Sean Rowe’s latest EP, Her Songs, is currently on epic repeat in my household. Rowe’s voice has always been compelling in its hard-hewn melancholy, but, by interpreting compositions by some of my favorite female artists–Regina Spektor, Sade, Cat Power, Feist, and Lucinda Williams, Neko Case–his baritone seems to take on new dimension. The perfect mood-setter for a rainy Monday in San Francisco.
While doing other things, I stumbled across this promotional video for a forthcoming album of Elliott Smith covers produced by Seth Avett which features himself alongside Jessica Lea Mayfield. Elliott Smith was a formidable part of my adolescence, a role he seems to have played for many devotees of a certain genre. Avett and Mayfield are also attached to the man who left us far too soon, and here the pair discuss the wherefores and the whys behind this album, set for release in March on Ramseur Records.
While I’m always excited to see a new take on Elliott Smith, I fumble on the wonder of the what ifs–what if he’d only known how special we all thought he was? But, then again, it wasn’t the outside world that was the problem; it was the world that was within him.
Patti Smith is undeniably cool. In 1980, she straddled the dead space that followed the end of rock and roll (as it was known to that point) but preceded the stranglehold of punk with her seminal album Horses. Nirvana is undeniably cool. After the release of their album Nevermind in 1991, the year that would be 1992 had no hope of swimming with the current and, instead, swam upstream into Grunge. When both artists sing the same song you get two sides of a very hip coin. To piggy-back on last week’s Courtney Love adventure, this week’s Throwback Thursday gives you the oft-imitated video for Nevermind‘s first single, “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” in comparison with a Patti Smith video of her “Smells Like Teen Spirit” cover.