Simon & Garfunkel
“Where was Oliver Tank a few months ago when we needed him?” you might cry out as your hair gets drenched from the storm that is only above your head. “I don’t know!” your friend might shout from the distance. Well, “Sound of Silence” makes it quite clear that Oliver was hard at work on new music. This cover picks up right where he left off with “Help You Breathe” and the, well, breathtaking Dreams EP. This Simon & Garfunkel cover is an euphoric exploration of sound and space. Maybe just listen to it.
Aside from this cover, he has a Slow Motion Music EP coming out sometime after his shows across Australia supporting the modern legend James Blake.
I don’t quite remember when I first heard Simon & Garfunkel, but it must’ve been early. Maybe even in the womb. I have a wisp of a memory where I’m sitting in the backseat of my mom’s car at night, listening to her play “The Sound of Silence” on tape. It’s one of the most relaxing memories I have, I think about it almost every time I hear Simon & Garfunkel hum their way through my ears. The days have gone by, but that song still hits its chord–
“Hello Darkness, my old friend…”
Perhaps not-so-coincidentally, Thursday was Paul Simon’s birthday. If your’e reading, Happy Birthday! I once had a friend who was a huge Paul Simon fan who didn’t realize that, yes, that’s Simon from Simon & Garfunkel. It was sort of like the time I realized we say “afternoon” because it’s literally after noon. Or that “soft drinks” are called “soft” because they don’t have alcohol. I was embarrassingly old. But back on track…I like to think that if Sunset were around in the 60s and 70s, we’d be all over Simon & Garfunkel. Better yet, if Lydia were born decades earlier, Paul Simon would’ve had a damn good shot on that “5 Artists I Want to Marry” list. Maybe even Art Garfunkel if he did something about that hair.
Beyond any shadow of a doubt Simon & Garfunkel are true poets. Their rhymes are often simple, but the imagery and stories they surround them practically drip out of my speakers. You can see it, taste it, hear it…you can live in it.
I’ve posted this song before, but I’ll do it again. A live recording of one of my favorite Simon & Garfunkel songs of all time….this is the poetry in music at it’s best.
Now from his pocket quick he flashes,
The crayon on the wall he slashes,
Deep upon the advertising,
A single worded poem comprised
Of four letters.
And his heart is laughing, screaming, pounding
The poem across the tracks rebounding
Shadowed by the exit light
His legs take their ascending flight
To seek the breast of darkness and be suckled by the night
Beyond lyrics or stories or rhyme, Simon & Garfunkel set a new standard of harmony. If you’ve ever heard them (which hopefully you all have!), you know what exactly what I mean. They can both sing at the same time, but you only hear one resonating voice. And no studio trickery..they nailed that shit live:
If you’ve only heard a few songs by S&G, go out today and get one of their albums, and I guarantee you won’t regret it. It’ll give you warm company in the winter, and relaxation when you’re stressed. Play it in the morning, or play it in the wee hours of night as you pound coffee. I’ve posted some of my favorite songs below, enjoy
ZIP (including above) or individually:
MP3: “America”- Simon & Garfunkel
MP3: “Song For The Asking”- Simon & Garfunkel
MP3: “At The Zoo”- Simon & Garfunkel
MP3: “I Am A Rock”- Simon & Garfunkel
MP3: “Cecilia”- Simon & Garfunkel
MP3: “Wednesday Morning, 3 A.M. (Live)”- Simon & Garfunkel
MP3: “Keep The Customer Satisfied”- Simon & Garfunkel
MP3: “The Only Living Boy In New York”- Simon & Garfunkel
MP3: “Leaves That Are Green (Live)”- Simon & Garfunkel
MP3: “Baby Driver”- Simon & Garfunkel
MP3: “The Dangling Conversation”- Simon & Garfunkel
Not a lot of time to write today, so this week’s TT is gonna by live. WE’LL DO IT LIVE. Well, sort of. Actually, not really, but as close as I can get.
If you’ve ever been to a concert, you know that no live recording can ever capture the experience of actually being there, in the thick of it. The crowds, the screaming, the picnics, the weather, the little jokes by the band. Not to mention the glorious sound and thunderous acoustics. Just like no picture can truly ever capture everything about a moment, neither can a live recording at a concert. But pictures are awesome, and so are live recordings. QED.
But really. There are some bands out there that are no longer, and it makes me sad to think that they’ll never make another song. And that’s where live music comes in. Even if they’re singing a song you know, live recordings always have-a-somethin shiny and new about them. They’re never quite like the original, and sometimes I’ll find myself playing the live version over the mastered version. It’s nice hearing the applause, the foot thumping, and the occasional (one-sided) conversation between the artist and the audience. Check out some of my favorite live recordings:
ZIP or individually below:
MP3: “Welcome (#7)” – Wynton Marsalis Septet
MP3: “In The Sweet Embrace of Life” – Wynton Marsalis Septet (62 mb, 54:43)
[^^These two go together, the first is the introduction to the song that follows. Listen for the coughs and tinkling of wine glasses.]
MP3: “The Dangling Conversation (live)” – Simon & Garfunkel
MP3: “Desperado (live)” – Eagles
MP3: “Knife (live)” – Grizzly Bear
MP3: “No Woman No Cry (live) – Bob Marley
MP3: “Dark Matter (live)” – Andrew Bird
MP3: “Love of My Life (live)” – Queen [listen for the audience singing a verse]
MP3: “”39 (live)” – Queen [fun fact: this song is about time dilation]
MP3: “Familiar Terrain (live)” – Bobby Birdman
Also, check out this awesome NPR recording of Chris Thile and Michael Daves that one of my friends showed me. Be warned, it’s bluegrass, and it’s awesome. Chris Daves (with glasses) looks the part of a bluegrass fella, but he can wail on guitar. And I have it on good word that Chris Thile is the greatest mandolin player ever:
Throwback Thursdays?? WHAT?
Before I get to that, I’d like to introduce myself. My name is Patrick, and this is my first ever post here at Sunset! Super excited. I’ve been following this blog regularly for almost two years, and it’s meant a lot to me. Daily injections of incredible music, like a warm gun in the arm. Bang bang, shoot shoot. Sunset’s always felt like my secret internet oasis, and so for the longest time I refused to tell people about it (I was bad, I know). But I’m way over that. Discovering and sharing music keeps my soul happy, afloat, and pleasantly humming, so I hope to share lots of it with you all in the coming future. It’s totally strange and totally awesome to be writing for Sunset after all this time, but lets give it a go—
So Throwback Thursdays, what’s that all about? Well, I’m not sure either, but it’s going to be the shit. Hopefully. I’m envisioning it as the (conceptual) love-child of Straight Talk Sundays and, err, Womp-Womp Wednesdays. Music posting incorporated into a little more talk, discussion, and story-telling; some meatier posts for those of you with bigger appetites. And as a throwback themed daily special, the music I post won’t necessarily be the freshest off the griddle, but I’ll always try to keep it just as hot. For today’s post, I want to throw you guys back into my own history of music discovery. Everyone’s got a story about how they got listening to what they do, a story about how all those damn gigs of music got into the iTunes library, and why some have a million plays and why some have none. Music has a way of powerfully tying itself to life’s ups and downs; here’s how some of the songs and bands that mean most to me got entangled with my life.
So the other day, my mom asked me who Bob Marley was. *Cringe.* Thank the gods, my dad has always been far more musically literate, at least when it comes to the music of his day. I grew up an oldies boy, listening to whatever he did. I was born and raised in Houston — and if you know anything about that city, it’s that you don’t walk anywhere. Too far, too hot, too humid. You drive, and it was driving with my dad where I first introduced to music. Simon & Garfunkel, The Beach Boys, The Beatles, America, CSNY, Led Zeppelin, The Doors, and on and on and on. I was hopelessly hopelessly oblivious to any of the music people my age were listening too, almost until the end of middle school. All of my music I scavenged from my parents’ cd collection, save for one (amazing) Outkast cd given to me as a gift from a family friend. Oh how foretelling that cd would be. But the 60s and 70s were my shit back then. It was all I knew, and all I was listening too. It’s almost impossible to pick a song to capture that time for me, but here is (quite literally) the first song to come to mind. It’s a live (1967) song by Simon & Garfunkel called A Poem on the Underground, the “poem” referring to the word “Fuck” scrawled on a subway wall. Brilliant. It’s a beautiful song that I think really demonstrates how Simon & Garfunkel themselves were truly poets — just listen to those lyrics. More than that, the harmony between their voices is surreal. You forget they’re both singing at the same time.
I’d describe myself as a late musical bloomer. As great as all those oldies were, someone really needed to sit me down, slap my face, and open my eyes to the brave new world of music that was out there. If anyone deserves credit for getting that first crack in, it’s my older brother. We went to the same school until he graduated, and again, driving in the car did the trick — blasting Weezer on the way, I’ll never forget it. Weezer is fucking awesome, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. This one’s for him, “The Good Life.”
For the longest time, all my music came through the bro. He was like a human music blog, relaying the good stuff for me. He introduced me to Radiohead, Coldplay, The Shins, Smashing Pumpkins, Belle & Sebastian, and tons others that I refuse to admit that I didn’t find by myself. Perhaps most momentous, he introduced me to Ratatat. It felt like what I imagine a dog thinks after tasting human food for the first time. “You’ve had THAT all along, and you never told me?! WTF.” Maybe it was my narrow horizons, but that sound was completely new for me, and I couldn’t get enough it. Loud Pipes, Wildcat, Seventeen Years, Gettysburg. Incredible. The song I want to post though is my favorite Ratatat song to date — Cherry, off their first (self-titled) album. It’s one of their mellower songs, but it’s got a little something about it that resonates with me every time. There’s that one drop that feels like the entire song is building up to. I’ve heard it hundreds of times, but that one part gets me every single time I listen. Turn up your speakers and bass, dim the lights, and let it play.
MP3: “Cherry” – Ratatat
While you’re in that mood, take a listen to this Shins song off their last album, “Sleeping Lessons” (song, not album). You hear that melodic up and down thing that opens and stays with the song? Isn’t that awesome?
Around this same time, somewhere in high school, I found my first music blog. Correction: my brother found my first music blog. -sigh-. It’s now defunct, but I was discovering music left and right. Sondre Lerche, G. Love, Of Montreal, The Black Keys. Ratatat’s Remix albums came out and I nearly crapped myself. I met Jack Johnson and Feist for the first time, and I fell in love. But actually! I met a girl in England doing a study abroad program, and we became mad about each other. Turns out she went to a boarding school in Durham, and this was right around the time I was looking at colleges. I convinced my parents that I was super interested in Duke, and to let me visit alone because I had a friend I knew there. It worked, and lets just say I never set foot on Duke’s campus (no offense to Lydia, of course!). My dad worked for an airline then, and had the hookup with plane tickets. We ended up dating for a long time (my first girlfriend!), and she also took me to my first concert ever in Asheville, a Feist concert. Feist was incredible, and opening for her was an unknown band (at least to me) who after the concert stood in the hallway peddling signed copies of their cd: Grizzly Bear. We all have those songs that we use to torture ourselves when we’re feeling sad or when we miss someone, and this was mine for her — Brandy Alexander, by Feist.
Stay tuned for a continuation of this story next week, when hip-hop finds its way into my life…