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Archive for November, 2009

Percentage Points

Monday, November 30th, 2009

In my last post I said I was going to be out of town for a few days. Well it didn’t happen.
My Thanksgiving turned to shit, literally. The night before I was planning on leaving I was outside watering roses when *it* happened. First an unholy aroma of death starts to waft, then, like a cross between the bleeding walls of the Amityville house and a Port-o-John, sewer water starts pouring through every crack in my driveway. 2 days, a busted sewer main and couple of thousand dollars later, it got fixed. But, no turkey day for me plus I’ve got a great view of several huge piles of toxic sludge drying in my back yard (which will eventually be carted away a MONTH from now). Staring at the pile o’ shite out my studio window it dawned on me; a good 10% of that belongs to various friends and family. So parentals and chums feel free to drop by with a baggie and come claim what is rightfully yours.
As for the other 90%, well today I guess I can let the rather radiant and soulful Gwen McCrae sum that up for todays entry, 90% of Me is You. Some good dubbiness comes in the form of The Dynamics as well as Karime Kendra. Amral’s Trinidad Cavaliers Steel Drum Orchestra (trying saying that 10 times fast, I can’t even say it once) beat a mean metal sheet, while Vanessa Kendrick turns out a rather faithful soul version. All in all a nice way to end a very Crappy Thanksgiving.

The Dynamics – 90% Of Me Is You
Karime Kendra – 90% Of Me Is You
Amral’s Trinidad Cavaliers Steel Drum Orchestra – 90% Of Me Is You
Vanessa Kendrick – 90% Of Me Is You


Tour Guide

Monday, November 23rd, 2009
So I’m out of town on a five day Thanksgiving festive feast freakout, but I won’t leave you hanging. I’m figuring that this roundup of Tour De France by Kraftwerk covers should keep you satiated while I’m gone. Tour, incidentally was  one of the first handful of 12″ I ever bought (along with Paul Hardcastles’ 19!)  and that I still have gathering dust somewhere in the basement. Tour also marks the beginining of  Kraftwerk’s interest in cycling. Hey anything to get out of being couped up in the studio all day,  right?
BTW anyone know why this slice of genius isn’t the official TdF theme song???
So today’s covers. If the tour has it’s Lance Armstrong then that honor clearly goes to The Simonsound, whose  funky-garage homestyle-electronics version, titled Tour De Mars is clearly in the lead  (and a strong contender for the throne of Add N to X, I might add).  Be sure to check out more audio (and video!) madness at their site here.
Riding close on those coat tails is a brilliant electronic and violin take from Powerplant as well as los favoritos de Versions Galore, Senor Coconut Y Su Conjunto.
If they ever decide to make an NES Tour De France side scroller then 8-Bit Tunes are their men.
Daybehavior and Tahira vs. Vera Medina take some time to admire the scenery with some nice downtempo cuts.
Prof. Krupky, Monohm and Terre Thaemlitz decide to veer off into the woods with some rather abstract versions.
The Galaxy Sound Orchestra, Basskraft, Ed Starink, Interfaith and 10 Speed, all keep a steady pace with their faithful covers. (Fun bit of trivia from wikipedia: The piece was also included in the 1984 film, Breakin’;Although the song did appear briefly in the film, Kraftwerk did not let the song appear on the movie soundtrack; instead, a cover version of the song was released by a group called “10 Speed”.)
And pullin up the rear are Ionic Vision and Inertia with some industrial misgivings.

The Simonsound – Tour de Mars
Powerplant – Tour de France
Senor Coconut Y Su Conjunto – Tour de France (Merengue)

Enjoy! (and see you in a week)
PS In case you missed it first time round here’s The Model post I did a while back.

Feeling Light Headed

Sunday, November 22nd, 2009

I’ve done the work for you today and gone ahead and cherry picked through some great covers of yet another of Moz’s thinly veiled love letters to James Dean
There Is a Light That Never Goes Out by The Smiths.
Despite Morrissey’s loathing of all things synth, I’m leading with some great electronic covers by
Schneider TM, Dalminjo as well as a rather winsome version from Andromakers, who lace their confection with a bit of xylophone and melodica.
The Divine Comedy get epic while James Eric and The Magic Numbers realize that if you have an acoustic guitar that, ah well, end of crap metaphors for now.

Schneider Tm – The Light 3000
Dalminjo –
There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
Andromakers –
There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
The Divine Comedy –
There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
James Eric –
There Is A Light That Never Goes Out
The Magic Numbers –
There Is A Light That Never Goes Out


That’s Just Super

Friday, November 20th, 2009

Like most American kids, I went to camp during the summer. From age 7 to 10 I did all the usual camp things; rode horses, shot arrows, rock climbed and made lumpy ashtrays for the non-smoking parentals in ceramics. Another campfire tradition, in between state-mandated Kum Ba Yas, were ghost stories. Yet another year where our counselor attempted to give us the Gold Arrow camp canard about the B-17 pilot who plunged into the lake, and now whose ghost still haunted the area. By 9 years of age our cabin wasn’t buying it, we we’re jaded pre-teens. So our counselor, some hipster college kid, tried a different tact; let’s try esoteric, let’s try macabre.
Mid way through the soggy pilot story, who this year now mysteriously had a hook for a hand, through our coughs of ‘coughcoughbullshitcough‘ he conceded.
‘Yeah yeah you’re right, ghost stories are kinda BS, you kids are way to old for that kind of stuff. I guess you guys are grown up enough for us to tell you what REALLY happens around here.’ Intrigued that he seemed to think we possessed highly sensitive bullshit detectors, we let him press on. ‘Camps, secluded in the middle of the woods much like this one, are perfect targets for Brazilian kidnapper-pornographers. They fly secret midnight missions to remote areas, not unlike here, land on the water and sneak into camp to kidnap kids to take back to South America. While you’re eating your cereal, wondering where all those kids on the back of milk cartons disappear to, they’re all being held in seedy basements in Buenos Aires. You guys are grown kids so I know you can handle hearing this kind of stuff .’
None of us slept that night. Or the next. Or the even the next. 22 sets of ears open for the menacing bossa-nova sounds of Latin American perverts with their covert sea-planes.
The cool thing, like I mentioned above, was that he also got kind of arcane. Also replacing the ghost yarns, and I can’t begin to make this up, were existentialist stories about IRA snipers who accidentally kill their long lost twin Protestant brothers. But the one piece of odd culture he left us with one night, that will forever be etched into my brain is the night he played us O Superman by Laurie Anderson. I’ll never forget the staring up at the stars, with Anderson’s 8 minute opus of ‘Hah hah hah hah playing in the background blowing my little mind. Hearing the robotic ‘Here come the planes…’ with the Milky Way stretched out above, very clearly staring back at me, and I’ll never forget how small and insignificant I felt. Yet oddly at the same time it felt very warm and comforting.
So all of that leads to this, O Superman, covered today in a few forms. We have two folk covers by Andre Herman Dune and Josh Millard, who likes his peppered with a little banjo twang. From 1982 have a couple of electronic/electro versions from A.P.O.. Also on the dance tip is a techno version from Silverspin. Side note, really wanted to feature the Booka Shade version but it turns out its a remix :-(. Lastly, and mostly for posterity, is a handful of live drum & bass versions from David Bowie (?!?!). FYI warning most are of dubious bootleg quality, the first ‘Live’ cut is probably the best sounding of the lot.

Andre Herman Dune – O Superman
Josh Millard – O Superman
A.P.O – O Superman (Slow Dance Version)
A.P.O – O Superman (Long Beat Version)
Silverspin feat Zoe – O Superman
David Bowie – O Superman (Live)
David Bowie – O Superman (Ft Lauderdale)
David Bowie – O Superman (Live in Amsterdam)
David Bowie – O Superman (Live in Newcastle)
David Bowie – O Superman (Live with Laurie Anderson)
David Bowie – O Superman (Live in Los Angeles)


Police & Twees

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009

So todays entry, Police and Thieves, is not some half-baked attempt to do a back to back Clash feature on VG, even though they did a brilliant job covering it back in the day.
Nope, it’s a so-cute-you-want-to-hug-the-shit-out-of-it twee-pop cover of Junior Murvin‘s best and brightest, by France’s Get Back Guinozzi.

Get Back Guinozzi – Police & Thieves


Ghetto Superstars

Tuesday, November 17th, 2009

One of the more underrated gems from
Combat Rock, Ghetto Defendant by The Clash gets an electronic-dubby makeover from Birmingham’s

finest, Rockers Hi-Fi.


What’s the Frequency Luke?

Monday, November 16th, 2009

In another one of those ‘pinch me I’m dreaming’ moments, 10x even more trainspottery than my coveted Warp Records bag, we got Luke Vibert covering LFO by eponymous UK techno outfit LFO.


Cash Rules Everything Around Me

Sunday, November 15th, 2009

Here’s another great way to wake up on a Sunday, Sunday Morning Coming Down, a perennial Versions Galore fave. Done originally by the Convoy drivin, one time Streisand fondler, Kris Kristofferson, it’s covered here rather beautifully by Johnny Cash. Is it me or does anyone else still do a double take when JC belts outs “I wished Lord that I was STONED.”

Johnny Cash – Sunday Morning Coming Down


Better Fred Than Dead

Saturday, November 14th, 2009

Perhaps the other day’s artwork was a tad harsh on dolphins. I actually love dolphins (and the ocean in general). Maybe not so far as getting a dolphinoplasty, or hanging glass trinkets from the rear view mirror, but they’re pretty damn amazing creatures.
Someone even more passionate was Fred Neil, who after spending the 60s and 70s penning classics like, Everybodys Talking and today’s ode, Dolphins, decided to take it even further by setting up The Dolphin Research Project to protect them.
Eventually over the years he would abandon music altogether to devote himself to the DRP full time. Go Fred!
Today’s Dolphins are a collection of modern takes. Leading is my favorite version and first introduction to the track by Heights Of Abraham; an ambient/acoustic affair by 1/2 of Fila Brazillia. Speaking of halves we also have 1/2 of Dead Can Dance (the better half IMHO) Brendan Perry as well as one version when they were still together. William Orbit protege Beth Orton, duets alongside jazz legend Terry Callier. And hugging the tailfins is the angst ridden one man act that is The The.

Heights of Abraham – Dolphins

The The – Dolphins

***Last minute addendum: Brilliant live version from Nick Cave…


Playing the Fool

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

With another entry comes another ill-advised youthful fashion anecdote.
Dressed in oversized baggy pants, 10x too large hoodies and XL, when I clearly was an ‘M’, sized Stone Roses shirt, I believe I was the only (self-identified) scally roaming the thriving metropolitan streets that was San Mateo, California. Again cutting a rather fetching target for the local ‘hesher’ population to lob insults (as well as various kinds of produce) at during the late 80s.
Oddly enough 10 years, and 10 dozen silly looks later when I moved to NYC the oddest phenomena started happening. Not only would I constantly see Ian Brown walking about, but he would always give me the head nod, sometimes with an ‘awwwright mate’ thrown in for good measure. I’m not sure who he seemed to think I was, but on a few occasions he went as far as stopping me and asking ‘arright hows it goin mate?’. And in return all I could respond with was ‘Er good, y’know. Uh, hows the new album coming along?’. To which he would launch into some diatribe like ‘Yknow its at Bob’s bein mastered and all, with Pete. Not Pete-Spring Street-Pete but Pete the Geek Pete’.
“Er, oh yeah, Pete!’. Practically wearing the same matching uniform of Bape (back in 98′ when it was good) and rare Adidas’ kicks, I think he mistook me for one of his bandmates or some as yet unsigned Mo’ Wax artist.
Regardless, today’s entry is for you Ian, thanks for all the great conversation!
So VG is tackling Mr Brown’s cultish alma mater, The Stone Roses. Their first biggie Fools Gold, gets the retro-funk treatment courtesy of Wheedle’s Groove as well as not quite chip tune, yet not quite electro either, bizzaro cover from Mr. Hopkinson’s Computer.


Gone to the Dogs

Wednesday, November 11th, 2009

I guess there comes a point in every artist’s career when it’s time to feature their own dog. I have officially have reached that crescendo, so congrats, Ira, 10 lb terror of a Mini-Dachshund, you’re a star.
If you haven’t guessed today’s mash up of art yet, it’s I Wanna Be You Dog by the Iggy Pop driven madness that was The Stooges.
I’ve pooled a small collection of electronic cover versions from the likes of Ascii Disko, Bozz@nova, Futon, Dakar & Grinser and ‘France’s answer to Bjork’ Emilie Simon.

Ascii Disko – I Wanna Be Your Dog
Bozz@nova – I Wanna Be Your Dog
Futon – I Wanna Be Your Dog
Dakar & Grinser – I Wanna Be Your Dog
Emilie Simon – I Wanna Be Your Dog
Emilie Simon – I Wanna Be Your Dog (Live)


Stayin’ Power

Tuesday, November 10th, 2009

Founding Skatalite and go-to session piano player for the likes of Coxsone Dodd, Richard ‘Jah’ Ace catches some Saturday night fever with a funky reggae reworking of Bee Gees‘ white suited hit Stayin’ Alive.

Somewhere the folks at Soul Jazz Records must be kickin themselves for letting this one slip through their dusty fingers.

Richard Ace – Stayin’ Alive


Zee Best

Sunday, November 8th, 2009

Here’s something nice to wake up to on a lazy Sunday morning:

An acoustically armed Zee Avi ever so sweetly covering Slow Hands by Interpol.


And When She Was Good…

Friday, November 6th, 2009

It’s kinda uncanny how the UK just keeps churning out killer Stax-era sounding vocalists and today’s entry is far from an exception.
Frank Sinatra‘s saudade classic, It Was a Very Good Year (originally written by Ervin Drake for my pop’s favorite band The Kingston Trio) get’s a neo-soul retrofit by the hotness that is Lizzy Parks.
Parks’ channels her inner Bassey over a Hammond drenched beat so hysteric, by the end of this track I’ll guarantee you’ll be playing air drums.


Ain’t That a Kick…

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

Have I ever mentioned one of my favorite pastimes is stalking David J of Bauhaus? The man lives somewhere in the vicinity and I have seen him skulking around in his signature specs at shows, in bookstores, on a well known P2P network and hell even once meandering past my house. What most poet shirted peeps don’t know is that while Peter Murphy was off shopping for man-thongs and appearing in Maxell commercials, was that David J was in the studio doing all the work. That man was the brains of that outfit. Bela Lugosi’s Dead? Terror Couple Kill Colonel? Nerves? He wrote most of them shits. Plus he bestowed unto us probably God’s greatest gift ever (at least under this roof) Crocodile Tears and the Velvet Cosh. As you can see I am gushing. Perhaps that’s why, despite having many mutual friends (both famous and otherwise) in common, that man still runs for the hollow hills every time he sees me, armed with old Glass Records EPs and felt markers in hand looking for an autograph.
So today’s cover du jour finds Fernando of 2020Soundsystem fame putting some of the haus back in Bauhaus with his rendition of post punk classic Kick in the Eye.


Feelin’ Good

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

So, I’m on a juice fast for the next 3 days, as old Leopold has gone and overdone it again on food, drink, cigars and other things recreational.
If I we’re to pick a Rocky-like anthem for my mini de-tox, I would have to go with Feel Good Inc. from the yet-another-amazing-Damom-Albarn-side-project The Gorillaz.
While I’m sure at this point you’ve probably heard the Editors version (included today simply for posterity), I’m really digging Cookin on 3 Burners rare funkified version. Also along for the ride today is an electro cover from the aptly nom’ed Electromix.


Tha Who

Sunday, November 1st, 2009

All right got a quickie for you today,
Snoop Dogg‘s atomic classic Who Am I (What’s My Name) brilliantly reblown by The Hot 8 Brass Band, who tragically enough, have seen as much action as the LBC, by losing no less than 3 of it’s members due to handgun violence. Sometimes it’s hard being the dee o double g-clef.

The Hot 8 Brass Band – What’s My Name?