Well, that worked well. When we debuted Bent Knee’s live video for “Being Human” — the one shot inside that amazing iron forge — last week, we were plenty pleased with that just one, even though we knew they had a whole piping hot stack of these bad boys fresh out the oven.
They must have sensed something though, because this week we get an e-mail from the band asking if we want to have the rest, and we jumped at the chance like a parking space in Southie. Think of it as a month-long video residency, where every Wednesday at noon we’ll premiere a new clip recorded live from the Hand Forged Iron Works in North Andover. By the end of March, you’ll want to actually see them live, and behold — they’ll be playing at the guaranteed-to-be-good launch party for their new label Secret Dog Brigade on April 2 at Cuisine en Locale in Somerville (details below).
This week kicks off with a moody cover of “Sunshine,” definitely not like any version you may have heard as a kid. We’ll let the principles explain.
Ben Levin (guitar)
Covers are fun to play, but I don’t really like to spend a lot of time working on them unless we’re contributing some sort of novel perspective on the music or its meaning. With ‘Sunshine’, I think we successfully presented the lyrics in a new light, so I’m very glad we decided to work on it. Man, it’s a sad song! I think the happy-sounding original version had to exist in order for our interpretation to be effective. People hear our version in context of the original, which is what gives it its power. If the original didn’t exist, we’d just be playing a very melancholy song with over-the-top depressing lyrics.
Courtney Swain (vocals)
‘Sunshine’ is one of the most intense and popular songs we play. We wanted to create an arrangement that brings out the darkness and sadness that appears beyond the first verse of this song widely known as a happy-go-lucky kids’ singalong. I try to highlight the slippery slope of dark thoughts in the verses by changing the delivery for each one. For the third verse, I intentionally push the pitch slightly to try to get an uncomfortable sense. At the very end, I get to cue the very last verse, and I like to try to go as long as possible to build the tension. When we play the song at the end of a long set, I imagine Gavin grunting and straining, everyone twisting and contorting, waiting for the big hits, and I think it embodies the torment of an unfulfilled or unrequited relationship.
Gavin Wallace-Ailsworth (drums)
Jessica (bass) had the “O Brother, Where Art Thou” soundtrack on cd, and played it in the car. Someone thought it would be funny for a dark rock band to do this tune. Turns out it wasn’t funny. It was awesome.
My aunt likes the band but doesn’t like our version of the tune, and wishes that we left it alone.
SECRET DOG BRIGADE LAUNCH PARTY. THURS 4.2 Cuisine en Locale, 156 Highland Ave., Somerville. 7pm/$10. See Facebook event.