Latest News: Jim James

Between the Covers

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Barbara Covers Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness” While this song has been pursued by more popular artists like Lissie, whose cover earned praise from Kid Cudi himself on his official website, let’s not forget the lesser known artists’ take on the alt hip hop hit. Electro pop California trio Barbara laces the electronic vibes on the original (produced by Ratatat and featuring vocals by MGMT) with folky singing and instrumentation. Between Kid Cudi’s lyrics and Iron & Wine's “The Trapeze Swinger” in the background, classically trained pianist Derek Stephens and hip-hop producer Frank Eybsen tie together their seemingly opposite influences quite well – this despite the group’s confession on their website that the cover was a product of “boredom/drinking.”

Calexico and Jim James Cover Bob Dylan’s “Going to Acapulco” The soundtrack to I'm Not There, the 2007 Bob Dylan biopic, is practically flawless – and this song is a personal favorite of mine, and of most Jim James fans out there. The My Morning Jacket singer even sounds a bit like Nashville Skyline-era Dylan (“Lay Lady Lay,” “Girl from the North Country”) on this Basement Tapes song. James’ high and lonesome vocals are beautifully backed by the full alt-country sound of Calexico, complete with majestic horn section and acoustic guitar strums.

Cake Covers Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive" This 1996 alt rock cover of a 1978 disco anthem (written by Freddie Perren and Dino Fekaris and performed by Gloria Gaynor) has stood the test of time, with over 4 million YouTube views and counting in 2012. Cake altered the song with the band’s signature almost-spoken vocals, trumpet outbursts and distorted guitar riffs – along with changing "I should have changed that stupid lock" to "I should have changed my f*cking lock" and "I'm not that chained up little person" to "I'm not that stupid little person…” While the addition of profanity made this cover Gloria Gaynor’s least favorite version of the original she made popular, the song’s accompanying video of frontman John McCrea writing parking tickets to happy couples while singing puts it in the running as my favorite.

Be sure to check out:

The String Quartet Tribute to Bob Dylan Available now at iTunes and Amazon

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My Morning Jacket Frontman and M. Ward Start Crème Brûlée Blog

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Jim James and his Monsters Of Folk band mate, M. Ward, have started a food blog that is centered on Crème Brûlée. As My Morning Jacket Twitter followers found out recently, the blog is aimed at being “an online resource for critiques and tastings of Crème Brûlée around the world.” The two stars have apparently made a habit of trying the delicacy during their globe hopping tours.

Called the Crèm-Brû-log, the two have swapped turns at blogging their interests in the dessert, or just sometimes writing long meandering thoughts. Like this excerpt from James’ recent post that paints an odd picture of Havana, Cuba and his love:

“I know I am safe with this flan… here in this kitchen with this lovely woman such a fine cook smiling with the knowledge of those who have come before her…and her husband lights a cigar and passes it to me and we lean back in our chairs with a little rum in the bottom of our glasses and just let it be is are was were in heaven havana again.”
Ward’s posts seem to be a bit more centered on specific reviews. His most recent post is on an Omaha, NE spot where you can get a mean Brûlée. Also interesting, is the pair’s rating system for tasting:
“-each brulee reviewed will recieve a certain amount of “logs.” think of these logs as “stars,” “points,” or “thumbs” in other reviews you may read. for instance- “joe so and so gave this new film 4 stars.” there is no finite number to the amount of logs that can be given, with infinite logs being the highest rating possible. -here at cremebrulog we want to give our readers a voice too, therefore the amount of logs can be subdivided, added to, or subtracted from by readers until the end of time, or the internet, whichever happens first. at that point god himself will do the math to determine the true winner of all time creme brulee championship 96!”
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