Progressive bluegrass/folk artist John Prine has been called one of the most influential songwriters of his time, and his poetic lyrics and tunes been compared to everyone from Neil Young to Bob Dylan. Today, a whos who of current indie-rockers pay tribute to Prines songwriting, from The Avett Brothers version of Spanish Pipedream to My Morning Jackets attempt at All the Best; Conor Obersts (Bright Eyes) take on Wedding Day in Funeralville to Bon Ivers Justin Vernons version of Bruised Orange (Chain of Sorrow).
The Ready Set - Im Alive, Im Dreaming - Sire/WEA
The Ready Set - aka Jordan Witzigreuter - basically consists of one man playing every instrument on an album - but dont think that means its a one-note offering. Overloaded with a variety of influences, but still cohesive, Witzigreuters debut disc, signed by Pete Wentz label, is quirky and poppy, and takes songs quickly through their paces, no matter which genre Witzigreuter is focusing on at the time. First track Love Like Woe is all production-sheen and pop, while More Than Alive is more about the beats and the pseudo-rap lyrical steps.
Various Artists - Almost You: The Songs of Elvis Costello - Glurp
A re-release of the earlier collection, this is definitely a tribute set worth a second listen, especially for diehard Elvis Costello fans. Many of the interpretations of Costellos songs are vastly different from the originals, which makes either for an interesting setlist or a non-loyal one, depending on how you look at it. Hem retooks The Angels Want to Wear My Red Shoes into adult-contemporary rock, Matt Pond PA adds strings to Green Shirt, Okkervil River takes Riot Act into the alt-
country; and Brenda Kahn adds her own flair to Watch Your Step.
The Drums - The Drums - Island/Moshi
Theyve toured alongside Bombay Bicycle Club and The Maccabees, and have been tipped for fame everywhere from MTV to MSN. Okay, so perhaps The Drums havent caught on big just yet - but that doesnt mean they wont, given this uber-catchy set of debut songs. Lets Go Surfing, their first breakout single, doesnt actually live up to the rest of the sets complexity; youll be more intrigued listening to the Roxy-Music- like Skippin Town, the immense pianos/guitars of Forever and Ever Amen, and the jumpy I Need Fun in My Life.