Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Something new from Vista Blue!

It just doesn't seem right when the arrival of a new season is not accompanied by a new release from Vista Blue. And while VB currently has a great deal on its plate, the band did want to put out something new for the summer. And that's what led to the recording of Here To Stay - a collection of four cover songs you can now download for free over at Vista Blue's Bandcamp.

I'm a really big fan of all-covers releases. It's very interesting to me when a band I like decides to record music it didn't write. Sometimes this provides an insight into a band's influences, and sometimes it's just neat to hear a really great song performed in a totally new way. I think Vista Blue has done a particularly good job with the covers format. I admire the choices, and I'm impressed with each of the renditions. If you love this band the way I do, this is as an absolutely essential "purchase". Reading the liner notes, you will discover the story behind the selection of the songs comprising Here To Stay. I like that none of these choices were too obvious (e.g. no Weezer or Beach Boys), yet every one of them makes perfect sense. "Dreaming of Me", a song off of Depeche Mode's debut album Speak & Spell, is perhaps the song off this EP that might be most unfamiliar to Vista Blue's fan base. Depeche Mode's lighter synth-pop period is often forgotten or at least dismissed as unimportant within the band's larger catalog. But I would definitely list "Dreaming of Me" as one of my favorite songs by Depeche Mode. Here Vista Blue manages to maintain the spirit of the original while also updating it with fuzzy guitars and just a little sprinkle of keyboards. I hope this will have a lot of people checking out the original. The Cascades' 1962/1963 smash hit "Rhythm of the Rain" is a formidable tune to tackle, but Vista Blue gives it that later '90s pop-punk "oldies core" treatment a la The Proms, Ruth's Hat, etc. I have to love a '60s cover that makes me nostalgic for 1999! You would think Big Star's "Thirteen"- as perfect of a pure pop song as there's ever been - would be completely untouchable. But I dig how Vista Blue re-imagines it in a new wave meets modern power pop style. You certainly can't improve upon perfection, but this version of "Thirteen" is a loving and fresh-sounding homage. And while Teen Idols' "Midnight Picture Show" is certainly a song you might expect Vista Blue to cover, I like how it's transformed into something you could believe they actually wrote themselves. To me, what made Teen Idols such a great pop-punk band was that their songs could totally have worked as pure pop. Here Vista Blue proves that to be true.

Here To Stay is 100% free. Since the band did not write any of this music, Vista Blue won't even accept donations on this release. Enjoy the music, and be sure to save your pennies for the band's baseball LP Seasons - coming out later this summer on Something To Do Records!



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