Monday, April 28, 2008

Like the sun, chasing all of the rain away.

I've been posting lots of YouTube videos lately, but it's become my insomnia-fueled, late-night pastime to randomly browse for covers by everyday people. This one was a pleasant surprise:

And remember adorable Anthony Hill, whose videos I posted about a year ago? Well, he's covered my favorite Syd Barrett song (I'm in a weird Pink Floyd et. al. phase lately), and he's charming as ever. Someone sign this guy already!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

There will be feasting and dancing in Jerusalem (or Hinsdale) next year.

I just learned via a MySpace bulletin that Heathers, a Dublin folk-punk-pop duo releasing an album on Plan-it-X Records sometime soon, will be touring the States with other Plan-it-Xer folk-punk-pop favorites (whose covers have been featured here in the past) Ghost Mice. Sadly, they do not have a show planned in Chicago proper (as of yet, anyhow), so I won't be able to catch them, but I still thought some of you might be interested in learning about them because they're pretty damned good and you might want to check them out if they're playing near you. Here are two videos of them performing The Mountain Goats' "This Year" and Tegan and Sara's "Nineteen," respectively. The quality of the videos might not be that great, but the talent shines through.

Update: I have to add their live version of this Spice Girls cover too because it's my jam!

Let's admit I made a mistake, but can we still be friends?

Welcome to my late-night/early-morning post inspired by the purchases I made earlier today (technically yesterday) for $1 or less at the used record store:

  • Paul Young "Love Will Tear Us Apart" (Joy Division cover)
    I feel over the years I've divulged a lot of personal information about my past with music of a somewhat embarrassing nature. I believe what I'm about to admit far surpasses all previous embarrassment. You ready? Okay, here goes: This is the first version of this song that I ever heard. Oh, god. And I didn't much care for it—or didn't much pay any real attention to it, anyhow—as you might imagine. I don't judge myself too harshly because I was only 8 when the original track was released. I was 10 or 11 when this version rolled around and pretty much didn't realize that the album this was on was nearly, if not completely, all covers. By the time I was 12 or 13, I'd heard the original and made the connection and most likely played it all cool like I was always in the know. But really? No one else around me knew either version, so I think I won that round.

  • Tim Curry "I Will" (The Beatles cover)
    Let's just say the last thing I expected upon purchasing two Tim Curry records was a reggae version of anything, let alone a Beatles ballad.

  • Robert Palmer "Can We Still Be Friends?" (Todd Rundgren cover)
    I'd totally forgotten about the Robert Palmer version of this song, which (again) might have been the first version I heard. It's difficult to say. Regardless, it's not really different enough a version to warrant a cover only a year after the release of the original. Whatever.

  • Leif Garrett "Bad to Me" (The Beatles cover)
    I already have a digital copy of this mildly horrifying (yet strangely soothing) album, but how could I turn down the prospect of owning a 12x12 photograph that includes a cameltoe in the clouds? Again, I'm only human, you know?

  • Randy Crawford "I've Never Been to Me" (Charlene cover)
    Oh, the freaky things you can learn about songs on Wikipedia. For instance, the Japanese version of this song is used in weddings—despite the fact that it's a song about loneliness, despair and (some would say, depending on which version you hear) abortion—possibly as a warning to those who choose not to marry. Yikes! conversely, I plan to reclaim my spinster power via irony by singing a rousing and prideful version of this the next time I'm at a karaoke bar.
  • Monday, April 21, 2008

    Catching sparks.

  • Ben Sollee "A Change is Gonna Come" (Sam Cooke cover)
    Usually when a record label sends me a track to promote, I download it and forget about it for a while. Especially if the word "jazz" is anywhere in the press release. But even jaded ol' jazz-fearing Liza has a heart that will melt via R&B-influenced bluegrass and a smooth-voiced cellist with glasses, So I'm posting this nearly immediately. I'm a human being here, people!

  • Brand New "Oh, Comely" (Neutral Milk Hotel cover)
    This is a live radio recording whose post-song banter references sports or something toward the end. Just so you know.

  • Candy Planet "You Just Haven't Earned it Yet, Baby" (The Smiths cover)
    Unrelated to this song at all: I went to Rory Lake's Karaoke Dreams at the American Legion in Bucktown last weekend and saw a guy do a rendition of Kirsty MacColl's "In These Shoes." Talk about songs you never thought you'd A) see on a karaoke list and B) see anyone actually perform.

  • Guitar ft. Ayako Akashiba "Just Like Honey" (The Jesus and Mary Chain cover)
    I'm a sucker for vocals by Japanese gals, what can I say?

  • Ida "For Shame of Doing Wrong" (Richard & Linda Thompson cover)
    I forgot how much I love Ida. Then I listen to nearly every track they've ever done and I'm instantly reminded.

  • Ledaswan "Head On" (The Jesus and Mary Chain cover)
    JAMC was big with my shuffle play today.

  • MarthaV "To Sir with Love" (Lulu cover)
    I like to sing this at karaoke because it's creepy. Okay, it's sentimental. But in the creepiest of ways.

  • Mirror Ball Associates "Promise of a New Day" (Paula Abdul cover)
    There are some songs that get covered that make me think "even if I don't wind up liking this, I'm ecstatic someone covered it." The existence of a cover of this makes me happy, but mostly because I always pretended she was saying "evil's calling and it's calling your name" instead of "eagle's calling...".

  • Star 61 "Polegada Irada (Angry Inch)" (Portuguese cover, song from the soundtrack of Hedwig and the Angry Inch)
    I think I've been meaning to post this every time I blog, yet I always forgot. That trend ends today.

  • The Guts "Different Drum" (Stone Poneys cover, comp. Mike Nesmith)
    This is another song that I like to belt out at karaoke. It's right in my range and I love the "you're great and all, but let's not commit" message of it, which was pretty rare in the form of poppy hits sung by women in the '60s.
  • Wednesday, April 16, 2008

    When the rain washes you clean, you'll know.

    I'm working on a new post for later today or tomorrow. Until then, you can download Dirty Power's live tribute to Fleetwood Mac's Rumours here, should you so desire.

    Friday, April 11, 2008

    More than merely surviving.

    Posting American Idol performances is not something I'd normally do, but I fear that many of you have written it off, which I understand. But every now and then, a phenomenally talented star will be a guest and take the stage and remind you how awesome he or she truly is. Annie Lennox singing Jimmy Cliff's "Many Rivers to Cross" (from the "Idol Gives Back" spiel) simply blew me away. And to think I almost chose not to set the DVR!

    Thursday, April 03, 2008

    The biology of purpose keeps my nose above the surface.

  • Trembling Blue Stars "Coming Up for Air" (The Go-Betweens cover)

  • The Dirtbombs "King's Lead Hat" (Brian Eno cover)

  • Girls Aloud "With Every Heartbeat" (Robyn cover)
    Guess who's going to the Robyn show in May? ME! Guess who's glad it isn't a Girls Aloud show instead? Me again! I'm also the one who wishes she could coax any of her singer-type guy friends to videotape themselves covering Robyn songs and add them to YouTube. Like this:

  • Girls Under Glass "Frozen" (Madonna cover)
    Ah, gothy, industrial techno! Dammit if you still don't hold a place in my (16-year-old) heart!

  • Joey Yung "Crush" (Jennifer Paige cover)

  • Kentucky Prophet "Making the Nature Scene" (Sonic Youth cover)
    Dear dorky, chubby white guys who make crazy homemade jams like this: Keep on keepin' on, my brothers.

  • Nemesis "The Shape of Things to Come" (from Wild in the Streets, comp. Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil)
    My favorite '60s cult movie, Wild in the Streets, has been on cable a lot recently and I watch it each time. This prompted me to grab the first cover of this track I had at the ready. Sadly, this is not by the gay Mormon brothers from the reality TV show and is, instead, by a Virginian prog metal outfit. Or maybe that's for the best, really.

  • New Buffalo "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" (Nina Simone cover, comp. Bennie Benjamin, Gloria Caldwell and Sol Marcus)
    This is the chick who wrote Fesit's hit, "1234."

  • The Sisters Euclid "Cinnamon Girl" (Neil Young cover)
    Admittedly, the prospect of listening to a bluesy, experimental, instrumental all-Neil-Young covers album from Canada didn't excite me. But I have to admit it's pretty interesting. It wouldn't be my cup of tea most days, but it suited me just fine tonight.

  • Sondre Lerche "Night and Day" (comp. Cole Porter)

  • The Vitamin String Quartet "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)" (Arcade Fire cover)
    I have to admit that, as much as I mock them and their seemingly endless permeation into my consciousness, string quartet tributes sometimes aren't all that bad. Or maybe they are but I just get in the mood for bad stuff more frequently than most. All things are possible.

  • Subway Knife "Please Freeze Me" (Guided by Voices cover)

  • Tinyfolk "Five Years" (David Bowie cover)
    I'm kind of in a Tinyfolk phase. All of their covers delight me.

  • Yngwie Malmsteen "Magical Mystery Tour" (Beatles cover)
    This comes from an album called Butchering the Beatles, but honestly? It gets a lot worse than this.