El Bicho's Hive

A Collection of Reviews Covering the Worlds of Art and Entertainment alongside other Snobbish Ramblings.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Palm Pictures

Sounds Eclectic 3 is an extension of the radio program Morning Becomes Eclectic, which The Wall Street Journal calls “one of the most interesting and influential radio shows in the U.S.” It “is committed to a music experience that celebrates innovation, creativity and diversity.” The program can be heard on KCRW 89.9 for those living in the Los Angeles area. Everywhere else, it is available online at www.kcrw.com. Nic Harcourt, the program’s host since 1998, has helped launch the careers of many artists, including Dido and Peter Yorn, giving them their first worldwide radio airplay, as well as Damien Rice and Coldplay, giving them their first U.S. radio airplay.

The songs on this CD, picked by Harcourt, were recorded live for the program and the liner notes proudly proclaim that none of them were re-recorded, remixed or overdubbed, which might explain the absence of Top 40 artists. Guests of the show feature established musicians, like Paul Weller and Sarah McLachlan, alongside newcomers, such as Interpol and Jem; the tracks by the latter were each act’s first-ever radio performances.

Sounds Eclectic 3 is a good sampler platter of what’s been going on in music over the past few years. The oldest track is “Mirando De Lado” by the Latin rock ensemble Kinky from April 2002 and the most recent is “Take Me Out” by Scottish art-rockers Franz Ferdinand on 3/15/04, which went on to be a hit on alternative radio stations later that year. The artists’ performances range in style from Steve Earle’s “Jerusalem,” a solo performance on acoustic guitar, to The Polyphonic Spree’s “It’s The Sun,” a psychedelic-drenched piece of symphonic pop created by the 20-plus ensemble. There’s even a couple of rarities like Radiohead’s outstanding acoustic version of “Go To Sleep,” and Iron & Wine’s cover of “Waitin’ For A Superman” by The Flaming Lips, who also appear on the album.

While not as wide-ranging as it could have been in terms of artists or song selection, the collection is very interesting and would make a great gift for someone who grouses about not being able to find anything on the radio to listen to anymore.

All proceeds from the album go to KCRW, a not-for-profit radio station, so your purchase will allow the program to continue, which will, in turn, provide more opportunities for artists to create music that isn’t geared solely towards the under-18 demographic.