What self-respecting, hipster indie kid wouldn’t love the latest iteration in the Sounds Eclectic series? Packed with a bevy of mostly live, in-studio cuts from a variety of acts like The Polyphonic Spree, The Flaming Lips, Radiohead and Interpol, Sounds Eclectic 3 carries on the tradition of compiling the favorite performances on KCRW’s “Morning Becomes Eclectic” show hosted by Nic Harcourt.
For fans of the program or the acts showcased here, it’s tough to find much wrong. Your hard-earned CD dollars buy you plenty of gems, from the Flaming Lips’ stripped-down rendition of “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Pt. 1” to the recorded debut of Iron & Wine’s cover of the Lips’ “Superman” (the only tune on the album to not be recorded on air).
Radiohead’s acoustic version of “Go To Sleep” is almost reason enough to pick up the disc, but there’s plenty more to love than just the contributions from the marquee acts. Damien Rice, whose first US radio airplay came courtesy of Harcourt, croons beautifully through “The Blower’s Daughter”, while the ever-vital Steve Earle takes to the airwaves with a guitar, harmonica and passionate, breathless voice to issue a compelling version of “Jerusalem”.
Sure, an album of this nature is more about extending the brand for Harcourt’s Morning Becomes Eclectic show. But with the performances turned in by these artists, it’s a win-win situation that could prompt more than a few consumers to demand that Harcourt take his winning program to satellite radio.