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Archive for December, 2009

Goodbye Bad Seeds, Hello 2010

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

This year, and to some degree the end of last, has been all about purging a lot of social dead wood; bad clients, suspect business partners and many a so-called friend. It may sound like I’m ending the year on a bummer note but honestly it’s been quite the opposite; it’s been cathartic and enlightening. So I’m dedicating today’s track, People Ain’t No Good by Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, to them.
And to all my friends/clients that I treasure, and you, my dear dear Versions Galore readers, HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! And may you have an even happier 2010!

Miss Derringer – People Ain’t No Good

See you next year,

Ice Ice Baby

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Back in the day, when I used to work for a big electronic music magazine, I used to write under various guises. One of which was a column where I curmudgeonly attacked, well, everything. Bad trends, bad photographers, bad magazines, bad fashion, bad hats. I especially loved going after sacred cows; people and things that everyone agreed they all loved, attacked for the simple pleasure of just stirring shit up. As you could imagine my fake persona garnered loads of hate mail.
But no article got quite under peoples skin then when I went after Iceandic untouchable Bjork. All I did was point out, in a very blow by blow fashion, how she was no different than Madonna. Long article short, she used the same photographers, producers, remixers, dated similar types of guys, was often making similar quotes and overall had very parallel career moves and history.
Little did I expect with my Inbox to fill so quickly with little love sonnets like this one below:

FUCK YOU [name of magazine] AND FUCK [my pseudonym]



Even more fun than receiving was responding to these kinds of letters in print:

Oh crumbs Kathy, no actually I think she did. Ray Gun Magazine September 1997, of which the cover star is everyone’s favorite fat faced little troll.
Regarding my [obviously fake pseudonym] not being my real name; no shit Shaft.
Oh and that bit about electronica sucking and what not, you need to pull the snowflakes out of your ears hon’, cause ain’t that the very foundation that Bjork karaokes over?
hugs and kisses,
[my pseudonym]

Anyhoo, I was/am actually moot on Bjork. I just liked being the sand in everyone’s panties.
Personally I dig her output as KUKL all the way up to Post. After that she starts getting a tad too pretentious for me. Be that as it may, I’ve always been a big fan of The Sugarcubes, whome I’ve always likened to a Scandanavian equivalent of the B-52s.
So today we see the return of Japanese VG fave Tica with her rendition of Birthday.

Tica – Birthday

Enjoy! (and don’t hate me)

Back to Afrika

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

Electro/hip-hop fusion groundbreaker (and early feather in the cap of Arthur Baker) Planet Rock by Afrika Bambaataa & The Soulsonic Force gets the plug pulled for a couple of analog treatments today.
The appropriately nom’ed Breakout rock a mean home-style garage funk band version while Jason Moran tears up the ivories with his piano-lounge cut.

Breakout – Planet Rock (part 1)
Breakout – Planet Rock (part 2)
Jason Moran – Planet Rock


Get Used To It

Thursday, December 24th, 2009

If you’re like me then the first time you probably heard Andy WilliamsCan’t Get Used To Losing You was via The English Beat (or as our fUKing friends across the pond know them, simply, The Beat). Because of that I’ve always had a hard time parsing this tune from anything but a ska/rocksteady context.
So for today I’ve rounded up a small collection of reggae,ska,rocksteady and punk versions. Minus the aforementioned Beat, we also have more Jamaican influenced cuts from Alton Ellis, Jimmy London, Keith Myrie, Danny Ray, Barry Biggs and Bad Manners. Electronic dub outfit Renegade Soundwave turn out a rather funky nail-biting version. Original 1976 punks the Leyton Buzzards get nasal-y and lastly a very rare, short and sweet version from ex-Bauhaus-er and Versions Galore stalking victim, David J.

The English Beat – Can’t Get Used To Losing You
Alton Ellis – Can’t Get Used To Losing You
Jimmy London – Can’t Get Used To Losing You
Keith Myrie – Can’t Get Used To Losing You
Danny Ray – Can’t Get Used To Losing You
Barry Biggs – Can’t Get Used To Losing You
Bad Manners – Can’t Get Used To Losing You
Renegade Soundwave – Can’t Get Used To Losing You
Leyton Buzzards – Can’t Get Used To Losing You
David J – Can’t Get Used To Losing You


PS Missing from the above collection is Dandy Lvingstone and
The Israelites versions, damned if I didn’t try.
Anyone care to help fill in the blanks?

PPS I’m going to be sipping Mojitos, poolside at The Ace, in Palm Springs for the next few days, see you when I get back.

Hot for Preacher

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

Judy Mowatt & The Gaylettes give a bit of a rocksteady kick to
Dusty Springfield‘s (or is that Uma’s? 😉 ) Son of a Preacher Man.

Judy Mowatt & The Gaylettes – Son of a Preacher Man


Getting Ready

Monday, December 21st, 2009

Ugh. Forgot to pull out the Menorah this year and at this point Mrs. Stotch has officially ceased asking me to go to a Xmas tree farm to purchase pine from ex-cons. (they seem to have the lockdown on the Xmas lots around here, have no idea why)
I can’t even get into the Xmas spirit of posting Xmas cover songs.
Just too lazy.
So I guess let Scrooge McSloth here be your oasis from the holidays.

Here some Hot Chip Ready for the Floor covers. Loving the the Little Boots version, but also got more goodness from Lissy Trullie, Duffy and The Pigeon Detectives.

Little Boots – Ready For The Floor
Lissy Trullie – Ready For The Floor
Duffy – Ready For The Floor
The Pigeon Detectives – Ready For The Floor


Horse Sense

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

Laaaaaaa laaa la la la la la la la la laaaaaa la. No, that’s not the sound of frenzied Christmas carolers wacked out on fruitcake approaching, it’s America‘s desert desert hit A Horse With No Name. Incidentally I always found a good rule of thumb is any band named after a city or state is usually going to be awful; Boston, Alabama, Kansas, Chicago uh, Cypress Hill, but I’m not sure what implication of naming your band after an entire country is. Anyway fun bit of trivia was that when Horse was originally released, overzealous station programmers banned it, assuming that the ‘Horse’ was actually a reference to heroin and not some kind of parched midlife crisis.
Skipping over the bountiful amount of nausea inducing trance and hippy covers, we got an odd little downtempo/jazz/lounge version from Arcoiris, two good electro/electronic takes from Seelenluft & Florian Horwath and A Human, an lastly a likkle reggae/ska version from the likes of Massive Attack moonlighter, Horace Andy.

Arcoiris – A Horse With No Name
Seelenluft & Florian Horwath – A Horse With No Name
A Human – A Horse With No Name
Horace Andy – A Horse With No Name


PS Off topic: I’ve installed little Facebook and Twitter gizmos to the footer of each entry now, so share away with your favorite friends, relatives, cellmates, etc.

Air Heads

Friday, December 18th, 2009

The best thing to come out of France since the Gainsbourgs, Truffaut, Jeuno et Caro, gamine girls, Audrey Tatou, Diva, La Haine, Moebius, Jean Nouvel, French Vogue, Pomme Frites, Colette (the boutique), ah well, you get the point, Air and their slinky song Sexy Boy get covered today. My top pick is retro-futurist composer Bertrand Burgalat, followed by Scala & Kolacny Brothers classical chorus version. Franz Ferdinand churn out a nice rock cut as does, surprisingly, Nena (yes THAT Nena).

Bertrand Burgalat – Sexy Boy
Scala & Kolacny Brothers – Sexy Boy
Franz Ferdinand – Sexy Boy
Nena – Sexy Boy

Bon Appétit

Trane-ing Day

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Today is my birthday, so in celebration I thought I’d whip out my all-time favorite jazz track, Naima, by John Coltrane.
Not to get all sappy and poetic but it makes me miss cool sunny winter urban mornings living in NYC and SF (back before the dot coms completely decimated it).
Got two great broken beat/phuture jazz cuts from the likes of 4 Hero and Mark de Clive-Lowe (with a little vocal help from Bembe Segue) as well as an old school deep astral jazz cut by Maulawi.

4 Hero – Naima
Mark de Clive-Lowe (with Bembe Segue) – Naima

Happy Birthday to me!

Oh Hells Yeah!

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

While most guys are busy drooling over, I dunno, yawn, Pamela Anderson, Jenna Jameson and Megan Fox, my unholy trinity would have to be Erin O’Connor, Sofia Coppola, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Karen O (of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs). Is that more than three? Fuggit, my blog.
Sooooo working out at my gym affords me many luxuries, but the biggest however is the unfettered view I get from my treadmill of Karen O and her sweaty pits working out. Oh and Crispen Glover too (but thats a WHOLE other story, but let’s just say if you loved him in Back To The Future, you’ll love him in Elliptical Machine Freakout Part I).
Back on topic, today we got electro popper Baron von Luxxury covering the Yeah Yeah YeahsY Control.

Baron Von Luxxury – Y Control


Keeping Up With The Jones’

Monday, December 14th, 2009

Speaking of Funky Nassau we’re going to do a little island hopping today. My Jamaican Guy by enfant-étrange Jamaican girl Grace Jones, gets a mini Japanese lounge refashion courtesy of Tica (with a likkle help on the kalimba from Mute Beat’s Kazufumi Kodama).

Tica (feat.Kazufumi Kodama) – My Jamaican Guy


Balmy Bahama

Saturday, December 12th, 2009

1971 beat junky favorite Funky Nassau by (literal) funky brothers The Beginning Of The End gets the Versions Galore workout today. Orgone adopt an even more afrofunky sounding than the original, stance. Sounds great with female vocals too. Speaking of the ladies we also have a cut by sax-pot Candy Dulfer. A great cut by founding Beginning… member Ray Munnings who reworks his in an almost cosmic disco fashion. SKC makes a surprisingly good drum & bass version and if they still made Quaaludes I’d recommend taking two before listening Herbie Mann‘s cover. Also continuing in the funky vein are The Juju Orchestra, Bad Devil Swing, A and R Reworks, as well as a hammond-tastic version from Frank Cardona.

Orgone – Funky Nassau
Candy Dulfer – Funky Nassau (Live)
Ray Munnings – Funky Nassau
SKC – Funky Nassau
Herbie Mann – Funky Nassau
The Juju Orchestra – Funky Nassau
Bad Devil Swing – Funky Nassau
A and R Reworks – Funky Nassau
Frank Cardona – Funky Nassau

***Last Minute Addendums
Mucho Plus – Disco Nassau
Wess & the Airedales – Funky Nassau
Swackness – Funky Nassau
John O’Hara & The Famous O’Hara Playboys – Funky Nassau


Hi-Top Fade

Friday, December 11th, 2009

One 80s subculture that never garnered enough ink (at least not stateside) was the phenomena that was The Blitz Kids. Bored with punk both musically, and especially visually, this group of fashion and art school dropouts would come to define the look that was the 1980s. Spearheaded by part time makeup artist and club promoter, Steve Strange, The Blitz Kids, and the New Romantic movement it spawned, picked up the compact where Ziggy Stardust and Glam Rock had left off. With their androgynous attitude, outrageous makeup and homespun fashions they forged a creative well that many a talent drew from. Former Kids include such fashion luminaries as Isabella Blow, John Galliano and Leigh Bowery as well as 80s music staples Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Spandau Ballet, Dead or Alive, Culture Club and as well as today’s entry, the Steve Strange fronted Visage.
Their flagship synthpop anthem, Fade To Grey, gets the makeover today. Regardless of it’s Gaulic bridge, Fade seems tailor made for a French cover and listening to Parisian trio The Konki Duet as well as Nouvelle Vague, both knock my chaussettes off every listen. In the electronic department it’s unfortunate that Fade seems to have almost spawned nothing but a seemingly bottomless septic well of trance and industrial covers. That said, we do have a great electro version from Transparent Sound, an old school New Beat version from Neon, as well as familiar VG face Ed Starink with his instrumental knock-off version. And bringing up the rear, so to speak, are the Gregorian monks with their ready for Satan’s Alley soundtrack sounding cover.


PR Huff n’ Stuff

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

I’m a news junky so imagine my delight when I discovered that Versions Galore, in the most roundabout possible way, made the front page of The Huffington Post and Gizmodo. Seems that whomever comped up what the new Apple Tablet will look like, oddly enough used my mash-up art for Roison Murphy‘s cover of Bryan Ferry‘s Slave to Love post from last year.

So in case you missed it the first time, here she is again.
Feel free to use on whatever imaginary device suits your futuristic needs.


Being Hunted

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009

I thought it would be a cold day in Khartoum before I’d ever hear a decent industrial cover but Pittsburgh’s ThouShallNot has proved me wrong. Golden age EBM classic Headhunter, by Front 242, gets a much needed (and pretty hilarious) lounge-jazz makeover.

ThouShaltNot – Headhunter



Monday, December 7th, 2009

Some number of years ago I had the good fortune of being able to see
The Pixies play live during their original Doolittle tour. What was crazy is what happened that night. About an hour into their set yet another young dumb punk (one of several that night) managed to get up on stage and start dancing around. He lasted all of about 30 seconds before the security apes started closing in. Seeing them, he panics and quickly stage dives into the audience. What he didn’t know was that his foot had gotten tangled in Kim Deal’s bass cord. Well the cord must have been screwed in fairly tight and Kim, being attached to the bass with her strap, goes flying out towards the audience. It took both the security guys and a couple of road hands to hold her firm while they quickly tried to extract her from her instrument, whose cord was slowly being swallowed up by the audience. They quickly managed to free her but not without Black Francis throwing both a fit and his guitar and storming off stage (shortly followed by the rest of the band). 10 minutes later, and empty stage and about 1000 people chanting ‘PIX-EEES PIX-EEES PIX-EEES, Kim returns and says ‘I’ll see if I can get him to come back out’. 5 minutes go by before a somewhat still smoldering Black Francis, along with the rest of the crew, meandered back to their positions to play a very loud, slow and dreamy Wave of Mutilation. With that they called it a night.
So as you can imagine I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for Wave. Getting A’s for effort today are Grant Lee Phillips with his laid back country fried version and a bizarre Japanese noise and classical version from Naht.
Begging the question, what would it have sounded like if Kim Deal sang, we have some great female takes from Throwing Muse (and fellow Boston 4AD alum) Kristen Hersh, the always Pixie-ish sounding Joy Zipper and the art damaged Scarling.
We also have some more fairly straightforward versions from Japan’s Number Girl, Superdrag and Operation Cliff Clavin.
Live versions abound from Rhett Miller & Ben Kweller, Arcade Fire, The New Amsterdams, Dax Riggs (along with some from his group Deadboy & the Elephantmen).
And lastly we have some versions from some dude named Frank Black. Whoever he is, he sure ain’t no Black Francis.

Grant Lee Phillips – Wave of Mutilation


"I don’t care if he’s Muhammad-I’m-hard-Bruce Lee."

Friday, December 4th, 2009

Two very little discussed items that merit more than I have time or space for today is the cultural impact of both the Chinese immigrant population and action movies on Jamaican culture. Fusing the three together however and voila, you have reggae covers of chopsocky exploitation one hit wonder Kung Fu Fighting by Carl Douglas.
Kicking ass and taking names today are The Cimarons, Lloyd Parks and Pluto (aka Pluto Shervington) who showcases his funkier side of JA.

The Cimarons – Kung Fu Fighting
Lloyd Parks – Kung Fu Fighting
Pluto – Kung Fu Fighting


Eyez on the Prize

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

When I die, I want to come back as Bobby Gillespie.
The man’s got stylist Katy England as a wife, Kate Moss as arm candy and muse and pals around with and gets kitted out by Nobuhiko Kitamura (aka Hysteric Glamour). He also has the dubious distinction of being a founding member of Jesus & Mary Chain during Psychocandy back when they were actually good, having Andrew Weatherall on speed dial, and has probably done more drugs than all the Rolling Stones combined (and I’m including Brian Jones).
I’m sure none of this was lost on London electronic duo AutoKratz who have done a rather mean version of Primal Scream‘s Swastika Eyes.

Autokratz – Swastika Eyes


"Wouldn’t hold out much hope for the tape deck though. Or the Creedence."

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2009

Not quite sure why, but this morning I woke up with Creedence Clearwater Revival’s Fortunate Son stuck in my head. Maybe repeated listens of
Cat Power‘s rather sultry version will clear it out.

Cat Power – Fortunate Son