Friday, July 22, 2005

Gray skies are gonna clear up!

Many thanks (uh, I think) to a Live Journal friend who pointed me in the direction of this collection of MP3s of every song ever sung by the Golden Girls. Be very afraid.

Push the button. Don't push the button.

I try not to post from work on a regular basis, but my contract is up here soon and I'm bored, so why the hell not? I've been a little too preoccupied lately with Flickr, so I wasn't able to come up with any theme for today's selection or find an entire album from which to cull gems, so back to the random smattering it is! Enjoy. (And, fellow Chicagoans, if your organization is looking for a hard-working smartass with great administrative and customer service skills and a wealth of useless information trapped inside her head, please let me know.)

  • Blondie "Out in the Streets (1975 demo version)" (Shangri-Las cover)
    I love the Shangri-Las and I love old-school Blondie. This song gets caught in my head quite frequently.

  • The Ukrainians "Batyar (Bigmouth Strikes Again)" (Smiths cover)
    From their Smiths cover EP Pisni Iz The Smiths, which features a handful of Ukrainian folk versions of classic Smiths songs.

  • Two Nice Girls "Cotton Crown" (Sonic Youth cover)
    Lesbian folk singers covering Sonic Youth? Why not? From their album Like a Version, which also includes the Speed Racer theme song, among other odd covers and medleys.

  • Muse "Feeling Good" (Nina Simone cover)
    Personally, I've tried and I just can't get into Muse, but I've been told I'm wrong by more than a few people.

  • Har Mar Superstar "Alone Again, Naturally" (Gilbert O'Sullivan cover)
    Sean Na Na? Calvin Krime? Har Mar Superstar? Whoever. Personality disorders turn me on.

  • Cansei de Ser Sexy "Hollywood" (Madonna cover)
    Someone reminded me of this in a comment a few entries back. I like it.
  • Monday, July 18, 2005

    If I claim to be a wise man, it surely means that I don't know.

    These tracks come from the same mostly horrifying When Pigs Fly: Songs You Never Thought You'd Hear CD from whence the Ani DiFranco/Jackie Chan version of "Unforgettable" I posted here and the Billy Preston cover of "Girls on Film" I posted here.

  • The Connells "Insane in the Brain" (Cypress Hill cover)
    The Connells always seemed like a band I should have been able to get into in the same way as I got into, say, Buffalo Tom or The Posies or Lloyd Cole or something, but I never could. At least I gave it the ol' college try.

  • Devo "Ohio" (Neil Young cover)
    I listened to my dad's vinyl copy of "Freedom of Choice" quite a bit as a kid, and now it is mine. This isn't as good as anything on that album, but it's still one of the best tracks on this album.

  • Don Ho "Shock the Monkey" (Peter Gabriel cover)
    My paternal grandfather was a professional golfer and he and my grandmother spent a few months every winter in Hawaii. They took me with them a few times, most notably when I was 2 1/2 (I was very excited by the half, you know). We spent some time on both Oahu and Maui and the story goes that one night they took me to a lounge where Don Ho was playing and I joined him on stage for "Tiny Bubbles." I vaguely remember the layout of the lounge and the candles on the table, but I don't remember what I'm certain was my stellar performance. However, I suspect it was probably a little better than this track.

  • Lesley Gore "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" (AC/DC cover)
    I try to picture the call in which Lesley was asked to participate in this, and my brain implodes. Lesley is one of my favorite singers ever, but it's difficult for me to admit that after listening to this.

  • The Oak Ridge Boys "Carry On Wayward Son" (Kansas cover)
    Heh. It's not saying much, but think this is my favorite cover on the album. I love those country gospel harmonies, what can I say?
  • Wednesday, July 13, 2005

    Take a walk on the wiggly side.

    All I know about Andrew Denton I learned right here. He's some dorky Australian personality with a radio show or something and he's put out a few "Musical Challenge" discs, not unlike the Like a Version discs referenced in the last post. Here are some of the most listenable tracks from them. Um, kinda.

  • The Wiggles "Walk on the Wild Side" (Lou Reed cover)
    I was blissfully unaware of the existence of the Wiggles until I took up a babysitting gig while I was unemployed a few years ago. Man. Those guys creep me the hell out. But the kiddies seem to like them. Obviously, they've cleaned up the lyrics a bit.

  • Willie Nelson "Smells Like Teen Spirit" (Nirvana cover)
    It's too bad he sang so little of the song, I'd have liked it to go on longer.

  • Screaming Jets "My Heart Will Go On" (Celine Dion cover)
    Unfortunately, I was working megastore music retail when Titanic came out and had to create a giant Christmastime Celine Dion display and endure hearing this song on the overhead speakers for months. On the plus side, we did get these ultra-cheap tacky little promotional "Le Coeur de la Mer" pendants to give out with a purchase of the soundtrack, which I wore en masse many times. You'd be surprised how fancy you can look wearing 15 of those at a time. I think I still have one somewhere; I should wear it more often.

  • Mark Lizotte "I Write the Songs" (Barry Manilow cover)
    If you told me this was the Black Crowes, I'd probably believe you. An interesting take.

  • Gina Jeffreys "Kryptonite" (3 Doors Down cover)
    3 Doors Down? ZZZZzzzz. Gina Jeffreys? Better than 3 Doors Down. As if that means anything.

  • Josh Joplin "Eye of the Tiger" (Survivor cover)
    Eh, it's okay. Kinda reminds me of 3 Doors Down though.

  • The Delltones "Pretty Vacant" (Sex Pistols cover)
    Doo-wop punk? I'm all for it.
  • Sunday, July 10, 2005

    Notice me. Take my hand.

    Today I give you tracks from CDs put out by a few foreign (to me, anyhow) radio stations. Apparently the new rage is to get current local pop stars to cover songs old and new for albums to benefit various charities. And I'm, obviously, all for that. I'm sharing tracks from two different albums today, and I have others for the days to follow. I think you'll mostly be pleasantly surprised. At least I am.

    From Ireland's today FM Even Better Than the Real Thing Vol. 2 (I posted tracks from the first volume way back when):

  • Bell x1 "Like I Love You/Slow" (Justin Timberlake/Kylie Minogue cover medley)
    This is the first I've heard of Bell x1 and I'm very intrigued. They sound so sexy. Or maybe it's the Sixteen Horsepowerish banjo feel. Or the bottle of wine I've had tonight has gone to my head, among other places.

  • Mickey Harte "I Don't Want You Back" (Eamon cover)
    It'd be better with the curse words intact—"feck"?—but go Mickey! Anyone who could make this song somewhat listenable is okay by me.

  • Glen Hansard & Colm MacConlomaire of The Frames "Every Time" (Britney Spears cover)
    The original was always a huge guilty pleasure for me, even if they did remove the blood from the bathtub scene in the video. Britney running so earnestly in little else but a man's white oxford shirt? It touched me, y'all. This version as well makes me want to make out with hot Irish guys. (Yeah. I shouldn't drink so much before posting.)

  • Vyvienne Long "Seven Nation Army" (White Stripes cover)
    I need more cellists in my life. My sole dreamy cellist friend, Joey, moved to California a few years ago. Whenever I smell sandalwood I think of him. Hand claps, on the other hand, remind me of participating in Catholic-school sing-along songs that involved ridiculous hand motions and whatnot. I'm so glad I'm not Catholic anymore.

    From Australia's Triple J station's Like A Version:

  • The Pictures "Milkshake" (Kelis cover)
    A lo-fi garagey "Baba O'Reilly"-sounding Kelis cover? And not changing all the boys to girls? Yes, please, a thousand times yes! (Although I do hate it when a band doesn't even find out the lyrics before covering a song. "I want it all"? Um. No. It's "Warm it up." Guys are the worst at guessing lyrics, I swear. no offense.)

  • Darren Hanlon "Don't Stop" (Fleetwood Mac cover)
    I feel similarly about this Hanlon chap as I do about Bell x1, which is weird since one of my many idiosyncrasies is an irrational anti-attraction I have to Australian men. No, I don't know where it comes from either. I'm nuts.

  • The Cat Empire "Hotel California" (Eagles cover)
    Hotel California was one of the first albums in my dad's record collection I began listening to nonstop once I was old and alert enough to realize how fucking awesome my dad's record collection was. (Seriously, how cool my dad is still freaks me out regularly, people.) This version is my introduction to the Cat Empire, whom I seem to like despite my aversion to reggae-influenced acts. (A few ska bands aside.) French lyrics and what I believe to be an accordion help it. It's very Moulin Rogue meets Buena Vista Social Club. (Heh, and they said I couldn't be a music critic!) I like this better than the songs available on their site, but they seem like a band that would put on a good show. Even if they do look like frat boys. (Not that I have anything against frat boys. I'm sure some have redeeming qualities. Really.)
  • Saturday, July 09, 2005

    Nothing can move us ... we should be moving.

    Politically, I have a few issues with the Live 8 performances, but I don't maintain this blog to engage in political debates. Therefore, I will direct you to this page, which features QuickTime movies of all of the Live 8 performances—a handful of which were covers. (Rumor has it that you can watch all the performances at as well, but I'm sure as hell not heading over there or linking to them to find out.)

    Here are the covers I had the patience to root out that you can check for once you get there (there are probably more than those listed, but my eyes glazed over after a while):

    In London:
  • Ms. Dynamite covering Bob Marley's "Redemption Song"
  • Robbie Williams covering Queen's "We Will Rock You"
  • Dido singing the Neneh Cherry part of "7 Seconds" with Youssou N'Dour

    In Philadelphia:
  • Maroon 5 covering Neil Young's "Rockin' in the Free World"

    In Berlin:
  • Die Totenhosen covering the McCoys' "Hang on Sloopy"
  • Green Day covering Queen's "We are the Champions"
  • Juan Diego Flores" singing Rodgers and Hammerstein's "You'll Never Walk Alone"
  • Roxy Music doing their version of John Lennon's "Jealous Guy"
  • Otto Waalkes singing Billy Joel's "Piano Man"

    In Paris:
  • Craig David and Tina Arena dueting the Beatles' "Come Together"
  • David Hallyday covering the Knack's "My Sharona"

    In Rome:
  • Noa covering Alan Parsons Project's "Eye in the Sky"
  • Thursday, July 07, 2005

    Thursday night your stocking needed mending.

    I'm currently loving the Thai psych/garage madness (both the covers and the originals) of Thai Beat A Go-Go Volumes 1 and 2. Fans of the's are likely to enjoy. Here's a little sampler:

  • Payom Moogda "Tamai Dern Sae (What'd I Say)" (Ray Charles cover)
    Apparently this track's Thai title translates into "Why do you walk like a drunkard?" Awesome.

  • Sakarin Boonpit "Kotmorn Yoop Yap (All Shook Up)" (Elvis Presley cover)

  • Sodai Chaengkij "Shake Baby Shake" (which is actually "Cool, Cool Ways") (Jerry Lee Lewis cover)

  • Sodai Chaengkij "Lady Madonna" (Beatles cover)
    I think Sodai is my favorite, so I gave you two of her tracks.

  • Suda Chuenbarn "Funky Broadway" (Christian)

  • Traces "Je T'aime, Moi Non Plus" (Serge Gainsbourg cover)
  • Tuesday, July 05, 2005

    A place nobody dared to go ... except Menudo and me.

  • Menudo "Xanadu" (ELO/Olivia Newton-John cover)
    Oh ... my... God. My pal Louis—whose Damaged Hearing radio show you can (and should) listen to here on Tuesday afternoons and Friday nights—sent me this Holy Grail today and I'm freaking out. This is in the category of covers I knew existed and desperately wanted but hadn't been able to locate on my own. A rarity, that. I believe this is the first incarnation of Menudo (read: Ricky Melendez, not Martin) and I'm in love with the horror of it. It hits me like a cannonball.

    Somewhat related—and I'm dating myself big-time here (yeah, MTV, I actually lived in a '70s house): Does anyone remember the episode of Silver Spoons where Ricky Stratton (Ricky-now-Rick Schroeder) sneaks into a hotel to convince Menudo to play at his birthday party so he can impress a girl he likes and they come out on that little train and play a song, I think, and when the song is over, the girl screams, "Ricky, I love you!" and rich-kid Ricky thinks she's talking about him, but she was really talking about Ricky in Menudo and she runs to him and hugs him and Ricky Stratton is all heartbroken? That was the shit.

    Also related: Does anyone remember the little mini-videos Menudo had on ABC in the early '80s that inexplicably replaced Schoolhouse Rock, I believe, that were about the most inane subjects ever? For decades now whenever I go to a "shopping mall," I get that damned song stuck in my head. "If there's anything you like, you can always find it in the shopping mall. Made in China, Philippines ... something something something ... in a shopping mall." Dude, according to Menudo, you can even find parrots that speak French in shopping malls. I've no proof of that though. How can there not be a site somewhere dedicated to those snippets? I need MP3s and video. Desperately. Louis? Anyone?

    One more thing. Spanish speakers help me out here: Am I hearing things or does this translation indicate that someone is playing an "armonica fantastico"? There wasn't a reference to a fantastic harmonica in the original, but there should have been!
  • We're all so famous!

    So I was linked in yesterday's LA Times article on MP3 blogs, huh? I guess I should actually start posting more regularly for the next few weeks. (Which has actually been my plan now that the holiday weekend is over.) Look for some new tracks tonight.

    Monday, July 04, 2005

    Dance in front yo' mirror when you're on the phone.

  • Wang Chung "Hot in Herre" (Nelly cover)
    Thanks to reader MuffinMan who was able to get me this MP3 so you can download the best cover performed on the otherwise godawful run of Hit Me Baby One More Time.