…well, sort of. The Killers are releasing a live DVD of their Royal Albert Hall performance Nov. 10, but for one special night, you can see that DVD on the big screen. killerspackage

Nov. 5 at 7 p.m., select movie theatres are playing the live concert performance from the Day and Age tour that has been raking in stellar reviews everywhere.

Theatres and cities are constantly being added, so to see if the Killers are coming to a screen near you visit You can enter and win a pair of tickets by texting ‘KILLERSLIVE’ to 66937.

And for those wanting to get their hands on a copy of the concert, the band has several pre-order packages available on their website. For those really wanting to splurge, there’s even a 400 Limited Edition Collector’s Package for about $80.

It promises to be a good show. Just check out the teaser and performance of “When You Were Young” below if you don’t believe us.

The Killers: website | myspace | @ lollapalooza | Sawdust review | under cover: “Mr. Brightside” | @ magness arena | Day and Age review

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Video Interview with Passion Pit @ Treasure Island Fest

Posted: 28 Oct 2009 08:00 AM PDT


Videographer Tim Marrinan was at Treasure Island Fest with some of the year’s biggest acts. Click on the image to see a video interview with buzz band Passion Pit and footage from the fest.

Passion Pit: website | myspace | @ rumsey playfield | @ monolith | interview with: ayad al adhamy

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Daniel Martin Moore Tour Dates

Posted: 28 Oct 2009 07:30 AM PDT

is a drifter. He has lived in Kentucky, Costa Rica, Minnesota and served in the Peace Corp. Hopefully you’ll be lucky enough that he is drifting to a town near year so you can hear his folk tunes. daniel

His current tour dates are brief and sporadic, but they are well worth the travel. Plus, he’s opening for some pretty big names: Ben Sollee in Portland and Eleni Mandell and Inara George in LA.

Sub Pop recently released his debut Stray Age. Check out the title track here:

.“Stray Age”

Tour dates:
Nov. 10 – Bootleg Theater / Los Angeles, CA
Nov. 17 – Tractor Tavern / Seattle, WA
Dec. 8 – Southgate House / Newport, KY
Dec. 12 – Historic State Theater / Elizabethtown, KY
Jan. 15 – Boone County Public Library / Burlington, KY

: website | myspace

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Tone and Niche – Live

Posted: 28 Oct 2009 07:00 AM PDT

If you've made it the past six years without hearing Tone & Niche count yourself a rare find—and dreadfully unlucky. They're really good. Matching raucous violin with melodies last found in Rolling Thunder Revue-era material their chemistry has nursed  three studio albums (a self titled disc, In the Streets Of, and Rust), a collection of singles—including a reworking EP of the “House of the Rising Sun”—and now a live double album. Live_Cover

On record and on stage the true dynamic lies in the respective Tone & Niche. Tone, guitar and singing, and Niche with violin playing that could both quell or incite riot.

It's nice and that's the nice thing about this most recent record. The band (Nick White plays bass and Roger Dutcher plays drums) have been on a streak of impressive shows, with these discs comprising a ménage of shows: a healthy mix of band performances interspersed with tracks featuring just guitar and violin—Tone performing a majority of the singing.

The overall standout track (at least from disc 2) is “Medallion.” where the band really showcases how they syncopate different melodies and rhythms against Tone's singing. Over the two discs the band mixes older works with those from their most recent album Rust. The version of “Broken Hearted Army” contained here breaks from the album in the sheer militant march that seems to arise. No surprise, we hear a seasoned group of musicians doing what they know.

Nick White, who is currently in Arizona, may still be the best bass player in Detroit and the main downside of this disc is that you can't see him thrashing around on stage. You can see Tone & Niche— is aptly filling in on bass—thrash around November 7 at the Berkley Front.

The new live album and others can be found at the band's website.

Disc One:
01. Naw’s Jam
02. Epitaph
03. Freak
04. Spin Violins
05. An Original Thing (previously unreleased)
06. Fix My Head
07. Who’s Roger?
08. From Me To Her
09. Hold On
10. Listening (previously unreleased)
11. On The Streets Of
12. The Story
13. The Band Is…
14. Rust

Disc Two: (acoustic)
01. Brand New World
02. You Don’t Love me
03. Broken-Hearted Army
04. I’m Not Gone
05. Closing In
06. What To Do
07. Wait
08. Fix My Head
09. Conscious As I Am
10. Bye Marie (previously Unreleased)
11. What I Could Have Done For You
12. Tragedy

: website | myspace

Written by Adam Leroy

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