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Archive for September, 2008

The Deep

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

I lurvv Chan Marshall aka Cat Power.
Her, her music and her style (her recent musing with Karl Lagerfeld may be her best move yet).
And while she’s fringe boot deep in Bob Dylan covers, and that recent version of Space Oddity is sublime, her most inspired choice (and my personal favorite) has to be Deep Inside originally by Mary J Blige.
Now if we could only get Mary to cover He War.
On a side note, and I’m shooting myself in the blog by saying this but, Chan needs to ease up a bit on the cover material. She’s getting dangerously close to Placebo or Flaming Lips territory, where the amount of ‘tributes’ start to eclipse originality (as well as identity). Put a moratorium on that, at least for an album or two. More Cross Bones Style, less,er, Satisfaction please.

Cat Power – Deep Inside


Jesus Freaks

Monday, September 29th, 2008

Like the other day’s post on Blue Monday, here’s a recent cover of Personal Jesus by Depeche Mode you may have missed. Lee Norris aka Metamatics (aka Norken aka Nacht Plank) has been making some of the most innovative electronic music for over 10 years now. And for the staggering amount of music he produces it’s sad his name isn’t up there with the likes of Autechre, Booka Shade, Vector Lovers etc.
Bonus: I decided to include the Richard Cheese version as well. No reason, just a sucker for lounge covers.

Metamatics – Personal Jesus (Metamatix Original Mix)
Richard Cheese – Personal Jesus


Which One’s Pink?

Saturday, September 27th, 2008

Syd Barrett. I don’t hate the guy, and I actually dig Piper at the Gates of Dawn, but I do find him a little overrated. I often wonder if the people who throw rose petals at his feet, have actually listened to any of his lyrics or are just easily proselytized after one too many listens of Wish You Were Here. Here’s some lyrical Syd samples:

Watching buttercups cup the light / Sleeping on a dandelion.

Lazing in the foggy dew / Sitting on a unicorn.

I want to tell you a story / About a little man / If I can / A gnome named Grimble Crumble

Seriously, the above borders on Austin Powers/Spinal Tap campness.
So when Barrett decided to opt out of Pink Floyd and the real world as a whole, it was Roger Waters who decided to step up to the wheel, steering the ship away from rainbows and frolicking woodland creatures into uncharted, but ultimately headier territory.
So here is a treasure trove of Set The Controls For The Heart of The Sun, Roger’s landmark space rock song (featuring some minor guitar work from Barrett) in which introspection and direness ride Water’s lumbering bassline into the heart of darkness.
Starting with my favorite out of the lot, we have Massachusetts’ Narcoterror, whose output in general is steeped in a Set The Controls style ominousness not heard since Spacemen 3.
As with most Floyd, electronica covers abound and standout from the lot, at least in terms of contrasting with the original, is Bass – O – Matic‘s(aka William Orbit) Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Bass; a 4/4 techno version. The rest are fittingly enough ambient versions from the likes of Ashes (aka Bill Laswell), Nemesis and Ø.
And what can Set The Controls be without a few prog rock and psychedlic renditions. So here’s Bevis Frond, O.S.I. and the unfortunately named Dr Spacetoad Experience (featuring Captain Sensible!) and Magic Mushroom Band, giving it their trippiest.
Experimental/unclassifiable is next with tracks from Psychatrone Rhonedakk, Clay Figure, Apothecary Blue and the perenially discordant Psychic TV.
We also got a few metal bands wisely setting aside their thrash and burn for somewhat mellower pastures with covers from Incubator, Kylesa and Salem.
And rounding out the rest of the genres with have goth (Red Temple), shoegazer (Sciflyer), and even krautrock (Mindala)!

Narcoterror – Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun (Live)

Bass-O-Matic – Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Bass

Ashes – Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
Nemesis – Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
Ø – Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun

Bevis Frond – Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun (Live)

Dr Spacetoad Experience – Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
Magic Mushroom Band – Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
O.S.I. – Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun

Psychic TV – Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun
Apothecary Blue – Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
Clay Figure – Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
Psychatrone Rhonedakk – Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun (Trone Alone Mix)

Incubator – Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
Kylesa – Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
Salem – Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun

Sciflyer – Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
Red Temple – Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun
Mindala – Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun


PS R.I.P. Rick Wright

These Aren’t the Droyds You’re Looking For

Friday, September 26th, 2008

Two guys with electronica resumes as long as Shaq’s arm, Andy Chatterly (Psychic TV, Buick Project, Yum Yum) and Richard Norris (Jack the Tab, The Grid, Beyond the Wizard’s Sleeve) come together as The Droyds to turn out this fun little electroclash cover of Take Me I’m Yours by Squeeze.

The Droyds – Take Me I’m Yours


Fac U

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

If you saw Michael Winterbottom’s 24 Hour Party People you may recall Lindsay Wilson (aka Lindsay Reade), Tony Wilson’s long suffering wife, who shags one of the Buzzcocks in a fit of revenge.
You may also remember Vini Reilly (aka The Durutti Column) playing to a large, empty Haçienda,
blissfully undaunted.
Well here they are together, doing a sweet, somewhat Christmas-like rendition of Hoagy Carmichael‘s standard I Get Along Without You Very Well.
Ironic considering that Lindsay would eventually dump Tony as a husband and Vini, despite a strong partnership of many years, would eventually drop him as a manager.
If you still don’t know who they are, Lindsay Reade was last seen co-chairing the excellent biography Torn Apart: The Life of Ian Curtis, (alongside Mick Middles).
And Vini Reilly is still releasing some of the most beautiful guitar work in Manchester the world.

The Durutti Column (with Lindsay Wilson) – I Get Along Without You Very Well


Suspicious Behaviour

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

While Elvis Presley didn’t mean shit to Chuck D, he certainly was the shit in Jamaica, as evidenced by no less than 7 cover versions here today of his first big hit, Suspicious Minds. We have a great ‘lovers’ version by Frankie Paul as well as some great alternate or rerecorded versions, with two by The Heptones, Cornell Campbell and Hortense Ellis (whose two different Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry productions go by either her real name, or her alias Mahalia Saunders)

Frankie Paul – Suspicious Minds
The Heptones – Suspicious Minds (Freedom Line version)
The Heptones – Suspicious Minds (Observer’s Style version)
Cornell Campbell – Suspicious Minds (Studio One version)
Cornell Campbell – Suspicious Minds (New Boss version)
Hortense Ellis – Suspicious Minds
Mahalia Saunders (AKA Hortense Ellis) – Suspicious Minds


Cannon Fodder

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

In keeping with the other day’s theme about iconic women in rock (and kidney stone related songs/puns) here’s Cannonball originally by The Breeders, covered almost to a ‘T’ by Brazillian electro-post-punk-rockers CSS aka Cansei de Ser Sexy.

CSS – Cannonball

Enjoy! (and again sorry for the spotty posts, still illin’ from the stone)

Stay Sick

Friday, September 19th, 2008

Two Cramps related titles in a row. But I swear it’s not from laziness. If you noticed, I missed a post again and if you can believe it, the kidney stone from the other day hasn’t exited the building yet.
Been skwerming around the couch in agony with only the occasional respite from pain (I’m actually writing this in under a fog of Vicodin). So while I was writhing around like Linda Blair freshly annoited with holy water yesterday I started singing. Does anyone else do this when they’re in pain, like when they bang their thumb with a hammer etc; talk to themselves, dance around, sing? That’s me. Out of nowhere I start mouthing the words to Goo Goo Muck by Ronnie Cook & The Gaylads (though in all fairness it’s The Cramps who plucked this from vinyl obscurity) “Wuh Wuh Wuh When the sun goes down and the Muh Muh Muh Moon goes Uh Uh Uhpppp. ACCKKKKK. makee the pain stopp”
Stones = Not pleasant.
What is pleasant, if that’s the right word, is this bizarre electro Goo Goo Muck cover from Kid & Khan (“Kid” being Kid Congo Powers of Gun Club, The Bad Seeds and, of course, The Cramps).

**So FYI I’m might be drifting in and out of this blog for a while, I’m down but not out.

Kid And Khan – Goo Goo Muck

Enjoy (the fact that you STILL don’t have this)!

Ma’am You’re On Fire Ma’am

Friday, September 19th, 2008

Karen Lee Orzolek (or as she’s known outside the house, Karen O) is one of those rare women in rock that comes along only once every 5-10 years. Like Pj Harvey, Kim Deal, Kim Gordon, Liz Frazier or hell, even early Madonna before her, Karen cuts a whole new paradigm for the way women sing, dress, look, hold themselves and generally rock out. This is that same something that will always elude the likes of Alanis Morissette or Courtney Love; that vintage clothes + screeching vocals alone do not a female icon make.
So speaking of ‘O’, today we have here the Yeah Yeah Yeahs covering
Mr. You’re On Fire Mr.
by her ex’s band, the Liars (one of the best bands to emerge from the neo dance-punk scene, IMHO). A great little lo-fi experimental take that sounds like it was recorded on a four track with Karen’s vocals compressed deep into the red.
Karen YOU’RE on fire Karen.

Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Mr. You’re on Fire Mr.


Song The Lords Taught Us

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Hearing Dance With Me by goth supergroup The Lords of the New Church (featuring ex-Damned, Dead Boys and Sham 69 members) will forever have the indelible image of my next door dormitory neighbor at boarding school, John Kurzet, imprinted on it. Kurzet would put this on and dance around the room applying eyeliner (in the goth sense) getting all dolled up to essentially go nowhere. We had nowhere to go, we were stuck in a remote valley in a remote part of California, remotely dreaming we were off to The Batklüb or some such place. Eventually however, after one too many 98° days, when the eyeliner started to run, John capitulated, swapping Strawberry Switchblade shirts for Stussy shorts.
So, today’s Lords are Kitsune’s electro disco dancer Cosmo Vitelli and Gallic cover pin up band Nouvelle Vague (which if you’re familiar with them already, you’ve probably heard this ditty. So just in case, I tossed in some great live versions.).
Kurzet, wherever you are, thanks for the memories!

Cosmo Vitelli – Dance With Me
Nouvelle Vague – Dance With Me
Nouvelle Vague – Dance With Me (2006.12.02 Rockstore, Montpellier)
Nouvelle Vague – Dance With Me (Manchester 21 May 2007)
Nouvelle Vague – Dance With Me (iTunes Live Session)


Papa Was A Rolling Stone (of Hardened Calcium Oxalate Crystals)

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

AAArrrrrrhhh oooooooooohhhhh shhhhhiitt ffcckkkk AIIIIIIIGHHGgggg GGGGoodd PPPPlleease kKKKKiilllll mMMMMeeee aaaayyyyyyyyyyKKKKKkkkgg!!!!!!!!”

That was what I sounded like the day before yesterday at 1 in the morning.
For those that are wondering where I have been for the last few days, I gave birth to a kidney stone.
Wikipedia, under Kidney Stone symptoms, describes it quite accurately:
“Often described as ‘the worst pain […] ever experienced’ “.
That’s one way to describe it. Another would be having someone twist a red hot poker in your back and groin for a solid hour.
But hey, at least I came back from the hospital with a handful of good drugs.
So in honor of that somewhat life affirming experience I’d thought I’d whip out my reggae arsenal of Papa Was A Rolling Stone originally done by The Undisputed Truth (though made more famous by The Temptations). Contained below are covers by Big Youth, Horace Andy, The Slickers, Third World, The Pioneers, Sidney, George And Jackie (another alias of The Pioneers).

Big Youth – Papa Was a Rolling Stone
Horace Andy – Papa Was A Rolling Stone
The Slickers – Papa Was a Rolling Stone
Third World – Papa Was A Rolling Stone (Dub Chemis version)
Third World – Papa Was A Rolling Stone (Tappa version)
The Pioneers – Papa Was A Rolling Stone
Sidney, George And Jackie – Papa Was a Rolling Stone

Enjoy (the fact that you didn’t have this)!

God Help the Queen

Saturday, September 13th, 2008

Today’s posting, We Will Rock You by Queen, has turned up some of the oddest assortment of cover songs on VG yet. Leading the charge is my pick of the litter, Japanese noise rock trio Melt Banana whose We Will is pared down to a minimal 808 kick drum and heavily compressed vocals. Taut French Joel (an anagram and alias of Leaf Cutter John) makes a suitable soundtrack to drink moonshine by with his folky porch version. German cabaret throwback and one time wedding singer to Marilyn Manson and Dita Von Teese, Max Raabe, invokes the ghost of Taco for his. Perennial paper-mache piss taker Frank Sidebottom, makes a nose-worthy contribution. In an apparent Freaky Friday moment we have dancehall artist Chaka Chaks (backed by Sly & Robbie) doing a rock number of We Will, while we have French punk contingent Ludwig von 88 doing a dancehall version. And finally we have video-scratch pioneers, EBN (Emergency Broadcast Network), with their sample worthy cover featuring George H.W. Bush on vocals (don’t ask, just listen).

Melt Banana – We Will Rock You
Taut French Joel – We Will Rock You
Max Raabe – We Will Rock You

Frank Sidebottom – We Will Rock You
Chaka Chaks And Taxi All Stars – We Will Rock You
Ludwig Von 88 – We Will Rock You
EBN – We Will Rock You



Friday, September 12th, 2008

In another ‘Pinch me I’m dreaming’ moment, here is the Canadian hotness that is Peaches and Feist (as Bitch Lap Lap) backed by Output Record’s 7 Hurtz, improv-freestyling
Sexy Dancer by Prince.

7 Hurtz With Peaches & Bitch Lap Lap (Feist) – Sexy Dancer


Putting the Gaye Back in Reggae

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

I’m not sure how many of you out in cyberspace grew up in the Bay Area during the late 70’s/early 80’s. Nor do I know if you did, if you remember how at the crack of dawn before the cartoons came on, how KTVU would play an almost Helen Levitt-esque video slide show of life in Oakland, set to What’s Going On by Marvin Gaye. Due to my childhood addiction to morning cartoons, this video, along with Gaye’s most famous, will forever be etched in my brain.
So in honour, today we have Jamaica’s finest, Pat Satchmo, Delroy Wilson and Big Youth along with Japan’s equivalent of Erykah Badu, Makoto Karukaya, all performing reggae covers of Gaye’s What’s Going On.

Pat Satchmo – What’s Going On
Delroy Wilson – What’s Going On
Big Youth – What’s Going On
Makoto Karukaya – What’s Going On


Slip n’ Slide

Wednesday, September 10th, 2008

Fans of Metro Area, Prins Thomas etc etc., take note; this is what Talking Heads would have sounded like if they were produced by Arthur Russell (or hell even Tom Tom Club!). The Staple Singers do a funky little disco number on the Heads’ Slippery People circa 84′.

The Staple Singers – Slippery People


Blue Tuesday

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

Here is the song that famously put Factory Records 25¢ in the hole every time a copy was sold (nice one Pete), Blue Monday by New Order. There’s been heaps of covers of this one, some of them great (Nouvelle Vague) and some of them utter shite (Orgy, Richie Hawtin). Here’s one I noticed that has slipped below a lot of people’s radar by UK downtempo newcomers Zook, who reconstruct their version as a laidback bluesy number, complete with harmonica.
A great copy of that floppy.

Zook – Blue Monday


Life of Bryan

Monday, September 8th, 2008

If I were to have my equivalent of Dr. Phil (and perhaps Dr. Ruth) it probably
would either be Bryan Ferry or Roisin Murphy. So one for the ‘pinch me I’m dreaming category’ would be today’s slab of swing, Ferry’s Slave To Love, recently given the electro-disco cover treatment by Murphy for the new Gucci campaign (pinch me again!).

Roisin Murphy – Slave To Love


Tropicale Thunder

Saturday, September 6th, 2008

While Sergio Mendes, Stan Getz and Astrud Gilberto have been household nomes for some time, Brazil’s Os Mutantes didn’t quite get the recognition they deserved, despite being name checked by the likes of Beck and David Byrne. Luckily for us are a few peeps that will attest to their genius just a little bit harder by covering their psychedelic tropicale masterpiece, A Minha Menina (My Girl).
So, starting off we have fellow countryman and tropicale superstar in his own right, Jorge Ben
(AKA Jorge Ben Jor) also known as the original penner of Sergio Mendes‘ hit Mas Que Nada. Ben graces us with two great and somewhat different takes on Minha.
Also giving us two is Isle of Wight’s The Bees (AKA A Band of Bees), both regular and XFM versions.
And even more indie two-fers come in live form from Scotland’s answer to The Smiths, Belle & Sebastian.
Bringing up the rear is NYC ska act, The Slackers, who rocksteady their rendition with a little sitar.

Jorge Ben – A Minha Menina
Jorge Ben – A Minha Menina (Jazz Potatoes version)

The Bees – A Minha Menina
The Bees – A Minha Menina (XFM Session)
Belle And Sebastian – A Minha Menina (Live ???)
Belle And Sebastian – A Minha Menina (Live in Rio)

The Slackers – A Minha Menina


Great Balls of Ire

Friday, September 5th, 2008

Ball of Confusion, That’s what the world is today, hey hey.”
Truer words never prophesied as The Temptations backdrop song of the Vietnam era seems to get dragged out every ten years or so to illustrate how much things blow at the here and now.
I first got exposed to the song via Love & Rockets and probably like a lot of Bauhaus fans hearing them rap was akin to sacrilege, though soon dropped the ‘tude after repeated listens. I’m including it here for nostalgia reasons and saluting the fact it was a ballsy direction for them to take.(Pun not intended, honest!)
Besides the aforementioned, we also have some 70’s heavy funk versions by fellow Motown label mates The Undisputed Truth and Edwin Starr (of War fame).
Also from this period is the funky reggae version by A Darker Shade Of Black, who coincidentally also recorded a version of War.
80’s post punk act and ROIR darlings, Scientific Americans, construct their Ball in a very Can meets dub version. And while we’re milling about in that decade we also have British Electronic Foundation (BEF for short) with Tina Turner. While the song is pretty decent, it is made somewhat more notable for a few reasons. BEF were made up of sacked and disgruntled ex-Human League members who decided to dabble in more pop sounds (the League was still experimental at this point), they would eventually go on to form Heaven 17. This version also marks the turning point in Ms. Turner’s career as this rendition of BoC would eventually catch the ears of the majors who offered the somewhat floundering Turner a record deal, resulting in Private Dancer and frivolous dystopian cash in sequels.
And finally, bringing us up to the speed on the world today is a hard hitting instrumental bhangra dub rock version from yet-another-Martin Atkins side project Opium Jukebox (fans of Asian Dub Foundation grab this).

Love and Rockets – Ball Of Confusion

The Undisputed Truth – Ball Of Confusion
Edwin Starr – Ball Of Confusion
A Darker Shade Of Black – Ball Of Confusion
Scientific Americans – Ball Of Confusion
BEF and Tina Turner – Ball Of Confusion
Opium Jukebox – Ball Of Confusion


Who Re-Made Who

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

Achh more muppets!
During the latter half of the 1990’s, I used to wonder if it would be at all possible to have 90’s retro, or nostalgia for the 90’s. Iconically, the decade seemed so blah, compared to 70’s, and 80’s. The 70’s had bellbottoms, disco, fros etc. The 80’s had video games, Rubik’s Cubes, new wave haircuts etc. But what was there to get worked up over for the 90’s? Sure you had grunge, but what else? Dockers? Reality Bites? ZZZZZzzzz.
In retrospect of being retrospective, it eventually occurred to me that their was indeed tons of great nostalgia to mine; Rave, The Pixies, Tim Burton in his prime and, just making the cutoff, 1999’s Flat Eric, the perennially curious muppet that hawked Levi’s to the tune of Flat Beat by Mr Oizo (to his credit Oizo aka Quentin Dupieux has made heaps more great music than just that one-off tune).
While the 90’s revival has been trying to launch in fits and starts, mostly with a flood of Nirvana covers, here’s Danish dance punk trio (Achh more dance punk trios!) Who Made Who with their analog version of Flat Beat.
The 90’s revival starts here!

Who Made Who – Flat Beat