Steely Dan “Aja” Tribute

“Sometimes vanilla just tastes so good.”

A friend of mine (Nate Cavalieri) once made that statement in relation to a Steely Dan video he was sharing–and I always remembered it, and thought it made perfect sense in relation to that band’s sort of uber-polished, borderline-bland, radio-friendly pop sound.

Personally I’ve never entirely settled on where I stand with Steely Dan. On one hand it’s ubiquitous radio pop that is overly crisp, with all the dirt washed off and creases ironed out; the sound can be cloying, and as we all know it’s been impossible to escape for decades. On the other, man, when you really listen to some of those songs, they’re impressive. In terms of the writing, yes, but especially the production. And from that perspective alone, an album like Aja deserves its accolades.

Toronto indie-rock band The Darcys today paid tribute to Steely Dan by releasing their own version of Aja–a song-by-song re-creation of the classic 1977 album, though done in their own moody, fuzzy style.

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Leonard Cohen Talks Songwriting with Jarvis Cocker

photo from Consequence of Sound

Leonard Cohen was recently interviewed by Jarvis Cocker, in advance of the release of Cohen’s first album in many years. And the finely dressed master had some great quotes regarding his music, and the art of songwriting.

For instance, how does he do it? Even Jarvis can’t help but dig for hints of Cohen’s writing inspiration. Cohen, however–craftily, and probably wisely–deflected such direct questions.

“We’ve got to be very careful analysing these sacred mechanics because somebody will throw a monkey wrench into the thing and we’ll never write a line again.” He added that “now and then something invites you to animate it, which you try and do with grace and illumination.”
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