Saturday, June 30, 2012

If you like Carly Rae Jepsen, thank Annie Lennox

This is too easy, but I can't stop listening to this mashup, so I had to post it. Big tip of the hat to Vampire Weekend's Rostam Batmanglij for spotting the similarities between the song of the summer, "Call Me Maybe," and Lennox's "Walking on Broken Glass:"

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

If you like Fleet Foxes, thank Neil Young too

After reading my post, "If you like Fleet Foxes, thank Crosby, Stills & Nash," alert LTF reader Edley Naylor-Leyland pointed out that Fleet Foxes owe a musical debt to CSN partner Neil Young as well. To quote Naylor-Leyland, "Check out the similarities of Ohio (Young) and Mykonos (Fleet Foxes)- they use the exact same bit of Ohio at about 2min15secs."

So let's all take a listen. First, Neil Young's tragic anthem to the Kent State riot of 1970:

The sound is electric, minor-key heartbreak. But pay special attention to the vocal harmonies in the verse, especially "Gotta get down to it/ Soldiers are cutting us down."

Now listen to "Mykonos" by Fleet Foxes, paying special attention to the bridge around 2:15:

Well, I'll be damned. That is, in fact, the exact same vocal harmony and melody, especailly at "You go wherever you go today." So spot on that it sounds like an intentional homage to Kent State in my ear. Proving yet again that the indie rock so popular today takes great inspiration and sustenance from the classic rock that came before.

Great ear, Edley!

Saturday, June 02, 2012

If you like Colbie Caillat, thank Fleetwood Mac

Okay, admittedly this one is a little too easy. Colbie Caillat is, of course, the daughter of famed music producer Ken Caillat, who gave some of Fleetwood Mac's best albums (including Tusk, Mirage and multi-platinum-selling Rumours) their distinctive warm-California tone. So it should be no surprise that Colbie harnesses the same likeable, breezy melodies as Fleetwood Mac, and adopts their focus on intimate relationships combined with the appealingly maximalist production tone that defined that megagroup of 1970s folk-rock. According to Fleetwood Mac fansite

[Ken Caillat's]  knowledge about how to get sounds recorded made Caillat an integral part of the team behind the mixing desk during those recordings. Lindsey Buckingham remembers the recording of "Go Your Own Way": "I really think Ken Caillat did a great job of getting the sound that solo needed. It defined an approach for years to come." 

Buckingham was right in more ways than he intended: Caillat's distinctive production is a very successful approach that he is still putting to good use in the 2000s by producing all three of daughter Colbie's albums to date. Perhaps nowhere is his method more recognizable than in her song, "Falling for You:"

There are the warm, jangly, multiple-tracked acoustic guitars. There are the soft vocal harmonies. It's a pleasant, familiar, appealingly vintage sound. But then, when you get toward the end of the song, he drops in a signature riff, the one that sounds like birds flitting around the corners of the sonic landscape. You hear it after the bridge, when the vocals sing, "I can't stop thinking 'bout it, I want you all around me, and now I just can't hide it." Hear the subtle, dancing riff that's laid down over that? Does it sound familiar?

That's because Caillat and Buckingham first used it on Fleetwood Mac's Stevie Nicks-penned "Gypsy" from 1983's Mirage:


Still the warm, jangly tone. An even richer spectrum of background harmonies. And at the very end of the song, you'll hear a synthesizer riff that should sound very familiar.

So remember, if you like Colbie Caillat, thank Fleetwood Mac, and their consistently successful producer Ken Caillat.