Friday, September 14, 2007

Labour of lust.

What a post delay, huh? I'm very much the type of person whose interests come in waves and the blog wave just didn't hit me for a while there. Longtime readers are accustomed to this pattern, so I won't necessarily apologize, but I felt a warning was necessary for newer readers. Blah, blah, blah, but now the weather smacks of fall (and fall's my favorite) and the wave crashed into me today and here I am.

Another wave that's pummeled me (aside from a momentary desire to use annoying Internet abbreviations) the past week is the delightfully crushing force of power pop both old and new—hence the theme of today's post and, quite possibly, the next few posts to come. Let's all live in fear (and glee!) of a probable future of an all-"Without You" post, shall we? And an onslaught of YouTube-found videos of varying quality. (See below.)

The covers you'll find will either be A) power pop acts covering non-powerpoppers B) non-powerpoppers covering power pop acts or, in many cases, C) power pop acts covering other power pop acts. You know how I roll.

  • The Diodes "Red Rubber Ball" (Cyrkle cover, comp. Paul Simon)
    "Red Rubber Ball" is near the top of my very long list of favorite songs of all time. You never suspected I was an optimist, did you?

  • Candy "She Loves You" (Beatles cover)
    Ah. LA. Power pop and big glam-rock hair. It sometimes makes me wish I was born on the West Coast.

  • The Lambrettas "Somebody to Love" (Jefferson Airplane cover)
    Leaning a bit more into new wave than power pop, IMHO, but they have their moments.

  • The Cokes "Cheri" (20/20 cover, comp. Paul Collins)
    Dear Japanese power pop act: Please be the band in my dream prom that enters through the fog on a team of black unicorns with silver reins and glittery rainbow-striped horns. KTHNXBYE!

  • Velvet Crush "Remember the Lightning" (20/20 cover)
    I'm getting tired of writing and can't think of anything to say about Velvet Crush or 20/20 except that I like the former and I love the latter. But the cover art for VC's Teenage Symphonies to God is on a list of my favorites. I want to date that cartoon boy. If he's straight.

  • The Rubinoos "Little Willy" (Sweet cover)
    I never write these silly snippets in the order the tracks are listed and it's almost 5 a.m. and I can't sleep so I've nothing to say here except that it's a good thing I'm not wealthy because, if I were, my house would be full of insane "I can't believe this exists" crap like this. As my current financial situation stands, it's not in the cards for me. But, hey, there are still about 102 shopping days until Christmas, you know...

  • Lush "I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend" (Rubinoos cover)
    I would let the Lush gals be my girlfriends. I miss them.

    Note to Avril Lavigne: Hey! (Hey!) You! (You!) This sounds exactly like that song you and your co-songsmith "wrote"! Oh, that trend-setting Kelly Osbourne/Linda Perry collabo!

  • Dar Williams "All Men are Liars" (Nick Lowe cover)
    Nick Lowe's acerbic lyrics? Check. Dar Williams's similarly sardonic glint and irresistible charm? Check. Rick Astley getting pwned? Check. What more could you need? Srsly.

  • The 27 Various "Great Big World" (Plimsouls cover)
    Kicking off this creamy Plimsouls-related center is a track I only remembered existed after I started thinking about The 27 Various for another reason. Earlier today I went to the local used record shop and spotted their album Approximately for $4.99 and I didn't buy it because I thought I already had it on vinyl. On the walk home I thought to myself, "Wait... I have that one, right?" When I returned, I checked my records and, duh, it's the only vinyl LP of theirs I don't have (not to mention one I realize I didn't even think was on vinyl at all)! Well, I know where I'm headed tomorrow afternoon.

    Anyhow, I've mentioned before that I love The 27 Various, a band most people have never heard of, and this cover is simple but pleases me immensely. It seems to come from a radio show performance replete with witty pre-song banter, which makes the early 90s fangirl in me even more giddy about its existence.

  • The Aquabats "Zero Hour" (Plimsouls cover)
    I don't know much about the Aquabats except they're a ska band in the jam-packed "my, aren't we wacky?!?" subset of the genre. Therefore I will share a conversation with myself that took place in my head earlier.

    Liza: I wonder where this resurgence in my love for power pop began.
    Liza: It was probably Labor Day weekend when Encore was showing all of those crappy-but-awesome '80s movies.
    Liza: Yeah, I think the soundtrack music seeped into my head and made me long to be a Los Angelean teen trying desperately to party and get laid.
    Liza: Ah, to be in a scene with Eric Stoltz or Andrew McCarthy with the Plimsouls or the Nerves playing in the background!
    Liza: Right? That would rule, but you know what?
    Liza: What?
    Liza: You're too old for that now. I mean, you're about the same age now as the Jacqueline Bisset character is supposed to be in Class.
    Liza: Holy crap!
    Liza: Not exactly related, but isn't it weird that REM had a song on the Bachelor Party soundtrack?
    Liza: Yeah, that is weird. But that REM song doesn't even really sound like REM in retrospect. It's actually perfect for the Bachelor Party soundtrack.
    Liza: Hmm. I just thought of something: Maybe the obsession with power pop happened because it seems as if Peter Case is suddenly everywhere in magazines.
    Liza: Yeah, isn't he though?
    Liza: Well, maybe not everywhere. Maybe only in the past few issues Paste.
    Liza: Heh. Yeah. That doesn't exactly constitute everywhere, but Paste certainly had a hand in it.
    Liza: Word.


  • Ingram Hill "A Million Miles Away" (Plimsouls cover)
    Ingram Hill sounds like the name of the name of the fictional publishing company where the chubby, sassy heroine of the chick lit book I'll never write works. The band Ingram Hill sounds like a roots rock/country/adult contemporary blend with just a slight aftertaste of emo. (Speaking of blends and aftertastes, I could totally imagine them as one of many Starbucks featured performers.) I'm afraid Ingram Hill—which is the name of the band, not the name of a person in the band—might not be enough of either to fit in anywhere. But good luck to them in their market (which is unsurprisingly admittedly not my thing) as I was very surprised to enjoy this cover far more than I thought I would.

  • The Plimsouls "Time Won't Let Me" (Outsiders cover)
    Oh, wait. This is the last snippet I have to write. Damn, just when I was about to finally go to sleep. Like many gals and guys of my generation, I was introduced to the music of the Plimsouls through the new wave/power poptacular movie, "Valley Girl. Hooray for that.

    Unrelated to music but related to my long-running obsession with Valley Girl, last month I could have seen this remake of "Valley Girl," at the Chicago Underground Flim Festival but I didn't because I just learned today that it existed. I'm so fired. Those interested can see the a snippet of it around the 23-minute mark here. If you have an hour to kill, you can also view snippets of the artist's Velvet Underground and Runaways mini, um, biopics and hear her talk about her process and other stuff interesting to art students. She's doing the kind of stuff I always talk about doing but never do because I thought no one but my friends and I would find it worthwhile or amusing. Apparently I overestimated the taste of the powers that be in the art world. So, yeahhhhhhhhhhhhhh. You'll either find the videos annoying or hilarious or both. You've been warned. (Note to self and anyone willing to take on the endeavor: 1. Try to find out the bands covering the soundtrack songs and acquire them somehow AND 2. Get to work on that all-sock-puppet version of Solarbabies.)

  • The Records "Have You Seen Your Mother, Baby, Standing in the Shadow?" (Rolling Stones cover)
    The British Big Star. (I'm not coining that, FYI. It's how people have described them and my use does not imply my endorsement as such.)

  • Material Issue "I'd Wait a Million Years" (Grass Roots cover)
    It kills me that I somehow never managed to see Material Issue live. Hopefully Jim will serenade me when I get to Blogger heaven.

  • She Blonde Swede "Crazy" (Material Issue cover)
    I know nothing about She Blonde Swede except you can download a slew of live covers they've done at various gigs over at the Internet Archive and that they seem to have good taste. Have I mentioned lately how much the Internet rulz?

  • Bowling for Soup "Sick of Myself" (Matthew Sweet cover)
    I have to admit the few anachronisms in the song and video for their cheesy hit "1985" still annoy me because I'm a geek, but it was a pleasant surprise to find they're MS fans.

    It's kind to be cruel*, so I now subject you to this:

    *Preemptive strikes: 1. Please no e-mails correcting this wording. I did it on purpose. 2. I know this is not a list of every cover ever of or by every power pop band in history. I can only do so much at a time.


    Peter said...

    Wow -- thanks for the 27 Various offering. I thought I was hallucinating when I saw those two numerals and that word together. I don't know of anyone who knows of them outside of Minneapolis.

    Jack Feerick said...

    Gah! I'm getting a "file not found" on that Records tune!

    Also, I saw Material Issue just the once, opening for Simple Minds in a half-empty theatre. They were punishingly loud, and Jim was making fun of some people sitting up front who had their hands over their ears. "You realize, yes, this is and rock and roll show?" he said.

    Anonymous said...

    The link on the Records cover is missing the .mp3 at the end, so you can't save it from the link.

    Duncan said...

    "Red Rubber Ball" is one of my favorite songs, as well! I have an MP3 of Simon and Garfunkel performing it live, if you want it.

    Blue Bag Horse said...
    This comment has been removed by the author.
    Blue Bag Horse said...

    Oh dear god! Whose cover of "Abracadabra" is that? I *love* it!

    Lobstar said...

    Sorry about the Records glitch. It should work now if you refresh your browser!

    Lobstar said...


    Greg said...

    Oh god, you included the Diodes Red Rubber Ball!!!! I thought my best friend and I were the only ones who still owned that LP! Since my turntable crapped out, I haven't played that album in many years. Thanks for that. There's a great tune on the album Child Star about the actress who played Buffy on Family Affair "...Uncle Bill I took some Pills, ... Mr French I'm really tense..."
    Okay, now I need to find a new stylus for my turn table.

    J. Neas said...

    Speaking of the Velvet Crush, how 'bout their amazing cover of Gene Clark's "Why Not Your Baby?" Teenage Symphonies to God is a transcendent album. For real.

    Kris said...

    Yay Aquabats! Haha yeah they're a little odd. It's where drummer Travis Barker from Blink-182, The Transplants, and Plus44 got his start.

    Blue Bag Horse said...

    Thanks, Lobstar!