Photo credit: Aaron Oxford
Watch: “Since You’ve Been Gone” official video featuring Dams Of The West at PopMatters or YouTube
Stream: “Since You’ve Been Gone” featuring Dams Of The West and “You Don’t Love Me Anymore” featuring Photo Ops at Soundcloud
On September 25, Los Angeles-based musician D.A. Stern will his mixtape Mmxxtape, featuring covers and collaborations with artists such as Fat Tony.
Today D.A. Stern shared the official video for his take on Weird Al’s “Since You’ve Been Gone” which features Chris Tomson of Vampire Weekend aka Dams of The West
. The video for the first single from the forthcoming release was directed by Graham Ohmer
, premiered at PopMatters
and the song can be shared as part of a playlist featuring the b-side “You Don’t Love Me Anymore” featuring Photo Ops
About the cover D.A. Stern says:
I love “Weird” Al. Love him. A lot of people appreciate him and his character but I believe he is an unheralded contributing factor for many people’s eclectic tastes. If you listened to a “Weird” Al record at a young age, you could have been hearing (and liking!) alternative rock, rap, country, doo-wop, polka, tin pan alley, Top 40 pop, etc. and I think that’s a very positive impression to be made during one’s formative listening years. I also think his non-parody originals contain a treasure trove of insight; he is an underrated writer who assembles musical building blocks, á la, say, Adam Schlesinger, to perfectly signify style and genre. I wanted to cover a few of my favorite of his originals, in homage, and put new spins on them.
How do you make a video for a “Weird” Al Yankovic song? Steal somebody else’s video. How can you do it safely during the early days of quarantine? Use Coldplay’s video for “Yellow” as your source material.
Few artists are equally skilled producers as they are songwriters. For Los Angeles-based, New Jersey-raised D.A. Stern, the two roles marry perfectly to showcase his playful deftness and signature wit. His full-length Slumberland
debut, 2018’s Aloha Hola
, was an impressive collection of ornate, hook-laden power-pop. Its proficiency and economy of writing recalled R.E.M. or Big Star while its simultaneously wry and introspective lyrics evoked Harry Nilsson. Though that album marked the first D.A. Stern release, his undeniable talent had been long evident. Raised in Bergen County, New Jersey, he cut his teeth in New York City’s music community with his band the Sanctuaries. After recording their LP in Nashville with longtime Yo La Tengo producer Roger Moutenot,
D.A. turned to engineering and production, honing his craft at Beastie Boy Adam Yauch’s
recording studio, Oscilloscope Laboratories. Working with such luminaries as Kathleen Hannah, Cat Power, James Murphy, Mike D,
quickly developed Stern’s studio chops as well has his Todd Rundgren-esque songwriting/producing double threat.
Now, based in Los Angeles, D.A. has enlisted friends he’s made throughout his journey to lend their vocals to a mixtape that highlights his progression. Tributes to “Weird” Al Yankovic, one of Stern’s heroes, featuring Dams of the West, aka Chris Tomson of Vampire Weekend, and Photo Ops on covers of the comedy icon’s non-parody originals. Guest spots from Alex Winston and Party Nails highlight Stern’s pop sensibilities with one original and a cover of Frank & Nancy Sinatra’s “Something Stupid.” Flexing his more experimental muscle, Stern’s collaborations with Fat Tony and Colleen Green on one track and Ben Hozie of Bodega on another demonstrate his diverse capabilities with nods to hip hop, film noir, noise, and modular synth soaked prog rock.