Sunday, April 11, 2004

No lesser love could so destroy a man.

  • Edson "I Believe in a Thing Called Love" (The Darkness cover)
    Indie-folk acoustic cover of neo-glam hit by Swedish mopes, Edson. Just when you thought that one could only brave that falsetto when drowned by cock-rock guitarists.

  • Nick Carter "Uptown Girl" (Billy Joel cover)
    Well, they can't all be worthwhile, now can they? I tell ya—especially as someone who hates the sound of young, white, tone-deaf boys singing pop hits—it was quite a challenge to decide which track from Carter's Before the Backstreet Boys: 1989-1993 to choose to share here. Do my readers want to hear a preadolescent Nick claiming to be "Just a Gigolo"? Would they prefer to hear his bumbling rendition of "Runaround Sue"? No, it was too difficult a decision to be left to me. So, 'twas my shuffle play who picked this track today. And, yes, it's as awful as you'd imagine. But, in the interest of fair and balanced reporting, allow me to share with you some differeing opinions found in the customer reviews of the album:

    Reviewer Mark J. Dye from Saint Petersburg, FL, relays this message from LeeAnn Mercer of Seattle, WA [Note: This Dye character appears to be the producer of this album and is apparently responsible for forwarding a handful of good reviews he's received onto Amazon, the saint that he is]:

    Even at age 12, Nick was awesome! I can tell you that the purchase price was worth every penny just for "Lights" alone! [Liza says: Yes, a cover of Journey's "Lights," which you can hear here along with a few others, if you're just dying to.] Nick totally NAILED that song, from the vocals to the arrangement to the exact guitar solo! The rest of the CD has been a delight as well!

    Yes, I'm sure Nick had a lot to do with the guitar solo, LeeAnn. And, you're right, he did "nail" it—if by "nail" you mean fucked it so hard that it stumbled away veritably unrecognizable.

    Reviewer Joalby from Chula Vista, CA says:

    This cd is great. It gives you a perfect premonition to what was coming in the future. The voice is great considering his age. I love uptown girl. It is awesome plus you hear him say "I bet yo unever had a backstreet guy". Perfect foreseeing of the future. Check this and his new cd out. I bought this cd awhile directly through the man Mr Dye and now I have this new one...

    Yes. These tracks were the Nostradamus of pop music, to be sure.

  • Some Girls (aka Juliana Hatfield, Freda Love and Heidi Gluck) "He's on Drugs Again" (Sardina cover)
    This is by far the most obscure track I've posted yet, and it could very well wind up being the most obscure track I post here ever. (Don't worry though, I'll keep searching for more.) First, I need to begin with a brief telling of the story of Sardina. Or, more accurately, a brief telling of my story of Sardina.

    When I lived in Bloomington, Indiana, Sardina (and, to a lesser extent, it's predecessor, The Gerunds) was one of my favorite local bands. Post-Nirvana, there were always rumors, as there were in every college town, that Bloomington was going to become the "next Seattle." It made me laugh then, and it makes me laugh now. Not because Bloomington wasn't chock-full of talented bands, but because it's funny to hear this sort of analogy from hipper-than-thou prophets whose willingness to so readily brand themselves simultaneously surprised me and didn't surprise me at all. Anyhow, when people said this, I always crossed my fingers that, if such a thing were to happen, Sardina would get the nationwide (and beyond) accolades I felt it deserved. Every time I hear the pop randomness of the New Pornographers or hear someone ramble on about how strong Neko Case's vocals are, I think, "Man, if only Sardina were around to sell these people records." Seriously, Sardina lead singer Michelle Marchesseault remains to this day an artist I credit with the most powerfully moving vocal timbre ever, let alone one I've had the pleasure to hear live on numerous occasions. And the band's music is proggy and poppy and light and deep all at once. At least half of you reading who know me and who have received mix tapes/cds from me at some point in our friendship have undoubtedly heard, and hopefully enjoyed, a Sardina track or two. Those of you who weren't so lucky, are now. My pal PJ (a founding member of The Gerunds and Sardina), has nearly all the tracks from Sardina's brilliant 1995 album Presents (and more!) available for download right here*. And, if I can locate it at some point in my messy apartment, perhaps at some point I'll share with you their cover of Harry Nilsson's "Me and My Arrow," which was always quite the crowd pleaser live.

    *Please afford PJ the same courtesy I'm SURE you're affording me by saving the songs to your hard drive before playing them rather than streaming them directly from the site.

    One of the saddest days of my life was my 25th birthday, June 28, 1997. (Well, I'm pretty sure it was my 25th, but it could have been a year earlier in '96, but whatever.) By then, Sardina had relocated to Chicago and looked to be in the process of getting a new album out and finally luring in the millions of fans I know they were worthy of getting. Instead, they broke up. And, on June 28, they played their farewell show at the Empty Bottle. Is this the sad part? Yes and no. The sadder part, to me, was that I drove from my parents' house in Hammond, Indiana, to see them play, but I FUCKING FORGOT MY ID. That's what you get for deciding to completely change your outfit at the last minute. I pleaded with the bouncer to let me in. PJ pleaded with the bouncer and the bartender and anyone who would listen to let me in. No dice. So, I had to drive home. About two blocks away from the Empty Bottle, the muffler fell off my car and I wound up in a Ukranian Village bar (that didn't card, of course) full of policemen waiting for my stepfather to come get me. What, it wasn't bad enough that I was missing Sardina's last show? Now I had to be stranded in the city on my birthday? Yeah, my karma was way out-of-whack that year.

    Now onto Some Girls. Juliana Hatfield is in it. Yeah. Um. I could go into a whole history of how and why this project started, but luckliy, Some Girls have already done it for me in their bio. Me? I was a pretty big fan of the Blake Babies but kind of ignored Juliana's solo work, for some odd reason. Regardless, I'm happy as hell to have been provided an MP3 of this soundcheck of Some Girls' version of "He's on Drugs Again," which is one of my favorite Sardina tracks and which Some Girls performed live during their tour from time to time. The first line or two of the song is missing, but what can you do? It's still a little obscuriffic gem I'm happy to have and even happier to be able to share.

    And, seriously, you should really check out the Sardina MP3s I mentioned above. Sadly, a few of my favorites are missing (such as "The Formula" and "Hey"), but "I'll Be Around" is there and it's pop-a-riffic. And, of course, the original of "He's on Drugs Again" is there as well. So, get to it. Loving Sardina should be your Easter goal.
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