Free MP3 Download: She & Him Cover “Fools Rush In”

You may have heard about a new web series presented by Levi’s called The Pioneer Sessions.  The series features video of artists who were “invited to re-craft the classic songs that inspired their sound.”  Fans can then download an mp3 of the tune for free.

Sounds cool to us—especially considering that the latest installment stars indie sweethearts She & Him performing “Fools Rush In.” The pair completely blew us away at their Madison show at The Barrymore back in 2008, and we just can’t get enough of ’em. Head over to The Pioneer Sessions page to learn more about the series and grab your free download.

Oh, and you might want to bookmark The Pioneer Sessions site now, because in addition to posting previous recordings from Nas and The Swell Season, sessions from other incredible artists like The Kills, Dirty Projectors, and The Shins are on-deck.

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Listen to Volume 2 From She & Him

She and Him

We posted the video for “In The Sun,” the perfect-for-spring lead single off of She & Him’s Volume 2, earlier this month.  Now you can listen to the duo’s highly-anticipated indie sequel in its entirety right here, courtesty of NPR.   What do you guys think?

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She & Him To Release Sophomore Album In 2010

In a recent interview with MTV news, Zooey Deschanel, the female half of the indie pop duo She & Him, announced that the band will follow up their debut album’s success with the release of Volume 2 next year.  Adding more excitement to the news, Deschanel also confirmed upcoming tour plans: “And then I have a new [She & Him] record coming out in the spring. It’s official. It’s done and being released in the spring. And we’re going to go on tour.”

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Music News Recap: With More mp3s! Good For Your Health!

What’s been going on in the world of music lately? Read on to get the scoop on your favorite artists, and start some discussion about current music-related events!

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Richard Hell

Richard Hell has “repaired” The Voidoids’ second album, Destiny Street, and is set to release his new and (hopefully) improved efforts on September 1st.

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CD Review: Volume 1, She and Him

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It’s no secret that actors haven’t had the greatest track record concerning their attempts to break into the music industry. Remember Russell Crowe’s band, 30 Odd Foot of Grunts, for example? Exactly. The musical efforts of other pretty faces haven’t fared much better, usually because, a.) they aren’t anywhere near convincing in their supposed passion for music, or b.) the product itself is just…well…crap. There are, however, a few pleasantly surprising exceptions to the thespian curse. She & Him, the pairing of actress Zooey Deschanel (Almost Famous, Elf) and indie folk favorite M. Ward, is one of these.

The two met while working on a song for the soundtrack to one of Deschanel’s movies, The Go-Getter. As their friendship grew, Deschanel revealed that she had been recording home demos of her own material for quite some time. Though initially shy about others hearing her work, she eventually gave into Ward’s encouragement and shared them with him. Impressed with the quality of her songwriting, Ward suggested a collaboration to formally record the songs and give the songs the audience they deserved.

It’s immediately clear upon listening to their album, Volume One, that whatever insecurities Deschanel might have had about her ventures into the music world were unfounded. Her voice sparkles over this collection of instantly classic songs, and leaves the listener with no doubts about her massive talent. Ward, already an indie darling known for his delicate, yet emotionally powerful folk, is the perfect musical partner for Deschanel. He is able to arrange the songs in such a way that Deschanel is always supported, but never overpowered or drowned out by superfluous production. As a result, Volume One is a lush, haunting throwback to the early ‘60s, with hints of old country, pop, and classic girl groups.

The first single, “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here?” is a bouncy, sweetly innocent plea to the boy who just doesn’t get how simple love can be. The Phil Spector-inspired beats and instrumentation coupled with the smooth oooo la, la, las on “Sweet Darlin’” are unmistakably reminiscent of girl groups like The Ronettes and The Crystals. Deschanel’s most compelling performance is on the country-tinged “Change is Hard.” A comforting aural arm around the shoulders, she sings directly to every broken heart within weeping distance. “I was never/ no I was never/ no I was never enough/ But I can try/ I can try to toughen up/ I listened when they told me/ if he burns you let him go/ Change is hard/ I should know,” she sings with equal parts regret and determination. Sure to be a pleasant listen any time of year, Volume One is supremely enjoyable in the current summer setting—the crisp, bright jangle of Ward’s George Harrison-influenced guitar on the easy-going “This Is Not A Test” is especially suited for warm, breezy evenings. The three covers on the album, “You Really Got A Hold On Me,” “I Should Have Known Better,” and “Swing Low Sweet Chariot” compliment Deschanel’s originals with a charming, gentle vocal approach. With a style that classic, she knows she doesn’t need to make any drastic changes to what comes naturally to her to appeal to music listeners.

What Deschanel and Ward have achieved with Volume One is nothing short of extraordinary. Listeners can forget about the track advance button for this album—every song offers something special and instantly unforgettable, sure to be surpassed only by being performed in a live setting. Madison residents are extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to experience just that. This Friday, She & Him will present their body of work at The Barrymore. Becky Stark of Lavender Diamond opens the show at 8:00 pm.

-Shelley Peckham