Pat's Pick - You and I by Jeff Buckley

Pat says:

Posthumous releases can sometimes be dicey. There can be a tendency for surviving friends and family to scrounge up the artist's every last recording and release them all at full price. Recording quality and artistic merit can thus vary widely.

No artist exemplifies this better than Jeff Buckley, the singer-songwriter who accidentally drowned in 1997. It seems that every few years a new collection of undiscovered demos, covers or musical sketches is found and released as a “long lost” album. The latest iteration is You and I which features a mix of all of the above.

Despite some questions I have about the motivations behind releasing this material, ultimately I enjoy listening to these tunes. The recordings feature sudden starts and stops, spontaneous A Capella sections and other quirky little gems. At one point in “Dream of You and I” Buckley stops to talk about a dream he recently had. The recordings are charming and very intimate, which suits his voice quite well.

I have to wonder what Jeff Buckley himself would think of this though. Based on his small sample of studio recordings it seems he was quite a perfectionist. Would he really want to charge full price for some of these sketches? Would he even want to release some of these songs when they are full of mistakes? We will probably never know. In the meantime, I will listen again to his cover of “Just Like a Woman.”

Jeff Buckley playing "Just Like a Woman"

One from Column B-Sides

Billy (the bassist) says: 

When a band records an album together, there's bound to be extra tracks that won't make the official cut -- these extra songs are usually referred to as b-sides. Take a trip back in history and the terms a-side and b-side actually refer to the two sides of the 78 rpm records (vinyl records, gramophone record, same terms). 

The earliest known double-sided 78 rpm records appeared as early as the 1910's in Europe. The a-side is the actual recording that is expected to be a hit and is on top of the vinyl while the b-side is the song on the flip-side of the vinyl and is usually the "other song." Interesting note, the artist who has the most popular double-sided records in the U.S. Hot 100 is Elvis Presley with 51 records.

Many popular artists release their B-Sides: Nirvana's 1992 Incesticide, Metallica's 1998 Garage Inc., Oasis' 1998 The Masterplan, Pearl Jam's 2003 Lost Dogs. One of my favorite bands is Red Hot Chili Peppers and the band has a history of releasing their B-Sides after their major CD releases.

The band's 2006 double-disc album Stadium Arcadium featured not only 28 songs on the two discs but the band also released an additional nine songs on a "bonus" CD! The two CDs are named Jupiter and Mars while the fans dubbed the bonus tracks as Venus. Much like Stadium Arcadium itself, Venus features a wide-spectrum of styles. Originally RHCP wanted to release all 38 tracks over 3 CDs.

Funny Face (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=938KsIzN7pw) has an interesting groove, which is provided by bassist Flea. 

Million Miles of Water (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5j38FapaYtE) is an upbeat rock song and the chorus becomes a bit melodic with Frusicante's backing vocals and Flea's playing the bass at a higher register. Plus Frusicante's solo has a neat wah effect.

My favorite B-Side from Stadium Arcadium is called I'll Be Your Domino (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXWNPUbRsnM). This song is straight up funk and features a slick slap bassline by Flea -- he evens adds wah during the second verse. Also, Frusicante chirps in and out with his guitar. I was surprised this song didn't make the album.

RHCP's most recent album, I'm With You, has a large number of B-Sides too. Surprisingly the band recorded 48 songs for I'm With You! 14 made it on the album and the band plans to release (even up to this day!) 17 B-Sides! Six songs are planned for release this month. In a sense, we're getting new music over two years, and you can't complain about that.

So what does this say for Chaser Eight? I've been playing with Pat and *AUDRA* for over nine years and we've written tons and tons of songs together. That's the beauty of music, the magic will always flow and I can predict Chaser Eight B-Sides in the near future!

Ch8commended: Vampire Weekend's Modern Vampires of the City

Pat (the guitarist) says:

I just got a chance to check out Vampire Weekend's new album Modern Vampires of The City .  I admired the band's two previous albums, but I really love this one quite a bit. They still have their quirky, Gracelandy, aesthetic but they really have dug a lot deeper than they ever have before.

 Singer/Vocalist Ezra Koenig really comes into his own as a vocalist/lyricist on this record. The tune "Step" in particular is a beautiful blend of words and music that summons the virtuoso wordplay of Andrew Bird or Paul Simon at their best.  On the rocker "Diane Young" (I don't think I have ever heard Vampire Weekend kick this much ass before) he more or less symbolically torches the band's preppy Ivy League image and moves on to deliver some great existential musings: live my life in self-defense, you know I love the past cause I hate suspense.  

Producer Rostam Batmanglij (also the guitarist/keyboardist) has some exceptionally impressive moments, not least of which is the aforementioned "Diane Young" with its exquisite use of extreme auto-tune and dub step snare hits.

 Every Vampire Weekend record seems to have a few Afro-Cuban-meets-harpsichord tunes that usually rub me the wrong way. This time however they sound much more soulful and convincing than they have before. "Ya Hey" in particular is stellar.

I could go on and on, but check out some tracks for yourself.

  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oG6lTQNW04I