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Posted on July 15th, 2011 (11:23 am) by Molly O Brien

“This album was inspired by music blogs. And it was made to show my appreciation for them. Each track on the record features a sample of an indie band I have found specifically on a music blog in the recent past. The tracks are humble arrangements of bands that I really enjoy and it's my hope that people that enjoy this album will seek out the bands I've sampled and support them as well.”

That’s the mission statement Shane Conerty, aka Leann Grimes, posted on his Bandcamp page. It is a mission statement that makes people who write about music on the Internet – ahem – feel extremely warm and fuzzy. So much of music blogging is about buzz and hype and trying to catch the next cool thing before someone else does; this is the nature of an era in which no one has to line up at their local Sam Goody on a Tuesday to get their music fix. Acquisition has become lightning-fast, and so has criticism. So it’s pretty nice to read that someone has made an album because music blogs genuinely inspire them to do their own thing. Here at InYourSpeakers, we’re clearly all about that.

And that Leann Grimes’ self-released, self-titled debut falls under the nebulous heading of “mashup” makes the effort that much more impressive. At this point, mashup is practically meaningless – drop the genre name and most people will probably cue up Girl Talk and not much else. Leann Grimes does something different. Rather than cull zillions of artists together, he focuses on one artist at a time, creating sort of an alternate cover of a song, chopping things up, speeding things up and down, teasing out subtle elements or amplifying the catchiest hooks until the song is familiar but still somehow new. That Conerty’s taste in music is as impeccable doesn’t hurt. All of the original songs could practically form an indie movie soundtrack.

The best way to review this stuff is to take it track-by-track. Check out the original songs here. Let’s do this.

“Cats and Dogs in Idaho” – Killer opener. Two songs by the Head and the Heart combine for maximum head-bopping pleasure.

“Egyptian Internet” – Exactly what the title suggests: Miniature Tigers’ cute song, made over to be blog-worthy.

“Memory Noise” – That Deerhunter hook is all you need. Bouncy as all heck.

“Got to Grime” – Amplifies the grit on Cake’s original song, with additional little hip-hop glitches and an electro sheen.

“Under Cover of Dirt and Grime” – The killer Strokes guitar hook is the star here. Conerty manipulates it until it’s so freaking catchy that it will never leave your head.

“Shadow Creepo!” – Dr. Dog’s plaintive folk-rock burner gets reborn as a meditative track with extended, augmented piano chords and a faux-dancehall bridge.

“Mrs. Grimes” – It begins with a wry voice sample: “I can’t believe you’ve never heard of me! I’m a very popular entertainer.” Then the smooth Kings of Convenience guitar chords get some additional breakbeats – cherries on top, really.

“Old Bodies Slip When They Make Love” – The Morning Benders’ crazy-catchy first single becomes glitchy, digitized carousel music.

“One Last Song (For Tonight)” – Probably the only song that does more of a disservice to the original. Avi Buffalo’s tune is sweet and nostalgic, which makes the Ratatat-style synths sound out of place here.

“Everything Turns Around” – Mosquito-like vocal chords on the Yellow Ostrich original are fuel for a hypnotic dance remix.

“Local Asheville News” – Conerty makes Local Natives sound like Air, then like Coldplay, then like something else entirely. As for the title, he's from Asheville, North Carolina.

“Keep Me in Grimes” – The guitar gets faster, glossier. It’s Little Joy (a Fabrizio Moretti side project) on speed.

“I Wish it Was Summersong” – Okay, so the Decemberists might freak out to hear their nerdy peasant rock sound like something a music director would put on Gossip Girl. But it’s so tasty!

“The Wild Grit” – The Tallest Man on Earth makes for a pensive finale, complete with a vocal sample that sounds suspiciously like Audrey Hepburn. Are you in love yet?

So Leann Grimes takes good songs and makes them different – still as good, but different enough to realign your eardrums. His mashups are electrified and stripped down, brittle and choppy; the listening experience is like digging through a treasure chest. Conerty has professed his desire to support and appreciate other musicians, and more so, he has made an album that accomplishes the goal, respectfully and creatively.

Purchase at: Amazon | eMusic

Our Rating

85 / 100
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