Thursday, June 5, 2008

Vetiver- Thing of The Past

An album full of cover songs is always a risky road to take, especially for a band still early in it's career. The new album Thing of The Past by the California alt-folk group Vetiver isn't your typical album of covers though. Vetiver, led by frontman Andy Cabic carefully crafted a list of songs that are not only a sort of homage to traditional American songwriting, but also in turn is well suited to the bands sound. All of the tracks on the album are taken from the late 60's and early 70's and are largely obscure even by most music lovers.

Cabic introduces us to artists and rarities such as Garland Jeffreys on the piano ballad "Lon Chaney", and Biff Rose on "To Baby". Not all of the artists tackled on 'Thing of The Past' are ufamiliar, they also give their take on Loudon Wainwright III's "Swimming Song" and Townes Van Zandt's "Standin". One of the real gems on the album is the opening track "Houses", which is by an artist Elyse Weinberg and apparently even featured Neil Young playing guitar on the original. Houses is a perfect example of how the song selection is so well suited to the bands strengths, openly embracing the past and making it sound as if it could have been something they penned themselves. It's as if Cabic created his dream mixtape and shared it with the rest of us to re-discover his slice of Americana.

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