New Era Alternative Radio
In todayâ€šÃ„Ã´s Clear Channel dominated radio market one can count on mediocrity across the board. Mainstream radio waits for the next big thing and then promptly over plays whatever it is. Somehow, Nic Harcourt and his daily morning radio show Morning Becomes Eclectic on Santa Monicaâ€šÃ„Ã´s KCRW has become the barometer of hip for the new era of alternative music. This third installment in the programâ€šÃ„Ã´s live performances compilation Sounds Electic 3 shows exactly why.The track listing for this album reads like a whoâ€šÃ„Ã´s who from the non-abrasive side of the indie/alternative scenes. Iron & Wine, The Polyphonic Spree, Jem, Interpol, and Franz Ferdinand all make stellar appearances here, with most performances recorded in Morning Becomes Eclecticâ€šÃ„Ã´s own studio.
The Flaming Lips track early with another wonderfully creative take on their last albumâ€šÃ„Ã´s title track “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1” injecting a somber feel with sparse instrumentation and a piano-laced backbone. Radiohead also hand in a expectedly strong performance with an almost-acoustic rendition of Hail to the Thiefâ€šÃ„Ã´s “Go to Sleep” which sounds as energized as any Radiohead concert.
The disc is bracketed strongly in both the early songs and the closing songs by Sarah McLachlanâ€šÃ„Ã´s “Answer” and Jemâ€šÃ„Ã´s angelic stripped down rendition of “Flying High.” The latter, interestingly enough, has Jem commanding her voice with the same skill and finesse that made Sarah McLachlan famous some years ago. Interpolâ€šÃ„Ã´s simple moderately paced “Untitled” adds needed spice and Steve Earle closes the set off with the proud folk of “Jerusalem.”
Jumping points for eclectic music are too few nowadays, Sounds Eclectic 3 is a great musical gathering of one such jumping point.