Friday, December 22, 2006

Echoing their joyous strains.

  • Twelve Girls Band "All I Want for Christmas (Is You)" (Mariah Carey cover)
    A few years back I posted My Chemical Romance's version of this, which is still my reigning favorite, but I like this version as well. For different reasons.

  • Dan Bryk "Hard Candy Christmas" (Dolly Parton cover, from The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas)

  • Innocence Mission "Edelweiss" (comp. Rodgers & Hammerstein, from The Sound of Music)

  • June "A Wonderful Christmas Time" (Paul McCartney cover)

  • The Rabid Fans "God Rest Ye Weary Shoeless Joe" (Traditional)
    Not a true cover, of course, but it's insane and, therefore, share-worthy.

  • The Smashup "A Coventry Carol" (Traditional)

  • Young Fresh Fellows "O Little Town of Bethlehem" (comp. Brooks/Redner)

  • Leigh Nash "Maybe this Christmas" (Ron Sexsmith cover)

  • Lena Horne "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" (comp. Johnny Marks)

  • Nicotine "Do They Know It's Christmas?" (Band Aid cover)
    I'm always willing to forgive the Japanese for things I'd never forgive US bands for. Why is that, exactly?

  • Red Flag "Ave Maria" (comp. Schubert)
    Man. I haven't thought about Red Flag since my Medusa's days. (Non-Chicago folk: Medusa's was a legendary, multi-story all-ages house/synth/goth/punk/industrial club of the '80s & '90s that pretty much ruled.)

  • Reind Dears "(White) Christmas" (comp. Irving Berlin)

  • The Rev. Horton Heat "Santa Bring My Baby Back" (Elvis Presley cover)

  • Secretariat "Angels We Have Heard on High" (Traditional)

  • Syd Straw "(I Am Always Touched by Your) Presents, Dear" (Blondie cover)
    Leave it to Syd to rework this into a Christmas-themed song. I love Syd Straw so much. I'm a little biased because she is, by far, one of the most fun, gracious performers with whom I've had the pleasure to have a conversation or two. Here's my meeting-Syd story:

    More than 10 years ago, I was a hostess at a popular restaurant in Bloomington. Syd came up to pay the bill (I hadn't previously realized she was there) and said something like, "My boyfriend was coming up here to pay the bill, but I've been watching you and I told him I have to go talk to this amazing woman." (I'm not making this up!)

    I responded, "Oh my god! You're Syd Straw!" and she was surprised that I knew who she was. I went on to ramble like a star-struck moron about how I had just seen her cameo in Armistead Maupin's Tales From the City, that I loved her repeating role on The Adventures of Pete and Pete on Nickelodeon, that I had seen her sing backup for They Might Be Giants at the Taste of Chicago the year prior, and that I had taped her on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno doing the same. She said, in her amazing, unique southern drawl, "Wow... that's wiiiild."

    That same night I went to Second Story to see folksinger Iris DeMent since Syd said she'd be there. She and I wound up in the very back of the bar, talking so loudly people were shushing us. Maybe you're not familiar with Syd, but she is a wonderful singer/songwriter who's worked with or is friends with everybody who is anybody ever. I promise. I don't think anyone who meets her could NOT wind up being her friend. She's terribly funny and sweet. We talked REM, Kurt Cobain and Frances Bean and all the best gossip I can't remember now. Later that week, Syd went to the Thursday night karaoke that I'd told her about and she fabulously sang "D-I-V-O-R-C-E." I bought her a Stoli and cranberry and felt like the shit. When she played in Bloomington like a year and a half later (maybe two), she walked right up to me and said,"Hey, Liza! I bet you thought I wouldn't remember you!" She was right.

    About 5 or 6 years ago, I went to see her play at Schuba's and was waiting in line when she walked into the bar and who noticed me immediately and came by to chat. She told me she was nervous but that she thinks it'll be okay "because Elliott Smith is playing on the jukebox. I love Elliott Smith ." And, of course, I was the one who had played the song in the first place. ("Waltz #2," in case you're interested).

    Syd's songs are all witty and in that deliciously sentimental country-pop vein. But the best thing about her shows is that, even if you don't know her, you feel like you do. I always feel as if she's the host of a giant party and has been egged on by the guests to play. She is absolutely hilarious and I wish I could be around her all the time.
  • Saturday, December 16, 2006

    I don't need you to tell me what's going down.

    I'm not in a talky mood.

  • Class "Yuko & Hiro" (Blur cover)
    Many thanks to Peter of Class for sending this my way, as I could not locate my copy anywhere.

  • The Droyds "North Country Boy" (The Charlatans [UK] cover)

  • Ether Aura "I Speak Every Word" (Curve cover)

  • Katscan "Connection" (Elastica cover)

  • Eläkeläiset "Käänteishumppa (Tattva)" (Kula Shaker cover)
    Ah, crazy ol' Eläkeläiset.

  • Hinterland "For Love" (Lush cover)
    Barely sounds like a cover, but whatever. It's one of the most listenable tracks of the mediocre shoegaze tribute albums Never Lose that Feeling Vols. 1&2

  • Gillian Welch "Black Star" (Radiohead cover)
    I love Gillian and was very pleased to discover this.

  • CelTikA "Creep" (Radiohead cover)
    There are a million and half "Creep" covers out there (and a million and a half Radiohead covers in general) and I likely have most of them, so I tried to pick one you'd be less than likely to see someplace else. And you know you were craving Venezuelan power metal anyhow.

  • Amanda Rogers "No Surprises" (Radiohead cover)

  • Elvis Costello & the Attractions "What Do I Do Now" (Sleeper cover)

  • Year of the Rabbit "I Wanna Be Adored" (Stone Roses cover)
    This version is okay, but I'm a bit more partial to singer-songwriter Joshua English's version, which you can download for free at his site.

  • Mr. Hopkinson's Computer "Fools Gold" (Stone Roses cover)
    This cover makes me so very happy.

  • Mick Thomas & the Sure Thing "Made of Stone" (Stone Roses cover)

  • I Am the World Trade Center "Shoot You Down" (Stone Roses cover)

  • Flying Saucer Attack "The Drowners" ([The London] Suede cover)

  • Anthony Wong "Saturday Night" ([The London] Suede cover)

  • Mountain Goats "Trash" ([The London] Suede cover)

  • Of Montreal "Alright" (Supergrass cover)
    I wasn't going to post this because I think a lot of people have in the past and the quality isn't great, but it was either this or those god-awful versions of "Alright" and "Richard III" from the Donkey Konga games.

  • Scala & Kolacny Brothers "Bittersweet Symphony" (Verve cover)

  • Ben Harper "The Drugs Don't Work" (Verve cover)
  • Friday, December 08, 2006

    Chicago, we can change the world.

    Link: Our Favorite Chicago mp3 Blogs
    Many thanks for the mention to Andrew et al. over at Gapers Block. GB is the only Chicago-related blog I read regularly because its writers— unlike the folks over Chicagoist—aren't simply snark purveyors with poor editing skills. That's right, I said it, but I digress. (As if I should judge anyone else for being too snarky anyhow!) More importantly, thanks to those hip GBers for turning me onto Cake & Polka Parade, of which I was heretofore unaware. I loves me some crazy outsider weirdness.

    Thursday, December 07, 2006

    Something changed.

    First I planned to post some Christmas songs. Then I changed my mind and decided to go for actors singing badly. And then the third track listed below hit my shuffle play and I became obsessed with posting covers of hits from the Britpop heyday. These tracks represent the first installment of such, as I couldn't narrow it down to fewer than 20. And that was without finding any covers of Echobelly or Sleeper songs. Know of any? Help a sister out.

  • The Gimmicks "Girl from Mars" (Ash cover)
    Oh, Ash. I want to make out with them.

  • Terry Edwards & the Scapegoats "Girls & Boys" (Blur cover)
    This should be a traditional drinking song, methinks.

  • Popchor Berlin "Out of Time" (Blur cover)

  • Tony Evans "Wake Up, Boo!" (Boo Radleys cover)
    Oh, my. This comes from a dance instruction CD, so it's watered down... presumably so you can better hear the beats and tango your heart out. Um, yeah. Only included here because I was shocked it existed.

  • Yazbek "Son of a Gun" (The La's cover)
    Hey, did you know that the La's had songs besides "There She Goes"? And that somone covered one of them? Shocking but true.

  • Celluloide "Light from a Dead Star" (Lush cover)
    I've heard a handful of Celluloide covers and they all pretty much sound exactly like this. But that's synthpop for you, I suppose.

  • Evan Dando "Live Forever" (Oasis cover)
    Hey, did you know that there were artists who covered Oasis songs besides "Wonderwall"? We just keep learning new things today, don't we? (And, yes, I have tons of covers of other Oasis songs, I just needed to narrow it down.)

  • Kind of Like Spitting "Common People" (Pulp cover)
    Recorded live at Le Jive Music Cafe in Wyandotte, MI. Wow, Ben sounds so angry. I like it.

  • Cracklin' Moth "Mis-Shapes" (Pulp cover)
    This live version was recorded at Schuba's here in Chicago, as this is a local band. A local band who happens to be playing tonight at The Hideout. A local band I'd actually go check out tonight at The Hideout if:

    A. I weren't recovering from a cold
    B. I lived anywhere near The Hideout
    C. I had any disposable income whatsoever
    D. Small, smoky, crowded spaces didn't freak me out
    E. All of the above

    Answer: E

    But don't let my endless list of quirks keep you from going. Vive le rock, and whatnot.

  • Astrud "Algo Cambió (Something Changed)" (Spanish Pulp cover)
    Wow. The mid-song banter in this is so fast, I've no chance of deciphering it. Still, I'm all for foreign-language Pulp covers.

  • Roisin Murphy "Sorted for E's and Wizz" (Pulp cover)
    What? Pulp songs aren't gay enough on their own? In the movie of my life, this could SO be the track playing as I, wearing the tightest silver spandex top in the universe, practically pass out at Vortex at age 19.

  • And, if you feel I've slighted you on bands performing live Pulp covers, former Bloomington, IN band Cadmium Orange covered "Disco 2000" and you can find it available over at their Musical Family Tree page. (Track 23 from "Too Hungry to Vote.")
  • It opened up my eyes.

    Link: YouTube User DanceTomatoTree
    Whoa. Just when I thought I had too much time on my hands and have wasted it by choosing to spend it collecting covers, a Google search leads me to a slew of videos created by Dance Tomato Tree, a YouTuber who has enough time to take cover songs (many of which had been posted here) and replaces the original audio of the original artists' videos with the covers. Like this Twang version if Blur's "Song 2", among many others, such as Chugga Chugga's version of Ace of Base's "The Sign":