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Albums Of The Week: Various Artists | Hearts & Minds & Crooked Beats: Songs Of The Clash

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “People can change anything they want to, and that means anything in the world,” said Joe Strummer.

Benefiting the International Rescue Committee, the compilation Hearts & Minds & Crooked Beats invites bands and visual artists to create work inspired by The Clash and celebrating their music and human rights message. The album features tracks from The Dandy Warhols, Teke::Teke, Mirah, Smokey Brights, Sean Barna, The Gotobeds, Big League, Labasheeda, Julia Massey of Warren Dunes, and The Rust and The Fury.

Mirah’s take on I’m Not Down slightly slows the original’s hard-charging groove, infusing the original’s headstrong yet sweet melody with a touch of The Shangri-Las, all while maintaining its overdriven guitar pulse. She explains, “One of the best things about being asked to work on a project like this is the opportunity it gave me to play a bunch of Clash albums all at once and to pay close attention as I was listening. I wanted to pick one that felt right for my voice, with words which reflected something about me and my own experiences. Like a lot of people, I began having some run-ins with anxiety and depression during the pandemic. I wasn’t playing shows or making much music and I was spending nearly every waking hour with a tiny person who I’d given birth to 15 months before the pandemic started. I’m Not Down was written as a sort of F you to hard times and depression, and that felt, and feels, pretty relevant.” To help with the recording, Mirah tapped the inimitable Erica Freas and the one and only Karl Blau.

Teke::Teke’s interpretation of Bankrobber was inspired by a sound that was developing in Japan in the 70’s, in parallel to the U.K.’s punk scene, with avant-garde bands like Tokyo Kid Brothers or JA Seazer, which inspired them to sing the lyrics in Japanese. Vocalist Maya Kuroki felt an immediate connection to Bankrobber, upon hearing the same words that her late father used to jokingly say, “someday I’ll become a bank robber;” she wanted to represent the meaning of this poem as the voice of the “community,” striving to counter the increasingly widening wealth gap. The band’s Sei Nakauchi Pelletier adds, “Bankrobber was the first ever song I heard from The Clash, it was on a compilation tape a dear friend of mine had made for me in my early 20s. The Clash went on to become one of my favorite and most-inspiring rock bands of all-time, way beyond their musical genius but also for their political stances and DIY approach.” That “dear friend” was Malcolm Bauld, who Sei enlisted to guest on Teke::Teke’s cover, providing the English verses — a profound collaboration and full circle moment.”

 

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