Sounds Familiar: Week 4

Continuing our expansion of original content, Under The Gun Review presents its latest column, Sounds Familiar, dedicated to trawling the world and web for the latest remixes, redos, and reminiscent bits that our newest columnist Julia McAlpine finds appealing. Be prepared for some diversity in your music library. The songs may not be new, but they will be different and worth a spin.

If you have a remix or cover that you would like to see featured here, let us know! Write with the subject “Sounds Familiar” and we’ll take a listen!

New Navy – “Breathe” (Télépopmusik Cover)

I think “Breathe” is one of those tracks that has graced the ears of even the most musically oblivious — somehow the owners of all restaurants, shopping centers, and hotel elevators find it fitting for general consumption. I have even heard it blaring from speakers in one of those parking lots that plays Top 40 hits in an attempt to liven things up, when in reality the tactic gives the space an eerie post-apocalyptic feel.  But that’s besides the point. What I love is that New Navy turns “Breathe” into an upbeat indie track that I can stand to listen to again. The band keeps that universal appeal of the original in tact, but reinvents the song to make it more joyful and a whole lot fresher.

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Sufjan Stevens – “Futile Devices” (Shigeto Remix)

If I was somehow forced to pick a favorite artist, I would have to choose my darling Sufjan (we’re on a first name basis, jelly?). I love that this version of “Futile Devices” plays up Sufjan’s use of obscure, unique instruments; I feel like Shigeto was like, “Sufjan would appreciate some zen snapping” while developing this remix.  In addition, this version stretches out the track — the original “Futile Devices” is around two minutes long, which is my only complaint about it. This remix allows Sufjan lovers to enjoy the song at twice the length and with the same spirit of the original. Problem solved!

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Summer Heart – “I Wanna Go” (Mau Remix)

This is one of those remixes that doesn’t seem to be aiming for anything profound — Mau is altering the track to make it dancier, and beefing up the vocals a tad to allow them to match the power of the remodeled chorus. I love the glo-fi/chillwave/dreampop qualities of “I Wanna Go” as is, but there’s always room for more groovin’.

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Rush Midnight – “Night Was Young Enough” (Chad Valley Remix)

For the most part, Brooklyn-dwelling Rush Midnight is still flying under the radar. But with great tracks like “Night Was Young Enough” and some remixing publicity courtesy of Chad Valley, this former bassist for Twin Shadow will soon be an indie iTunes library staple. I like the combination of Rush Midnight’s soothing vocals and the subtle beat provided by Chad Valley, and I hope for more collaborations like this in the future! Also, I was really hoping that Rush Midnight was actually this dude’s name (it’s Russ Manning, but that’s close enough, right?).

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Saint Saviour – “Fade Into You” (Mazzy Star Cover)

Before you listen to this song, let me warn you — I hate the intro.  At the start of the track, Saint Saviour inserts a sound byte from Sesame Street (or some equivalent, I can’t tell!)  in which a kid discusses the concept of marriage with a character. It seems to me that the intro is trying to force additional meaning on an already deeply haunting track. But the fact that I dislike the intro so much and still included this song shows that the song itself is good enough to make up for the flawed start. I love Saint Saviour’s rendition of the chorus in particular — the extra breathy vocals and imperfect vocal slides make the concept of fading into someone come to life.

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That’s it for this week! Julia is going to avoid the above-referenced post-apocalyptic parking lots.

Julia McAlpine
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