Thursday, March 26, 2009

Hells Yeah- The Killers Cover Bright Eyes' "Four Winds"

I can't not post this. The Killers have covered "Four Winds" by Bright Eyes and twisted it up completely. I love the original, and the two versions should honestly not be compared for quality because they're too different. They should just be compared for sheer polar difference. And still, in my opinion, this cover version works in its own way. Of course it's going to piss off hipsters to no end... but that's what the Killers do- take risks and endlessly bother music snobs- why not!

Take a listen for yourself-

I love it. Who knew you could mix Stewart Price's Pet Shop Boys effects, the Killers' touch, and Bright Eyes lyrics to make something awesome like this? Brandon's voice is flawless, too. Some people are complaining that he isn't expressing enough emotion the way Conor does- but I think it's a nice contrast. Anyway, he would be pummeled if he tried to show a lot of emotion too so he can never really win.

My favorite parts are:
:40 "four winds blowing through her hair..." with the sound effects, ah.
:50 "she just can't sustain..." with strings. Again, gorgeous. I'm such a sucker for pretty sound effects behind nice vocals.
1:20 "The Bible's blind. The Torah's deaf. The Qu'ran is mute. If you burned them all together you'd get close to the truth" - haha, I dig that Brandon is singing this even though he is Mormon. Respect.
1:48 "And it's the sum of man..." with the piano kicking in. I especially love the rising piano a few seconds later during the lyrics, "A heart just can't contain..."

I pretty much love the whole song, really. I can't stop listening. It's addicting.

To compare and see just how different they are, here is the original (sorry, embedding disabled):

"Four Winds" video by Bright Eyes

...and here is the same song but without the added crowd noise in the video, plus Conor Oberst's lovely, brilliant lyrics featured in it:

You know, no matter what music snobs say, it's pretty nice of the Killers to cover Bright Eyes, because this is giving them a lot of attention from Killers fans. They're also acknowledging the greatness of a very underrated song from Bright Eyes' latest sort-of-ignored Cassadega album. This is the first contemporary artist cover the Killers have recorded, or even just performed, previously- before they have all been covers from previous generation artists such as Dire Straits' "Romeo and Juliet", David Bowie's Moonage Daydream, Joy Division's "Shadowplay", Kenny Rogers/Mel Tillis' "Ruby Don't take Your Love to Town", Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun", Morrissey's "Why Don't You Find Out for Yourself", etc.

This makes me even more excited for the Killers' upcoming covers album! It's going to be so fucking epic.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Brandon Flowers' Runway Looks: Dior Homme by Hedi Slimane

It's no secret that Brandon Flowers, singer of the Killers (as you should know by now), loves Hedi Slimane (ex-designer and founder of Dior Homme). He has praised him in interviews, he bought/wore almost exclusively Dior Homme while Slimane was still there. And the opposite is true as well. Hedi took these two pictures at different times, for one: Brandon smoking a cigarette (before he quit) & Brandon's "k" keyboard.

I decided to do some research on and, well damn, Brandon's closet really has been dominated by Dior Homme pieces. Almost all of his most memorable outfits included Dior. And before you dare say anything of the sort- Brandon in fact chooses his own outfits and has a very healthy and enviable personal style. No stylists for this guy, thankyouverymuch.

He has said that his only indulgences are clothes, and homeboy wasn't lying! Keep in mind, the runway pieces I recognized from Brandon's outfits are merely a fraction of the actual amount of Dior pieces he owns. They are the ones that are easiest for me to spot out, unlike the more simple Dior pants, jackets, and button-ups which I know for a fact that Brandon owns but are just too difficult to distinguish.

Also, notice that these pictures dwindle and start to end around the Sam's Town era (2006/2007). This is because Hedi Slimane left Dior Homme at that time for other pursuits, and Brandon probably wasn't as taken by the new designer who replaced Slimane, Kriss Van Assche. However, Gareth Pugh is to replace Assche any day now and pick up where Hedi left off. (Is it just me or does Dior only appoint fairly good-looking and young designers?). Pugh is known as a "consistently envelope-pushing, innovative designer" according to BlackBook so maybe Brandon will be drawn back?

Well anyway, without further ado, I bring to you- Brandon's Dior pieces, on the runway, and on him. In backwards order from latest to earliest:

From Dior Homme fall 2006 collection:

A sober gray jacket with black details. Brandon is seen here wearing it with some of his own added flair- red roses- while performing at the 2006 NME awards. He would later say in an interview that that was one of the most nerve-wracking moments of his life because he was singing a cover of "Shadowplay" by legendary band Joy Division in a room full of musicians who hated him and didn't want him to be there (the typical problem of the Killers- they're famous, so music snobs hate them. Well, you win some you lose some).

Western-style button-up with black around and white in the chest area. I love this shirt. Brandon is here wearing it at the 2006 MTV Video Music Awards while performing When You Were Young. This was a bit before Sam's Town was released.

Spring 2006 collection:

Shiny red dinner jacket with golden square designs. This reminds me of the circus for some reason. In a good way. I believe Brandon is wearing it at a concert in Brixton Academy around October 2006 in London, performing songs from Sam's Town for the first time in the UK.

Snakeskin-print track jacket. According to Blender magazine it sells for $2,000. Brandon is serious about his clothes, people. Here he is posing for press photos for Sam's Town. Oh, and Kanye West owns this jacket as well. He has been known to admire Brandon's style...

... Aaand one Dior Homme track jacket was obviously not enough because Brandon got himself another one- a Sergeant Pepper - style one no less. Here he is seen on TRL promoting Sam's Town's release. The truth is that Brandon has yet another Dior track jacket with bedazzled animal print, but it doesn't show up on the runway. Custom-made, I see? He has worn it to promote the Killers' latest album Day & Age. Oh, by the way, Kanye also owns this one.

Oh dear. The dreaded manshrug. The less said about this one the better. Forgive and forget, right?

Fall 2005 Collection:

Loose button-up shirt with long extended ends starting from the collar. Tiny white circle details on the shirt if you look closely. The one on the runway is burgundy but I'm almost positive that Brandon's black one is the same, just a different color. Whenever Brandon wore this (during the latter part of the Hot Fuss tour) he would wrap the extended fabric around his neck like a scarf, as seen here. I think it looks pretty damn good. He was here photographed by the Cobrasnake backstage at the Tonight Show with Jay Leno, either before or after performing "All These Things That I've Done". Fun fact- there was a big red heart stuck on the back of his blazer there. Another fun fact- this is what he wore the first time I saw the Killers in concert October 2005, at the Long Beach Arena. Ah memories...

Burgundy pea coat with black buttons. In the picture he is seen with Sarah Lewitinn aka "Ultragrrrl," who has been credited with helping the Killers rise to fame. They are at a Misshapes party here (once hipster mecca party in NYC- they no longer take place) sometime during the Hot Fuss tour, post-"Mr. Brightside" fame explosion. Brandon doesn't usually go to such parties so this was a special occasion. Sarah wrote this next to the picture on Buzznet: "the best thing about this photo is that it was taken in the summer of 2005 at misshapes and it was FUCKING HOT. like painfully hot. And i guess brandon had just gotten this coat and he insisted on wearing it. i can only guess that he wanted to be the first one photographed in it ever, and misshapes would be the perfect place for that. he also wore it with the most amazing pair of high top sneakers i've ever seen." Haha- oh, Brandon.

Spring 2005 Collection:

Powder blue jacket with black lapels. In this picture Brandon is wearing the jacket at a very important time- during the Killers' performance at the 2005 Glastonbury festival in the UK. This was a triumphant performance for the band and cemented their position as a huge act. Here's a video where you can also see the whole simple yet impeccable outfit.

Oh, the famous pink leather blazer. Or "salmon" as some liked to specify. Here Brandon is wearing it at some Killers concert in the US during the middle of the Hot Fuss tour- probably at the Outdoor Theatre at Madison Square Garden performance in NYC. He also wore it at the Killers' first performance on Saturday Night Live. Introduce yourself to middle-Americans with a bang, why not. This jacket is a classic among Killers fans, especially those who, like me, joined the bandwagon early on. Brandon later said in an interview that he unfortunately had to put the jacket away because it started turning orange from extensive wear and sweat.

So, that is all I could find for now. Maybe later I will make another post of Brandon's new designer duds- there have been many bits and pieces in magazines... one said that Marc Jacobs tailored custom clothing for Brandon, another claimed that Burberry Prorsum designer Christopher Bailey did the same. Or maybe I can talk about Brandon's J. Lindbergh shirts. Or the fact that Donatella Versace adores his style. Or the Dolce & Gabbana jacket with added feather epaulets that Brandon simply cannot stop wearing lately. Or maybe the designer, "Mrs. Jones" (Fee Doran), who stuck those feathers on for Brandon in the first place. Decisions, decisions.

If you guys want to read some more about Brandon's style, I suggest this interview from last year with British GQ, after he won most stylish man of the year (click to make bigger):