Artist spotlight: The Changes

When I Sleep / Such a Scene

I happened to stumble across The Changes as if in a dream. I was sorting through some old files I had downloaded but never got around to labeling when I took a listen to “When I Sleep.” I’m not usually big on the whole mellow groove reminiscent of what some call The Police or some call new wave with a jazzy feel, but this song hit the spot oh so blissfully. Most of their songs don’t actually sound like this, which makes it a rare pleasure. Songs like “When I Wake” and “On A String” have more of a boppy pop feel, not unlike The Boy Least Likely To or The Russian Futurists or perhaps whatever a band with a late 60s or 70s influence wants to protrude on a serene, city evening. Need a song to listen to as you linger on the city sidewalk and press your jacket closer to trap in heat? Hit up “In the Dark,” a classically indie tune tailored to fit that city sequence perfectly.

The Changes released their first full length, Today Is Tonight on September 26 and it’s a perfect addition to any autumnal mix tape or playlist your grooving this season. Don’t believe me? Check out this delicious sound sample page and note the subtle changes in the image and tell me that’s not clever. Furthermore, The Changes are now on tour again and for those in the Chicago area, they’ll be performing two shows on the 25th of this November; get ready to spend the most useful $12 of the Christmas season (granted you’ve already bought Dir en grey tickets, but that’s a given).

Official Site
Buy Today Is Tonight

Friday night shuffle IX

I put the ol’ iRiver on shuffle and post the first five songs that come up.

Junior Boys – In The Morning: The past few weeks, I’ve had the delight of driving my sister’s car to school which is nice because she has taken the liberty of installing a CD player that actually functions (so that obnoxious flag hanging on the rearview mirror: I have nothing to do with that). In September, Junior Boys released a new album that received nice reviews from the popular media and while I am not apt to agree with all of the stellar ratings, I am quite content playing this song over and over and over again, as I find it keeps me quite happy. My sister, however, does not agree, and as a result, I have had to make three new mix CDs with this song on it as the others have suffered “mysterious” disappearances and I refuse to submit to the idealogy that her car’s CD player only responds positively to reggaeton. In fact, we had a conversation, the CD player and I, and it consisted of us singing the wrong words to this song in carefree unison and plotting ways to destroy all of the reggaeton CDs in the dashboard with a wild conflagration. We’ve become very close.

The Decemberists – Summersong: The Decemberists are cool because um. Well. I suppose because they have written many great novels and set them to melody. So when you ignore the fact that they are pretentiouslly erudite and haven’t learned the proper term of “moderation” when it comes to acoustic guitars, I suppose this is a fantastic song.

George Harrison – Got My Mind Set on You: This song does a really good job of erasing all the credibility Harrison built in the 1960s. When I listened to Revolvor the first time, I thought to myself, wow, he was not kidding around with that sitar. This song made me think wow, he was just really not fucking kidding around now, was he?

Natsumi Abe – the stress: I am not sure why this is in my player. This is like a new discovery that is not welcome. This isn’t like discovering an obscure Depeche Mode remix, this is like discovering you had a moment of really flawed judgment. Abe was a former member of kid super group Morning Musume, and as one of the most popular graduated members, has gone on to put out many photobooks and singles, all complete crap.

Sandy Lam – Yi Ge Ren: By popular demand, I come bearing the Mandarin (Cantonese?) version of New Order’s “Bizzare Love Triangle” which adds about five extra cups of sugar to the recipe, but is as equally delicious. I once began an article that said something like “In 1994, or I guess 1986, Bernard Sumner & co. wrote my biography and titled it “Bizzare Love Triangle.” I was only seven years old but after I first heard this song on the radio, I spent a whole Saturday afternoon waiting with a recordable tape and my finger on the record button. I then proceeded to play this song endlessly to the chagrin of family members. For one brief year, my child mind moved on to overplaying hide until New Order saved me once again after they brought 80s music back for a brief hiccup in the life of Chicago radio (94.7 The Zone, I miss you).” I hope to finish writing that article this month and end it with the sentiment that yes, I still have this tape, and yes, “Bizzare Love Triangle ‘94″ is nestled in among “Rhythm is a Dancer” and “Another Night” and how once, my friend and I blasted the song driving down the freeway like it was our jam because it fucking was and it was the greatest song I had ever heard since Fancy’s “Colder Than Ice.” Actually, I’ll leave that last part out maybe.

Friday night shuffle VII

Wherein I put the ol’ iRiver on shuffle and post the first five songs that come up.

Keane – Somewhere Only We Know: I first heard this song off an online radio broadcast that Joaquin Phoenix did two years ago, picking his favorite songs. It was pretty much love at first listen. Unfortunately for me and my dial-up connection, it was the only song of which I was able to hear snippets during the broadcast. I call this fate. Since then, the use of the song in promotions for The Lake House has pretty much desensitized its simplistic beauty. I call this bullshit.

Angela Aki – KISS FROM A ROSE: Possibly the best cover song I’ve heard from English to Japanese. It combines the beauty of the original with Aki’s rich alto vocals and purely emotional piano playing. Good stuff.

DJ Tiesto – He’s a Pirate (Pete n’ Red’s Jolly Roger Radio Edit): In 2006, DJ Tiesto released a maxi-single full of trance/techno remixes of the song “He’s a Pirate” from the movie Pirates of the Caribbean. This song is my favorite off the remix CD. It’s short, sweet, simple, and the original is still clearly audible.

Jessica Simpson – You Spin Me Round (Like A Record): A cover of the 80s original. I hate Simpsons’ voice (raspy, breathy, fugly), but I will admit her songwriters did well putting this song together. It’s a lot more upbeat and dream-like with an obese dose of synths. However, they took out one of the coolest parts of the song (you can’t just erase the bridge, dammit). You’ll see what I mean when you hear it.

Avril Lavigne – Slipped Away: This is the last track of the album Under My Skin. It begins with soft piano and than segues into a delightful rockish, ballad vibe. It’s a very sad song with elements of anger. Sorry, I’m too tired today to be witty tonight. You’ll have to take out the adjectives and mad lib this one.