Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It's not a bad thing. It's not a good thing.

Hey, kids, I'm here to announce my participation in NaNoCoMo. Yes, considering I just made that up, that does mean I'm the sole participant. Basically, my plan is to post at least two covers a day every day in November. And while NaNoCoMo won't officially begin until tomorrow, today I will point those clamoring for downloadable DIY Guided By Voices tribute albums created by GBV fans from the Postal Blowfish mailing list to the Monumental Box.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

We're all in the mood for a melody.

Hey, New Yorkers! If you're looking for something different to do tomorrow on the LES, why not head out to a free all-covers show performed by rock pianist (and environmentalist!) Danny Ross? I mean, seriously, you know it's been ages since your last all-covers piano-rock show. Am I right? If it were happening here, I know I'd go.

Who: Danny Ross
What: Covers Show
When: Friday October 26th, 8PM, FREE!, Ages 21+
Where: Rockwood Music Hall, 196 Allen St just south of Houston in Manhattan's Lower East Side

Friday, October 19, 2007

Who loves you, pretty baby?

So, I thought that when I finally posted new tracks I'd keep with my power pop theme. Then, via an outing in celebration of my mother's birthday, my focus shifted after attending a performance of the Chicago production of:

Jersey Boys is really a cute show. Well, either that or the guys playing the Four Seasons were really cute. Or both. If you're looking for a lame review from me, I'll say that the book was a tad cheesy for my taste, but the sets were cleverly done and the performances of the actors were solid, especially when it came to the crux of all musicals: singing and dancing. OMG, cute guys in suits (including the dreamiest Drew Gehling playing Bob Gaudio to the geekiest degree!) harmonizing and dancing in sync? In heaven—heh, as if!—they'll surround me for eternity!

So, yeah, I got on a Four Seasons/Frankie Valli kick and dug through my collection as well as gathered a few things I didn't have previously to bring you this whopping post. Yes, you're seeing 30 tracks there, ladies and gentleman! That's the most I've ever posted at one time, but I figure I waited so long to post, you deserve it. (Well, that and that this is only 1/3 of what I could have posted and what I was able to narrow it down to.) Let's all just cross our fingers that my bandwidth is as ready for action as I am.

  • Edith Massey "Big Girls Don't Cry" (Four Seasons cover)
    Ah, this is a weirdo classic I've meant to post at least a million times but never got around to—as well as the first of two John Waters stars covering a Four Seasons song in this post. We miss you and your eggs, Edith!

  • Liquor Giants "Big Man In Town" (Four Seasons cover)
    Because I never go in order when I write about tracks, this is the last one I'm writing and I'm burned out and don't have much to say except that I tend to like big men. Right now, Steve Agee has replaced Donal Logue as my No. 1 celebrity crush because I think he'd be more likely to want to just sit around watching stupid shit on TV with me.

  • King Kurt "Bye, Bye, Baby (Baby Goodbye)" (Four Seasons cover)
    I was going to post the Bay City Rollers version of this instead, but I caught a snippet of Love Actually on cable the other day and decided that its inclusion in a RomCom means enough people have heard it already.

  • The Colourfield "Can't Get Enough Of You Baby" (Four Seasons cover)
    I wish I could be more open-minded and loving when it comes to acts that cover songs to the point of terrorizing ubiquity, but I can't. Therefore, Smash Mouth's version of this song makes me shudder to this day, and in the wake of its reign, listening to any version is difficult. That said, I do have a soft spot for British new wave Terry Hall (ex Specials and Fun Boy Three, natch) projects. This reminds me of the Lightning Seeds. Of course, this recording preceded the Lightning Seeds first album by about five years, so I guess the Lightning Seeds remind me of this.

  • Grapefruit "C'mon Marianne" (Four Seasons cover)
    The cool thing about being in a psych (or psych-era) band in the '60s is that you could cover a hit less than a year or two after the original hit for no apparent reason and no one would bat an eyelash. But that was mostly because most people weren't buying psych albums. Sorry, kids.

  • Basil Henriques & the Waikiki Islanders "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" (Frankie Valli cover)
    Had I so desired, I could have posted 30 tracks of covers of this song and this song alone. And then done 30 more the next day. I do not so desire. This is the first of a handful of instrumental covers in this post.

  • Ken Yokoyama "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" (Frankie Valli cover)
    I know you were thinking: Wow, six songs in and no Japanese punk yet? Patience, my pretties. Patience.

  • Mina "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" (Frankie Valli cover)
    Mina sings one of my all time favorite foreign language songs ("Ta-ra-ta-ta," in case you're curious), so I figured I'd throw her version in here.

  • Shiina Ringo "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" (Frankie Valli cover)
    Not my favorite of her covers, but better than a lot of the ones I didn't post.

  • ZARD "Can't Take My Eyes Off Of You" (Frankie Valli cover)
    This version made the list because of the kids in the chorus. Yay for kids in choruses!

  • The Rockin' Berries "Dawn (Go Away)" (Four Seasons cover)
    See what I wrote for "C'mon Marianne."

  • The Fatback Band "December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night!)" (Four Seasons cover)
    The major cause of perceived fatback/backfat is actually an ill-fitting bra. Don't you pay any attention Oprah or Tim Gunn? Get fitted, already!

  • Yannick "Ces Soirées La" ["December, 1963 (Oh, What A Night!)]" (Four Seasons cover, French)
    Not to ruin the surprise for those who plan to see Jersey Boys, but it [SPOILER ALERT!] opens with a brief performance of a version of this cover. I found it a curious, almost jarring intro, but that was mostly because I think the temporary tension and confusion of all the Baby Boomers in the audience when they saw a person of color in baggy pants and crooked baseball cap was palpable and it seeped into me via osmosis.

  • ApologetiX "December, 5 or 6 BC (Oh, Holy Night!)"< (Four Seasons cover/parody/Bible story)
    Did you know there was a Christian parody band setting Bible stories to the tunes of hits from yesterday and today? Well, you're soaking in it. And you know, as jaded as I am, I've heard much worse. And old friend/co-worker of mine is a pastor and Christian musician and even she once told me, "The very best Christian song is only as good as a very mediocre non-Christian song." So far, I've found her assessment more than accurate, but at least in this band's little parodies the focus is on teaching Biblical facts—facts as in the stories it tells are actually written in the Bible, not facts as in things written in the Bible have been proved in any way—and not on converting non-believers. Anyhow, they have songs set to tracks as varied as Van Halen's "Panama" and Fountains of Wayne's "Stacey's Mom." Wait for it... "JC's Mom"!!! You know you're curious!

  • Johnny Johnson & Bandwagon "Let's Hang On" (Four Seasons cover)
    Dear Motowny/Northern Souly covers of '50s/'60s pop hits: You almost always rule. Thanks for everything! Love, Liza.

  • Queimada "Let's Hang On" (Four Seasons cover)
    This is my mother's favorite Four Seasons song (the original is, not this version, obviously) but it's only sung in the show in a very short snippet. I was kind of bummed for her. I like this version, not that it strays much from the original except accent-wise.

  • Richard Anthony "Tiens Bon" ["Let's Hang On"] (Four Seasons cover, French)
    Speaking of accents, this one's in a whole other language. Freaky!

  • Arthur Lyman "My Eyes Adored You" (Frankie Valli cover)
    The king of exotica and the king of covers, both the musical kind and the packaging kind.

  • Esther Phillips "Native New Yorker" (Frankie Valli / Odyssey cover)
    This is sort of a stretch since the first group to have a hit with it was Odyssey, but Frankie recorded it first. You can tell it was written for him once you know, can't you? There are a handful of covers of this, but I chose this one for its sassiness. (And because I don't think I've ever typed the word sassiness before, and I like it!)

  • Die Five Tops "Rag Doll" (Four Seasons cover, German)
    This one's in German.

  • The Quick "Rag Doll" (Four Seasons cover)
    Let not this post fool you, I'm still immersed in my newfound obsession with power pop. Therefore, I was excited to be able to pull out this glammy power pop nugget for this occasion. The Quick was a DIY Los Angeles band led by a young, effete-as-ever Danny Wilde (I forgive you the ubiquity of the Friends theme, my love!) and I would like to invent a time machine, set it to 1976 and stalk them.

  • Pete Anderson "Sherry" (Four Seasons cover)
    Weird that both of the "Sherry" covers are instrumentals, but at least they're totally different genres of instrumental music, I guess. (Actually, it's not so weird in fact because there aren't really that many "Sherry" covers out there, lyrics or no.) I wouldn't have guessed I'd run into any roots-rock guitar Four Seasons covers in my scavenges, but I would have been wrong. I guess it really HAS all been done! The Barenaked Ladies have pwned me yet again!

  • Santo & Johnny "Sherry" (Four Seasons cover)
    Now THIS is the kind of instrumental guitar Four Seasons cover I expected to hear. As we learned above, there's room for all kinds of interpretations in Jesus' world.

  • LB "Silence Is Golden" (Four Seasons cover)
    Well, just as I couldn't not post a Japanese punk cover today, I certainly couldn't have a post this long that didn't feature at least one "that doesn't sound anything like the original at all" track. Leave it to our old friend LB (aka Lassigue Bendthaus & DJ Atom Heart & SeƱor Coconut & Uwe Schmidt) to weird things up for us electronically!

  • The Klaxons "The Night" (Frankie Valli cover)
    A pretty standard indie cover, yet I find it very sexy.

  • David Bisbal "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine (Anymore)" (Four Seasons cover, partially in Spanish)
    True, the Walker Brothers version is likely more famous, but again, Frankie et. al. did it first. There are millions of versions of this one as well, but I thought it was about time for cheesy Spanish disco.

  • Keane "The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine (Anymore)" (Four Seasons cover)
    Keane is a band I sometimes secretly like and sometimes secretly hate. The lead singer is pretty damned dreamy in person, though, as I saw him once at SmartBar after the M.I.A./LCD Soundsystem show a few years ago. Mmmm, corduroy pants...

  • Divine "Walk Like A Man" (Four Seasons cover)
    Every year around Halloween, I say I'm going to go as Divine. Then every year around Halloween, I realize that I have nowhere near the amount of money I would need to create the perfect Divine costume, and I won't do it if it's not perfect. Most of my inactivity isn't laziness; it's perfectionism!

  • Mary Jane Girls "Walk Like A Man" (Four Seasons cover)
    Ted Danson and Howie Mandel have gone on to much greener pastures since their performances in Blake Edwards' A Fine Mess, the soundtrack to which featured this gem. Danson is in two of my favorite shows (Damages and Curb your Enthusiasm) and Howie is somehow inexplicably charming America in that tedious game show. If only the Mary Jane Girls were able to meet the same fate. Listening to this, I'm guessing we can all see why that might not have meant to be. Oh no I didn't!!!

  • Oizone "Working My Way Back To You" (Four Seasons cover)
    Hey, the Japanese certainly don't corner the market on punk covers. We can't ignore UK punks and their "clever" names. (Oizone rhymes with Boyzone, get it? It's okay if you didn't. Trust me.)
  • Friday, October 12, 2007

    I like kites!

    If you were curious about the Yo Gabba Gabba clip of the Parallelograms covering Free Design's "Kites Are Fun" I mentioned an entry or two ago, you can now see it here.

    In other news, yes, I will post a new entry or two soon. I've been busy with job interviews and weather-shift-related colds and whatnot.