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Archive for August, 2008

Dreadlock Holiday

Thursday, August 28th, 2008


As the bold type speaketh above, I’m going to be outta of town, so no updates
for the next few days, sorry 🙁 .
I won’t leave you hanging though. Fittingly I thought I’d make today’s entry
John Denver
‘s sadly ironic Leaving on a Jet Plane, by reggae stalwarts
David Isaacs
(a Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry affair) and Glen Adams & The Reggae Boys (a rare
single on Gas).
See y’all when I get back!

David Isaacs – Leaving on a Jet Plane
Glen Adams And The Reggae Boys – Leaving on a Jet Plane


Greatest ‘Misses’

Wednesday, August 27th, 2008

Pretty much every big musician in the 70’s fell for disco’s charms in some shape or another. The Rolling Stones, no strangers to R&B of any form, also felt the pull of the funky four on the floor tractor beam and recorded the lofty #1 hit, Miss You.
Needless to say, Miss You makes great bedfellows with any dance beat and bossa n’ house go-to cover band, Groove da Praia churn out a rather breezy affair; a perfect soundtrack for knocking back $14 drinks at The Standard. Also quite danceable from this lot is Mirwais and his born again Disco Science version of Miss You.
What works for dance usually works just as good for reggae and The Dynamics deliver with their rather upbeat rendition.
Calexico bring theirs back to the rock side with their mostly faithful to the original, bluesy harmonica take.
While I love all these cuts, heads and tongues above the rest is Little Creatures. Enlisting ShibuyaKei diva UA (Towa Tei, Hiroshi Fujiwara, Mondo Grosso, Dub Station) for vocals, the Creatures slow Miss You to a crawl and redress it as a moody downtempo exotica affair. What’s Japanese for ‘spooky yet rad’?

Groove da Praia – Miss You

Mirwais – Miss You
The Dynamics – Miss You

Calexico – Miss You (Live)
Little Creatures (with UA) – Miss you


Diffrent Strokes

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

I truly believe that The StrokesLast Nite,and it’s accompanying video, did for ‘grunge’ what Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit did to the last vestiges of heavy metal; pounded that last nail in the coffin. For better or for worse, it was all skinny ties and distressed Levis from then on, but hey at least it paved the way for Interpol, The Walkmen, The Harlem Shakes, et al.
With all that in mind it seems that I’m not the only one who wants to pay tribute. First off is soul revivalist Adele; can’t front, love this version she did for Jo Whiley. Michigan’s 99% cover act The Detroit Cobras do a somewhat faithful garage rendition.
France’s answer to Daniel Johnston, Grum Lee, grunts and gruffs his way through his very special version.
UK downtempo act Jumbonics deliver a funky, soulful and symphonic-lite cover.
Last Nite also see the return of Mambo Kurt. One can never get enough of Mambo Kurt and his lounge antics. Speaking of which, lastly there is The Diff’rent Strokes who recorded an EP’s worth of hilarious little Casio keyboard Strokes covers. Side note; this project is rumored to be either Damon Albarn (Blur, Gorillaz) or Jarvis Cocker (Pulp) or both. I’m imagining this is what will be piped in at the old folks home I will one day occupy, which is fine by me, now where was I? Has anyone seen my slippers? I think the nurses here are trying to poison me!

Adele – Last Nite
The Detroit Cobras – Last Nite
Jumbonics – Last Nite
Grum Lee – Last Nite
Mambo Kurt – Last Nite
The Diff’rent Strokes – Last Nite


Rockit, Man

Monday, August 25th, 2008

Here is The Dynamics alter ego Taggy Matcher with their A M A Z I N G dubbed out ska rendtion of Herbie Hancock‘s pioneering electro classic Rockit (also my all time favorite video I might add). After hearing this for the first time, many a family record was ruined by my feeble adolescent attempts at scratching on the all-in-one tv/stereo combo. But hey, that’s one less Streisand album.

Taggy Matcher – Rockit



Cheat Sheets

Sunday, August 24th, 2008

Y’know this post was originally going to be a kind of soul versus reggae clash of Hank WilliamsYour Cheatin’ Heart, with James Brown representing all that’s funky and Winston Groovy representing the reggae, but poor little Pairote from Thailand sounds like he (and his chipmunk apparently) really had his broken, so we’ll include his little Tee Makhuea Pok too.

James Brown – Your Cheating Heart
Winston Groovy – Your Cheating Heart
Pairote – Tee Makhuea Pok (Your Cheatin’ Heart)


Bjorn Baby

Saturday, August 23rd, 2008

I don’t know about you but at this point my lips are severely chapped from whistling along to
Young Folks by Stockholm indie monsters Peter Bjorn and John with Victoria Bergsman (Especially, I might add, the Erol Alkan/Beyond The Wizard’s Sleeve Mix). This is one of those songs that is so infectious, so instantaneously classic, that it makes it ripe for a cover version of any sort.
Well, being careful what you wish for gets you this fantastic little down home Kentucky Bluegrass version from, er,
New York’s Dawn Landes. Knock this baby back and you’ll be all primed for punch up with the Hatfields and the McCoys.

Dawn LandesYoung Folks



Friday, August 22nd, 2008

As I’m sure you’ve gathered from my earlier posts, I’m not to big on goth. Well that’s not entirely too accurate, I’m not really a big fan of the new stuff; Dark Wave, Cyber-Dance, Ethereal, Cyber Punk (or whatever they’re calling the the boo-hoo black lipstick set these days). Having gone through that phase briefly when I was a tadpole, I still can’t believe it’s still alive (dead?) and kicking.
Well, putting on the chapeau marked ‘objectivity’, I turn to today’s cover,
Fun Boy Three
‘s The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum by ‘dark wave’ act Collide. I’m featuring it for two reasons;
• One, gotta admit those friggin vampires did a superb, somewhat faithful version.
• Two, the timeliness of this Terry Hall and Co tune is fitting considering it was originally a jab at Reagan almost dragging us into armageddon during the 80’s. And somehow today, with the situation with Russia, Georgia, and Bush sticking missiles in Poland, the line “Go nuclear the cowboy told us” may ring a little too eerie at the present.

Collide – The Lunatics (Have Taken Over the Asylum)


Bugz Life

Thursday, August 21st, 2008

Broken beat conglomerate Bugz In The Attic (along with a likkle vocal help from Wunmi), remake Fela Kuti‘s venerable dig at Nigerian soldiers, Zombie.

Bugz in the Attic – Zombie
Bugz in the Attic – Zombie 2003


You Want The Impossible

Wednesday, August 20th, 2008

So I heard when the first Mission Impossible movie was being made the director had initially pegged Japanese/French acid jazz outfit United Future Organization to score the theme.
When he played it for Tom Cruise, Mr. Katie Holmes predictably went and pulled a star fit and told the director ‘I don’t know who they are, and don’t care. 86 ’em and replace with U2, thanks’.
Well Mr. Hunt, perhaps next time you’ll choose from our wonderful selection today.

Besides the aforementioned U.F.O., The James Taylor Quartet also lays down a great acid jazz version

Laugh all you want at his Proud Mary cover but Leonard ‘Mr Spock’ Nimoy cuts a killer Mission Impossible theme.

Siberian throat singer Bugotak‘s version is the hands down weirdest, yet thoroughly enjoyable, one of the lot.

Have to admit I have a soft spot for Psychobilly, so I included Meteors’ surfworthy side project The Surfin‘ Dead‘s version. And on that topic, also got a couple of great surf guitar covers from the likes of Dynamic Subarashi and Laika & The Cosmonauts.

Out of the 60’s garage come The Kane Triplets who pepper their take with some proprietary vocals.

The late great No Wave artist Lizzy Mercier Descloux cut two funky, breaks-worthy takes.

Longtime French Acapellists, The Swingle Singers,Dum Dum Ba DUM DUM their way through their version.

Verve Records jazz cat, Jimmy Smith takes the MI Theme and his Hammond into some funky unexplored territory.

And I guess it wouldn’t be a proper Versions Galore post without a good reggae cover and both Sly& Robbie and Randy’s Allstars don’t fail to amaze.

Hopefully these tunes won’t be self destructing anytime soon.

United Future Organization – Mission Impossible

James Taylor Quartet – Mission Impossible
Leonard NimoyMission Impossible
BugotakMaadai-Kara (Mission Impossible)
The Surfin Dead – Mission Impossible Theme
The Dynamic SubarashiMission Impossible
Laika & The Cosmonauts – Mission Impossible
The Kane Triplets – Theme from Mission Impossible
Lizzy Mercier DesclouxMission Impossible
Lizzy Mercier DesclouxMission Impossible 2.0
The Swingle Singers – Mission Impossible (a cappella)
Jimmy Smith – Mission Impossible
Sly & Robbie – Theme from Mission Impossible
Randy’s AllstarsMission Impossible


Brass Tacks

Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

Even though I was somewhat into house at an oddly young age, I wound up getting into acid house purely based on this early photo 808 State in the NME. I remember taking one look at A Guy Called Gerald’s freaky hair and thought ‘Whoever they are, whatever
they are, they’ve got to sound fucking awesome. I’m buying whatever they got”. And somehow, out in the surburbs of California in 1988, magically finding a white label copy of Let Yourself Go at a local record store. Been hooked on electronic music ever since.
So leave it to the folks over at the Williams Fairey Brass Band, to launch an acid house and Detroit techno cover side act, called Acid Brass.
Here they are rewiring 808 State‘s Cubik into what sounds like music for a chase scene in a Connery era Bond film.

Acid Brass – Cubik


Keeping Up With The Jones’

Monday, August 18th, 2008

I remember reading this interview with Boy George some years back with him talking about this multi-band “80’s reunion” tour with him, Psychedelic Furs, a few other bands I can’t remember, and Howard Jones. While the other bands were all playing their big crowd pleasers from the 80’s, only Jones played primarily new stuff. According to George, poor Howard Jones thought everyone was there because they wanted to hear his new album and that they have been following his music all along. He was totally confused as to why no one knew or wanted to hear the new stuff and didn’t quite ‘get’ the fact that the show was billed as some sort of “Totally 80’s Tour” (can’t remember the name).
Poor HoJo, I guess the 80’s just never ended for some people.
Well, getting in the Delorean and setting the controls for
‘Now’, we have Swedish deep house/tech house impresario Håkan Lidbo (with Emma on vocals) doing his best Stan Getz impression here with Jone’s classic What Is Love?

Håkan Lidbo (with Emma) – What Is Love?


Just’in Time

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

Yes it may be a tad passe at this point to cover Justin Timberlake‘s Sexyback and for those negative Nancys that say ‘Do we really need another cover of Sexyback?’, on some level I couldnt agree more.
That said today features the cream of Timberlake’s crop top.
The standout of today’s pack hands down goes to Korean trio iM, who amazingly beatbox their way through the entire song, no instruments (unless you count the megaphone).
Can’t front, love Corinne Bailey Rae‘s jazz lounge version. I’m chalking this one up to guilty pleasure.
Pitchfork darling’s Rock Plaza Central deliver an almost Tom Waits sounding cut, that is if you overlook the more nasally vocal bits. Wouldn’t be out of place behind a New Orleans funeral march.
UK pint sized pop star Lil’ Chris delivers big on his unplugged version for Jo Whiley
German R&B duo Black Buddafly may lift Timberlakes instrumental, but they OWN those vocals.
Internet cult cover favorite James Eric takes the unplugged coffehouse route.
Alt-country newcomer Stagger Lee Hee Haws‘ it up, with his banjo pluckin number.
And last but certainly not least sexy cabaret duo Frisky and Mannish deliver a sultry yet hilarious cut. Spank em if they misbehave.

iM – Sexyback (Beatbox)
Corinne Bailey Rae – Sexyback
Rock Plaza Central – SexyBack
Lil Chris – Sexyback (Radio 1)

Black Buddafly – Sexyback
James Eric – Sexyback
Stagger Lee – Sexyback
Frisky and Mannish – Sexyback (live)


Cure-iosity killed the…

Sunday, August 17th, 2008

Woke up this morning and realized I haven’t done bupkiss on The Cure yet. So today’s feature is The Lovecats, Robert Smith’s big wag of a middle finger to his gothic past, making 1983 year zero for The Cure’s new pop path.

As you can imagine this song makes for easy bedfellows with jazz, so first up is future Jazz/Broken Beat renaissance man Nik Weston and his side project West/Rock/Woods who rewires Lovecats into a Cal TJader-ish number. Won’t lie to you, really dig the Paul Anka version as well, whose lounge number is suitable enough to charm the dress off of Dean Wormer’s wife.

The String Quartet rears it’s head again with it’s violintastic version.

From the indie camp comes from Chicago geek rockers Ok Go as well as Veal front man, Luke Doucet, who gives us his rockabilly-lite rendering.

Leave it to downtempo prima donna, Tricky, to turn the peppy little pop track into a dark, moody number.
PS remind me one of these days to tell you how me and him almost came to blows.

And for shits and giggles I threw in short lived 90’s band The Morgans, with their fairly self explanatory, Lovecats Non Starter.

West-Rock-Woods – The Love Cats
Paul Anka  – The Love Cats
The String Quartet  – The Love Cats
Ok Go  – The Love Cats
Luke Doucet  – The Love Cats
Tricky  – The Love Cats
The Morgans – Lovecats Non Starter



Emotional Rescue

Friday, August 15th, 2008

Today’s treat is The Bee GeesEmotion served up reggae style.
Short lived girl trio 15-16-17, so named after their ages at the time, cut a sweet sounding ‘lovers rock’ version all under the watchful production eye of Dennis ‘Blackbeard’ Bovell.
Somehow surprised that this one hasn’t ended up on a Soul Jazz compilation yet and is a must for fans of Althea & Donna, Dawn Penn, Blood Sisters, Billy Boyo, Musical Youth, etc.
Also included the sublime dub version too.

15-16-17 – Emotion
Dennis Bovell – Castro Brown Speaks To Dennis Bovell (Piano Dub Of Emotion)


NWA (Ninas With Attitude)

Thursday, August 14th, 2008

It seems patently unfair that, for the good handful or two of indie artists covering rap tunes, that there’s been no return favor. Where’s Ice Cube’s I’m Losing My Edge? 50 Cent’s Let’s Make Love (And Listen to Death From Above), Kanye’s Cape Cod Kwanza? Perhaps in an alternate galaxy somewhere, like Bizarro World. That’s the kind of universe I’d like to inhabit.

As for today’s entry, Nina Gordon‘s cover of NWA oeuvre Straight Outta Compton, I can’t figure out who the ex-Veruca Salt-er is taking the bigger piss out of, gangsta bombast or pithy little cafe chicks armed with acoustic guitars and cheaply produced demo tapes. In either case try dropping this one into your next set, preferably somewhere between NasWilliam It Was Really Nothing and 2Pac’s All Is Full Of Love, in that alternate universe of course.

Nina Gordon – Straight Outta Compton


Right Time Right Place

Wednesday, August 13th, 2008

Thankfully there’s not a whole lot artists who play Radiohead‘s Everything in it’s Right Place straight.
Perhaps it’s the minimal lyric content and the slowly building crescendo that makes it attractive for both jazz musicians, like today’s Brad Mehldau and Robert Glasper and classical musicians, like Christopher O’Riley and Vitamin C’s The String Quartet Tribute.
Downtempo/House/Future Jazz artist Osunlade (with Erro) comes close to giving Tom & Co. a run for their money with his version. What starts out as big drums blazing UNKLE track blossoms into Afro-Brazillian carnaval affair.
No lemon sucking here!

Brad Mehldau – Everything In Its Right Place
Robert Glasper – Everything In Its Right Place
Christopher O’Riley – Everything In Its Right Place
The String Quartet Tribute – Everything in Its Right Place
Osunlade And Erro – Everything In Its Right Place


Getting Nik’d

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

Nik Kershaw and his video for Wouldn’t It Be Good used to haunt me as a child. I even seem to recall wearing my oh-so-80’s white blazer and wandering the suburbs of Redwood Shores like a tormented soul. That is until our WW II vet neighbor, Mr Fight (yes his real name) saw me and said ‘NOW what are you doing? Sigh. Get the hell off my lawn.’
Belgian indie-electro rockers Soulwax (AKA 2 Many DJ’s) leave the drum machine at home for their semi-unplugged cover of Wouldn’t It Be Good.

Enjoy! (and stay the hell outta Mr Fight’s yard!)

Soulwax Wouldn’t It Be Good


Monday, August 11th, 2008

Well I was saving this one for a rainy day, but I guess today is truly as good as any other day.
R.I.P. Isaac Hayes 1942-2008
Chef’s gone! Well, technically Chef has been ‘gone’ for a while, but unless you were living in a cave, or a Scientology Testing Center yesterday, the great Issac Hayes passed away. Scientology jokes aside, the man’s contribution to funk and soul plays second fiddle only to James Brown.
While he left behind a string of classics, here’s his most infamous
The Theme to Shaft

I’m going to do things a tad differently today, for sake of time and the sheer fucking volume of it all, by simply listing genres and artist names. No long winded descriptions of bands or childhood memories.


Disco Dept.
Love Unlimited Orchestra – Theme From Shaft
Eddy & The Soul Band – Theme From ‘Shaft’

Reggae Dept.

Chosen Few – Shaft
Cedric Im Brooks – Shaft
Byron Lee And The DragonairesShaft
Jamaica’s Groove Band – Shaft
Big Youth with the Prince Buster All Stars – Shaft
Lloyd Charmers – Shaft

Funk/Jazz/Soul/Rare Groove Dept.
Bernard ‘Pretty’ PurdieTheme From Shaft
Prophet of Soul – Theme From Shaft
The Bar-KaysSon of Shaft
Cecil Holmes Soulful Sounds – Shaft

Easy Listening/Grandmas Record Collection Yet Still Decidedly Funky Dept.
Henry Mancini – Theme from Shaft
Hollyridge Strings – Theme From Shaft
Enoch Light & The Light Brigade – Theme from Shaft
Bert KaempfertTheme From Shaft
Mack Browne & The Brothers – Theme From Shaft
Ray ConniffShaft
Kashmere Stage Band – Shaft

Afro Cuban Dept.
Joe Bataan – Shaft

Polish Jazz Dept.
Henryk DebichShaft Theme

Funky Bahamas Dept.
Esquires LTD – Theme From Shaft

Kick Ass Algerian Version Dept.
Malik AdouaneShaft

Oh So Indie Dept.
The Wedding Present – Theme From Shaft

Someone Made An ElectroBreakdance Version!?!?! Dept.
Van Twist – Shaft

Whoah, Moogs Are Kind Of Trippy Dept.
Synthesonic Sounds (Moog at the Movies) – Shaft

WTF? Dept.
David Lee Roth – Theme From Shaft
Sammy Davis, Jr. – John Shaft
Cabaret Voltaire – Theme From Shaft
Black Randy and the Metrosquad (Theme from) Shaft
Jega – Shaft

Joy Riders

Sunday, August 10th, 2008

There’s something about The Doors‘ classic Riders on the Storm that makes it ripe for the dance music set. It’s duh-duh duh-duh duh-duh DEE-duh bassline isn’t that far removed from most electronica rhythm patterns and in my Riders mining it turns up no less than a dozen and a half, covers, re-edits and dodgy trance versions (of which none will be featured here today). Sticking to just the covers here we’ve got two Yonderboi downtempo cuts which lay down a simple laid back break over the psychedlic organ bits. Eskimo Record’s Wareika set theirs to a groovy minimal house beat and Uwe Schmidt (AKA Atom Heart) makes an appearance here again, this time as el chico malo Señor Coconut with his pachangariffic Riders.
Electronica covers aren’t the only thing we picked up along the way. Japanese heavy dub outfit, Dry & Heavy make a mean roots-meets-afrobeat affair. For good measure I included the dub version as well, which sounds like their engineering room is located at the bottom of a swimming pool.
The Nils Landgren Funk Unit go for a funked-up porn version that wouldn’t be out of place in say Orgazmo or Boogey Nights.
Speaking of which, despite their Girls Gone Wild image invoking name, Germany’s Mardi Gras Brass Band, made a mean marching band breakbeat cover complete with some sort of scratching.
Frippertronic alums and, strangely enough, David Sylvian faves, California Guitar Trio will have you ‘YEEHaaaw‘-ing with their six string mashup Ghost Riders of the Storm, which fuses today’s track with the western classic (Ghost) Riders in the Sky.
UK no hit wonder Annabel Lamb rounds out the sole 80’s cover version with her synth-pop lite Riders. Be sure to check out her creepy yet hilariously 80’s video for this too if you get a chance.
And last but not least is the odd pairing of Killing Joke’s Jaz Coleman and modern composer Nigel Kennedy, with their amazing symphonic version which channels an early 20th century composer’s feel of the pioneers on their long trek across
America. Riders indeed!

YonderboiRiders On The Storm
YonderboiRiders On The Storm (Live in Budapest)

WareikaRiders On The Storm

Señor Coconut – Riders On The Storm
Dry & Heavy – Riders On The Storm

Dry & Heavy – Riders version
Nils Landgren Funk Unit – Riders On The Storm
Mardi Gras Brass Band – Riders in the Storm
California Guitar Trio – Ghost Riders On The Storm
Annabel Lamb – Riders On The Storm
Nigel Kennedy and Jaz Coleman – Riders On The Storm


Calculate Your Birthright

Saturday, August 9th, 2008

Man-Size by PJ Harvey. Not too many of these floating around. You’ve got this guy or you have talented leftfield-dance auteur Andrew James Brooks (or as he’s more simply known, Brooks). When I worked for big electronic music magazine, as you can imagine, everyone fought over what the office music was going to be. Very seldom was there an album everyone could agree on; one was Mr Dé’s Electrofunk and the other was Brooks’ You, Me & Us (aided in no small part by Atjazz and Dani Siciliano).
Presented today is a selection from his second album Red Tape, his interpretation of Man Size, which I’d say sits somewhere comfortably next to Moloko in the weirdo electro yet oddly intriguing and still somewhat danceable department.
Oh and of course there’s PJ Harvey, perenial hottie whose got more talent in her discarded toenail clippings than Courtney Love will have in her entire career.

Let me know how this one measures up.

Brooks – Man-Size