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Songwriter

Benjamin Francis Leftwich – Won’t Back Down (Tom Petty Cover)

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Ben just sent along this excellent 5 song covers EP. The free EP includes renditions of songs by Arcade Fire, The Boss, and our pick by World Coolest Walking Corpse, Tom Petty. It’s “Won’t Back Down”.

Benjamin Francis Leftwich – Won’t Back Down (Tom Petty Cover)

Benjamin Francis Leftwich england: (Official) (Facebook)

Rating: 8.1

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reviewed by
10-10-11

B3SCInterview: Washington

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We recently had a chance to catch up with Australian songstress Washington amid her US tour with OMD. We chatted about her forthcoming Insomnia LP, Bosendorfers, British weather and more! Also peep “Holy Moses” previewed from her Insomnia LP below.

Is there a particular inspiration that you attribute to the exploration of jazz early in your career?
I grew up being fascinated by old Hollywood musicals. Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, Ann Miller, Ruby Keeler, Gene Kelly, Cyd Charisse, Leslie Caron; I suppose you could say they were my idols. When I got a little older, I think I was naturally drawn toward old jazz standards because they were already familiar, they were the songs from all those old films. Irving Berlin and Cole Porter and Lerner and Loewe basically educated me in everything until I discovered rock and roll at about 20 years old. After that my tastes certainly expanded, but the core of my understanding of music is definitely rooted in show tunes and all that’s razzly and dazzly.

Reflecting back, is there anything that you take away from earlier experiences as a keyboardist and back-up vocalist for artists like Ben Lee that’s prepared you for the spotlight as Washington?
I learned a lot in those years playing in other people’s bands. I learned how to tour, (which is a skill you don’t realise you need until you need it), I learned how to structure set lists according to the venue size and crowd size, I learned how to rearrange the recorded songs for a live band… I learned a lot. I wish I’d learned to play guitar better but I’m still working on that. It also afforded me the opportunity to travel the world and play at lots of festivals and see a lot of music that I wouldn’t have otherwise been able to see.

Can you compare being a singer/songwiter in Australia to that of the United States, UK or elsewhere? Is there anything particular about the culture or landscape from your point of view?
I don’t know whether I can really answer that question faithfully… I think that the experience of being a songwriter is different every day, with every song, and every city. Certainly Australian crowds are generally a little more boisterous compared to, say, a typical German audience, where I guess culturally there’s a little more of a ‘recital’ spirit to the show, but that’s an awfully strong generalisation and I can think of plenty of instances where that hasn’t been the case. Touring in America is very similar to touring in Australia; the drives between shows are long because the countries are so vast. My thoughts about the UK are simply that it’s always FREEZING because I’ve only ever been there mid-winter. So now I know how to drag my keyboard through snow!

When is your favorite time to write? Is there something that inspires you… favorite instrument of any sort?
I really can’t go past a Steinway grand piano. I also love Bosendorfers but they’re terribly hard to come across. I generally write quite late at night, usually around midnight, although there’s also this strange thing that happens when I’m running late to leave the house I have this odd compulsion to sit down and write for 10 minutes or so and make myself even later. I don’t know what kind of psychological connotations that has. I’m usually inspired by relationships, stories. Tales of woe. Edgar Allen Poe. Bukowski. Heartbroken maidens wrecked on the shores of romance.

Is there anything that the world should expect from ‘Insomnia’?
It’s a funny record, Insomnia. It’s very different to ‘Liar’, in that it’s quite dark with a lot more space than anything that came before it. Obviously it was written in the dark, so it makes sense that it’d be dark, right? Also Cello. The world can expect Cello!

What makes a song timeless in your opinion?
Truth and restraint.

Washington – Holy Moses: australia : (Twitter) (Facebook)

[VAULT] Washington – Welcome Stranger

reviewed by
10-05-11

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Alone on the Rope

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NG’s songwriting clinic continues on “Alone on the Rope”. If Noel were a new artist every bloggerdude out there would be falling over themselves to content farm this shit. Perception is the game. Noel is old and Oasis aren’t cool. We love you Noel.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – Alone on the Rope

Noel Gallagher england (Official)

Rating 8.4

brown8

reviewed by
10-03-11

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – I’d Pick You Every Time

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“I’d Pick You Every Time”, the b-side to NG’s “If I Had a Gun” single, continues Noel’s record with great b-sides that stretches back to the earliest days of Oasis. It’s often that Noel saves these more folkier divergences for the b-side. And the half-time, almost countrified (is that a banjo, Noel?) “I’d Pick You Every Time” is very much in that “Folky” Noel lane. Spin it below.

Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds – I’d Pick You Every Time

Noel Gallagher england (Official)

Rating 8.2

brown8

reviewed by
09-30-11

Benjamin Francis Leftwich – Shine

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b3sci fav Benjamin Francis Leftwich returns with one of his catchiest tracks to date, new single “Shine”. The track serves as further example of Leftwich ‘s excellent sense of construction and restraint in melody, rhythm, and arrangement. Great tune.

Benjamin Francis Leftwich – Shine

Benjamin Francis Leftwich england: (Official) (Facebook)

Rating: 8.1

brown8

reviewed by
09-29-11

Jodie Marie – On The Road (Summer Camp Remix)

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The awesome Summer Camp turned an already great song, UK songstress Jodie Marie’s “On the Road”, into an absolute must listen. Jodie’s voice is incredible, little hints of trip hop and a classic country twang give it a depth and broadness that is really arresting. The melody reminds of something taken from mid 90’s alt rock radio, like one of those big anthemic “Black Hole Sun” sort of songs. Amazing.

Jodie Marie england (Official)

Summer Camp england (Facebook) (Blog)

Rating 8.3

brown8

reviewed by
09-29-11

Alex Clare – Damn Your Eyes

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Alex Clare, one of the dopest artists in any genre right now, recently cut this gripping (and we don’t use that word lightly) cover of “Damn Your Eyes”, a tune made famous by the legendary Etta James. It’s rare to hear an Etta song done so well, let alone by a male voice. Do not miss this one.

Alex Clare england (Facebook)

Rating 8.3

brown8

reviewed by
09-29-11

Sunday Girl – Tender (Blur Cover)

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The always fashionable Sunday Girl takes a run at the b3sci staff’s consensus favorite Blur song. It’s “Tender”.

Sunday Girl – Tender (Blur Cover)

Sunday Girl england (Facebook)

Rating 8.1

damon-albarn

reviewed by
09-28-11

Tom Waits – Back in the Crowd

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Old man Waits has a new LP (Bad Like Me) due soon (October 24) which should have you super psyched. Anytime this legend takes a break from being one of the coolest people on the planet just long enough to get in a studio and cut a record, you need to be listening. “Back in the Crowd”, the album’s second single is a slightly island-y Spanish guitar-backed love song. The gritty, gravely, gruff Waits can write some seriously dark shit, but the usually candid Tom can also pen the sweetest songs of devotion. With Waits it’s always been about emotive honesty and connectivity, his ability to precisely point into the whole vast continuum of emotive quality is what really elevates (and keeps) him into the sphere of the best songwriters.

Tom Waits – Back in the Crowd

Tom Waits california (Official)

Rating 8.7

brown8

reviewed by
09-27-11

Michael Kiwanuka – I’m Getting Ready

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UK singer/songwriter Michael Kiwanuka continues to blow us away with each successive release. “I’m Getting Ready”, the title track from his just released EP, is a beautiful piece of acoustic soul pop. The dynamics in the delivery of Kiwanuka’s sweet tenor are especially showcased on this track. Like the best storytellers, each word, each note is precisely pointed at each turn of the narrative. Listen.

Michael Kiwanuka – I’m Getting Ready

Michael Kiwanuka england (Facebook) (Official)

Rating 8.5

brown8

reviewed by
09-26-11

B3SCI on Virgin Mobile Live

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Stream the weekend’s broadcast below! And be sure to catch new B3SCI Radio on Virgin Mobile Live, Fridays and Saturdays @ 3pm eastern HERE. Tracklist is after the jump.

B3SCI VML show10 9.23.11 by blahblahblahscienceradio

Click for link b3sci radio archives and be sure to check out fam Virgin Mobile Live and Abbey Braden!

reviewed by
09-25-11