Free and legal MP3: Laura Veirs & Mount Analog (unexpected Led Zep cover)

In the Land of Ice and Snow

“The Ocean” – Laura Veirs & Mount Analog

The most unlikely people can sound like Robert Plant, if they only try. Alterna-folkie Laura Veirs, known for her deft acoustic compositions and plain-spoken vocals, manages here to pull off a Led Zeppelin cover by sounding neither the same nor actually very different than usual. But check out her maybe slightly distorted vocals at 0:32 if you don’t believe she’s channeling something pretty cool here. (Oh and full disclosure: I once had a plant named Robert.)

It’s an odd thing, how Veirs retains the heavy feeling of this proto-heavy-metal song, while breathing something light and frisky into it. Off the bat we get a fuzzy, homemade-sounding lead guitar, tracing Jimmy Page’s famous original line, but also a sweet chimey thing (perhaps a glockenspiel?) playing along with it . It puts me in the mind of a jig, which I don’t think the original did. In any case, the tone is set—the music is being seriously considered, but Veirs & Co. will not be intimidated into either slavish recreation or wholesale re-invention. This is recognizably “The Ocean” and yet also somehow not. I especially like how she takes Plant’s rather goofy vocal break in the middle and gives it a lovely, layered setting—sounding less like drunken accident and more like an integral part of the piece. Credit must also be given to Mount Analog, which is actually a pre-existing, shape-shifting side project started by husband Tucker Martine (more well known now as a producer) back in 1997. Sounds like they’re having fun just rocking out a bit, which is not really what they are wont to do.

The song is part of a massive, brand-new, six-years-in-the-making tribute to Led Zeppelin by a bunch of relatively obscure indie bands and artists from the Northwest, but with a few ringers thrown in—M. Ward (playing the instrumental “Bron-Yr-Aur”), Chris Walla (doing a slow-burning “In The Evening”), and the redoubtable Ms. Veirs chief among them. The album is called From The Land of Ice And Snow: The Songs of Led Zeppelin and it’s coming out next month on the Portland-based Jealous Butcher Records. The MP3 is right now a Fingertips exclusive.

Note that the Houses of the Holy-inspired cover art, excerpted above, was done by Carson Ellis, who is best known for her ongoing collaboration as illustrator-in-residence with the Decemberists.

14 thoughts on “Free and legal MP3: Laura Veirs & Mount Analog (unexpected Led Zep cover)”

  1. Female singers tend to handle Zeppelin covers better. Linda Perry from 4 Non Blondes and and Ann Wilson from Heart/The Lovemongers have both done good versions. 4 Non Blondes do “Misty Mountain Hop”on the Encomium tribute album. Heart does “The Battle of Evermore” on the Singles soundtrack and have been doing “Rock and Roll” in the encore for decades.

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  2. Cant figure out how to download mp3s off of your site.I use an Imac but when I hit click (and control) it only downloads the same page Im on. Im sure Im missing something very fundamental and I apologize in advance for this ignorance. Thanks for the site. Scott

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  3. I’m having the same trouble as Scott–I’m also using a Mac–Mac Book Pro–and nothing happens when I click on the link. I’m sure I’m missing something, too–it’s a problem I have on various sites and haven’t yet figured out how to get past it. Thanks–Susan

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  4. So I guess the general question now is: how does anyone with a MacBook download MP3s? It can’t be impossible, can it? I have a Mac mini and have no problem with right-click, save link as etc..

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  5. Clearly this wasn’t intended to be a download, but simply a way to hear the track, which I like plenty. The use of what sounds like a toy xylophone is pretty cool. (actually, it sounds more like a glockenspiel) At any rate, glad to hear it. The only link I get is from the player which takes me to Amazon and charges $0.99, which isn’t exactly free, but not exactly high dollar either.

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  6. Woops! No, I am wrong this is intended to be a downloadable track, but nothing is working for me either, and I’m using a PC. I’m thinking the problem isn’t on our end, but something to do with Fingertips site. Hope it gets fixed cause there’s lots on the MP3 page that I’d love to hear and have. :^)

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    1. Michael- It would be a help to hear about what specifically you’re doing to try to download it– feel free to move this conversation to email (address on the right). Also, it would help to hear if other people are having issues and what they are. It’s a complete mystery to me, as everything’s working fine so I can’t tell what’s happening out there.

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      1. I’ve checked around a bit and there is little reason to suspect an issue at my end. Plenty of people are having no problems at all. So, again, anyone having issues is encouraged to email me and let me know precisely what happens and maybe we can get to the bottom of this.

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  7. i’m a little late to the party, but i was able to download. however, i am a windows user.

    i simply right clicked on the mp3 link at the top of the page and chose “Save Target As…”

    also, thanks for the great laura veirs mp3!!!

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    1. Yup, it really is that simple. I’m not sure what the problem has been. I have heard there’s something odd about certain MacBooks but it’s clearly a question of just ascertaining the right procedure. The MP3s here are free and legal and ready to grab. Thanks for chiming in!

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