Thom Yorke & The National record songs for Mark Mulcahy tribute album

Mark Mulcahy is not a household name, or at least it isn’t one in my house. Before very recently I had never even heard of the man or his former band, Miracle Legion. That all changed in a hurry though with the recent news of the forthcoming tribute compilation Ciao My Shining Star: The Songs of Mark Mulcahy (Shout Factory, September 29). It’s heartbreaking that the album needs to be released at all - Mulcahy recently lost his wife and has been left alone to raise his young twins. As a new father of twins myself this news really hit home, and I probably would have written something up for the record regardless of the music it contained.

As it is though I have two reasons to help spread the word on this one - Ciao My Shining Star’s tracklist is jampacked with indie-rock notables both old and new, all taking on Mulcahy‘s songs for the sole purpose of helping out a fellow songwriter in need. How do selections from Frank Black, Dinosaur Jr., Michael Stipe, Vic Chestnutt, and Mercury Rev sound? Not enough for you? Maybe you should check out the songs contributed by Radiohead’s Thom Yorke or The National

I’ve just heard Miracle Legion’s original version of “All For The Best” and I have to say Yorke’s re-imagining is truly arresting - the original’s college-rock jangle is replaced with icy electronic beats, the occasional stab of squalling electric guitar, and typically emotive vocals from Yorke. You wouldn’t expect Yorke to just turn in something run-of-the-mill, but this song is simply beautifully done. Have a listen:

Stream :: Thom Yorke - "All For The Best" (via Stereogum)

The National (whose follow up to Boxer is coming along nicely according to guitarist Bryce Dessner) tackle “Ashamed Of The Story I Told” - a song originally done by Miracle Legion side project Polaris, the house band for the children’s show The Adventures of Pete & Pete. The song’s dark, elegant structure is a perfect fit for the band. Like Yorke, the band make the song their own, and in doing so nail their second terrific compilation song of the year.

You can also head over to Mulcahy’s myspace to hear Josh Rouse’s version of “I Woke Up In The Mayflower” or sample Mulcahy songs from throughout the years:

MP3 :: If She Could Cry
MP3 :: Even Better
MP3 :: You’re The One Lee
(from the Miracle Legion album Me And Mr. Ray)

MP3 :: Hey Self Defeater
(from the Mark Mulcahy album Fathering)

MP3 :: We’re Not In Charleston Anymore
(from the Mark Mulcahy album SmileSunSunSet)

MP3 :: Be Sure
(from the Mark Mulcahy album In Pursuit Of Your Happiness)

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