Brooks (brooksmoses) wrote,

A YouTube wander (and some music recommendations)

Last night I went on a YouTube walkabout, as one does, and came across rather a good bit of music I liked that needs some more sharing.

I started with a recommendation from someone on Gallus Rostromegalus's Discord, for Thomas Benjamin Wild Esq's "I've No More F***s to Give. He's an exceedingly dapper gentleman with a banjo/ukelele-cross, and the song is exactly the sort of cheerfully profane folk song that you would expect from the title. Amusingly, there's also a family-friendly version where the profanity is replaced with increasingly-absurd sound effects.

This is rather long, so you probably want a cut-tag....

Wild also has some other songs I liked -- a cover of Dolly Parton's "9 to 5", a cover of Flanders and Swann's "The Hippopotamus Song" (and may I just say that I am appreciative of the juxtaposition of those two), and an original, "Living in Sin". Unfortunately, his recording setup sounds like it could use a bit of improvement.

I didn't really find too much of note in the recommendations there, but I was in the mood for more music, so I found a couple of things I hadn't listened to on Rob Landes's channel. Landes is a violinist who seems to have concluded that doing entertaining YouTube videos is a better gig than traditional violinist jobs, and does things like short bits of music from 100 different video games in chronological order, with costumes.

On some of his recent videos, Landes has been collaborating with Lynn Jones on electric guitar, and he had a link to her channel, so I went to see what else she had.

She has a number of things, but one of the things I really liked is her acoustic covers of classic rock and metal. Her cover of AC/DC's "Highway to Hell" is good, her cover of Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song" is even better (her rendition of the the intro yell is amazing), and I am completely in love with her cover of Ozzy Osborne's "Crazy Train". That's one of the sorts of covers that shows off things in the original song that I hadn't realized were there, and I'll come back to it a bit later.

From there I wandered in the direction of more metal, by way of thinking of other covers to suggest (since Jones was asking for suggestions). There was a brief divergence into covers of The Mountain Goats' "Best Ever Death Metal Band In Denton," (link goes to some songwriter commentary) of which I think the one by Nathaniel Rateliff is perhaps the definitive one. IIRC, it's from an NPR vidcast that had bands choosing from a list of other bands to do a cover of, with the intended result of bands doing things rather different from their usual. Rateliff was really pleased to have the opportunity to do it, as he is really fond of the song. I also found Laura Jane Grace's cover of it, which is biting and fierce in a "trans woman putting emotions of personal experience into the 'When you punish a person for dreaming his dream, don't expect him to thank or forgive you' lyric" sort of way. And I also found this bedroom-recorded cover by a couple of young teenagers posting as "Depression Session TM" which ... yeah, that's who the song is for. They're pretty good, too -- see also this cover of "Hallelujah".

Speaking of trans women singers, there's an absolutely excellent song by Axis of Awesome (I'd heard their "The Four Chords Song" from a decade ago but nothing else) about one of the band members transitioning: "The Elephant in the Room". It is amazing and lovely and subverts expectations for layers.

So, actual metal, which "Best Ever Death Metal Band In Denton" is not. I discovered Charlie Parra del Riego's Symphonic Metal playlist, which at many times would be exactly the sort of thing I'd want, but it wasn't doing it for me at the time, so I set it aside for later.

Instead, I ended up on Leo Moracchioli's "Frog Leap Studios" channel", looking at his set of "covers you didn't know you wanted", several of which are collaborations with other artists many of whom don't normally do metal. A YouTube recommendation of this cover of "Sultans of Swing" with Mary Spender is how I got there, and it's clear that the two of them are having lots of fun. Spender's channel is also full of good stuff, and I found several other good channels this way: This cover of Toto's "Africa" led me to Hannah Boulton and Rabea Massaad, and this cover of "Eye of the Tiger" led me to Rob Lundgren, who is an amazing vocalist doing mostly metal (but also other things), who has good original songs and also fun with things like Can You Feel the Love Tonight (which makes me want to hear him doing more Disney songs as metal covers, because the emotionality translates surprisingly well).

Moracchioli also has lots of solo covers; here's "The Safety Dance", which always makes me think of teinedreugan and [personal profile] suzannekmoses.

On a separate thread of following links, I found myself wandering back to Lynn Jones's excellent acoustic "Crazy Train" cover, and looking at the lyrics, and noticing that she'd shortened it by a couple of verses and wanting to hear some other acoustic takes on it. The first one I found is this guitar version by Stacey Terry, which is also lovely even though it's decade-old home-recording quality. The emotionality of this rendition is just about perfect, and it works so well as a gentle folk ballad.

(More of Terry's work: this delightfully joyful cover of Johnny Cash's "I Was There When It Happened", and also this cover of John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads".)

In the description, Terry references a cover by Emm Gryner, which I tracked down -- YouTube copy here; it's piano and vocals). It's a much more professional recording, and I like it quite a lot (and it does a lot of lovely things with the dynamic range of piano music), but I kind of like Terry's simpler version of lyrics even better for this particular song. So now I have another artist to look up. Here's one of Gryner's original pieces, "Blackwinged Bird". When I was looking up this cover, I also found this piano-only cover of Gryner's version by Ernie Powell, which deserves far more than its 32 views and 6 likes.

Somewhere from there, I saw a YouTube recommendation for this "Vocal coach reacts to Disturbed's 'The Sound of Silence" from Ken Tamplin, which sounded interesting -- and it was; he goes through a lot of the things David Draiman is doing with his voice in the song in a pleasant geeking-out sort of way. It's also a really interesting example of metal and folk-ballad crossover; this type it's a metal band doing a folk-ballad song in mostly the folk-ballad style -- and it reminded me just how excellent that cover is, so I went and listened to the original studio recording. (Tamplin's reaction video is based on the live version on the Conan Show, probably because it has better shots of what Draiman is doing.)

Tamplin had also compared the way that this "Sound of Silence" version starts out with very quiet but intense emotionality and then ramps it up and up through the song to Johnny Cash's "Hurt" (also a cover, from Nine Inch Nails), so I went to look that one up, and found this music video of it he did, which is ... wow. It's from the same energy as David Bowie's BlackStar: This is the last album; there shall not be another, and this is who I am. Powerful stuff, and the video is art that only enhances that power.

(There's also some interesting context about the song on the lyric page.)

Anyway, I also wanted to go remind myself what Disturbed's usual music was like, which was an interesting thing because it seems that doing "The Sound of Silence" was a bit of a turning point. It was unlike anything they'd done before ("Down With the Sickness was, I gather, sort of the definitive early-Disturbed piece), but in the four years since then they seem to have been doing quite a few more songs with what Draiman describes as an "etherial, orchestral, acoustic, let the vulnerability of the vocal stand out" style rather than the "upbeat, aggressive, rhythmic, in-your-face" style.

The first one I found was A Reason to Fight, which is a blunt in-your-face anti-suicide song, and it's again doing the thing with dynamic range and intense emotion, and it will definitely pull tears. From there I also found "Inside The Fire", which comes with something I've not seen on a music video before: a half-minute prefatory bit of sober commentary from the lead singer that amounts to a trigger warning about depiction of suicide -- which is, I note, appropriate. As Draiman put it a bit obliquely, it's a subject that's "rather close to me, having dealt with an actual occurrence of it many years ago," and there's clearly a deep well of emotion that he's pouring out in this album.

There's also several of their recent songs that are on the similar topic of making the most of the life one has. "What Are You Waiting For" is one of the "aggressive" songs with chorus lyrics of "Believe in every dream that you got / You only living once so tell me / What are you, what are you waiting for?" And "Hold On To Memories" is another one of the lyrical ones, and hopeful, and a good place to end this post.

...Well, okay, one very last one, because it ties the two threads back together. Another of the artists Leo Moracchioli collaborated with is Lillian Rinaldo, and looking on her channel, I found that she did a cover of Disturbed's cover of "A Sound of Silence".

Crossposted from Dreamwidth (original here), with comment count unavailable comments. Comment here or there; comments here will eventually be duplicated to there.

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