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Ridiculous musicianship.
December 22, 2011 3:58 AM   Subscribe

"So at first, I thought it was a joke. NOPE... The singer sounds like freggin Stevie first of all, the bassist just SLAYS it, and the drummer is solid as a rock". So says a bass players' forum commenter about Sweden's DirtyLoops who's ferociously tight Baby has been spreading fast online in the last 24 hours. Bonus links: their Just Dance cover, and Youtube channel.

Personally, the cover of Baby - the original of which I have zero interest in - just makes me go ooof. Such insane musicianship... those guys are smashing it.
posted by Hartham's Hugging Robots (55 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
A cover band is not really interesting.
posted by h00py at 4:20 AM on December 22, 2011


The first two sentences pretty much nail it. Maybe not interesting, but they certainly deserve credit for taking a piece of pap pop and making it swing.
posted by timsteil at 4:32 AM on December 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


A cover band is not really interesting to you, clearly. I loved their musicianship and wanted to share for that reason. I hope at least some others will enjoy them as I did.
posted by Hartham's Hugging Robots at 4:35 AM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't know a lot of it seems like flash to me. The bass player is impressive, yes, but the over-singing is so saccharine, and the singer craps out on high notes, when he had no business even making it about hitting those highs in the first place.

Flash does not necessarily equal quality music in my mind. It's about the feel, and that song feels about as lightweight as it gets.

It's fun, don't get me wrong, I just have zero desire to hear it again after one listen.
posted by Skygazer at 4:35 AM on December 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


wow for the bass
posted by bystander at 4:40 AM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


They remind me of Jamiroquoi. I'd just like to hear what they can do themselves, that's all.
posted by h00py at 4:40 AM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Skygazer, I completely agree that virtuoso musicianship doesn't by any means translate into high regarded and lasting music. Frankly, I'm not sure it does in this case, either (although my jury's still somewhat out on that)... but what I enjoyed was the pure musicianship.

So just to head off any 'your favourite band sucks' posts early... they aren't :) Favourite young Swedish funk pop musicians? Darn tootin'.

I'd just like to hear what they can do themselves, that's all.

Their website, in the links, says they're in the studio recording original material. Then we'll see if there's filling to the flash...
posted by Hartham's Hugging Robots at 4:42 AM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Bass player is really jammin'.
posted by Wolof at 4:56 AM on December 22, 2011


Dude looks like a lady.
posted by swift at 5:15 AM on December 22, 2011


Sorry, haters - this instantly became my new guilty pleasure.

It's insanely catchy and instantly makes even worse pablum like Gaga and Bieber listenable for me. Plus, bonus Justin Timberlake!

(Who is also a major guilty pleasure of mine and doesn't even need a cover band from Sweden to make more awesome.)

Great post.
posted by Lipstick Thespian at 5:42 AM on December 22, 2011


I know, right? If he wasn't playing bass, I woulda thought...

;)
posted by IAmBroom at 5:42 AM on December 22, 2011


(My last comment towards swift)
posted by IAmBroom at 5:43 AM on December 22, 2011


I was surprised by the bass player after seeing the other dudes...I thought to myself, "So this is what Robert Smith is doing these days..."
posted by schyler523 at 5:48 AM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


An old joke from an old guitarist who's played in too many general business bands:

It's musician day in heaven. St. Peter is manning the gate. The first person to the gate has wild hair, unkempt clothes, a huge score under his arm. St. Peter says "So what's your story, Arnold?" Arnold replies "I made the greatest art of my generation. Musicologists will still be studying my music in 100 years, even if no one really likes listening to dissonant screeching. I advanced the art of music singlehandedly, even if I was a bastard to everyone I knew."

St Peter: "Come right on in Mr. Schoeberg!"

Next up is a dude in a dashiki carrying a sax case. "What's your argument, sir?" asks St. Peter.

"Well, man, I was the most OUT jazz cat of my time. People called me crazy, but the critics said I was the future of music. I gave it all for my art, didn't care who liked it or not."

"Mr. Coleman! Welcome aboard!" shouts St. Peter.

Third guy on line is wearing a tuxedo, neatly pressed, carrying cases for an alto sax, a tenor sax, a clarinet, and a flute.

"So, what's your claim to get into heaven?" asks St. Peter....

"Well, sir, I played popular songs for thousands of people for decades. No one ever knew my name or cared about my originals, but I made so many people happy and got them dancing."

"Ohhhhhhhhh . . . . a wedding musician, huh?" inquired St. Peter.

"Yeah, I was in cover bands my whole life."

St. Peter looks around furtively, seeing none of his handlers, and quietly gestures behind him:

"You can come in because it's musician's day, but, hey, you see that door back there by the kitchen? Could you go in that way?"
posted by spitbull at 5:52 AM on December 22, 2011 [10 favorites]


Ferociously Tight Baby would be an awesome band name.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 5:58 AM on December 22, 2011


Jeez you people. Haters indeed gonna hate.
posted by digitalprimate at 6:17 AM on December 22, 2011


Also The Beatles started off playing covers so there [sticks out tongue at haters]
posted by digitalprimate at 6:19 AM on December 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I have no problem with covers, with ferociously tight players, with Bieber, with Sweden, and no problem with this post, but I sure didn't like that song. Takes all kinds.

Still, I am glad these cats are making their music for those who do like it, and I am glad some other people are making many other musics that I like.
posted by dirtdirt at 6:33 AM on December 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Also The Beatles started off playing covers so there [sticks out tongue at haters]

And Led Zeppelin basically made a killing out of covers, quasi-reworked "adaptations," and straight rip-offs.
posted by zombieflanders at 6:45 AM on December 22, 2011


Yeah, good for them. They're pretty talented, and they seem like they're having a blast.

But the whole thing is just covered with the sheen of light jazz that makes me die a bit inside. It's such a precarious style... the list of artists who can navigate it consistently is pretty much limited to Pat Metheny, and even he lands in glurgeland with some regularity.

So I was glad to hear it once to know it's out there, and I wish them the best. But I never want to hear it again.
posted by SpiffyRob at 6:49 AM on December 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


What is it about this version that makes it sound like something forgettable from the 70's? The bass?
posted by smackfu at 7:11 AM on December 22, 2011


My god, that is absolute garbage. I almost killed myself at around 18 seconds but decided to destroy the computer instead. It's the worst kind of slick, polished, muzak muso-wank. The kind I'd expect to hear in the background of the Shopping Network or a perfume counter in The Bay.
posted by The Discredited Ape at 7:16 AM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


This was not good. The bass player is clearly very talented, but was unable to rescue the thing from itself. This may not have been his fault, though, because anything that starts from "Baby" is being built on a pretty shaky foundation.

But, to be fair, my opinion doesn't actually count, because disliking things that are bad makes me a "hater", which allows everyone to completely disregard my thoughts and arguments. Remember, your judgment only counts if it's always positive!
posted by IAmUnaware at 7:19 AM on December 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ah yes, light jazz, that's the descriptor I was looking for.
posted by smackfu at 7:20 AM on December 22, 2011


Now THAT was tighter than a gnat's a$$ stretched over an oil drum...would very much listen to again!
posted by Quasimike at 7:27 AM on December 22, 2011


Dirty
posted by unliteral at 7:32 AM on December 22, 2011


Last night, I watched Miles' second quintet killing "Agitation" on the DVD that's Disc 4 of this year's Live in Europe 1967 set.

That's ridiculous musicianship. This, less so.
posted by the sobsister at 7:37 AM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


interesting until i realized bass player ain't a chick.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 7:48 AM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is like Pomplamoose dialed up to 1 million. It's a little bit too jazz fusion-y for my tastes because of the synth pads, but I love it when musicians reimagine songs by playing alternate chord changes. (I was just listening to Oscar Peterson doing just that to "O Tannenbaum.") These guys look like they're having so much fun.
posted by emelenjr at 8:21 AM on December 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wow. "Haters gonna hate" has never seemed more appropriate.

Tough changes, totally tight arrangement, played live. Even if you don't like the results, how about some respect for the skills and humor of changing a Bieber tune into Stevie Wonder/Chick Corea Electric Band tune. Humor!

Not knowing the Bieber tune, I listened to the original after the cover version. I had to check a few times to convince myself I wasn't listening to a bad fanboi cover version done at home.
posted by lothar at 8:33 AM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


If they'd only used a different keyboard patch.
posted by pts at 9:02 AM on December 22, 2011


Jesus...when that kind of talent can't save a song. Actually, it's a good illustration of the difference between talent and art.
posted by spicynuts at 9:03 AM on December 22, 2011


Another nice Baby cover, from X-Factor, no less.
posted by smackfu at 9:10 AM on December 22, 2011


Wow. "Haters gonna hate" has never seemed more appropriate.

Just stop it with the haters gonna hate thing. It's incredibly lazy and often inaccurate.

The majority of people who don't like this have laid out their reasons why in a thoughtful manner. You're doing more to stifle discussion here than most people who don't like it.

Not everything needs to be an argument. My reasons for disliking this are as valid as yours for liking it. In fact, I actually agree with you on the reasons you like it. But skill alone can't make me like something that, sonically, isn't pleasing to me. Besides: The idea of rearranging schmaltz into combo jazz isn't novel... The Bad Plus have made a hell of a career out of it. They didn't invent in, of course, but these guys don't get a pass from me on their janky genre stylings just because they're being clever.
posted by SpiffyRob at 9:39 AM on December 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I liked the Bieber cover, but I don't know the original.

My seven-year-old boy wants to be the Man Gaga when he grows up, so the "Just Dance" cover was more jarring due to my familiarity with the source material and I didn't think it was an improvement. It reminded me of the "Jingle Bells" I heard in a store last night where the singer decided to change the tempo on random phrases to "jazz things up."

My old jazz band director used to say choices were better or worse, not right or wrong. The "Just Dance" choices seem worse. Lady Gaga's got a better set of pipes than that guy, so I think the arrangement needs to be more solid and it needs to take the material somewhere new but have a point in doing so. Otherwise it goes in the bin with that terrible "Sweet Dreams" cover that man with the eyes and the hair did.
posted by mph at 9:47 AM on December 22, 2011


... and the way you have to chose between Killdozer's "Sweet Home Alabama" or "I'm Not Lisa," but can't have both, because the point is made after your first listen to one or the other.
posted by mph at 9:49 AM on December 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Real funk musicians generally subtract notes, bad funk musicians add them. Thus the number of terrible white bands I've heard going bippitybippitydiddlydo while, say, the JBs or the Meters went WHOMP -- crack.

The other thing is, great funk is built on repetition. If your feel is right, you can and should play the same dirt-simple riff over and over – because the interlock with other instruments is where the trance is. These guys play hundreds of little variations and none of them stick.

Sorry, it's almost unlistenable although, whew, those guys can move their fingers rapidly and with great accuracy.
posted by argybarg at 9:49 AM on December 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


Very good bass, but frankly it sounds like a carbon copy of Victor Wooten's less interesting work. (I thought it was him to begin with.) I'm at work and can't readily link-mine for killer YT links here, but check out Victor's jaw-dropping work with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones or his latest/best solo project, Palmystery.
posted by LordSludge at 10:08 AM on December 22, 2011


Vaguely related (in the vein of surprising covers of lightweight pop): Richard Thompson doing "Oops I Did It Again."
posted by yoink at 10:16 AM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Real funk musicians generally subtract notes, bad funk musicians add them.

Thanks, this expresses a thing I've had bouncing around in my head for a while (often in the form of "I like playing bass, but why don't I have any interest in playing bass like that?").
posted by mendel at 12:22 PM on December 22, 2011


I usually stay out of music threads, because so very often I hate that particular music (Lady Gaga, ugh). However, I do read them religiously, because it's interesting to know what music moves people, and it's very interesting to hear people talk about what it is that they like about something. Like this one. I think it's incredibly limiting and insular to just make a point of not listening to music you don't like - and worse, telling the fans that they are wrong for liking it. Not just for the obvious reason that you may actually be missing out on good stuff, or missing out on learning a new musical language (an old friend of mine is eternally grateful that I never gave up until I turned him onto hip hop despite his every attempt to tell me how he hates "rap" and everything it stands for blah, blah, blah). But also because you learn more about others. I hate the gulf that frequently seems to separate some musical genres, because that gulf can turn from music into becoming a gulf about practically anything (including politics - see C&W).

And that is why I persist in listening to stuff I don't like, as long as there is a reason, even if the reason is simply "a lot of people like it".

It may seem like torture at first, but keep on listening and trying to understand. You may not end up liking it, but I bet you'll still come out richer for it.

I'm not saying 'spend all your time' on it, but set aside a small percentage of your music listening time to exploring stuff you don't understand, don't like, and especially stuff that others like but you hate.
posted by VikingSword at 12:23 PM on December 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Add me to the lovers of this. Is it novel? No. But it is amazing to see folks doing it and doing it hard. Sure YouTube didn't invent people making music in their garages, but it's allowed people like this to share their talents and reap the awesome benefits that come from having an audience. They're doing it you guys!
posted by wemayfreeze at 12:28 PM on December 22, 2011


And great point VikingSword. I think the bass player here may be a great example of what you're talking about. This emo'd out kid w/ long emo hair and chipped black nail polish is getting down HARD one some funky covers of pop songs. This is cross-genre appreciation at its finest.

TL;DR: The kids are alright.
posted by wemayfreeze at 12:30 PM on December 22, 2011


It may seem like torture at first, but keep on listening and trying to understand

Why the hell would I want to do that? There's already so much good music out there that I do like and will like fairly soon after first hearing it that I have no interest in forcing myself to listen to stuff that is torture at first. What a waste of time! I'd rather get involved in seeking out the lineage of bands I love; checking out their peers, their influences all the way back, the people they've influenced in turn. For instance, I really don't like peaches. They just taste bad to me. Why the hell would I spend my time still eating them in the hope that one day I'll suddenly get over my dislike of peaches when I have every other delicious and life-giving fruit available to me? Again, what a waste of time. Life's too short to remove all filters.
posted by The Discredited Ape at 12:39 PM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just stop it with the haters gonna hate thing. It's incredibly lazy and often inaccurate.

OK, now see here my good man/lady/A.I. IF you are a professional A&R person, or IF you are professional band leader looking for a rhythm section or IF you are a professional music reviewer, meaning Rolling Stone sends you checks, not AdSense, then you are merely Knocking Another Man's Hustle. This is Not Cool nor do Chicks/Bros dig it.

So cut it out already. I'm sure many random MeFites could come to your office and rip, if not your work, at least your wardrobe apart with some plausible degree of authority.

The kids are alright.
posted by digitalprimate at 1:36 PM on December 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Quick response to emelenjr: interesting, I love Pomplamousse! - and I also love listening to the radical, completely unexpected (to my ears) chords these guys come up with in their re-imaginings. Also RE O Tannebaum - have you heard Vince Guaraldi's O Tannenbaum from the legendary Charlie Brown's Christmas album? Beautiful stuff - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kw6h4mZO1oU. Man when he heads off from the tune as we know it, a little way in... that's something I love right there.
posted by Hartham's Hugging Robots at 1:36 PM on December 22, 2011


[gets on Quadrophenia style scooter and rides towards Dover....]
posted by digitalprimate at 1:38 PM on December 22, 2011


It may seem like torture at first, but keep on listening and trying to understand. You may not end up liking it, but I bet you'll still come out richer for it.

richer in what way? - realizing that good technical musicians can turn a pop song of mediocre wankery into a jazz/pop song of technical wankery?

someone compares this to stevie wonder? - stevie's a better singer and he had a better bass player - make that two better bass players

that stuff makes me want to dance - this stuff? - not so much
posted by pyramid termite at 2:04 PM on December 22, 2011


So cut it out already.

No thanks.

The last thing I'd want is for everything all the time to be "your favorite band sucks." But the thing that's problematic about that isn't that it's negative, it's that it doesn't explain why.

It's inane if people only comment on things that they like. Well reasoned explanation of why someone doesn't like something adds to the conversation.

The kids are alright.

Read my original comment. I agree. I just don't like their music.
posted by SpiffyRob at 3:57 PM on December 22, 2011


So, no one else was bothered by the Chick Corea Electrik Band-esque tone and production? That's what got under my skin. I didn't mind the overplaying so much, but I wondered what the tunes would've sounded like on a piano or Rhodes keyboard and with some of the treble rolled off the bass.

Not my kinda jam, but cool to check out and think about.
posted by elmer benson at 9:46 PM on December 22, 2011


As possibly-ironic GRP-fusion-flavored covers of crappy pop tunes, this is awesome.
posted by zangpo at 6:38 AM on December 23, 2011


Found some time for link-mining at 30k feet, flying home for the holidays, if anyone cares to delve deeper into this "ridiculous musicianship" thing:

Here's Béla Fleck & The Flecktones' jazz (-bluegrass?) fusion cover of The Beatles' "Michelle". (DirtyLoop's bass player reminded me of Victor Wooten's tapping during the bass solo.) Here's the live version, just because I love you.

Here's some newer Victor Wooten, "Flex" off Palmystery -- I'd call it progressive jazz. And here's one of Victor's classic live solos, "Amazing Grace" on a 4-string fretted bass. I play bass myself, and was considering going the whole 6-string fretless + lots of effects route, but when I heard/saw what this guy could do with just 4 strings it became clear the limitation was in my fingers, not my instrument.

For progressive instrumental jazz-rock fusion, Planet X is pretty ridiculous. "Ground Zero", for example, isn't shred-tastic, but rather very rhythmically progressive. (Tool has been going this direction for the last few albums; I'm shocked at how well-received it's been.) Can't find a straight-up Ground Zero link -- best I can do is some guy playing guitar along with the first half of the song (he's pretty good...).

For progressive metal, and straight-up jaw-dropping technical ability, it's hard to beat Dream Theater. Lost Not Forgotten is one of their latest examples (with a brand new drummer, no less) -- the guitar/keyboard unison starting about 2:00 in would have been unplayable 30 years ago, when Rush was all the progressive rage. Rush sounds almost minimalist now, by comparison -- like adult contemporary to my ear.
posted by LordSludge at 11:46 AM on December 23, 2011


the guitar/keyboard unison starting about 2:00 in would have been unplayable 30 years ago

people have been playing fast, tricky lines in unison since charlie parker and dizzy gillespie
posted by pyramid termite at 5:59 PM on December 23, 2011


Argybarg: Real funk musicians generally subtract notes, bad funk musicians add them.

Totally this. I think original musicians (even on covers) are more defined by the notes that they don't play then the notes that they do play.

This is just fun, mostly for the band themselves, who are obviously overplaying for all they're worth.


But, look, there's anyone who gets some happiness out of this more power to em.
posted by Skygazer at 7:47 PM on December 23, 2011


MPH: ... and the way you have to chose between Killdozer's "Sweet Home Alabama" or "I'm Not Lisa," but can't have both, because the point is made after your first listen to one or the other.

Wow. Used to love seeing Killdozer live back in 80s. I think Killdozer is or was just the thing to sandpaper one's brain clean and raw and bloody from the oleaginous syrupy pap that was Top 40 even back then...with not a small amount of humor.
posted by Skygazer at 8:06 PM on December 23, 2011


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