Thursday, November 30, 2006

I don't mind you coming here.

  • Console "By This River" (Brian Eno cover)
    One of my favorite covers of the past few years. Very pretty. Fans of the Notwist (whose Martin Gretschmann IS Console) and Lali Puna take note. See also the video for their cover of Sonic Youth's "Magnolia":

  • Neverending White Lights feat. 311's Nick Hexum "Age of Consent" (New Order cover)
    Very pretty cover that inexplicably didn't make my New Order-themed post a while back. Neverending White Lights is a "band" or "project" with a rotating cast of performers. The album Act:1: Goodbye Friends of the Heavenly Bodies includes songs with lead vocals from bands such as Our Lady Peace, Finger Eleven, Hum, Creeper Lagoon, Shudder To Think, The Velvet Teen and many more.

  • Toshi Reagon feat. Marc Anthony "Chocolate Genius" Thompson "Just What I Needed" (The Cars cover)
    Another very pretty cover. I guess that's just the mood I've been in lately.

  • Death Cab for Cutie "World Shut Your Mouth" (Julian Cope cover)
    Hey! A DCFC cover that doesn't doesn't sound like Music to Slit Your Wrists By! Who knew?

  • Giant Sand "The Beat Goes On" (Sonny and Cher cover)
    A huge jazz fan I'm not, but I still love this.

  • Happy Drivers "La Isla Bonita" (Madonna cover)
    When I was in high school and college, I had the tendency to bust into hallways and bathrooms and other places with good acoustics and belt out the bridge to "La Isla Bonita" at the top of my lungs. It was pretty powerful stuff. But I like this French punk/rockabilly version, if only for the requisite ze in lieu of the.

  • The Jesus and Mary Chain "Tower of Song" (Leonard Cohen cover)
    One of my favorite bands covers one of my favorite artists. Should be awesome, right? Then why am I sort of falling asleep at my keyboard?

  • Yum!Yum!ORANGE "Don't Worry, Be Happy" (Bobby McFerrin cover)
    I honestly never thought I'd post a cover if this, one of my most-hated songs EVER, but dammit if those Japanese ska bands don't charm my socks right off everytime.

    The following songs are from a 2005 German cover compilation called Quotenrocker. It was very difficult to choose which of its 30+ tracks to select, so I put WinAmp on random and picked the first four that came up.

  • Wolke "Mein Süβes Kind (Sweet Child O' Mine)" (Guns N Roses cover)
    Another pretty one. I'm going all soft in my old age.

  • Little Shepherd "Beate Ausem Block (Jenny from the Block)" (J.Lo cover)
    Wow. This is like a terrible car crash from which I inexplicably can't turn away.

  • Die Sterne "Du Hast Die Welt in Deiner Hand (He Has the Whole World in His Hands)"(Traditional)
    I like this a lot. Traditional Bible school-type "hit" that sounds suspiciously like the Beatles' "Rain" gone all Wall of Sound.

  • Les Garçons "Oh, Glücklichkeit (Sweet Happiness)" (Newby & Johnson)
    Okay, here's where I need your help. This is the only song from the disc whose original artist is unknown to me. It sounds super-familiar, but I can't place it. Since I don't have any liner notes, I don't know the songwriter's name and all of my Google searches have been fruitless. It kind of reminds me of a Chicago song, but I'm pretty sure it isn't. Experts in '60s/'70s-era pop (at least that's what it sounds like), please help!

    I have sent an e-mail to a former member of the band in the hopes he can shine some light on this for us. I'll keep you posted as to the results.

    Edit 2: Mystery solved!

    From Martin H, former guitarist for Les Garçons:

    Dear Liza,

    Thanks for bringing this gem to my attention. I actually played the guitar
    on the track, but most stuff has been added long after I left for the
    States. It turned out pretty cheesy, but I guess that's what they wanted.
    The original title is 'Sweet Happiness,' which is a Newby & Johnson track.

    Best wishes,

    Although Newby & Johnson are a bit obscure in the realms of '60s Northern Soul acts, I know I've heard it before. I'm thinking my dad, who had an extensive R&B/Soul vinyl collection must have exposed me to it at some point.
  • Tuesday, November 28, 2006

    Rock your baby.

    Link: Baby Rock Records
    Soon to be as ubiquitous as String Quartet tribute albums, lullaby tributes will soon be a softer, gentler way for new rock-loving parents to introduce their babies to the work of their favorite artists. I'm digging the Cure and Radiohead albums, at least partially for the cover art, but if you want to send your little one off to sleep dreaming of Tool or Metallica, you can do that too. Some of the albums listed are forthcoming, but if you click on one that already exists, you can hear a few samples. Quite frankly, I feel as if I should be horrified by this for some reason, but quite the contrary: I'm kind of loving it. I think these might help me battle my insomnia. I can't wait for the Queens of the Stone Age tribute!

    You keep sayin' you got somethin' for me.

    Blog: Dans Mon Café

    Oops. I meant to include this blog in my earlier post. It specializes mostly in yéyé and other French pop of the '60s, some of which are covers. Today's post is chock-full of "These Boots Are Made for Walking" covers, not all of which are by French artists. [Note: Uses a file-sharing site and does not direct link MP3s.]

    Monday, November 27, 2006

    Where do we go now?

    I've decided that I'm going to try, in my own way, to be a better blogger. No, this doesn't mean I'm promising daily posts or anything. Let's not get crazy! But I have a tendency to stumble on things online that I want to share with readers, and then I promptly forget to do so. Mainly this involves finding other cover-sharing blogs or artist sites with cover-related info or downloads or whatever. I usually find these sites and wind up downloading tons of stuff thinking "I'll share it here eventually anyhow." But, let's face it, I could post 10 tracks every 10 minutes for the next 10 years and probably still not be able to share all of my files. Besides, doing it this way saves my bandwidth so I can post other stuff. So, here's my first attempt at it.

  • Link: Coverlar by Bugotak
    This is an all-cover album available for download on* by the Siberian Turki Tuvan throat-singing artist Bugotak. It's throat singing, so if you don't like throat singing, so might want to refrain. But if you want to hear the eeriest sounding cover of Nirvana's "Rape Me," I say go for it. And, strangely, though the Beatles' "Come Together" is one of my least favorite Beatles songs (despite being on my favorite Beatles album), I'm digging Bugotak's take.

  • Link: Live Panum 2006 by VHAB
    Another* find. Three live covers from Danish band VHAB. They're not great, but I do like that if you told me their version of The Cure's "A Forest" was actually performed by the Cult, I'd believe you.

  • Link: Io E I Gomma Gommas
    One more from*, only two tracks available for free download. Io E I Gomma Gommas (an homage to Me First and the Gimme Gimmes, Italian-style) is an Italian punk cover band focusing on crafting their own versions of songs from the Italian beat era. Man, everything really HAS been done!

    *As far as I know, you don't have to be a logged-in user to download their FREE MP3s. If that's not the case, let me know. If that IS the case and you really want the track, you might as well sign up. It's free and, although I was very late to jump the train, it's already proved an invaluable resource to me.

  • Link: Glitter and Twang
    Marcus Kellis is a regular SongFight contributor who is sharing some of the covers he's done, as well as a SongFight-based compilation of The Sound of Music covers entitled Rolf is a Nazi, among other things, on his site. As with all covers by all bands, known or not, there are hits and misses, but Rolf is a Nazi does amuse & entertain me in equal amounts. My favorites of the lot: "Do Re Mi," "I Have Confidence" and "The Lonely Goatherd." (And while I'm referencing "Goatherd," may I just say that the new Gwen Stefani track that samples it makes me gag.)

  • Link: Cheryl Ladd Music
    Hey, did you know that model/actress Cheryl Ladd was also a "singer"? Neither did I until I began planning an upcoming post dedicated (mostly) to really bad covers by celebrity cover that shouldn't exist. Like most model/actors-turned-songbirds, I'm not sure I can recommend her songs sans irony, but if you're a collector of kitsch like me, you'll be down. The featured tracks are not all covers, I'll let you suss out for yourselves which might be. (Note: MP3s on said page are only 96kbps.)

  • Blog: Cover Freak
    Just as there's always room for Jello, there is always room for more covers. I do have a small "Covers" section over on my blogroll to the right, but just in case you don't regularly check it for updates, I want to keep you in the know. Copy, Right? fan Steve operates this newer cover blog that, thus far, has been similar to mine in that it's usually all-over-the-map. He's also recently posted a few tracks I've posted in the past, so it's not a bad idea to keep tabs on what he's doing if you've been dismayed that I refuse to repost songs.

    Caveat: The following blogs do not direct link MP3s, but instead use a file-sharing service instead to share files. Often these are large .rar or .zip files. If you do not enjoy waiting for downloads—and often being bombarded with ads while you do so—or you do not have a .zip- or .rar-opening program, these might not be the sites for you. But, if there's something you see there that you desperately have to have, it could be worth the trouble.

  • Blog: Fong Songs
    Not always covers and not always music, but generally cover-heavy.

  • Blog: Germans Under Cover
    Blog dedicated to German covers, with accompanying well-researched information-packed articles.

  • Blog: Mexicovers
    Blog dedicated to Mexican cover, often with accompanying well-researched information-packed articles or liner notes.
  • Thursday, November 23, 2006

    In our lifetime those who kill, the news world hands them stardom. And these are the ways on which I was raised.

  • The Now Time Delegation "Nothing But a Heartache" (The Flirtations cover)
    I had never heard the original version of this song until the fabulous Rhino box set One Kiss Can Lead to Another: Girl Group Sounds Lost and Found came out last year. And though it's difficult to pick a favorite from a collection so chock-full of gems, this song was (and is) defintitely my No. 1. Similarly, until I'd heard the original last year and went on an immediate hunt for any band who might have covered this track, I was unaware of The Now Time Generation—a punk/garage/soul indie supergroup featuring members of the BellRays and Monkeywrench, among others, that sprung from the ashes of the King Sound Quartet. As I suspected, any band that would cover this would instantly become a New Favorite Thing [TM]. Their Watch for Today album is about half lively contemporary covers of soul and mod classics and half originals that sound like lively contemporary covers of soul and mod classics. It's pretty awesome.

  • Chris Cacavas "Someone to Pull the Trigger" (Matthew Sweet cover)
    This hit my shuffle play the other day and I thought, "I don't remember having a cover of this by Neil Young!" Heh. I didn't. Upon closer listening, I don't hear it as Young-ian (clever, no?) as I did previously, but it's a sweet little Americana version nonetheless. And don't get me started on what an impact such a lovelorn, suicidal anthem (or any Altered Beast track, really) had on College Liza back in the day. My heart breaks all over listening to any version.

    Somewhat related: My former coworker Chad has a tattoo of of the dinosaur logo from Altered Beast. Now that's dedication. Adorable, adorable dedication.

  • Robyn "Jack U Off" (Prince cover)
    As I've mentioned previously, I'm loving Scandinavian artists lately. (BTW, Swedes Please is my favorite drug.) Robyn's 2005 album is one of my favorite albums of that year. And, hell, this year too. I can't get enough. She's adorably bad-ass. I'd been hunting for this a while and reader Jerker sent it my way. Callou callay, says I. What a cute little vulgar song!

  • Altered Images "Song Sung Blue" (Neil Diamond cover)
    It's weird. I love Altered Images' originals. I mean, what would Sixteen Candles have been without "Happy Birthday"? And how inspiringly poppy was "I Could Be Happy"? Granted, even back then, I could see how Clare Grogan's voice could be like nails on a chalkboard to many, but I kind of liked that it was so high-pitched and thought it added to the charm of the songs. And she was so cute in Gregory's Girl. Maybe I'm getting old or something, but hearing this cover kind of makes me want to beat someone up.

  • Cadaveric Sludge Dispenser Unit "Consequence of Sounds" (Regina Spektor cover)
    Whoa. This is just plain strange. When any band covers one of my favorite new performers, I take note. And often—even after collecting covers as long as I have been and seeing tons of bands covering the work of artists I can't even believe they've even heard of—I'm surprised. I rarely expect gore outfits with names like Cadaveric Sludge Dispenser Unit to cover quirky little anti-folksters like Regina Spektor. Maybe it was the fact that the song references "bowels" that drew CDSU to it. Or maybe the fact that they only had to play a note or two on their synthesizer. Or maybe they're huge Spektor fans. That's the beauty of the out-of-character cover. You choose your own adventure.

  • Epoxies "Join the Professionals" (The Professionals—or The Fabulous Stains—cover)
    So, the Sex Pistols broke up and Steve Jones and Paul Cook started The Professionals. But that's not the important part. The important part is that they showed up in the cult hit Ladies and Gentleman, The Fabulous Stains (with Ray Winstone acting as the lead singer) as the Looters and sang it. Then the more important part is when the heroine—a spunky, young, see-through-shirt-wearing Diane Lane—steals the song and makes it her own (aka much worse). (But not quite as iffy as her only other song.) Then, after much turmoil, her band goes on to make a mainstream new-wavey pop video of it. And most importantly, the Epoxies covered it and now it's featured here. I'm really liking their cover choices.

    Note: The Donnas-esque (although a bit poppier, kind of like Lindsay Lohan's band in Freaky Friday or something from the Valley Girl soundtrack/s) California band Rocket does a pretty good cover of this as well and you can hear it when you visit their site. I don't have the scratch to buy the EP it's on just now (nor their other cover-filled record), but it will happen soon. BTW, Why isn't everything in the world available as purchasable downloads yet? I thought this was the future!

  • Faye Wong "Silent All These Years" (Chinese Tori Amos cover)
    I'm sorry to report that I'm unsure whether this is the Cantonese or Mandarin version. Anyone?

    Edit: The verdict is in and Mandarin wins.

  • Larrikin Love "A Horse with No Name" (America cover)
    The Tower Records by my house, like all Tower Records locations, is going out of business. Generally, I don't latch onto corporations, but I must admit Tower was good to me. Not so much musicwise, 'cause their shit is expensive, but definitely on the movie rental and magazine selection fronts. Seriously, the magazine department was sick. (This is the first time I've ever used sick in its new "cool" compliment variation. I'm not so sure it works for me.) Anyhow, the good thing about the store closing is that back issues of magazines are 75% off, which means for a while I can actually afford British publications, such as September's issue of Q, which came with a CD brimming with '70s soft-rock hits. This is one of the better covers from said disc.

  • Flat Pack "Sweet Child O' Mine (Mylo Club Mix)" (Guns N Roses cover)
    As regular readers know, Axl would have been ultra safe hiding in my hair. Just sayin'. I like this version. It makes me want to break out the acid-wash and dance.

  • Russian Love "The Last of the Famous International Playboys" (Morrissey cover)
    Morrissey was in town last night. I didn't go to see him, and I haven't since the Kill Uncle tour a few days before my 19th birthday in '91. At the time, it was both the shortest and most expensive concert I'd ever been to. Morrissey was surly back then and I was unimpressed, unlike the person who wrote this who described it as "excellent." I vowed never again to pay to see him, but in recent years I must admit I've thought about amending my stance. But the tickets are even pricier now, so forget it.

    This all said, I was fortunate enough to meet him back in my Borders days one day when he was shopping. I made an ass of myself telling him how his music helped me get through high school, but at least I only did so after he approached my coworker and me outside and asked us for directions to another bookstore. (It was a pet peeve of mine to approach celebrities in general, let alone while working.) We walked him halfway to the Barnes & Noble and he was pretty gracious in the face of my fumbling attempt to thank him for the impact his body of work had on me. The only thing that would have been better would have been if he would have put us on the guest list for his show that night a la the keyboard player from the Fixx, but I digress.

    "The Last of the Famous International Playboys" has long been my favorite solo Morrissey track, and Russian Love are Scandinavian, so here we are.

  • The Jimmies "Chevy Van" (Sammy Johns cover)
    Sometimes you're just in the mood for a "Chevy Van" cover. Today was that day for me. And while punk bands are usually not my thing, I must admit that if The Jimmies were the regular band at any bar in my neighborhood, I'd go check them out from time to time.

  • Twang "Song 2 (Blur cover)
    Whether I love or loathe shticky all-cover bands depends on the day. Today I'm choosing to love Twang because there are millions of "Song 2" covers and 99% of them sound exactly the same, whether performed by pop, acoustic, grunge, metal or punk acts. And 99% of those completely SUCK. Granted, I'm a huge Blur fan and "Song 2" is quite possibly my least favorite song in their catalog so I'm biased from the get-go, but at least Twang did something different with it.

  • The Vienna Boys Choir "Supreme" (Robbie Williams cover)
    Hey, apparently it's "Singers I've Met" day here at Copy, Right? Robbie Williams was already huge for years in Europe by the time The Ego Has Landed was scheduled for US release. And the record label was touting him as the next big American thing. (Um, never really happened, sirs.) I got invited to a very swank, chichi Robbie Williams record industry showcase, which was primarily populated by EMI execs wearing suits. I was at the tail end of my phase involving hating all things mainstream pop back then, and I went to the show for the free top-shelf liquor and shrimp appetizers. I was aware of Williams and Take That and his reputation as a megalomaniac. I was expecting a really lame performance by a total jerk. But he was extremely charismatic, energetic performer who admitted being humbled by the fact that he can walk the streets here without being accosted. My "meeting" him was nothing more than saying something like, "Hi, I really enjoyed that" and overhearing him say that he was gong to have a smoke outside because, again, he was excited not to be bombarded. I remember him being super-short, but have since read that he's either 6'0" or 6'1" or so. I'm not sure if there's an exaggeration going on somewhere or if I was just really drunk. I'm 6'0" and remember looking down at him. Maybe he was standing in a hole.

    Since my experience back in the day, I have really come to enjoy Robbie Williams. In fact, I've listened to his new electro album Rudebox—which features lots of covers, reworkings, allusions and homages of/to acts such as Manu Chao, Human League, Stephen Duffy, the Pet Shop boys and more—more this week than any other. And "Supreme" is one of my favorite songs of all time. I sent this track to my friend Ray and his response was:

    Brilliant. Hearing a boys choir sing "all the handsome men are gay" makes
    me feel wrong. And a little turned on.

    I feel the same way about that and the "switch teams" part. Seriously, I love "Supreme," particularly for using the tune from "I Will Survive" in a way that doesn't send me into a homicidal frenzy. Seriously, do we ever need to hear anyone anywhere sing that tired track ever again?

  • MakroSoft "I Will Survive" (Gloria Gaynor cover)
    Answer: Maybe. MakroSoft (Ruediger Esch of Die Krupps, Trini Trimpop of Die Toten Hosen and trumpeter/composer Juergen Hahn) have put out an album called Stereo Also Playable Mono that is full of covers that sound as if they should be on Cinecitta soundtracks or '60s James Bond theme compilations. This would be on the latter, and again: no homicidal thoughts. I'm going soft in my old age.

  • Mikiko "Human Nature" (Michael Jackson cover)
    Sheesh! I don't know how you real bloggers out there write something about everything you post. I'm exhausted after this "write a lot" entry, and I really didn't even have to do research or give an responsible, professional review of anything. I don't know that to say about this track, so I'll let Sony Music Online Japan's "helpful" description speak for me:

    Clear air in every respect! Listening to her voice, you can feel a brisk wind.

    And there you have it.

    Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! And by "everyone" I mean US residents. And by US residents, I mean those who like to celebrate genocide by binge eating. Mmmm! Cranberries!
  • Thursday, November 09, 2006

    A god-awful small affair.

    Wow, the week got away from me for a sec. Here is a mish-mash of foreign (in more than one sense of the word) or folky covers that have made me smile for whatever reason this week. Sorry I don't have more time (or inclination, more accurately) to write more right now. (I used the word more three times in that sentence. That's how guilty I feel for neglecting you all!)

  • Mummy the Peepshow "Fairytale in the Supermarket" (Raincoats cover)

  • Absurd Minds "Let the Music Play" (Shannon cover)

  • Kate Rogers "Here Comes Your Man" (Pixies cover)

  • Hanne Hukkelberg "Break My Body" (Pixies cover)

  • Frida (Anni-Frid Lyngstad of Abba) "Liv pa Mars" (Swedish David Bowie cover)

  • Hitomi Shimatani "Papillon" (aka "Doesn't Really Matter") (Japanese Janet Jackson cover)

  • David Kitt "Teenage Riot" (Sonic Youth cover)

  • Joshua Radin "Only You" (Yaz/Yazoo cover)

  • Neena Foundry "Indiana Wants Me" (R. Dean Taylor cover)
    Now-defunct Bloomington, IN band. (Members went on to bands such as Old Pike, The Brand Plastic and Pony Boy, among others, I'm sure.)


    And the three following songs are from what is currently my favorite Depeche Mode tribute album, DMDK: A Danish Celebration of Depeche Mode:
  • Sterling "Nyt Liv (New Life)" (Danish Depeche Mode cover)

  • CPH Jet "Just Can't Get Enough" (Depeche Mode cover)

  • Mikael Simpson "Det er Ligemeget (It Doesn't Matter Two)" (Danish Depeche Mode cover)


    Also check out local band The Grackles' cover of Billy Bragg's "A New England" here, which was mixed by Carl Saff, formerly of Bloomington, IN band Pencil.

    Likewise, there are a handful of pretty covers available for download on Liz Durrett's MP3 page, my favorite of which is the Vic Chesnutt duet of "Somewhere" from West Side Story.