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Q&A: Shamir On His Surprise New Album Hope, Discovering Blake Babies, & More - Stereogum

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Q&A: Shamir On His Surprise New Album Hope, Discovering Blake Babies, & More - Stereogum

Dan Weiss, writing for Stereogum:

Shamir Bailey, the 22-year-old Philly-via-Vegas polymath who goes only by his first name, made one of 2015’s best and brightest albums — and possibly its best debut — with the electro-disco revelation Ratchet. It was released via XL, home to Adele and Radiohead among others, and from his country covers and hip-house rapping, we always knew that the album was merely the tip of the iceberg for Shamir’s considerable talent and wide-ranging taste. That prophecy came true this morning as Shamir self-released a surprise follow-up, Hope, all on his own via SoundCloud.


STEREOGUM: So are you a huge Blake Babies fan, or was the cover [“Rain”] something you were planning to do for a while?

SHAMIR: No, I actually discovered them this weekend. I’ve been listening to a lot of ’90s [music] all weekend, trying to find related artists to Velocity Girl. The [Blake Babies] singer, I think her name’s Julie…Juliana… [Hatfield], I think we kind of sound the same! Which is kind of crazy to me, I heard so much of myself in her. This is my first, full, fleshed-out cover I think! Because even my Lindi Ortega cover [“Lived And Died Alone” from my first EP [2014’s Northtown] was just stripped down and kind of a look into my soul coming out.

STEREOGUM: I know you’re getting blown up all day but has any particular reaction to Hope stuck out to you today so far?

SHAMIR: Just the fact that the guitarist and songwriter of “Rain,” from Blake Babies [John Strohm] tweeted at me today and I got to thank him, and he was so sweet. It’s only been a few hours! And he heard it already somehow! The internet is crazy!

Rain is at 27:38 on the SoundCloud embed above.

You can download the album at https://www.mediafire.com/folder/u0wwrkud56vad/HOPE+MP3S

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The Morning After: Tanya Donelly, Juliana Hatfield, and Yuck on the Legacy of Elliott Smith | Consequence of Sound

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The Morning After: Tanya Donelly, Juliana Hatfield, and Yuck on the Legacy of Elliott Smith | Consequence of Sound

Juliana, speaking to Ryan Bray at Consequence of Sound:

Just by choosing the song, that’s tribute enough. You’re honoring its existence by tributing it. Whenever I’m choosing covers, I wonder, ‘Can I bring something of myself into this? Can I add anything to this?’ And if not, then I won’t do it. You have to throw yourself into the mix.

Juliana's cover of Needle In The Hay features on Say Yes! A Tribute to Elliott Smith, due for release this week by American Laundromat Records.

This is the same recording as released in 2014 as part of a tribute to the film director Wes Anderson.

Today's article at Consequence of Sound features further comments from Juliana about writing to Smith back in the Blake Babies era, and her approach to the song's theme of addiction.

Bray also speaks to Tanya Donelly and Yuck's Max Bloom, who also feature on the album.

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Lesley Gore 1946-2015

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Lesley Gore 1946-2015

Lesley Gore, famed for songs such as It's My Party and You Don't Own Me died yesterday at the age of 68.

She recorded those two songs when she was 16 and 17. Extraordinary.

You Don't Own Me has been covered many times but unsurprisingly I love most of all the performances by Juliana (my favourite songwriter) and Poliça (my favourite band).

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The Next Project - Cover Versions

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The Next Project - Cover Versions

On the eve of releasing of There’s Always Another Girl, Juliana is already talking about her next album.

In her latest PledgeMusic update she moots the idea of a collection of cover versions.

Having invited suggestions it comes as no surprise to see a plethora of tracks in the comments. Music fans will take any opportunity to list some songs. It's in our DNA.

There are some really good choices there and some super duper great fab choices too - enough to fill several albums.

Given the success of the current project, it would seem almost certain that if pursued this would be another PledgeMusic thing.

Juliana has a history of some inspired covers. In recent times these have been largely home acoustic recordings.

For those who have missed this year's covers they have included Albert Hammond's It Never Rains In Southern California and Jessie J's Price Tag (both Juliana's choices), Neil Young's Barstool Blues and New Order's Bizarre Love Triangle (both fan choices), and for band with electric guitar fans she has performed Neil Young's Cinnamon Girl with Evan Dando.

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New Song - It Never Rains in Southern California

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New Song - It Never Rains in Southern California

"pop/rock worker, dog lover"

So says the bio of Juliana at PledgeMusic, where we find a new song - a cover of Albert Hammond's It Never Rains In Southern California.

It's available to play via the above widget and you can download it in exchange for your email address or login via Facebook.

The song dates back to the early 1970's when it sounded like this:

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Video - Cinnamon Girl (rehearsal) Feb 9

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Video - Cinnamon Girl (rehearsal) Feb 9

Juliana & Evan rehearsing Cinnamon Girl last night at City Winery, ahead of tonight's Neil Young tribute show in New York.

UPDATE: There's a couple of photos on Flickr here, here,  here and here, plus other videos here and here.  And, as Don points out in the comments, a shot from the soundcheck at Carnegie Hall at Getty Images. - there's a non-watermarked version now on Flickr, plus a couple of Evan pics here and here.

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Video - Blue / You Blues (1995)

A little gem has appeared on YouTube over the festive period uploaded by cathoderoy and discovered by forumites at the official board. 

From a live show in 1995 there is a pleasant enough cover of The Jayhawks' Blue.  This is then followed by a rare live recording of Only Everything's epic closer You Blues, complete with oh so nostalgic 90's grunge guitar work, and a drumkit-crashing, stagediving appearance from the support act, who just happens to be the late great Jeff Buckley.  Hallelujah.  

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Mark Mulcahy Tribute Album

Juliana has contributed We're Not In Charleston Anymore to a tribute album -Ciao My Shining Star - The Songs of Mark Mulcahy.   Mulcahy was the frontman for Miracle Legion and Polaris. He continues to write songs, and raise two daughters following the death of his wife last year.  Proceeds from the album (due on 29 September) will go directly to him.  More info and the tracklisting (featuring Dinosaur Jr, Thom Yorke and Michael Stipe) at Icon vs Icon.

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