Friday, September 23, 2011

Record review: Netherfriends - 'Netherfriends Does Nilsson'

By Andrew Hertzberg

If I was a bigger Harry Nilsson fan, I would probably appreciate Netherfriends' most recent EP a bit more. That said, Shawn Rosenblatt (the man / the myth behind the Netherfriends moniker) has created a fun and creative, yet at times even challenging EP. The brief album samples from Harry Nilsson tracks, with Shawn providing vocals over the music, often turning the song around on itself lyrically. The album starts off with "Full of It," which is focused around the Nilsson track "All My Life" off of 1974’s Pussy Cats (produced by John Lennon). Whereas the original has repentant lyrics about changing ways over a funky beat, Shawn’s added haunting, ghostlike sounds to create a tone of despair, and an odd juxtaposition over said funky beat. "Me and My Ego" centers on "Me and My Arrow" off of the 1971 album The Point! about a boy named Oblio who has the only round head in a town full of pointed headed people, thus, he is pointless. A metaphor that hits the nail on the head for sure and certainly one Shawn didn’t fail to recognize. 

Moving on we have "Nobody’s Talking," which mostly samples (you guessed it) "Everybody’s Talking," turning the delicate guitar line into a harsh breakup song. Although, it does shed light on Nilsson’s version, which sounds very carefree, but has nomadic and lost love lyrics itself. "Give UP" sent me on a wild goose chase through Spotify trying to figure out which Nilsson song it samples. I’ve got the drums to his cover of "Subterranean Homesick Blues," but where does that damn piano come in? Help a brother out, Shawn! But of course that’s the kick of any sort of sample-based music: you’ve gotta take the pride of knowing certain things in the same stride as the frustration of not knowing, even in our age of everything-that-has-ever-existed-ever-at-our-fingertips power of the Internet. Likewise with "Lonely Parachute Fort," it seems damn near impossible to think this anything other than a more traditional psych-pop tune crafted entirely by Netherfriends. The closer, "Girrrfriend," cleverly samples from "Girlfriend," Nilsson’s original absurd vocals kept intact while Shawn laments his lack of a gir(rr)lfriend. 

The album is available for a free download on bandcamp, and with six tracks clocking in at thirteen minutes, I’d say is definitely worth the time, no matter your familiarity with Nilsson (or Netherfriends for that matter). Between this, Tiger Bones’ mashup and "The Puppy Song" used on Wilfred, I’d say it's time I finally give this Nilsson guy a proper chance. In other Netherfriends news, check out parts one and two of his soundtrack to the film "Baraka." Currently on tour, you can catch him live for FREE at Streetside Monday, September 26th before he heads out on the road again.


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  1. I've never heard Netherfriends before. This is a very interesting take on how to do a concept album. Thanks for the article!

  2. Definitely get to Streetside if you can on Monday. Such a great live show. A modern one man band