“In my loner hour, I turn to my twin bed for hours,” sings Aaron Maine (Porches) in “Hour,” the first song from his forthcoming album Pool. This dark opening line perfectly pulls you into Maine’s textured and moody world of synth-pop. Between the pulsing electronics and sweet backing vocals from Greta Kline (Frankie Cosmos), “Hour” is a delicious song to accompany your misery.
Underneath Florist‘s (Emily Sprague) shaking vocals, “Cool and Refreshing” is tough. It’s a celebration of life and a moment to reflect on the little things that make you burst with happiness. The song’s light folk-pop make-up, delicately woven with the fear and tenacity of its lyrics, wraps around you to say, “it’s terrifying” but “it’s totally fine.”
Frankie Cosmos (Greta Kline) excels at writing short songs. Amongst her 49 uploads to Bandcamp – which include singles, EPs, and LPs – you’d be hard pressed to find any song that reaches three minutes in length. Kline writes lo-fi, bedroom-pop whisperings fresh from the pages of her journal. Their vignettes of her life always rich with emotions and honesty.
After a year long absence, Kline returns with an EP Fit Me In, due out November 13th. In “Sand,” a cut from the EP, Kline crafts a 49 seconds ode to Spring in NYC, going on dates, and browsing books, all in her shining pop style.
I randomly stumbled upon The Bones of J.R. Jones thanks to a tweet in my feed (thanks Annie!), and I was immediately drawn into J.R.’s ramshackle, rustic grooves. The Wildness EP consists of seven bluesy, sparse, floor-board stomping country-folk jams that are as timeless as they are impossible to resist. By and large, these tunes are completely stripped down and made all the more cozy and beautiful by their rootsy simplicity. Definitely recommended.
I’ve always been fascinated by covers songs. What interests me most about cover songs is what the cover says about the covering band and also what it says about the influence of the band being covered. When I started the Served Three Ways series I hoped to allow our readers to contemplate the ways in which a single artist or song can influence a diverse array of musicians. For example, it’s incredible to believe that artists as different as Coldplay, Josh Grobin, Miley Cyrus, Muse, Kanye West and Flying Lotus could all pull inspiration from the same band and yet each of these musicians have cited Radiohead (or frontman Thom Yorke) as a source of significant influence.
Predictably it’s become hard to consistently find three engaging covers of the same song. Not only that, I’ve slowly come to realize that requiring the covers to be of the same song – as opposed to merely being covers of the same artist – ended up unnecessarily limiting the material I could choose from. Indeed, as fascinating as it is to consider the web of influence from artists like Radiohead, Chris Issak, or The Rolling Stones, it’s potentially even more interesting to consider the immediate influence a young up-and-coming artist can have on the music community. In those cases, it may be possible to find three bands covering a young artist, but often not of the same song. So I’ve decided to ease up on the rules for this series. From here forward, Served Three Ways won’t necessarily focus on three covers of the same song but merely three covers of a single artist.
To kick things off we’re spotlighting three covers of songs by Brooklyn’s Grizzly Bear. They’ve released one of our two favorite albums of the year, and I suspect we’re not alone in that department. We have two covers of the band’s most popular track “Two Weeks” alongside a cover of “Foreground” (probably the bands prettiest song to date). This is your chance to share some insight, what do you think these covers say about Grizzly Bear and about the bands that selected the material to cover? Let me know in our comments section.
Brooklyn-by-way-of-San Francisco trio Lemonade have already proven themselves adept at both short-order improvisation and eclectic synthesization. Indeed, mere weeks after the trio formed drummer Alex Pasternak was asked if he was in a band and if he wanted to play an upcoming party. His band, Lemonade, had a name but hadn’t yet actually written any music or performed live before. He nonetheless agreed to play the party and, alongside vocalist Callan Clendenin and bassist Ben Steidel, the new band quickly set out to write music for the upcoming gig. Their quickly hashed-out grooves were a hit at the party, and so, emboldened by their quick success the trio decided to get serious about their music. Three years later their debut record was being praised far and wide for it’s dance-friendly, genre-blending amalgamation of diverse styles including UK garage, synth pop, indie rock, world music melodies, and various forms of dance.
Their sophomore album, Diver, follows in it’s predecessor’s footsteps. It’s glitchy, body-moving, genre-smashing pop music that can alternatively claim lineage to electronica, indie r&b, UK 2-Step garage, house and synth pop. If that sounds disorienting, it’s not. They blend together all of their influences so seamlessly that the album retains a wholly cohesive groove throughout. Opener “Infinite Style” booms forth with echoing bass, ratatat percussion and swirling sirens before catching the groove alongside cascading synth tones and a twitching, restless rhythm. The album’s first single is the rhythmically-textured, sparse and sensual jam “Neptune” which effortlessly grasps the zeitgeist of the burgeoning indie r&b movement. Meanwhile, the album does reach full dance-party mode until track three, “Ice Water,” a slowly-building jam that explodes into a throbbing dance groove before blinking out. Following these “blueprints” the album continuously mixes and matches a constant but always shifting core of influences through steady, uplifting tunes.