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One Track Mind: Beach House + Celebration – Billie Jean (Live, Michael Jackson cover)


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MP3: Beach House + Celebration – Billie Jean (Michael Jackson cover)

I thought this little tidbit deserved its own space.  And given that I didn’t really make a big to-do about Michael Jackson’s death, I feel like this is a good, locally-grown tribute.  Let me break it down for you.

The formula: Beach House + Celebration + Michael Jackson + Metro Gallery Outdoors + Cool Summer Night = Win.

This special collaborative cut served as a wonderful nightcap.  After Celebration’s last song, the bands merged for an encore treat: Michael Jackon’s “Billie Jean.”  Victoria Legrand and Katrina Ford traded off vocals while the rest of Celebration and Alex Scally reproduced that supple, instantly recognizable throbbing beat that just moves you in the way few can.  A faithful rendition with a bit of added flourish in the form of richer synth tones, some and vocal tweaks.  Two of Baltimore’s best, covering one of pop’s icons.  Doesn’t get much better.

Stay tuned for the full sets from both Beach House and Celebration (taped by the Baltimore Taper) later today.

Contest: Who’s Bad: The Ultimate Michael Jackson Tribute Band @ Rams Head Live (2009.07.08)


If you’ve been looking for a way to celebrate Michael Jackson’s life, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better one coming up.  We’ve got a pair of free tickets to giveaway to Who’s Bad, performing a sizable number of MJ’s hits at Rams Head Live on Jul 8th.  BYT covered the 9:30 Club performance and seemed to have a favorable opinion on proceedings.

Entering is simple: comment or email us at auralstates at gmail dot com with your most vivid, moving or hilarious MJ memory.  Winner will be chosen on Jul 7th at 5PM.

One Track Mind: Discovery – I Want You Back (In Discovery) / Jackson 5 Cover


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MP3: Discovery – I Want You Back (In Discovery) from 2009′s LP (Jackson 5 Cover)

Editor’s Note: LP was dropped a week early for $8.  $2 goes to Oxfam America.

I think I’ve done my fair share of radio bashing here at Aural States. Whether it was by wholeheartedly agreeing with Spectre’s assessment of modern hip hop radio, or whilst dissing the filler-engrossed waves put out by what was once 99.1 HFS, I think I’ve made my opinion clear (of course, for these purposes, I ignore the few respectable oases still in operation today. Props to WTMD and WPFW for solid programming).

As if to spite FM radio’s gloomy condition, Discovery, the product of Ra Ra Riot vocalist Wes Miles and Vampire Weekender Rostam Batmanglij, have found something to like about turning on their dials. They find use for the treading beats and beaten-to-death subject material thrown together by dozens of half-assed MTV projects, the difference being that their output is surprisingly enjoyable in its entirety, rather than only mildly so in single form.

The most interesting track on their debut, LP, comes in the form of a Jackson 5 cover. They deftly dodge the the problem of recreating Mr. Jackson’s superpitch vocal work by using R&B’s recently popularized all-purpose miracle cure–autotune, suitably reimagining one of Motown’s greatest tunes in context with modern radio conventions (right down to the too-fake-for-life drum kit and glazed-slick production). The funny thing is, it sounds completely authentic, like something blasted out of a high-schooler’s mom’s minivan on the ride home after senior prom. Because they’ll remember that moment for the rest of their lives.

Their song selection couldn’t have been more appropriate for a good-ol’-fashion modern-meets-classic comparison. The Corporation-written chorus progression translates well into any medium, and the lyrics remain just as relevant today as they were 40 years ago. Past releases have proven that all performers involved have a keen eye for catch, making Discovery’s cover an ideal candidate to show where pop music has gone.

New Music for your Manic Monday

Some cool stuff coming up:

– This week, we see the release of the 25th Anniversary edition of Thriller, Michael Jackson’s landmark pop-transcending musical opus…you know, pre-albino freak-out. CD has a bunch of remixes tacked on and comes complete with music videos including a digitally re-polished “Thriller” as well as live performance footage.

Since Jack-o seems to have enthralled YouTube into preventing embedding of his video, I have taken the liberty of embedding the Indian version, musically less entertaining, but comedically much better than the original.

– Everyone’s favorite indie-pop jokers We Are Scientists are releasing their latest LP, Brain Thrust Mastery in the UK and parts of Europe on March 17th. Video for lead single “After Hours” after the jump.

– Self-described “art-pop” kids in HIJK combines pop-punk vocal delivery and melodic direction with technical details constructed using post-punk nuts and bolts. Most notably, the angular and interesting guitar work as well as the truly kinetic bass work to deliver some enjoyable gems that often surprise and defy description. Maybe its the inspired and varied instrumentation…je ne sais quoi. Check their first video for “Paper Boat” after the jump.

Tracks from the 2007 LP The Pen and the Letter:
Paper Boat
Hey Sleepy Smile
Center of Things

– News and interview from local shoegaze darlings Thrushes, forthcoming…

Indian version Thriller

We Are Scientists – After Hours

HIJK – Paper Boats