Sunday, September 24, 2006

I wanna give you my love, but you'll just take a little piece of my heart.

The covers in today's post are as random as ever, but I think I can honestly say that I pretty much like them all. Heh. "Pretty much." Way to commit, huh? Seriously, there is something I do like in all of these tracks and I hope you do too.

Oh, and hello to any new visitors who've found this as a result of the piece on covers in the new issue of Oxford American. (And thanks to Boyhowdy who alerted me to its existence.) I hope you have a good time here.

And while I'm in a rare typing mood, I feel as if I need to give a few disclaimers/reminders:

1. I very rarely, if ever, repost songs. If you missed something, I apologize, but I get lots of e-mails from people asking me to repost things. If I actually reposted all the tracks people wanted me to, I'd never get a chance to post anything new. That said, if there is A TRACK OR TWO you feel you desperately need, feel free to drop me a line at bigfatprettyface AT yahoo DOT com and I'll do my best to get it to you. But please keep in mind that it might not be instantaneous, as I get approximately 600 e-mails a week.

2. If you read my updates via an RSS feed aggregator or via a LiveJournal feed, there will be times when old posts will suddenly appear with non-working links, which happens as a result of my going back to an older entry to remove the links. Again, I apologize if you missed these posts initially, but I cannot repost the songs. Lately I've been keeping songs up for two weeks to a month and I feel that should be plenty of time for you to get the songs. If you don't read your feeds often and regularly miss tracks, I suggest you bookmark the site and check it once a week or so.

3. I do not generally take requests nor do I guarantee that songs submitted to me will appear here. You're welcome to send me a track or two, but it might not hit the blog. Also, I get LOTS of e-mail so submissions sent via sites like YouSendIt or often expire by the time I get to them. Please attach your files to the actual e-mail if you want to ensure I get it.

Okay, now that that's out of the way, here are today's tracks:

  • Monow "Loser" (Beck cover)
    Trip-hoppy, electronic and Italian. Love it.

  • And You Will Know Us By the Trail of the Dead "The Porpoise Song (The Theme from Head)" (Monkees cover)
    About a month or two ago, I became completely obsessed with Head, the Monkees' 1968 weirdo, psychedelic art flick. I'd seen it more than a decade ago for the first time, but I had a difficult time not hating it. I blame the lack of, um, proper intoxicants for that. Now I revel in it. I love the whole self-conscious "we hate being pre-fab" and "Big Brother is watching us" angles, especially when you consider the fact that no one would have even given a crap about a Monkees movie if it weren't for the pre-fab image. I also find myself excited imagining the certain awkwardness of, say, a 12-year-old kid who loved the benign TV show being accompanied by his or her parents to this inexplicably G-rated movie full of free-love and free-mind activities. That the movie begins with this out-of-the-ordinary (for the Monkees, anyhow) psychedelic Goffin/King-penned opus only adds to the delicious irony of everything: If you don't want us to trap you in a box and consider you only a manufactured product, why not write all of your songs, you know? (Note: The Peter Tork-written tracks on the soundtrack rule. Try not to hold the 7th Heaven episodes he's been in against him.) Aaaaaanyhow, manufactured or not, this song is bad-ass and has been covered by tons of great artists. This is only one example.

  • Handsome Hank and His Lonesome Boys "Video Killed the Radio Star" (The Buggles cover)
    I believe I was just complaining to a friend the other day that I'm sick of cover acts covering the same songs and referenced this as one that's covered far too frequently. I also complained about country & western-flavored cover acts. But when I heard this, I really liked it. Basically, you can't trust anything I say. Ever. Although believe me when I say that my favorite cover of this song is still Hi-Posi's. And what the hell? I don't think I had nearly one-fifth of the readers I have now back when I originally posted it, so here's that version too. As stated above, I almost never repost things I've already posted, so it's your lucky day—especially if weird and wonderful Japanese covers are your bag.

  • David Sugar "Just Like Heaven" (The Cure cover)
    This is another song of which I never wanted to hear another version, yet I'm glad I did.

  • The Polyphonic Spree "Lithium" (Nirvana cover)
    I love this. It's got the pop earmarks of all Polyphonic Spree songs, yet somehow retains the darkness of the original as well. Perfect for a song about bipolarism, really.

  • Rasputina "Fire & Ice" (Pat Benatar cover)
    There truly is a dearth of worthwhile Benatar covers. Thank you, Rasputina, for acknowledging her greatness with your quirky chamber pop.

  • Sicko "Closer to Fine" (Indigo Girls cover)
    I had totally forgotten about this cover until the other night when I drunkenly sang this song at karaoke with my friend Ray. I'm always a fan of bands covering songs you're surprised to find out they even know or like.

  • TBH "Penny Lane" (The Beatles cover)
    Caro Italy: Più, per favore. Mi piace.

  • Vitalic "Warm Leatherette" (The Normal cover)
    Ah, glithcy techno... why not?

  • The Arrogants "You Trip Me Up" (The Jesus and Mary Chain cover)
    It's not really much of a stretch for a dream-pop band to cover JAMC, but it's a pretty little cover nonetheless. Recommended if you're still into Mazzy Star or Mojave 3, which I can't particularly say I am.
  • Tuesday, September 19, 2006

    I need someone to take some joy from something I do.

    I've been meaning to bring up what I think is thus far my favorite tribute album of the year, the Belle and Sebastian tribute A Century of Covers. I'm a great fan of B&S and there are very few tracks on this tribute that I don't like, and it's turned me on to a slew of international artists I now want to further check out.

  • Bob Corn "I'm Waking Up to Us" (Belle and Sebastian cover)
    This one is my favorite, which sounds as if it's the product of a love child of Will Oldham and Paolo Conte. Heaven!

  • Billie the Vision and the Dancers "I'm a Cuckoo" (Belle and Sebastian cover)

  • John Wayne Shot Me "Waiting for the Moon to Rise" (Belle and Sebastian cover)

    Oh, and did I mention that, if you like the few tracks I've shared, you can get them along with EVERY OTHER TRACK ON THE ALBUM in .rar form right here from the gal who curated it, who also offers links to the participating bands? Pretty cool, no?

    Now, unrelated to B&S, I will present what has become my guiltiest cover pleasure lately. It's been around for years and it's sort of an abomination because I cherish the original so, but I can't help loving it:

  • Primal Scream feat. Kate Moss "Some Velvet Morning (New Version Extended Mix)" (Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood cover)
  • Monday, September 18, 2006

    The message lost in this machine.

    I'm kicking myself for linking to AOL, trust me, but you can stream the Yeah Yeah Yeahs covering the Rentals' "The Love I'm Searching For" here. Would that I were technologically savvy enough to turn it into an MP3, but I'm not. No, that wasn't a hint or anything. Far be it for me to recommend stealing from the AOL overlords.

    Friday, September 15, 2006

    It's harder than it looks.

    Around this time last year, I posted a cover of Dolly Parton's "Jolene" by Norway's Susanna and the Magical Orchestra that I really loved. (Me love a Scandinavian act who covers songs? Never!) Luckily for me, I learned recently that SATMO (my abbreviation, not theirs) released an all-cover album this year entitled Melody Mountain. Here are a couple featured on said album:

  • Susanna and the Magical Orchestra "It's a Long Way to the Top (If You Wanna Rock 'n' Roll)" (AC/DC cover)
    When this track started I had one of those freaky "I know all of the lyrics to this song but I can't place it" moments. Of course, when it got to the chorus, I figured it out, but it's refreshing to hear a cover that isn't nearly identical to the original for a change.

  • Susanna and the Magical Orchestra "Hallelujah" (Leonard Cohen cover)
    The original is probably close to No. 1 on my list of all-time favorite songs, and it's been covered several times by several artists. Even my favorite cover by John Cale doesn't stray far from the original in terms of pace, melody and overall feel of the original, which is near perfect. This version, though, has hit me in a new way. It's unbelievably the saddest version yet, and when it ends I want more.

  • Susanna and the Magical Orchestra "Enjoy the Silence" (Depeche Mode cover)
    By the time Depeche Mode's Violator came out, "alternative" was starting to become a buzz word to describe a lot of the music I was into and my backlash started. "Enjoy the Silence" was my least favorite track on the album, at least partially because everyone and their brother seemed to love it. (Not to mention that my crazy bisexual boyfriend at the time had inexpicably declared it "our song," the concept of which just plain irked me with its lameness.) Surprisingly, I can stomach this version. Maybe I'm just in a stark, ethereal mood lately.