Monday, October 31, 2005

You took the part that once was my heart.

I meant to post these the other day in celebration of my best pal Ryan's birthday, since he's the one who hipped me to the jazz-vocal stylings of Rose Murphy. I'm not the biggest fan of jazz vocals, but hers are so quirky and cute and she makes strange noises and throws "chee chee" into everything and it makes me happy. Just like Ryan does.

  • Rose Murphy "Button Up Your Overcoat" (comp. Lew Brown/Buddy DeSylva/Ray Henderson)

  • Rose Murphy feat. Slam Stewart "All of Me" (comp. Gerald Marks/Seymour Simons)
  • Wednesday, October 26, 2005

    People might say that I should strive for more, but I'm so happy I don't see the point.

  • T42 "Heartbreak Hotel" (Elvis Presley cover)
    This is one of those rare tracks that I download, don't listen to right away and forget about completely. Then one day, it hits my shuffle play while I'm reading a magazine and I think, "What's this? Is it on that Anything Box album I downloaded a while back? It must be, because it doesn't sound like a cover." But no. Closer inspection (you can inspect things with your ears, right?) leads me to find it is in fact a cover. One that's so gloriously odd and amusing and dead-on in terms of achieving whatever it wants to achieve that I'm able to ignore any mediocrity within and revel in its mission. Especially when I learned that this dedicated synth duo was from Dallas, of all places. (And should not be confused with the Luxembourgian act of the same name. Hmm. Luxembourgian. Now there's a word I don't use very often.) I love that so many late-'80s synthpop acts I thought were European—e.g. Information Society, Anything Box, Cause & Effect, Book of Love [See Below]—weren't European in the least. What I also enjoy about this track is that it reminds me of a cover band named Situation Grey that was popular when I was in college. I hated Situation Grey with a passion, most likely, in retrospect, because I was in that requisite alt.grrrl anti-cover-band phase and jealous that they were so damned popular and were able to get good-paying gigs at frat parties and whatnot. Members of Situation Grey went onto to join/form bands I didn't hate, which also irked me. I'm over it now. Totally.

  • I Am the World Trade Center "Going Underground" (The Jam cover)
    I had this whole spiel planned about how I think I missed my calling by not becoming an anorectic (I'd have to have a years-long bout of at least bulimia to get into cute little vintage dresses and the like) hipster who learned to play keyboards so I could monotonously, apathetically and somewhat off-key "sing" in an emo-synth band. Then I learned that the chick in this band is in remission from Hodgkin'’s Lymphoma and it didn't seem appropriate. Yeah.

  • Hi-Skool "Summer Nights" (from Grease)
    For those who found Aqua's work to be a little too deep and melodic, have I got the track for you! This actually hit the charts a few years ago for a few weeks in Belgium, birthplace of the Smurfs. So no real surprises there.

  • Book of Love "Tubular Bells (Remix)" (Mike Oldfield cover, theme from The Exorcist)
    Halloween's approaching and this was the only relevant track I could find on my hard drive in the three minutes I allotted myself toward the find-something-Halloweeny goal. I'm not used to this version that doesn't, unlike the track I wore out in high school that was on Sire's Just Say Yo compilation, mix right into BOL's "Pretty Boys and Pretty Girls." But with the aid of vodka or whiskey, I'd certainly dance to it at a Halloween party.
  • Tuesday, October 25, 2005

    All the world is a little town.

    So, I finally grabbed that Q with the John Lennon cover (I chose Beatles-era John, although in retrospect I wish I'd have opted for older John) that mentions Copy, Right? and wouldn't you know that it came with one of Q's standard half-good/half-crap tribute CDs they like to add when some big anniversary comes up. Perfect.

  • Maximo Park "Isolation" (John Lennon cover)
    Maximo Park (sorry for the umlaut deprivation) is one of my favorites of the whole new new-wave canon. This track is more a reimagination than a cover, in a way, and I like it because I like MP's little Wirey/Magaziney/Smithsy schtick. I could see a lot of people despising it, of course, but I'm just happy to see covers from John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band rather than the same tired Beatles covers we always see. Or another godawful live version of "Imagine," which Madonna provides on the same CD—which you might have already suffered through if you, like me, subjected yourself to that Madonna documentary on MTV the other day.

  • Joseph Arthur "Look at Me" (John Lennon cover)
    Another John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band track that I remember loving in high school. I've gone out of my way in the past to ignore Joseph Arthur, but I'm not certain why (okay, it might have had something to do with my aversion to Peter Gabriel) as I don't hate this track in the least.
  • Friday, October 21, 2005

    He said, "Come on let's take a ride," and I said, "Okay!"

    What can I say? I owe a big part of my music obsession to movies like Valley Girl and the new music I heard in the background of party scenes. My Flirts, Sparks and Felony LPs are a testament to that. And I'm still loving the copy of Josie Cotton's Convertible Music I bought for 49 cents a few weeks ago. Therefore, I dedicate today's tracks to the great racetrack-skirted Josie Cotton. (And her cover of "Tell Him" is still available in this post, but not for long!)

  • Josie Cotton "School is In" (Gary U.S. Bonds cover)
    The school I went to never had bands play at dances like Josie did in the prom scene of Valley Girl, which is probably a good thing since the chances of getting someone as cool as Josie Cotton to play in Hammond, Indiana are slim to none.

  • Pansy Division "He Could Be the One" (Josie Cotton cover)
    Oh, you had to know that Pansy Division loved them some Josie Cotton. I'm all for the creation of more all-gay punk acts. Seriously. And kudos to them for not going for "Johnny, Are You Queer?" That would've been too pat.

  • Screeching Weasel "Johnny, are You [Queer]?" (Josie Cotton cover)
    I know the original is certainly not the most politically correct new wave song in the world [although most of the guys I liked in high school that pulled the same stuff on me most definitely eventually came out], but the title of this is listed as "Johnny, are You Weird?" on the SW album, and it confuses me as it surely sounds like they're saying "queer" in the actual track. What's up with that? I believe I once met one of the Weasels at SmartBar after a concert at the Metro and he was reading a book about Hegel and was very friendly to me. Boring story, I know.
  • Thursday, October 20, 2005

    Whenever I'm gone the strain is lighter.

  • The 27 Various "Whenever I'm Gone" (The Prisoners cover)
    I am so in love with Rhino's new Children of Nuggets: Original Artyfacts From The Second Psychedelic Era 1976-1995 box set. While it doesn't include many true covers, it's dedicated to acts covering the sound of the first psychedelic era (as featured on the Nuggets and Nuggets II box sets) and I love almost every track I've had the time to listen to thus far. The original version of this song is on the aforementioned Children of Nuggets box set; however, I must admit I like this cover better. Of course, I'm biased since I'm pretty much a fan of all things Ed Ackerson (The 27 Various, Antenna, Polara, etc.). And I'm not even from Minneapolis! The 27 Various were heavily influenced by the psychedelic era even when they began pushing toward a more shoegazey sound. And although long out of print, I still listen to their albums pretty frequently. [Insert another reference to the fact that I'm still freaking out about the Antenna reunion, among others, at the Musical Family Tree Fest here.] And I know it's a long shot, but no one out there would happen to have the first two 27 Various LPs Hi and Yes, Indeed, would they? Because I'd REALLY freak out if I could get a hold of those.

  • The 27 Various "Burned" (Buffalo Springfield cover/comp. Neil Young)
    While I'm at it, why don't I include one more cover by the band I love that you probably couldn't care less about?
  • Wednesday, October 19, 2005

    My middle name is not Jane.

    Eenie Meenie Records has a new tribute album dedicated to the works of Bruce Haack and Esther Nelson and Dimension 5 Records called Dimension Mix, featuring a handful of your indie faves covering space-pop kids songs of which I was only very vaguely aware prior to this tribute. Go here to download Fantastic Plastic Machine's version of "I'm Bruce" and The Apples in Stereo's version of "Liza Jane." If you like what you hear, consider buying the album, as its proceeds go to Cure Autism Now. And you might as well check out the non-covers there as well. Might I recommend a little Space Needle? I was a fan back in the day.

    Tuesday, October 18, 2005

    Silly me, why haven't I found another?

    I've seen links to this guy a few times over the past week, and my friend Mark just mentioned him as well, so I figure I should help to up his stats. This quirky Jonathan Coulton character is working on a cover album [or saying that he's working on a cover album whose working title mildy annoys me, but whatever], which will include covers of "Baby Got Back," which you can get here, and "Bills, Bills, Bills," which you can get in the intro currently on his main page. I prefer the latter, if for no other reason than I think there are already enough "Baby Got Back" covers in the world. Seriously. Well, that and I'm nostalgic for the days when Destiny's Child songs didn't paint them as submissive, gold-digging (okay, they gold-dig in "Bills," but at least they call the freeloaders out) idiots trying to convince us they'd ever date a gangster who wasn't already a multimillionaire rap star. [See "Soldier" and "Cater 2 U" for examples of DC songs I hate.]

    Monday, October 17, 2005

    Do you have another opinion?

  • Life Without Buildings "Pop Life" (Prince cover)
    Uh. Um. Okay. I thought another Prince cover might be fun. I'm pretty sure I was wrong. Recommended to those who always found Bjork's voice a little too on-key, if said creatures exist. Other than that, it's not that bad. This came from a compilation from Homesleep Records, and this download page features a handful of the other covers, such as:

  • Midwest - "Pale Day" [originally performed by Motorpsycho]
  • Yuppie Flu -"Plainsong" [originally performed by Cure]
  • Giardini di Miro' feat. Julie's Haircut - "Floor Pile" [originally performed by Shannon Wright]
  • Mirabilia feat. Pete Bassman - "Walking With Jesus" [originally performed by Spacemen3]

    The same page also offers a few tracks from Homesleep's Pavement tribute as well.

  • TV on the Radio "Mr. Grieves" (Pixies cover)
    When it comes to tribute albums people tend to grab from me on my P2P of choice, those dedicated to the Pixies tend to be the most popular. This track that I like, of course, isn't on any of them, so too bad for them, eh?

  • Something Corporate "Just Like a Woman" (Bob Dylan cover)
    Nobody feels any pain, huh? That's where you're wrong, Terrible Mainstream Post-Punk Band #967. That my ears somehow managed to refrain from bleeding while listening to this fucking shit is a miracle.
  • Friday, October 14, 2005

    I just want your extra time and your ...

  • Age of Chance "Kiss" (Prince cover)
    I got an e-mail from my pal Mikey yesterday asking me if I remembered a cover of "Kiss" from the '80s that wasn't by Art of Noise or Tom Jones but that he once had on 12-inch. Nothing besides the godawful Westlife version came to mind, but he rightfully shot that down. I made a mental note to look it up when I got home from work. But, hopefully, I won't have to now as I ransacked the 49-cent bin at the local used record shop tonight after work and serendipitously stumbled upon this gem:

    Here's a choice quote, courtesy of the band's site: "“Prince'’s version is just the sound of cocktail glasses tinkling & wine bar small talk. We wanted to make a dance sound that represented iron foundries, civil unrest & motorway fatalities."” Heh. Awesome.

    And, Mikey, if this indeed what you were requesting, you'll be pleased to know that I don't remember it. I think I was vaguely aware of their "Disco Inferno" cover, but not this one. (Speaking of, anyone who has an mp3 of that would please me muchly if he or she would send it my way.)

    And I do like it. I've been revisiting Pop Will Eat Itself lately, and this track (and the cover art on their albums) definitely reminds me of PWEI (and maybe Big Audio Dynamite, Gang of Four and Human League as well). Yay for '80s covers that surprise me!
  • Fall is here, hear the yell.

    I remember when "Fell in Love with a Girl" made it big on the radio and I kept thinking, "I can't believe music like this is on the radio." It just seemed odd to hear something so retro-yet-innovative right after the latest Nickelback hit. Similarly, when electroclash was enough of a presence to actually acquire the name "electroclash," I was shocked that so many people seemed into it. Not because it was all bad, mind you, but the opposite. Unfortunately, when two new things make it big, there are often big "you got your peanut butter in my chocolate/you got your chocolate in my peanut butter!" revelations made by second-rate producers that result in scary combinations like ElectroStripes: An Electro Tribute to the White Stripes. (And before anyone asks, yes, I'm also familiar with the Red Stripes' equally perplexing—but at the very least purposely tongue-in-cheek—efforts.) These types of mix-and-match tributes always reminds me of the early '90s when both flannel shirts and flouncy pirate shirts were in fashion and someone got the bright idea to make flannel flouncy pirate shirts. (Which I know because my mother bought me one thinking I'd like it. She didn't know any better.) But flannel just doesn't flounce, y'know? And a Chuck Taylor pump just doesn't have any practical use. And with that, here are today's tracks. At least they're short.

  • Satin and Circuits "Hotel Yorba" (White Stripes cover)

  • Sin-The-Tik feat. Commie 64 "We're going to Be Friends" (White Stripes cover)
  • Tuesday, October 11, 2005

    Certainly not the average girl.

  • John Edwards "Tin Man" (America cover)
    Much smoother than the original. I'd expect nothing less from an ex-Spinner.

  • Josie Cotton "Tell Him" (Exciters cover)
    I found a copy of Josie Cotton's Convertible Music in the 49-Cent bin at my local used record shop. I was both excited (at the score) and disappointed (at the obvious lack of savvy of the pricers, as I'd have paid well more than that). Then again, I could see how I'd be the only person really interested in a run-of-the-mill new-wave pop act who made every song sound the same. But that racetrack mini-skirt she wore in Valley Girl was the most awesome thing I'd ever seen at the time.

  • Flaming Lips "Nobody Told Me" (John Lennon cover)
    I always loved this song. Glad to see it being played live.

  • Of Montreal "She's My Best Friend" (Velvet Underground cover)
    When your Apples in Stereo albums are too depressing, here comes Of Montreal to lighten your mood.

  • Dave "Gruber" Allen as Mr. Rosso "I'm Eighteen" (Alice Cooper cover)
    Perhaps not as amusing to those who aren't hardcore Freaks and Geeks cult members such as myself, but this cheered me up today.

  • Sirenia "First We Take Manhattan" (Leonard Cohen cover)
    Oh, goth metal! How you always forsake me.

  • Lena Zavaroni "Help Me Make it Through the Night" (comp. Kris Kristofferson)
    Scottish Star-Search-caliber child superstar anorectic of the '70s and '80s. Um, yeah. There are many live snippets of songs like "She Works Hard for the Money" and "Desperado" to be found on this quite thorough fan site for those as sickly intrigued as I.

  • Jon Auer "Gold Star for Robot Boy" (Guided by Voices cover)
    Hello, Posy, marry me.

  • Josh Rouse "It Don't Matter to Me" (Bread cover)
    I was planning on posting something from the new Queen tribute album coming out in a few weeks (and I still may in the next day or two), but most are so godawful I'd rather post this sweet little track from one of my favorite sadly overlooked tribute albums of the year, Friends and Lovers: A Tribute to Bread. There are individual Posies on that one as well.
  • Friday, October 07, 2005

    Who knows what tomorrow brings?

  • The Diskettes "How Bizarre" (OMC cover)
    There are a slew of innocuous one-hit wonders that were big during my days as a music retail slut that I just can't hear without retching slightly at the thought of moron after moron clamoring for them. But there's something charming about this cute little Canadian doo-woppy indie band's version of this one that surprisingly doesn't make me want to shove pencils in my ears. Check out their site for many free downloads, including a cover of "Mr. Lee."

  • V/Vm "Up Where We Belong" (a remix that took so much, um, "work" that I'm calling it a cover)
    While not technically a cover, as it's quite obviously just a mangled version of the original, I'm posting this for its intrigue factor. And when I say "intrigue," I mean it in the sense that we as human beings often tend to be curious about witnessing massacres, however bloody and horrific they might be.
  • Thursday, October 06, 2005

    A long way to go, a short time to get there.

    Just a heads-up to all of the newer readers that it is never a prerequisite for me that the covers I post actually be good. Sometimes they are and sometimes they aren't. And it's all in the ear of the belistener, innit? So, without further ado...

  • Kiko & Deschezeaux "Rock Your Body" (Justin Timberlake cover)
    Don't be so quick to walk away. No, scratch that: Run!!!

  • Supersuckers "Eastbound and Down" (Jerry Reed cover, although I don't think he was the first to record it)
    As a kid, I must've seen Smokey and the Bandit about 100 times. Funny, all I really remember about it is this song. And that there was an elephant in the sequel.

  • Elmerhassel "Big Yellow Taxi" (Joni Mitchell cover)
    Dear MOR postpunk kids: Not learning the lyrics (or purposely simplifying them for no good reason) of the hook of a song you're covering isn't cute. It's lazy.
  • Wednesday, October 05, 2005

    They say in heaven love comes first.

    Sheesh! I've been trying to log into Blogger for the past three hours to no avail. Therefore, I've no time for banter and have chosen to post the first three covers to hit my shuffle play:

  • Raz Ohara "Where is My Mind?" (Pixies cover)

  • Great White "Burning House of Love" (X cover)

  • Student Rick "Heaven is a Place on Earth" (Belinda Carlisle cover)
  • Tuesday, October 04, 2005

    An afterlife for a silverfish.

  • The Last Town Chorus "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?" (Culture Club cover)
    God, this is pretty. I snagged this from their [her] site, where you can also find an equally wonderfully languid version of David Bowie's "Modern Love" along with a few originals. Say hello to your new favorite lap-steel dirges!

  • Antenna "Outdoor Miner" (Wire cover)
    There was a time in my life (read: college) when many of the bands I was into—many of which were already defunct, even—had an Antenna connection: The Blake Babies, The 27 Various, Polara, The United States Three and so on. Even today bands like Rogue Wave are not even one degree of separation away. Even 90210's Brenda Walsh was with-it enough to have an Antenna flat on her dorm room wall in Minnesota. About now I'm freaking out with excitement because I get to relive my fervor for [at east partially] Indiana-based indie power pop at the Musical Family Tree Fest, which features an Antenna reunion! My best pal Ryan (who hooked me up with this B-Side, BTW) is driving up from Memphis, I'm driving down from Chicago and a weekend full of rocking and reminiscing shall ensue. Freaking. Out. And, I've said it before and I'll say it again, whether or not you spent any time in Indiana (or Minneapolis or Boston or wherever), if you're into obscure—and often excellent—free music, you'd be remiss not to take advantage of the immense catalog of offerings over at Musical Family Tree. And if you are in the area, there's no reason not to come out for some cheap and easy nostalgia.
  • Did I just sleep through my 15 minutes of fame?

    So, which issue of Q mentions Copy, Right? I leafed through the issue with the Rolling Stones on the cover, but didn't see anything. If it is the Stones cover, what section is it in? Any info would be most appreciated because Q fucking rules!

    Monday, October 03, 2005

    Those Gapers Blockers are always starting something hip and new, yes?

    This week's theme at the relatively new Chicago-based Out of 5 blog is "Covers that Eclipsed the Originals." I'm not saying I agree with all of the choices, but free covers is free covers. Right?

    (Jeff, I can't believe you didn't send me a note when the blog started! Keep me in the loop, kids.)

    But for now we are young, let us lay in the sun and count every beautiful thing we can see

  • Terry Edwards and the Scapegoats "The Hardest Walk" (Jesus and Mary Chain cover)
    Funny, I didn't realize how much I needed a JAMC cover that sounds like it's being played by Rob Lowe's character in St. Elmo's Fire until it presented itself to me. How I lived this long without it is beyond me. The album from whence it comes, Terry Edwards Presents the birth of the Scapegoats* is chock-full of weirdo sax covers, such as a Napalm Death medley, among others. (Originally available on an all-JAMC-cover EP. Crazy.)

  • Slut "Only You" (Yazoo/Yaz cover)
    I don't know much about Slut—and I'm feeling too lazy to Google them—but I like this.

  • Matt Pond PA "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" (Neutral Milk Hotel cover)
    This is one of my favorite songs in the world competently covered by indie chamber popsters Matt Pond PA on their album Winter Songs, which also features decent covers of Neil Young's "Winterlong," Richard Thompson's "I Want to See the Bright Lights Tonight" and a strange somber cover of the Lindsey Buckingham-penned "Holiday Road."
  • Sunday, October 02, 2005

    A toast to my own reunion.

  • Dolly Parton "Help" (Beatles cover)
    Posting a Beatles cover yesterday reminded me that I've been meaning to post this one as well. I love Dolly.

  • Me First and the Gimme Gimmes "I Sing the Body Electric" (from Fame)
    As much as I love covers, I used to have this thing against all-cover acts like Me First and the Gimme Gimmes. I'm working on opening my mind, and there's no better song to inspire me than this.

  • Indians in Moscow "The Price of Love" (Everly Brothers cover)
    A lesser-known and short-lived act, Indians in Moscow could have been right up there with [insert name of you favorite somewhat obscure overly dramatic atmospheric quasi-gothy early-'80s new-wave act here]. You know, kind of like a Missing Persons with a lead singer who could actually sing. (Sorry, Dale, but you know it's true.) If you hear this and find yourself thinking, "Hey, I could get into this shit," there are free downloads to be had here at C-Net and at this passionate fan site.

  • Fountains of Wayne "Better Things" (Kinks cover)
    I haven't quite forgiven Fountains of Wayne for the godawfulness of "Stacy's Mom," but I'm willing to take note of the fact that they once offered better things.
  • Saturday, October 01, 2005

    We'll always be together, however far it seems.

  • Bran Van 3000 "Cum On Feel The Noize" (Slade cover)
    I knew that when I returned to make good on my Minimum 2 Songs A Day In October promise I would use a version of "Cum on Feel the Noize" to start things off, but I wasn't sure which. But today when I was finally faced with the decision, it became clear: Pick what you know and love. While this track isn't necessarily my favorite on the album, Bran Van's debut album Glee is start-to-finish one of my favorite albums of all time. It's the perfect "It's bright and sunny and I'm in a fucking great mood" album and it genre hops like the badass muthafucka it is. If you're down with Glee, well, then you're down with me.

  • Lali Puna "Together in Electric Dreams" (Human League cover)
    I am currently obsessed with the glitchy lush starkness (oxymoronic, I know) of Lali Puna. Perhaps you should be as well.

  • Dar Williams feat. Ani DiFranco "Comfortably Numb" (Pink Floyd cover)
    Dar is my girl. You don't even know. Like the aforementioned Glee, her Mortal City is an album I never get sick of that cheers me up every time I hear it. It opened my mind to folk music at a time in my life when I otherwise wouldn't have given it the time of day. Such a pretty voice. Such clever lyrics. Perfect. Her latest effort, My Better Self, from whence this track comes, is politically driven and features a slew of equally genius guest artists. If you're into what you hear here, the entire album is available for preview here at and features a cover of Neil Young's "Everybody Knows this is Nowhere," on which she duets with Marshall Crenshaw. She also has a cover of the Beatles' "You Won't See Me" on This Bird has Flown, the forthcoming (Release Date: Oct. 25) indie/folksy Razor & Tie tribute to Rubber Soul.

  • Low "Nowhere Man" (Beatles cover)
    Hey! Speaking of the forthcoming Razor & Tie tribute to Rubber Soul, perhaps I should let you enjoy what is, in my opinion, one of its finest tracks (not a difficult task to complete, really, given its less-than-innovative companions—sorry, hipsters!) by our old friends Low. I'm so glad Low finally popped themselves up a bit. Now I can listen to them without wanting to slit my writs. Well, less than usual anyhow.

    Unrelated to covers but still cool: Threadless is having one of its wonderful Everything is $10 sales until Monday. The clown puking shirt shall be mine!!! (Well, except that it's sold out. Sigh.)