I can't find much out about Low IQ 01 besides the fact that they're a Japanese punk band, but aside from the track they're covering, you'd never know that. Teaming up with Yukari Fresh (think Pizzicato Five, Takako Minekawa or Kahimi Karie but less known overseas), they've created the perfect track for aging hipsters like myself: A punk anthem that's easy on the ears. If you liked "Paradise City" from Akiko the other day, this might be right up your alley.
Ballboy is the witty little Scottish low-fi band that could, and I'm glad they covered this. I've always had a soft spot in my heart for this song because it proved to me what I was just learning at the time it came out: A lot of Americans are stupid as hell. Here's a song about a kid who grew up in poverty and winds up in Vietnam killing people for no good reason and comes back and can't find work, right? Still, so many people at the time (Reagan included) chose not to listen to the lyrics and assumed it was pro-America based on the chorus. Um, try again, suckers.
Meh, this is neither here nor there. I can so take or leave this. Although, I will take this chance to say that the only time I saw James live was as part of this really bizarre multi-artist tour that came to my college town in the early '90s, which featured James, The Black Sheep, The Soupdragons and the Tom Tom Club (who I'd also seen a year or two before that as part of the Escape From New York Tour, which featured The Ramones, Debbie Harry and the Tom Tom Club). My friend Aaron wound up playing football (read: soccer) with some of the Soupdragons before the show and, after the show, I found myself backstage with Aaron and his friends and talking to Tina Weymouth and Chris Frantz about I don't even know what.
From the movie soundtrack to the dark indie flick The Myth of Fingerprints, comes this cover of the Indiana state song as performed by my fantastically talented gay boyfriend Rufus Wainwright. (With whom I also hung out once after a show he played at Martyrs a few years ago and whose sister Martha told me story after story about their tour, which she made me swear not to tell anyone.) Anyhow, this version omits both the first verse in which Indiana is actually mentioned (and omits the second verse as well), but I know it's the state song because my high school freshman English teacher made us memorize it. It stuck with me for a while because the lyrics really freaked me out because, at the time, I could never figure out why a state would choose a song about unrequited love and imminent death as its anthem. Having since spent the bulk of my formative years in Indiana, however, I now get it.