Tag: Yeah Yeah Yeahs It’s Blitz!

Live Footage: the bird and the bee Cover Van Halen’s “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” with Dave Grohl on “The Late Late Show with James Corden”

Comprised of singer/songwriter Inara George and seven time Grammy Award-winning producer and multi-instrumentalist Greg Kurstin, who has worked with the likes of Sia,Adele, Beck, Kendrick Lamar, Foo Fighters and Paul McCartney, the Los Angeles-based indie pop act the bird and the bee can trace their origins to when they met  while working on George’s 2005 solo debut All Rise. Bonding over a mutual love of 80s pop and rock, the duo decided to continue to work together in a jazz-influenced electro pop project.

The Los Angeles indie pop duo’s debut EP Again and Again and Again and Again was released in late 2006. They quickly followed that up with their self-titled full-length debut in early 2007 — and with their earliest releases George and Kurstin quickly developed a reputation for bringing a breezy elegance to their work, which finds them putting their own idiosyncratic twist on time-bending indie pop.

Although serving as the long-awaited follow up to 2015’s Recreational Love, the bird and the bee’s fifth album, Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 2: A Tribute to Van Halen actually closely follows 2010’s critically applauded Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 1: A Tribute to Hall & Oates. And while Van Halen‘s most anthemic and beloved work may initially seem like an unlikely vessel for the Los Angeles-based duo’s sound and approach, George and Kurstin are both lifelong fans of David Lee Roth-era Van Halen. As the story goes back in 2007, George caught her first-ever Van Halen show, during the first tour to feature David Lee Roth as the band’s frontman since 1985. George was so charmed by Roth’s presence, that after that show, she approached Kurstin about writing a song for Roth. The end result was the swooning serenade “Diamond Dave,” which appeared on their 2008 sophomore album Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future. “We asked him to be in the video, but instead he signed a picture and gave me the yellow top hat he’d worn at the show I saw, which I thought was very sweet,” George says in press notes. “When we were trying to figure out who to cover for the second volume of Interpreting the Masters, we were both a little bit like, ‘Oh my god, can we really do it?’ But then we just went for it.”

Slated for an August 2, 2019 release through No Expectations/Release Me Records, the duo’s fifth album features an impressive backing band of guest musicians including Justin Meldal Johnsen (bass), who has worked with Beck and Nine Inch Nails; Joey Waronker (drums), who has worked with R.E.M and Elliott Smith; and Omar Hakim(drums), who has worked with the David Bowie and Miles Davis assisting the duo in making familiar David Lee Roth-era Van Halen anthems completely their own, imbuing even the most over-the-top tracks with a slinky intimacy.

Interestingly, for Kurstin, an accomplished jazz pianist, who once studied with Jaki Byard, a pianist that once played in Charles Mingus‘ band, one of the greatest challenges he had translating Eddie Van Halen’s virtuoso guitar work into piano arrangements that kept some of the spirit and vibe of the original. “I know there’s a jazz influence with the Van Halen brothers, so I tried to channel some of the things that I felt might’ve influenced Eddie,” Kurstin notes. “In a way ‘Eruption’ is almost like a piece of classical music, so I mostly treated it that way as I interpreted it for piano,” he adds, referring to the iconic instrumental guitar solo from Van Halen’s self-titled debut. 

While creating arrangements around Eddie Van Halen’s guitar work will reveal the duo’s ingenuity and playfulness as interpreters and arrangers paired with a deeply nuanced reading of the material, which is influenced by their deep and profound emotional connection to the band.“I remember being 10-years-old and seeing their videos and feeling both excited and totally terrified—I responded to them in this very visceral way,” George says in press notes. Kurstin, who also is a lifelong fan, actually got a chance to work with Eddie Van Halen in the early 80s when the Grammy Award-winning producer and multi-instrumentalist was a 12 year-old member of Dweezil Zappa’s band. “I got to hang out with him in the studio and go backstage when Van Halen played The Forum, which was a really big moment for my younger self,” Kurstin recalls.

Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 2: A Tribute to Van Halen‘s album’s second single “Ain’t Talkin’ Bout Love” is a slinky New Wave-like take on the original, centered around an angular and propulsive bass line, atmospheric electronics, shimmering and arpeggiated synths and while bearing an uncanny resemblance to New Order and It’s Blitz!-era Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the track is imbued with a feverish quality.

While much of Van Halen’s material, whether it was David Lee Roth-era or Sammy Hagar-era is seemingly familiar to the point of well-worn, the first two singles off Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 2: A Tribute to Van Halen finds the duo crafting a loving and thoughtful take on beloved material. And they manage to do so in a way that retains familiar elements but within a playful, post-modern, decidedly feminist fashion. 

The duo were recently on The Late Late Show with James Corden, where they performed their sultry rendition of “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” with a special guest — Dave Grohl, who played drums. 

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New Audio: the bird and the bee’s Jazz-like Take on Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher”

Last month, I wrote about the Los Angeles-based indie pop act the bird and the bee — singer/songwriter Inara George and seven time Grammy Award-winning producer and multi-instrumentalist Greg Kurstin, who has worked with the likes of Sia, Adele, Beck, Kendrick Lamar, Foo Fighters and Paul McCartney — and as you may recall, the act can trace their origins to when the duo met while working on George’s 2005 solo debut All Rise. Bonding over a mutual love of 80s pop and rock, the duo decided to continue to work together in a jazz-influenced electro pop project.

The Los Angeles indie pop duo’s debut EP Again and Again and Again and Again was released in late 2006. They quickly followed that up with their self-titled full-length debut in early 2007 — and with their earliest releases George and Kurstin quickly developed a reputation for bringing a breezy elegance to their work, which finds them putting their own idiosyncratic twist on time-bending indie pop.

Although serving as the long-awaited follow up to 2015’s Recreational Love, the bird and the bee’s fifth album, Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 2: A Tribute to Van Halen actually closely follows 2010’s critically applauded Interpreting the Masters, Vol. 1: A Tribute to Hall & Oates. And while Van Halen‘s most anthemic and beloved work may initially seem like an unlikely vessel for the Los Angeles-based duo’s sound and approach, George and Kurstin are both lifelong fans of David Lee Roth-era Van Halen. Back in 2007, George caught her first-ever Van Halen show — and it was the first tour to feature David Lee Roth as the band’s frontman since 1985. George was so charmed by Roth’s presence, that after that show, she approached Kurstin about writing a song for Roth. The end result was the swooning serenade “Diamond Dave,” which appeared on their 2008 sophomore album Ray Guns Are Not Just the Future. “We asked him to be in the video, but instead he signed a picture and gave me the yellow top hat he’d worn at the show I saw, which I thought was very sweet,” George says in press notes. “When we were trying to figure out who to cover for the second volume of Interpreting the Masters, we were both a little bit like, ‘Oh my god, can we really do it?’ But then we just went for it.”

Slated for an August 2, 2019 release through No Expectations/Release Me Records, the duo’s fifth album features an impressive backing band of guest musicians including Justin Meldal Johnsen (bass), who has worked with Beck and Nine Inch Nails; Joey Waronker (drums), who has worked with R.E.M and Elliott Smith; and Omar Hakim (drums), who has worked with the David Bowieand Miles Davis assisting the duo in making familiar David Lee Roth-era Van Halen anthems completely their own, imbuing even the most over-the-top tracks with a slinky intimacy.

Interestingly, for Kurstin, an accomplished jazz pianist, who once studied with Jaki Byard, a pianist that once played in Charles Mingus‘ band, one of the greatest challenges he had translating Eddie Van Halen’s virtuoso guitar work into piano arrangements that kept some of the spirit and vibe of the original. “I know there’s a jazz influence with the Van Halen brothers, so I tried to channel some of the things that I felt might’ve influenced Eddie,” Kurstin notes. “In a way ‘Eruption’ is almost like a piece of classical music, so I mostly treated it that way as I interpreted it for piano,” he adds, referring to the iconic instrumental guitar solo from Van Halen’s self-titled debut. 

While creating arrangements around Eddie Van Halen’s guitar work will reveal the duo’s ingenuity and playfulness as interpreters and arrangers paired with a deeply nuanced reading of the material, which is influenced by their deep and profound emotional connection to the band.“I remember being 10-years-old and seeing their videos and feeling both excited and totally terrified—I responded to them in this very visceral way,” George says in press notes. Kurstin, who also is a lifelong fan, actually got a chance to work with Eddie Van Halen in the early 80s when the Grammy Award-winning producer and multi-instrumentalist was a 12 year-old member of Dweezil Zappa’s band. “I got to hang out with him in the studio and go backstage when Van Halen played The Forum, which was a really big moment for my younger self,” Kurstin recalls.

The album’s two singles found the members of the bird and the bee taking on Van Halen’s “Panama” and “Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love.” The duo turned “Panama” from a power chord-based arena rock anthem into a sultry club banger, centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, bright blasts of twinkling piano and cowbell, a wobbling Bootsy Collins-like bass line and George’s sensual vocal delivery. Their cover of”Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love” was a slinky and shimmering New Wave-like take that recalled New Order and It’s Blitz-era Yeah Yeah Yeahs while imbued with a feverish quality.  The album’s third latest single finds the band taking on “Hot For Teacher,” the last official single that band released with their original lineup.  Featuring drummer Omar Hakim, who has worked with David Bowie, Sting, Daft Punk, Weather Report, Madonna, Kate Bush and others and a spoken word cameo from Beck, the bird and the bee deliver a swinging bop jazz-inspired take that actually pulls, tugs and teases out the jazziness of the original — particularly within Eddie Van Halen’s dexterous guitar solo-ing. Interestingly, much like Easy Star All-Stars take on Dark Side of the Moon, the bird and the bee version of “Hot For Teacher” isn’t a purely straightforward cover — rather, it’s a subtle and mischievous modernization that retains the spirit and intent of the song in a thoughtful and loving way. 

New Video: Teeth & Tongue’s Jess Cornelius Releases Haunting Visuals for “Jealousy” Off Her Forthcoming Solo Debut

Over the past year, I had written a bit about the critically acclaimed, Melbourne, Australia-based indie rock/indie pop act Teeth & Tongue. Comprised of New Zealand-born, Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Jess Cornelius, guitarist Marc Regueiro-McKelvie, bassist Damian Sullivan and drummer James Harvey, the quartet initially began as a solo recording project of its founding member Jess Cornelius, and over the course of the four albums, the band developed a reputation for restless experimentation with their sound morphing from an ambient and textured sound to a wiry, dance floor-friendly post-punk inspired by Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ It’s Blitz!, as you would hear on Give Up on Your Health, an album that received attention both nationally and internationally — it was nominated for a J Award and the Australian Music Prize, named Album of the Week on 3RRR and Featured Album on Double J, as well as features in Rolling Stone, The Fader and Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter.

Adding to a growing profile, Cornelius has played at some of the her adopted homeland’s and the world’s major music festivals including Laneway Festival, Meredith Music Festival, Falls Festival, Boogie Woogie Festival, SXSW, CMJ, Perth International Arts Festival and Darwin Festival, toured with acclaimed singer/songwriter Courtney Barnett and Vance Joy, opened for J. Mascis, Sons & Daughters, EMA, Juana Molina, The Dodos, The Mountain Goats, The Drones and Laura Marling, as well performed as a musical guest on several episodes of SBS‘ Rockwiz.
 
After several years as a frontperson, Cornelius decided it was time to focus on creating music under her own name, and as a result, Cornelius relocated to Los Angeles to write, and record new material, which included “Jealousy,” the first single off her forthcoming debut EP Nothing Is Lost. And from the single, the New Zealand-born singer/songwriter’s solo work is a marked departure from her work with Teeth & Tongue, as  the material is stripped down to a sparse arrangement of Cornelius’ dynamic, PJ Harvey-like vocals, accompanied by her strummed guitar, dramatic drumming and backing vocals. With a strip down approach of songwriter, vocals, guitar and drums, the listener must not only pay attention to the songwriter’s vocals but to the lyrics as well — and in this case, “Jealousy,” a song based on one of the most hideous yet common human emotions may arguably be some of the more direct, empathetic writing of her career.  You can practically feel the bile and resentment of the song’s narrator, who focuses on what she lacks and what others have; however, the song should serve both as a reminder and warning — after all, you don’t know what someone else had to sacrifice to be in the situation they’re in now, and if you did, you might not have done so.
 
 
Directed by Thomas Hyland at Clones and Clones, the recently released video for “Jealousy” employs a relatively simple yet haunting concept: we follow Cornelius as rides a bike through a suburban development at night. And in some way, the treatment emphasizes the bitter loneliness and spite of its narrator, whose jealousy and resentments seem to fuel her through something that’s both endless and pointless.
 

Last year, I wrote a bit about the critically acclaimed, Melbourne, Australia-based indie rock/indie pop act Teeth & Tongue. Comprised of New Zealand-born, Melbourne, Australia-based singer/songwriter and guitarist Jess Cornelius, guitarist Marc Regueiro-McKelvie, bassist Damian Sullivan and drummer James Harvey, the quartet initially began as a solo recording project of its founding member Jess Cornelius, and over the course of the four albums, the band developed a reputation for restless experimentation with their sound morphing from an ambient and textured sound to a wiry, dance floor-friendly post-punk inspired by Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ It’s Blitz!, as you would hear on Give Up on Your Health, an album that received attention both nationally and internationally — it was nominated for a J Award and the Australian Music Prize, named Album of the Week on 3RRR and Featured Album on Double J, as well as features in Rolling StoneThe Fader and Lena Dunham’s Lenny Letter.

Along with that, Cornelius has played at some of the her adopted homeland’s and the world’s major music festivals including Laneway Festival, Meredith Music Festival, Falls Festival, Boogie Woogie Festival, SXSW, CMJ, Perth International Arts Festival and Darwin Festival, toured with acclaimed singer/songwriter Courtney Barnett and Vance Joy, opened for J. Mascis, Sons & Daughters, EMA, Juana Molina, The Dodos, The Mountain Goats, The Drones and Laura Marling, as well performed as a musical guest on several episodes of SBS‘ Rockwiz.
After several years as a frontperson, Cornelius decided it was time to focus on creating music under her own name, and as you’ll hear on her solo debut single “Jealousy,” her solo work is a marked departure from her critically applauded work in Teeth & Tongue, as the material is stripped down to a sparse arrangement of Cornelius’ dynamic, PJ Harvey-like vocals, accompanied by her strummed guitar, dramatic drumming and backing vocals. And by stripping down the material to its bare essence of songwriter, vocals, guitar and drums, the listener must not only pay attention to the songwriter’s vocals but to the lyrics as well — and in this case, “Jealousy,” a song based on one of the most hideous yet common human emotions may arguably be some of the more direct, empathetic writing of her career.  You can practically feel the bile and resentment of the song’s narrator, who focuses on what she lacks and what others have; however, the song should serve both as a reminder and warning — after all, you don’t know what someone else had to sacrifice to be in the situation they’re in now, and if you did, you might not have done so.
Cornelius’ solo EP is slated for release later this year, but along with the release of “Jealousy,” she announced a handful of solo dates in Los Angeles and New York, along with a series of dates opening for Paul Kelly. Check out the tour dates below.
 
Tour Dates 
* without Paul Kelly
08/23: Hush Club at Hyperion – Los Angeles, CA*
09/08: Pianos – New York, NY*
09/13: Arlene’s Grocery – New York, NY*
09/15: Rockwood Music Hall – New York, NY*
09/17: The Hamilton – Washington, DC
09/19: Virgin Mobile Mod Club – Toronto, ON
09/20: Petit Campus, Montréal, QC
09/22: Brighton Music Hall – Allston, MA
09/23: Highline Ballroom – New York, NY
09/24: Sellersville Theater – Sellersville, PA
09/26: Stag’s Head Music Hall – Raleigh, NC
09/27: City Winery – Atlanta, GA
09/29: Sons of Hermann Hall – Dallas, TX
09/30: 3TEN Austin City Limits Live – Austin, TX
10/02: Main Street Crossing – Tomball, TX
10/04: City Winery – Nashville, TN
10/05: Zanzabar – Louisville, KY
10/07: The Magic Bag – Ferndale, MI
10/08: The Clay Center – Charleston, WV
10/10: SPACE – Evanston, IL
10/11: The Cedar Cultural Center – Minneapolis, MN
10/13: Daniels Hall @ Swallow Hill – Denver, CO
10/14: The State Room – Salt Lake City, UT
10/16: Imperial – Vancouver, BC
10/17: Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, OR
10/18: The Crocodile – Seattle, WA
10/20: Slim’s – San Francisco, CA
10/22: The Roxy Theatre – Los Angeles, CA

New Video: The Surreal Visuals for Teeth and Tongue’s “Turn Turn Turn”

Give Up On Your Health’s second and latest single “Turn Turn Turn” much like its predecessor is inspired by a painful breakup — and lyrically, the song is full of the bitter regret, uncertainty, self-deception and gradual acceptance that occurs in the aftermath of a breakup, while sonically speaking, the song draws from 80s New Wave, synth pop and the DFA Records roster. Or in other words, undulating and propulsive synths are paired with cowbell-led percussion, angular guitar chords in a sensual and slinky arrangement, along with an infectious, dance-floor friendly hook. And somehow, every time I’ve heard it I’m reminded of Stevie Nicks’ “Stand Back” and Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Heads Will Roll.”

The recently released video for the song turns the simple act of eating into something surreal, disgusting and detached and mechanical — and perhaps in some way, the video’s actors are deluding themselves into this being normal.

Earlier this summer, I wrote about the Melbourne, Australia-based indie rock quartet Teeth and Tongue With the 2014 release of Grids, the band comprised of New Zealand-born, Melbourne, Australia-based Jess Cornelius (guitar, vocals), Marc Regueiro-McKelvie (guitar), Damian Sullivan (bass) and James Harvey (drums) received attention across Australia for an ambient-leaning sound that paired textured and layered vocals with lyrics that thematically focused on the intricacies of romantic relationships with an unvarnished honesty. And as a result of the attention they’ve received across Australia, they’ve managed to tour with internationally recognized indie rock sensation and fellow Australian Courtney Barnett, which has helped raised their profile internationally.

Dianne,” the first single off Teeth and Tongue’s recently released album Give Up On Your Health revealed a band that has gone through a change in sonic direction and songwriting approach, with the band taking up  an angular, dance floor friendly New Wave/post-punk sound reminiscent of Blondie, Yeah Yeah Yeahs‘ It’s Blitz! and Dirty Ghosts. Give Up On Your Health’s latest single “Turn, Turn, Turn” much like its predecessor is inspired by a painful breakup — in particular, the song lyrically is full of the bitter regret,  uncertainty, self-deception and eventual acceptance that occurs in the aftermath of a breakup. Sonically speaking, the song sounds as though it draws from 80s New Wave, synth pop and DFA Records as you’ll hear undulating and propulsive synths, cowbell-led percussion, angular guitar chords in a sensual and slinky arrangement, along with an infectious, dance-floor friendly hook. Somehow, every time I’ve heard it I’m reminded of Stevie Nicks’ Stand Back” and Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Heads Will Roll.”

 

 

 

 

New Video: The Playful Visuals for Teeth and Tongue’s New Wave-Leaning “Dianne”

“Dianne,” the first single off the Melbourne-based quartet’s forthcoming album Give Up On Your Health reveals a band that has gone through a change in sonic direction — with the band taking up an angular, dance floor friendly New Wave/post-punk sound reminiscent of Blondie, Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ It’s Blitz! and Dirty Ghosts as the Australian band pairs angular guitar chords, ambient synths, a propulsive rhythm section and anthemic hook with Cornelius’ sultry vocals. Lyrically, the song describes a character that went through something traumatic when she was small, and it’s an event that not only lingers but finds ways to reverberate in every aspect of her life — and Cornelius does so with a novelist’s attention to psychological detail and rapidly changing mental states of a troubled teen/young woman.

The recently released music video features the members of the band playing and goofing off in what clearly appears to be a young woman’s bedroom and it evokes both a playfulness and a brooding darkness that’s just starting to brew.

 

Since the release of their fantastic, full-length sophomore effort, Leave Me Midnight a couple of years ago, the Chicago-based duo  My Gold Mask have become JOVM mainstays as I’ve spilled quite a bit of virtual ink about the duo and their work. Of course, in case you are new to the site — or just need your memory refreshed, some backstory is necessary:  Comprised of Jack Armondo (guitar, vocals) and Gretta Rochelle (vocals, percussion),  the duo spent time in Brooklyn and Baton Rouge, LA respectively, before relocating to Albuquerque, NM. Strangely enough, despite running in the same social circles, it wasn’t until Armondo and Rochelle finally relocated to Chicago, where they had a chance encounter at a rooftop party.

And as the story goes, the duo’s conversation quickly turned to music and their mutual love of Italian giallo films. In 2009, after completing a couple of short-lived rock projects involving other local musicians, Armando and Rochelle retreated and spent time experimenting with new sounds and broadening their artistic voices and the end result was their now-critically acclaimed duo My Gold Mask. Writing and recording their material in Chicago’s dimly-lit warehouse district has in some way influenced their overall sound and aesthetic. Assisted by long-time producer and collaborator Balthazar del Ley,  their sound seemed to subtly nod towards Phil Spector’s famed “Wall Of Sound” production style of the 60s — that is layers of instrumentation with cascading and swirling reverb.

Since the release of Leave Me Midnight, My Gold Mask have released a series of singles that have revealed a band expanding upon and refining the sound that won the duo national attention, and in a similar fashion to Yeah Yeah Yeahs It’s Blitz! — in particular, “Zero” and “Heads Will Roll.” “Battles,” the first single off the duo’s paired undulating synths, industrial clang and clatter, brief but explosive blasts of guitar, four-on-the-floor drumming  and anthemic hooks with Rochelle’s plaintive and ethereal vocals. And as you can imagine, the addition of electronics gave their soaring sound a futuristic and club-friendly sheen (which interestingly enough adds a some light to their dark and brooding material).

The album’s latest single “Connect” continues the album’s overarching change in sonic approach as synths and electronics play a big role; however, with “Connect” the approach is more of a gentle and subtle refinement. The soaring and anthemic hooks the duo are known for are still there but in this case, they’re paired with angular and buzzing power chords, electronic bleeps and bloops, swirling atmospheric synths and live drumming paired with electronic drums. Much like the album’s previous single, the song’s narrator bares their anxieties, obsessions and fears with an unadorned frankness to anthemic, shimmering dance rock.

 

Comprised of Karen O. (vocals), Nick Zimmer (guitar) and Brian Chase (drums), the New York-based trio Yeah Yeah Yeahs have been a critically and commercially successful act with the release of their four full-length efforts, Fever to Tell (2003), Show Your Bones (2006), It’s Blitz! (2009), and Mosquito (2014). Interestingly, out of all of their efforts, it’s the trio’s third full-length effort, It’s Blitz! that manages to be a major change in sonic direction for the band as the material primarily employs atmospheric electronics, layers of buzzing and undulating synths. And although the album’s first three or four songs are arguably the most dance-floor ready the trio have ever released, the album’s remaining songs manage to be moodily atmospheric. Interestingly, the entire album is an exercise in restraint as Zimmer’s guitar playing and Karen O’s vocals are carefully reined in.

Album single “Skeletons” is a spectral and atmospheric song that pairs gently undulating synths, gentle yet dramatic drumming and Karen O’s ethereal vocals in a song that gently builds up tension until the song’s quiet conclusion. The song evokes wisps of smoke curling upward and dissipating into the ether . . .

Comprised of three long-time friends, Liz Drummond, Hannah Field, and Annie Hamilton, the Australian-based trio Little May have quickly become one of their homeland’s most buzzed about bands with the release of their debut effort For The Company, which was released last month to critical praise from the likes of WNYC, Stereogum, Noisey, Billboard and others. And over the past month or so, the Australian trio had been on a lengthy North American tour, which ended last night; but before their tour ended, the Drummond, Field and Hamilton released a cover of Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ “Skeletons” that features a gorgeous three part harmonies paired with guitar chords played through reverb, atmospheric electronics and military-styled drumming, which naturally changes the song’s arrangement. It’s a fairly straightforward cover — but it manages to be equally spectral and gorgeous cover nonetheless.