Thursday, June 28, 2007

When the sun shines we'll shine together.

I got one of the most shocking and unexpected birthday gifts today in my e-mail: a message from a label rep who actually sent me a link to a cover song! Therefore, I felt only right in pointing you all in the direction of Scott Simons (ex-The Argument, whose cover of the Cars' "Hello Again" was pretty good and was posted here a few years back) and his version of Rihanna's spring/summer jam, "Umbrella." You can download it here or over at his MySpace page. Man, these dreamy solo male indie singer/songwriters are practically tripping over themselves to turn crunk and/or R&B hits into sensitive ballads lately, aren't they? Whatever. I'm down.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Within the reach of my hands.

Yesterday I had the somewhat lame idea to do a two-for-Tuesday type of thing today and, in the middle of figuring out what songs to use, I realized that it was already Tuesday and I wouldn't actually be posting until Wednesday. The best-laid plans, eh? Here were a few that were on my "maybe" list.

  • Lampshade "Good Day Sunshine" (Beatles cover)
    I didn't think I'd ever see the day when a Danish/Swedish twee cover of anything might be too sickly sweet for even me. Seriously, this is by far not the worst cover I've heard of this, nor is it all that bad if twee Scandinavian covers are your bag, but it makes my teeth hurt.
  • Roy Redmond "Good Day Sunshine" (Beatles cover)
    Man, talk about channeling Otis for an awesomely soulful cover. I can't find out too much about this Roy Redmond character, but I'm guessing one Otis Redding was enough for everybody.

  • Kunamaka "Hunting High and Low" (A-ha cover)
    In an alternate reality, Mike Patton is French and this is one of his many projects.
  • Sissel Vera Pettersen and Nikolaj Hess "Hunting High and Low" (A-ha cover)
    I can't say that ethereal vocal/piano jazz is necessarily my thing, but I am pleasantly surprised by By This River, the collaboration cover album from Danish piano/composer Nikolaj Hess and Norwegian vocalist/saxophonist/composer Sissel Vera Pettersen. Eno? A-ha? Blur? Depeche Mode? I'd rather hear those acts covered by jazz and/or classical musicians with technical skill than by a punk band full of 18-year-olds who can barely play.

  • EverEve "Fade to Grey" (Visage cover)
    Aside from a Nouvelle Vague here and a Konki Duet there, most covers of "Fade to Grey" are synthy, dancey tracks that sound like little more than Hi-NRG remixes of the original. This, at least, is a gothy, metally, synthy version replete with an introductory quote from Babylon 5.
  • The Gregorian Masters of Chant "Fade to Grey" (Visage cover)
    Remember when chant tributes were more poplar than bluegrass tributes? Those were the days, my friends.

  • Chrome "Here Come the Warm Jets" (Brian Eno cover)
    Ah, Chrome. The band so many people have never heard of who influenced so many of the same people's favorite bands. Isn't that always the way? I'm not sure which later incarnation of Chrome this is. Is it just Damon Edge? Is it just Helios Creed? I don't know, but it's still 100 times better than most of the stuff you find on electronic tribute albums.
  • Arturo Stalteri "Here Come the Warm Jets" (Brian Eno cover)
    Another jazz/classical instrumental piano arrangement perfect for my imaginary coffee shop.

  • Union 13 "Roots Radicals" (Spanish-language Rancid cover)
    I'm currently experiencing a bit of guilty pleasure in the form of the Tim Armstrong/Skye Sweetnam ska/pop "Into Action." Why guilty? I don't know exactly. Despite liking many ska, ska/punk, ska/pop songs, I never felt comfortable aligning myself with it. I never felt punk or mod or cool or lame or whatever enough. I didn't have enough tattoos or a poor enough work ethic or something to fit in with the die-hard fans. My hesitance to commit today is probably just lingers from the '90s when I cared far more about what other people thought of me than I do now. Aaaanyhow, Tim Armstrong's new "guilty" pleasure reminded me that I once considered a few Rancid songs to be my "guilty" pleasures. This Spanish-language version by Los Angeles's Union 13 makes me happy, although I suspect that if it were in English I wouldn't like it as much.
  • The Covert Agency "Roots Radicals" (Rancid cover)
    See? These guys don't sound guilty about it in the least.

    Also, in honor of my good friend Eric's birthday today—which is always a pleasant stepping stone into my own birthday tomorrow—here's some video of a live cover of Clutch's "Big News" as performed by Dozer and featuring Troy and Bill from Mastodon also—aka people from bands I might appreciate a little more if I were a big angry man. But, hey, Dozer's from Sweden, so I can't be completely disinterested in them.

  • Friday, June 22, 2007

    You miss too much these days if you stop and think.

    Judge me harshly if you must, but I've never been much of a U2 fan. Therefore—although I have many—covers of U2 songs tend not to excite me very much. All of that said, I'm kind of in love with SongFight regular Jeff Fal's Add Musical Program podcast (which is often chock-full of covers) and his free downloadable tribute, Add Covers Achtung Baby. And if you like what you hear, you can download a slew of his originals as well directly from the ADD Home Page. I've been meaning to bring all of this up for a while, so why not now?

    Picture my amazement.

    There are a slew of Guided by Voices tribute acts out there, and most of them have MySpace pages, but for some odd reason I just found about the Girl Guides, who describe themselves as a "girls only!!" GBV covers project. I'm suspicious that that isn't true since there are male vocals on the cover of "Motor Away," but whatever. The stuff there is still delicious. Sadly, my favorite cover of the three on their MySpace page, "Always Crush Me," is the only one that's unavailable for download, but you should head over there to hear it anyway and to download the other tracks. Edit: "Always Crush Me" is now downloadable there thanks to Sarah of Girl Guides. We all win!

    Thursday, June 21, 2007

    Perfect from now on.

    For various reasons, I'd been thinking pretty seriously the past 24 hours about deleting this blog entirely or going on a hiatus. But then I thought how messed-up it would be for me to abandon one of the few things in my life that consistently brings both me and thousands of others—according to reviews, stats, comments and e-mail inbox—joy. Screw that. If any of you in my "real life" reading have nothing better to do with your lives that you spend part of it cataloging the things I say and do that piss you off so you can later attempt to lord it over me, that's your glitch, not mine. In the immortal words of Popeye, I am what I am. Take it or leave it.

    Please, faithful readers, no need to leave supportive (or otherwise) comments on this topic. I don't want to waste any more time thinking about or discussing it. I'm not going anywhere for now. I know most of you reading like what I do here and think I'm cool. And I like what I do here and think I'm cool. That's all that matters here.

    Now, let's get on with the show, shall we?

  • Speaking of shows, all of you Chicago indie rockers may be interested to know that my new e-acquaintance and fellow Guided By Voices fanatic, author John Sellers, is going to be in town soon for a few events. He's promoting his book Perfect From Now On: How Indie Rock Saved My Life, which I'm very much looking forward to reading. He'll be reading, signing, meeting and greeting at the Book Cellar at 7PM on Monday, July 2. Rumor has it there's wine involved, which is always exciting. If you can't make that event or you need a little more rock with your lit and liquor, he'll also be reading at the Beat Kitchen at 10:30PM on Saturday, July 7, followed/accompanied by Dayton's Billy Catfish and local faves Farewell Captain (who, rumor has it, are planning to perform an all-cover set of indie standards) and headlining hooligans extraordinaire, the premier Chicago-area (and beyond?) Guided By Voices tribute band, Textbook Committee. Should be a good time, provided you don't get so GBV-style drunk you don't remember where you were.

    And speaking of covers of indie staples...

  • Tom 7 "14 Cheerleader Coldfront" (Guided By Voices cover)
    My favorite track from Tom 7's downloadable tribute to GBV.

  • Nickel Creek "Spit on a Stranger" (Pavement cover)
    This made the rounds on the MP3 blog circuit about a year ago, and I say rightfully so. I'm all for twee bluegrass.

  • Rheinallt H. Rowlands "Gwawr Newydd Yn Cilio (New Dawn Fades)" (Welsh Joy Division cover)
    A reader (sorry, I don't remember who!) sent me this a while back, and I'm indebted. What other Welsh covers out there should I/we know about?

  • Richard Hawley "Some Candy Talking" (The Jesus & Mary Chain cover)
    Definitely one of the most worthwhile tracks on that Q cover sampler that came out a year or two ago.

  • Straylight Run "Velvet Waltz" (Built to Spill cover)
    Apparently there's some emo drama surrounding this band, but even I'm not bored enough to look up what it is.

  • Ruby Isle "Teen Age Riot" (Sonic Youth cover)
    How cute and poppy is that intro? I'm hoping to post an all-Sonic Youth post soon to celebrate that my best friend Ryan is visiting me next month and taking me to see Sonic Youth perform Daydream Nation at the Pitchfork fest. I've inexplicably never seen Sonic youth live before, but I figure that's the thing to see... even if it means I have to be outside for a few hours in a dusty field full of hipsters during sweltering mid-July.

  • Geoff Keezer "Lose My Breath" (My Bloody Valentine cover)
    You know that imaginary coffee shop of mine? Jazz piano versions of shoegaze classics will definitely be on the menu.

  • Axton Kincaid "I Wanna Be Adored" (The Stone Roses cover)
    One of the few Stone Roses covers that didn't make it into my Brit Pop-themed posts a few months back. And another twee bluegrass cover, since apparently that's what the kids are craving.

  • Maydrïm "Shakespeare's Sister" (The Smiths cover)
    Pretty, electronic, Spanish. Why not?

  • Brother Love Canal "Gigantic" (The Pixies cover)
    This is my homage to the soon approaching Pride festivities here in the city. I can totally see most people, especially die-hard Pixies fans, loathing this, but I have to admit it makes me laugh and I'd totally dance to its chill Vengaboysian rhythms. (This marks the third time in the blog's history that I've described a song as Vengaboysian, and I'm certain all the kids are eventually going to allow it to permeate their lexicon. Watch your etymological back, Rachael Ray!!!)

  • Dirt Bike Annie "Are you Ready for the Summer" (Meatballs theme, comp. Bernstein/Gimbel)
    Okay, this isn't an indie staple. It's just my way for saying Happy Summer to everyone out there who, unlike me, actually likes it and wants to celebrate it. And because Meatballs rules. Chris Makepeace, I miss you!!!
  • Friday, June 15, 2007

    Frightened of the things I might find.

  • The Hot Stewards "The Edge of Heaven" (Wham! cover)

  • Juliane Werding "Niemand Hat Zeit (Too Much Time on My Hands)" (German Styx cover)

  • Spouse "Voices Carry" ('Til Tuesday cover)

  • Ronnie Spector "You Can't Put Your Arms Around a Memory" (Johnny Thunders cover)

  • The Robustos "I Heard it Through the Grapevine" (comp. Whitfield/Strong)

  • The Black Kites "Lucretia My Reflection" (The Sisters of Mercy cover)

  • Jenny Owen Youngs "Hot in Herre" (Nelly cover)

  • The Creams "Yesterday" (The Beatles cover)

  • Voltaire "Caught a Lite Sneeze" (Tori Amos cover)

  • Beyond Mirth "Uninvited" (Alanis Morrissette cover)
  • Sunday, June 10, 2007

    I remember when I lost my mind.

    I hope this doesn't come off bitchy or anything, but I'd really appreciate it if those of you sending MP3s to my inbox would check to see whether or not I've already posted the tracks first. There is a search bar in the upper left corner of the site that should assist you in said endeavor. Granted, chances are good that even if I've not posted it, I already have it, but at least there's a chance I haven't.

    Similarly, all of you bands and PR people who tell me you "love my site" and want me to "review" your work? I'm calling bullshit because almost NONE of you seem to realize I ONLY POST COVER SONGS.

    Now to offset how cranky I am right now, reader K2 alerted me to this and I think I like it better than any of the tons of other covers of this track out there right now:

    Saturday, June 09, 2007

    Upstairs at Liza's

    Lately I've revisited what I thought was a long-gone obsession with Yazoo's Upstairs at Eric's album. It's generally the first LP I think to throw on the turntable when I'm doing housework. And it's as awesome as ever. Here's a little tribute:

  • 01 Terminal Choice "Don't Go" (Yaz/Yazoo cover)

  • 02 Blind Before Dawn "Too Pieces" (Yaz/Yazoo cover)

  • 03 The Hi-Fives "Bad Connection" (Yaz/Yazoo cover)
    This is my favorite of the lot. It makes me very happy.

  • 04 Marianne Nowottny "I Before E Except After C" (Yaz/Yazoo cover)

  • 05 Steve Adam "Midnight" (Yaz/Yazoo cover)

  • 06 Soviet "In My Room" (Yaz/Yazoo cover)

  • 07 Even in Blackouts "Only You" (Yaz/Yazoo cover)

  • 08 Suspiria "Goodbye Seventies" (Yaz/Yazoo cover)

  • 09 Tom Jones "Situation" (Yaz/Yazoo cover)

  • 10 Gold Chains & Jillian Eva "Winter Kills" (Yaz/Yazoo cover)

    And to make up for the fact that I was unable to locate evidence of anyone having covered the last track of the U@E album—"Bring Your Love Down (Didn't I)"—here are a few extra Yazoo-related tracks:

  • Garbo and Telepong "Nobody's Diary" (Yaz/Yazoo cover)

  • Fink "All Cried Out" (Alison Moyet cover)
  • Friday, June 01, 2007

    You must not know 'bout him.

    Just when the original managed to escape the constant playlist in my head, here comes a cover that puts it right back there. Thanks to reader Jill who pointed me in the direction of a guy named D and his cover of Beyonce's "Irreplaceable," which you can download over at his MySpace page. I'm loving it.