Word on the Beat:: Beat Radio & Van Morrison

Word on the Beat is a new segment on the hill that we are super excited about. More or less, we are trying to get artists to do work for us. In reality, we think it is cool to get artists to talk about records that influence the music they write. Then we spunge a great cover track of them and offer it up for you guys to grab.

The first post comes courtesy of Beat Radio. We've posted a lot about Beat Radio in the past. Easily one of the best unsigned acts out there, the catchy hooks they bring to the table are sure to get you dancing. Brian took the time to talk about the classic Van Morrison release, Astral Weeks.

Van recorded this album in 1968 - and the combination of jazzy blues and painful emotion influenced artists and critics alike (Lester Bang's review of the record is the type of journalism we bloggers should be trying to match). But enough from me, read what Brian had to say:
I have such a sense of wonder about Van Morrison's Astral Weeks. I'll always remember when I was first getting into the record sitting in a pizza shop near Lake George, NY with the girl I'd eventually marry and finding "Sweet Thing" on an old diner-style jukebox and I just sat there and looked into her eyes as this perfect music filled the room and time stood still. I used to seek the record out in bars and when I found it I'd lean against the jukebox, with a pint of Guinness maybe, and try to get people to listen or maybe just close my eyes. Usually they just had The Best of Van Morrison so it was just that song "Sweet Thing," or maybe a good Irish pub would have The Waterboys’ record Fisherman's Blues with a great cover of that same song.

The performances on Astral Weeks seem superhuman to me. Van's singing on the record mystifies me. His phrasing seems like it is infinitely nuanced–the way he twists words in and out of themselves and gets into these bizarre repetitions, or his sense of dynamics in the way he can be so gentle and sweet and then so powerful and attack these incredible high notes so fiercely. When I first heard the record it seemed like all the other musicians were at times so terribly out of time and chaotic. I heard all these mistakes at first but now it all seems so perfect and virtuosic. The crazy upright bass playing and the heady, wild string parts.

The way I listen to music has changed in the last couple years and I love how you can get into all kinds of music through mp3 blogs and itunes and it all feels really liberating and exciting to me as an artist and as a fan of music, but I think there's something about the process that lends itself to an appreciation of music that needs to be more instantly accessible and immediate. Along with that comes a certain degree of disposability and I think I've hit a sort of saturation point in the last couple of months where I've been gravitating towards music that maybe is more challenging but also has greater degree of substance to it. Astral Weeks is a record that you can really immerse yourself in. There's something so emotionally powerful and cathartic about it. For me, the record is an insanely beautiful world in and of itself.

Check out the cover Beat Radio recorded for herohill:
MP3:: The Way Young Lovers Do - Beat Radio (Van Morrison cover)

@ 12:46 AM, Dustin kicked the following game:

I couldn't be more happy about more Beat Radio. I've been praising brian since last September. I can't wait to catch a live show this fall in NYC.


@ 2:28 PM, hassan aniba kicked the following game:

hello from morocco always from yours nice music of mr van morrison yes yes very good music Im mr. aniba hassan surfers morocco longe date beach dar bouazza my skyblog is. http://oceanpacific03.skyblog.com


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