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Archive for July, 2010

Car Culture

Friday, July 30th, 2010

Cars, ugh. Here in Los Angeles I feel especially lucky that I don’t have to drive all that much. That said every once and while the mobile rings with someone who wants me to do a job clear on the other side of town. Dread dread dread that. One job in particular had an especially nasty commute. If it was on a day like say in The World Without Us it would take 20 minutes. But in reality getting there was an hour and half nightmare (both ways) and no amount of trashy audiobooks in the world could stave off the boredom and frustration. But since they were paying me hand over fist, I sucked it up and did my best not to pull a stinger missile on every driver texting and weaving in the vicinity of my car.
There was however one bit of silver lining that I would see on the way home almost everyday and almost always at the same spot. On that route home there’s a particularly nasty bottleneck where 3 freeways converge (for my LA friends, the 101, 110 and the 10) and people lose their collective fucking minds trying merge. But at that same spot I would always see, driving a Samurai Suzuki, a somewhat younger Buddhist monk complete with a shaved head and orange robes. Despite being at the ground zero of road rage he’d be calm as a cow, only occasionally rapping his fingers on the steering wheel, blissfully oblivious to the commuting cacaphony outside. And whenever I’d see him, besides filling me with an overwhelming sense of calm, I’d often wonder; a) How does he do it? THAT traffic at THAT intersection is enough to test anyone’s inner Michael Douglas a la Falling Down. Please Master, teach me Zen and the art of commuting. And b) What’s he listening too? After seeing him several times I became convinced it was Cars by Gary Numan, gently humming to himself a repeated mantra of ‘Here in my car. I feel safest of all.’
So that rather lengthy bit leads us into today’s cover, the above mentioned Cars. I’ve handpicked some cherrys and dumped the junkers (namely the perplexing amount of nu-metal covers). Jump starting with my favorites, we got a great acoustic mandolin and violin version from The Leisure Society. Cookin’ On 3 Burners return with a great funk version while The C-Nuts and Jim Collins shift into jazzier territory. The aptly named Opium Jukebox take the short cut to Calcutta with their doped out Sitar rendition and getting even spacier is a deconstructed ambient cut from Terre Theamlitz. Next up we got 3 hip-hop cuts from the likes of Randi Rann, a rare unreleased cover from the late J Dilla, and an electro version from the Fearless Four. And speaking of electro, we also got one from the Dale Earnhardt of nu school electro/techno Dave Clarke and fans of MIA, Santogold etc. might dig the tropical booty-shaking version from Flore (ft. Shunda K). Not forgetting those on the indie circuit there’s the lovely Shampoo, the Toadies, TV Buddhas, the Judybats and Katzenjammers who like to drive under the influence of steel drums. Downshifting into the garage we got two from student drivers Bring Back Dad and Charles Brown Superstar. And lastly in paying homage to the grandaddy of synth-pop Nine Inch Nails drag the original driving instructor, Gary Numan, onstage for a series of live versions.

The Leisure Society – Cars
Cookin’ On 3 Burners – Cars
The C-Nuts – Cars
Jim Collins –
Cars (Jazz Mix)
Opium Jukebox – Cars
Terre Thaemlitz – Cars

Randi Rann – Cars
J Dilla – Trucks (AKA Cars)
Fearless Four –
Just Rock (AKA Cars)

Dave Clarke – Cars
Flore ft Shunda K – Cars

Shampoo – Cars
Toadies – Cars
TV Buddhas – Cars
Judybats – Cars
Katzenjammers –
Cars (Live)

Bring Back Dad – Cars
Charles Brown Superstar –
Cars

Nine Inch Nails feat. Gary Numan – Cars (Live 2009 Los Angeles Henry Fonda Theater)
Nine Inch Nails feat. Gary Numan – Cars (Live 2009 Los Angeles Hollywood Palladium)
Nine Inch Nails feat. Gary Numan –
Cars (Live)
Nine Inch Nails feat. Gary Numan – Cars (London O2 Arena 2009)

Enjoy!
LS

Land Of The Pharaohs

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

The creator has a master plan,
peace and happiness for every man.
The creator has a working plan,
peace and happiness for every man.
The creator makes but one demand,
happiness through all the land.

~ Pharoah Sanders

Today we got 23 great covers of Pharoah Sanders sprawling 32 minute soul-jazz epic The Creator Has a Master Plan; Pharoah’s message of hope and peace widely believed to be a sequel of sorts to his mentor John Coltrane’s A Love Supreme.
I’ve divided today’s covers into two groups; the New School made up of downtempo/future jazz cuts (though The Dynamics is closer to reggae/rocksteady while Cobblestone Jazz and Painé run a little more on the House-y side), and the Old School made up of more straight ahead, but no less stellar, jazz renditions (minus Krokodil which is technically Krautrock).

New School
Brooklyn Funk Essentials – The Creator Has A Master Plan
The Souljazz Orchestra – The Creator Has A Master Plan
Cal Bennett – The Creator Has A Master Plan
Cobblestone Jazz – The Creator Has A Master Plan
The Dynamics – The Creator Has A Master Plan
Kindred Spirits Ensemble – The Creator Has A Master Plan
Koop feat. Yukimi Nagano – The Creator Has A Master Plan
Natural Calamity – The Creator Has A Master Plan
Routine – The Creator Has A Master Plan
Galliano – Leg in the Sea of History (AKA The Creator…)
Painé – The Creator Has A Master Plan

Old School
Bobby Matos – The Creator Has A Master Plan
Babatunde Lea – The Creator Has A Master Plan
Norman Connors – The Creator Has A Master Plan
Don Cherry – The Creator Has A Master Plan (Live)
Gilson – The Creator Has A Master Plan
Leon Thomas – The Creator Has A Master Plan
Leon Thomas with Oliver Nelson – The Creator Has A Master Plan (Live)
Louis Armstrong – The Creator Has A Master Plan
Material – The Creator Has A Master Plan (Live)
Krokodil – The Creator Has A Master Plan

Jeri Brown – The Creater Has A Master Plan
Jimmy Ponder – The Creater Has A Master Plan

Enjoy!
LS

PS Those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub, bonus Plan on the wall for ya …

Air Supply…

Monday, July 26th, 2010

France’s mellow-tronic Air will always get perpetual accolades in my book for having the balls to name one of their songs after a graphic designer, Mike Mills. Speaking of which,  I see Mills on a fairly regular basis wandering around my hood with his arm candy, video artist Miranda July. Tried to work for the guy years ago but was shot down as he had just started transitioning into being a director, cutting his teeth making music videos for Air. While his video for Kelly Watch The Stars is SoCal, table tennis 70s-camp brilliance, I always found his video for All I Need, a short about two self conscious teens in love to be among his most poignant and sublime.
So while I’m on that subject here’s three covers of Air’s All I Need. Kicking off we got reggae rendition from Cashma Hoody followed by two jazz cutss via [Re:Jazz] and Wendy Matthews.

[Re:Jazz] – All I Need

Enjoy!
LS

In Vini Veritas

Friday, July 23rd, 2010

God: Vini Reilly, by the way, is way overdue a revival.
You might think about a greatest hits.
Tony Wilson: It’s a good idea.
God: It’s good music to chill out to.
Tony Wilson:Yeah, you’re right.
God: I usually am.
~ 24 Hour Party People

Regarding today’s post; I don’t know if you know who Vini Reilly is. Maybe you do or maybe you don’t (but don’t know that you do), but in case you don’t he is simply one of the finest guitarists that ever graced this world we call……….earth. (Sorry couldn’t resist throwing in the Alan Partridge reference 🙂 ).
So fuck your Stevie Ray Vaughans, your Vais, your Satrianis and double (skull) fuck your Eric Clapton, here’s a bluffer’s guide to Durutti Column:

° Formed in 1978, The Durutti Column is essentially the solo project of guitarist Vini Reilly and is among one of the earliest acts on Factory Records (next to Joy Division and Cabaret Voltaire.)

° His first album, the ironically titled The Return Of The Durutti Column, was constructed of sandpaper, designed to destroy whatever record sat next to it on the shelf. It also has the dubious distinction of being hand assembled by a then out of work Joy Division.

° Was often produced by Martin Hannett (Joy Divison, U2, The Buzzcocks) who would often integrate field recordings of elevators and birds.

° Was best mates with, championed, and sometimes managed by the late Tony Wilson. Vini would later eulogize him with A Paean To Wilson.

° Was Morrissey’s guitartist for (and for the most part wrote), Viva Hate.

° His song Otis was featured (played to deaf ears?) in an AT&T commercial here in the US.

° Fans include John Frusciante of the Red Hot Chili Peppers who called him “The best guitarist in the world”, Brian Eno (The album LC is one of Eno’s ‘All time favorites’) and…ah…pornstar and part time Steven Soderbergh muse Sasha Grey.

Also a fan is neo acid folk act Espers, who are one of only two people thus far brave enough to cover Durutti (The other being Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore). Here they are with their cover of Tomorrow.

Espers – Tomorrow

Enjoy!
LS

PS Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub, got the original hanging on the wall for ya…

Muffy The Vampire Slayer

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

Dunno if you heard the news yet but in case you haven’t, like, been in the vicinity of the internet in the last few days:

Vampire Weekend are being sued for $2 million (£1.3 million) by the cover star of their second album ‘Contra’.
Released earlier this year, the album featured a photo of Kirsten Kennis taken in 1983 by photographer Tod Brody on its cover. As TMZ.com reports, Kennis filed a lawsuit on Wednesday (July 14) with the Los Angeles County Superior Court, claiming that the signature on the release form – which would allow the band to use the image – was forged.

~NME

Turns out either the photographer forged the model release or Kirsten Kennis needs a new Jag. In either case, yours truly being somewhat in the know of the business of artist’s copyrights, thinks it’ll be doubtful that Vampire will get hit with the bill. In terms of negligibility the most likely scenario will be photographer first (if he lied), then record company (for not double checking and for having barrels of cash) and then band (if she’s got an ace lawyer). In any case, being a big fan, I wish them luck. Hopefully Little Miss Cranky Cover Cow won’t be able to do too much damage.
Setting the way-back machine to happier times, to Vampire Weekend‘s eponymous debut about 2 years or so ago, here’s a sweet little mandolin & melodica rendition of Walcott I’ve been digging from new cover act to watch out for, Coconut and The Duke.

Coconut and The Duke – Walcott

Enjoy!
LS

On The Upside

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

Look at that man smiling above.
With 27 wives,  it’s hard to tell if Fela Kuti was either the happiest man in the world, or at the very least, the most nagged. But in all seriousness he was more than just a Nigerian version of Big Love; he was a tireless activist for both political and human rights as well as being the pioneer of afrobeat.
Today we got two different versions of Fela’s Upside Down (though written by Fela’s sole co-vocalist Sandra Izsadore) by one-off NYC studio band the Daktaris, some of whome would later go on to form Antibalas.

Daktaris – Upside Down (Soul Explosion version)
Daktaris – Up Side Down (Black Man’s Cry version)

Enjoy!
LS

Custom Buttons

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Been a while since I’ve featured, or even thought about, The White Stripes.
While their new stuff is a bit too polished for my liking, anything from Elephant and before is always going to be trés clinquant in my book, including their single The Hardest Button To Button. While not as covered as say Seven Nation Army we do got two versions; an electro-disco cut from NYC’s The Golden Filter and a rather incandescent soundtrack sounding rendition from Aluminium.

The Golden Filter – The Hardest Button to Button
Aluminium – The Hardest Button to Button

Enjoy!
LS

Looks Like Rain

Monday, July 19th, 2010

Not 100% sure if today’s cover, Walking In The Rain, is an update of the 1979 original by Australia’s (literal) Flash & The Pan or of Grace Jones‘ more infamous 1981 cover.
I’ve always been keener on Grace’s Sly & Robbie backed cut than the original, but that’s just me. In either case here is a great sparse little disco-dub version via Frontera (aka Reverso 68).

Frontera – Walking In The Rain

Enjoy!
LS

PS Those in the Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub got the originals for ya. You know where to look…

Murphy’s Law

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

Thank God for James Murphy (AKA LCD Soundsystem) for making all of us aging, cherubic, semi-bearded hipsters who spent way to much time reading the
Trouser Press when we were young, look like sex symbols. What’s even more amazing howevs, is that his single Drunk Girls has been out for like what, only a couple of months, and already there are 3 cover versions?!?! Go Jim!
Not much good comes out of San Francisco anymore except the food, but there is the female voxed Stripmall Architecture, my fave out of this trio by a long shot, who managed to retain all the fun of the original Drunk Girls (if not a tiny bit more). Also out of SF is Wooden Shjips, who are good, but not as good as House Of Nanking. And lastly we have nuevo Italianos Drink To Me who are in league with the same folks who engineered the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, The Horrors, Blond Redhead etc, so I think you can guess where they are headed…

Stripmall Architecture – Drunk Girls
Wooden Shjips – Drunk Girls
Drink To Me – Drunk Girls

Enjoy!
LS

Getting The Led Out

Friday, July 16th, 2010

Here’s some band that, oddly enough, I only bothered getting into a whopping 5 years ago, Led Zeppelin. After years of being blinded by a long standing anti-classic rock/shitty dorm room poster stance (damn my punk roots!) I finally saw the light to how truly funky and downright amazing they were, and that was even in spite of all their plundered beats littered throughout my favorite 80s hip hop tunes.
So today we got a whole lotta hand-picked covers of Whole Lotta Love. One wouldn’t think 4 pasty British white guys wearing their mothers blouses would be able to make much of an impression on the funk and soul royalty of America, but apparently they did with the the likes of Ike & Tina Turner (my favorite cut of the lot), Aretha Franklin (or more accurately, her band) and Dennis Coffey (Beat miners head’s up: some great breaks in there) as well as other soul-jazz funkateers James Taylor Quartet, Blue Mink, C.C.S, Dieter Zimmermann and The Band No Name. As for the rest it’s a veritable shotgun effect of genres; Bossa-Nova (Bebo Best & Super Lounge Orchestra), Acapella (The Bobs), Downtempo (Coldfinger), Reggae (The Dynamics and a surprisingly amazing Dread Zeppelin), Coasters-style R&B (Godfrey Daniel), Bluegrass (Iron Horse), Classical (London Symphony Orchestra/Royal Choral Society), Italo-Space-Disco (Massimo Barsotti), classic Disco (The Wonder Band), Moog (Moog Cookbook), Hip Hop (Vicious Rumor Club, M.E.D. Productions NYC), Drum & Bass (Perry Farrell, yes THAT Perry Farrell), 90s ‘Dance’ (Sly & Robbie, Love Child Orchestra, Jo Squillo, Goldbug, Motor Industries), Experimental-Alt (Tragic Mulatto) And lastly, should you ever need to clear a party or dance floor in 20 seconds flat, there is the self-explanatory Temple City Kazoo Orchestra. Easily the most annoying cover version ever made. Approach with caution.

Ike And Tina Turner – Whole Lotta Love
Aretha Franklin – Whole Lotta Love
Dennis Coffey – Whole Lotta Love
James Taylor Quartet – Whole Lotta Love
James Taylor Quartet – Whole Lotta Love (Live at Manchester Academy)
Blue Mink – Whole Lotta Love
C.C.S. – Whole Lotta Love
Dieter Zimmermann – Whole Lotta Love
The Band No Name – Whole Lotta Love
Bebo Best & Super Lounge Orchestra – Whole Lotta Love
The Bobs – Whole Lotta Love
Coldfinger – Whole Lotta Love
The Dynamics – Whole Lotta Love
Dread Zeppelin – Whole Lotta Love
Godfrey Daniel – Whole Lotta Love
Iron Horse – Whole Lotta Love
London Symphony Orchestra & Royal Choral Society – Whole Lotta Love
Massimo Barsotti – Whole Lotta Love
Massimo Barsotti – Whole Lotta Love (Another Version)
The Wonder Band – Whole Lotta Love
Moog Cookbook – Whole Lotta Love
Vicious Rumor Club – Whole Lotta Love
M.E.D. Productions NYC – Whole Lotta Love
Perry Farrell – Whole Lotta Love
Sly & Robbie – Whole Lotta Love
Love Child Orchestra – Whole Lotta Love
Jo Squillo – Whole Lotta Love
Goldbug – Whole Lotta Love
Motor Industries – Whole Lotta Love
Tragic Mulatto – Whole Lotta Love
Temple City Kazoo Orchestra – Whole Lotta Love

Enjoy!
LS

PS Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub bonus Love edits on the wall for ya …

PPS Big tip of the sombrero to the folks over at The Lost Turntable for helping me track down elusive ex-Colourbox act Love Child Orchestra.

R.I.P. Sugar Minott (1956 – 2010)

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

A couple days late on this one, but I only just found out that dancehall pioneer and all around Jamaican legend Lincoln Barrington “Sugar” Minott passed away this weekend of a heart attack at the untimely age of 54.
In memorium here’s a Sugar tribute to another late legend; a cover of a very early (1971!) Michael Jackson track, We’ve Got A Good Thing Going, along with bonus dub.

Sugar Minott – Good Thing Going
Sugar Minott – Bad Things (Good Things Dub)

Enjoy (and Rest In Peace Sugar!)
LS

PS Those in the Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub got the orignal hangin’ on (off?) the wall for ya

Planetary Activity

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

Here’s the band that ushered in the kitsch revival of the 80s, The B-52s. Even their namesake being taken from a particular style of beehive hairdo (seen above on Mmes Pierson and Wilson). Never before had ‘tacky’ been elevated to a badge of honor.
While no prom, wedding or bar mitzvah would be complete without Rock Lobster, I’ve always been a bigger fan of the Peter Gunn and Theremin inflected paranoia of Planet Claire. We’ve got two good electronica versions today; a rather bumpin electro cut by Super Astronaut and a jazzy downtempo/lounge rendition via Les Deux Love Orchestra.

Super Astronaut – Planet Claire
Les Deux Love Orchestra – Planet Claire

Enjoy!
LS

On The Sly

Monday, July 12th, 2010

Dust off your trumpet as we got one of my more favorite Sly & the Family Stone tunes,  Runnin’ Away.
While not the most famous single off of There’s a Riot Goin On (Family Affair holds that distinction), it’s still a nice slice of jangly pop-soul yet packed with a jester’s drug-fuelled irony.
Kicking off we have a handful of 80s alt/new wave versions from The Colourfield (Terry Hall will always get top billing around here), proto-twees The Raincoats and ex-Josef K member Paul Haig. Funky they are not, but they definitely got the lockdown on charm.
Speaking of funky however, we got Freak Power (aka pre-Fatboy Slim Norman Cook), and two Hammond-inflected obscure 70s soul-jazz cuts from Ceasar Frazier and the aptly named Funk Inc.

The Colourfield – Runnin’ Away
The Raincoats – Runnin’ Away
Paul Haig – Runnin’ Away
Freak Power – Runnin’ Away
Ceasar Frazier – Runnin’ Away
Funk Inc. – Runnin’ Away

Enjoy!
LS

Condition Critical

Friday, July 9th, 2010

My condition…
Wine, Cheese, Figs, Salami, Sushi, Spicy Mayo, Sake, Beer, Ice Cream.
All very good things.
Not so good, so mote it be, when all are consumed in one sitting, as I learned last night, all night, praying to the porcelain.
So for those that Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In), it’s still pretty meh, but I do however have a bunch of good covers of the Mickey Newbury flashback (made recently more famous via Kenny Rogers AKA The First Edition/The Big Lebowski).
Leading the pack we have two deep fried cuts from soul divas Bettye LaVette and VG faves Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings. Next we got a pair of hedonists whose conditions should always be checked in on; Nick Cave and Mojo Nixon. And lastly we have another pair from Brit-Poppers Supergrass and Reef.

Bettye LaVette – Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Nick Cave – Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Mojo Nixon – Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Supergrass – Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)
Reef – Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)

Enjoy! (and go easy on the spicy mayo)
LS

Shadowplay

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010

Is it me or has anyone else noticed how DJ Shadow and Fred Durst (of Limp Bizkit fame) are starting to look a little too separated at birth these days?
It seems that the only way to tell them apart at this point is to check which way the hat is facing.
Well fortunately it’s yours, mine and everyone’s lucky day as I’m planning to roll with Mr. Forward-Facing cap today, featuring an instrumental funk cover of Shadow’s Organ Donor by Dutch outfit Lefties Soul Connection.

Lefties Soul Connection – Organ Donor

Enjoy!
LS

Day Planner

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Today’s entry goes out to my best and childhood friend Ray, an indelible The The fan, who recently had a birthday but more importantly just had a baby. And I can’t think of anything more suiting than a cover of This Is the Day, given an acoustic makeover here by much the scruffier headed, Badly Drawn Boy.

Badly Drawn Boy – This Is the Day

Enjoy! (and congrats again Ray!)
LS

Seconded

Monday, July 5th, 2010

Happy Birthday To Me!
I woke up this morning to realize it’s Versions Galore’s 2nd Anniversary.
While two years may not seem like a long time to be around, it’s practically neolithic for anything on the interwebs. Funny enough, this blog was only supposed to be a temporary, one month ‘experiment’ to learn the ins and outs of social media when I was taking a bit of time off from work. Along the way, however, something went horribly awry and here I am now, 24 months, 266 posts and 250,000 visitors later. Even the header art was supposed to be temporary placeholder. But as completely nonsensical as our  three amigos above are, they’ve kinda become VG‘s permanent mascots.
Anyway I just wanted to say a hearty ‘THANKS!!!!’ to all of you who have been following/supporting my blog through it’s ups & downs these last two years, and even a bit of thanks to all you ungrateful, leechy, non-thanking bastards out there too, I love you all.
So, digging around for anything, er…, number 2 related out there (that I haven’t covered yet), I managed to scare up a bunch of great reggae covers of
Smokey Robinson & the Miracles‘ Motown classic,  I Second That Emotion.

The Martinis – I Second That Emotion
Carlton Livingston – I Second That Emotion
Albert Tomlinson – I Second That Emotion
Ruddy Thomas – I Second That Emotion
Righteous Flames – I Second That Emotion
Derrick Lara – I Second That Emotion
Chosen Few – I Second That Emotion

Thanks Again Everyone!
LS

Something To Think About.

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

Summer of ’89. It was virtually impossible to get into a car or a club without hearing the infamous Lyn Collins sample ‘It takes two to make a thing go right! It takes two to make it outta sight!!!’ blaring from the speakers (hefty doses due mostly to Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock). While her James Brown produced classic Think (About It) was a product of 72′, seventeen years and some change later, no 90s hip-hop track worth it’s Africa Medallion was without it.
Todays covers to think about kick off inna reggae fashion with a neo-rocksteady cut from The Lions as well as a couple from the more dancehall minded Patra. Speaking of Jamaica we also got a couple of more soul leaning versions from the likes of Esquires Now and Skorpyons Of Jamaica. For those that get down to a higher BPM we have a 82′ disco-funk hangover gem from Carole Sylvan, some golden-era house from Farley ‘Jackmaster’ Funk and Precious Red and lastly (for posterity) we have Lyn Collins teaming up with 90s Italo-house staple Stefano Secchi.

The Lions – Think (About It)
Patra – Think (About It)
Patra – Think (About It) (Hip Hop Remix)
Esquires Now – Think (About It)
Skorpyons Of Jamaica – Think (About It)
Carole Sylvan – Think (About It)
Farley ‘Jackmaster’ Funk Presents Precious Red – Think (About It)
Secchi feat. Lyn Collins – Think (About It)

Enjoy!
LS

Blacc Velvet

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

While I’ve got covers of Femme Fatale by The Velvet Underground in spades just waiting to be unleashed, I thought I’d draw your attention to this new cut by VG current fave, Aloe Blacc. I may be going out on a limb here, but this version of Femme does what Isaac Hayes did for Walk On By; reshapes a benchmark 60s classic into a slow-burning soul epic.

Aloe Blacc – Femme Fatale

Enjoy!
LS