By Justin Cates
The eclectic mix of songs I picked last time were surprisingly popular, so I'll attempt to make this a weekly thing since Tuesday's are dumb.
The first one today isn't particularly random, it's just good.
Before frontman James Mercer decided to fire his band and replace them with the new Shins, they made this terrific cover of The Postal Service's "We Will Become Silhouettes".
I'm pretty sure I've posted this song previously, but I don't care. It's terrific.
Next up is The Band. I rank them right up there with Little Feat for most underrated band. It's another case where you've heard their songs and enjoyed them, but didn't know it was them.
The first tune from The Band I really fell for turned out to be a cover of the Bob Dylan tune "I Shall Be Released". I think this version from the Band's debut album Music From Big Pink is the definitive version.
Granted, I've never been a huge Dylan fan but I still appreciate his art. I just think the vocals of Richard Manuel, Rick Danko and Levon Helm are far superior to those of Mr. Dylan's original cut.
This song is also cool because of the Dylan/Band connection. The Band was Bob's backing group when he toured the U.S. in 1965 and Europe in 1966 after going electric.
The Kooks are an indie band from the UK that has perhaps best been described as a less abrasive Arctic Monkeys.
They are self-described "musical whores" listing countless recognizable influences like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, The Police and David Bowie.
In fact, their name is derived from the classic Bowie song "Kooks" and the distillation of all these influences has led to a really cool sound beyond their initial label of "typical Britpop".
Today's selection is a cover they did of the Gnarls Barkley hit "Crazy".
The Kooks have stripped it down to simple acoustic guitars. Luke Pritchard's heavily accented lead vocals completely change the tone of the song, and while a little rough in this video where he's playing in the street, are quite honest and charming.