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Archive for January, 2011

Something More

Saturday, January 29th, 2011

Dear God, when I die please let me come back as this man.
The suits, the hair, the suave, the girls, the blue-blooded luxury; Bryan Ferry is truly the James Bond of UK pop (which I guess would have made Brian Eno “Q” right?). And it’s pretty much the mental image of all that excess dash and dapper that makes it almost impossible not to sing Roxy Music without a  Locust Valley Lockjaw. Today’s fuel for that fire; More Than This.
Nothing catalyzes sharp-ness quite like lounge so I’m leading with a cocktail cut by The Charlie Hunter Quartet (with Norah Jones). Next is two from the only decent all-female indie band in the last twenty years; the now sadly defunct Electrelane. Kudos to Dangerbird darlings Division Day who opt to take their More into heavier, more sparse waters. But if dark and weighty ain’t your bag Peanut Pie‘s fun little synthpop version may be for you. I’ll be frank with the next batch (run now, rant ahead!); I think acoustic renditions of anything are the lazy man’s cover version and, ironically, smack of the worst excesses of narcissism. Remember in college, that guy in the dorm hallway with the guitar and the half remembered chords to Redemption Song who whose gaze you’d avoid like a bag of flaming cat shite the entire semester? Exactly. But I think I may be alone in that sentiment. So if I haven’t completely pissed in your punchbowl you enjoy Robyn Hitchcock, Tam Lin, Lucy Kaplansky and Missy Higgins belting it out on all-sixes.  Also cruising by as if on autopilot are two standard sounding covers from alt-female legends Blondie and 10,000 Maniacs, both of whome honestly I expected, well, more than that. And lastly, Ladies and Gentleman…..Mr. Bob Harris!

The Charlie Hunter Quartet (with Norah Jones) – More Than This
Electrelane – More Than This (Peel Session)
Electrelane – More Than This (Live)
Division Day – More Than This
Peanut Pie – More Than This

Robyn Hitchcock – More Than This
Tam Lin – More Than This
Lucy Kaplansky – More Than This
Missy Higgins – More Than This

Blondie – More Than This
10,000 Maniacs – More Than This

Bob Harris (AKA Bill Murray) – More Than This


Sounds Like Rain

Monday, January 24th, 2011

Eurythmics and Jamaica. Jamaica and Eurythmics. Certainly nothing you’d ever expect crossing wires but here we are with two covers of Here Comes The Rain Again.
First up is Collie Weed with a uptempo, classic 80s-sounding dancehall version and second is pretty much what you’d expect if you locked inseparable reggae duo Sly & Robbie in a studio with electronic avant guardian Bill Laswell; dark, dramatic, & dubby (and somewhat dancehall as well).

Collie Weed – Here Comes The Rain
Sly & Robbie ft. Bill Laswell – Here Comes the Rain Again


Stopping Power

Thursday, January 20th, 2011

As you may have deduced by my prolonged absence, that I’ve been pretty slammed lately. Been on a roll project-wise and can’t stop. But I won’t leave you hanging oh dear readers. So I’m going to forgo my long winded stories of about the time one of the anorexic Fleetwood daughters called me a ‘Non-Entity’ to my face or about my friend Polka’s (his nickname) amazingly bad taste impersonation of the Kids Of Widney High singing Don’t Stop (Thinking About Tomorrow), in lieu of getting right down to today’s post (I’ll regale you next time, I swear).
Here’s someone whose been getting much love by Gilles Peterson as of late; soul crooner Raphael Gualazzi and his neo-Stax sounding cut of Don’t Stop by Fleetwood Mac.

Raphael Gualazzi – Don’t Stop


RIP Trish Keenan (of Broadcast) 1968-2011

Friday, January 14th, 2011

Oh man. Of all the recent music deaths in the last year or so, I think today’s has gutted me the most. Trish Keenan, the psych-ethereal singer of Broadcast passed away today at the very untimely age of 42 (of pneumonia). Broadcast in case you may have overlooked were often tagged as the darker sister of Stereolab. Recently the group had been whittled down to a duo, and now with demise of Keenan I’m assuming this will be it for them.
Regardless, sounding especially haunting now is Broadcast’s Peel Session cover of Sixty Forty by ex-Velvet Underground-er, and their unofficial influential godmother of sorts Nico (Note: same recording but two somewhat different sounding mixes, take your pick).

Broadcast – Sixty Forty (Peel Session Original)
Broadcast – Sixty Forty (Peel Session Warp 20 Version)

RIP Trish

PS Original on the wall for those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub.
PPS For those that may have missed it the first time round here’s another Broadcast cover post…

Send In The Clowns

Tuesday, January 11th, 2011

Ever catch yourself saying ‘I was into these guys before anybody…’? I can safely brag that line about electro-goldilocks Goldfrapp. Been watching her career since the early 90s, when she was the back up girl du jour for such golden age electronica acts as Tricky, Add N to X and, of course, Orbital. Funny I haven’t done a post on her yet (probably cause I’m still bitter cause she snubbed me one time, long story). But today we got some hot girl-on-girl action with the equally bohemian these days Rasputina covering Goldfrapp’s Clowns, wearing only a pretty voice and wielding an even prettier cello.

Rasputina – Clowns


Crazy In The Head

Friday, January 7th, 2011

Today we got the man who put the fire back in torch songs, Antony And The Johnsons. What blows me away is how he is able to take a fairly disposable piece of pop R&B, Crazy In Love by Beyoncé, and give it weight by turning it into a large, epic, gut wrenching ballad worthy of Jacques Brel or Scott Walker.
Knowles honey, it’s time for a new producer!

Antony And The Johnsons – Crazy In Love


Baked (Gerry Rafferty 1947-2011)

Wednesday, January 5th, 2011

Apologies in advance to any Gerry Rafferty fans out there for the insolence but Baker Street, for me, is a bag of mixed feelings, and bad memories of this song will forever be etched into the granite slab that qualifies as my brain. It was the painfully hot indian summers of the late 70s, trapped in the back of my mom’s Datsun 240z (just an fyi: there ARE NO back seats in a 240z) as she manically shuffled me between Japanese school and Hebrew school, all the while me hating my existence because I could barely even pass English (and I’m American!). And still sweltering like a fat man cramped in a tiny sauna, between those classes she’d drag us, only out of convenience, to McDonalds. While I loved my Chicken McNuggets (all 20 rubbery pieces of them) and chocolate shake, it was the combination of the grease, the malt, the heat, being squeezed behind the drivers seat and coupled with, during those years, a seemingly never-fucking-ending rotation of Rafferty’s Baker Street blaring from the radio that, to this day, whenever I hear the weezing sound of his sax solo I still get nauseous.
Whose crying whooooose cryyying nowwwww?’ Uh yeah, that’d be me.
So in half-hearted tribute and to possibly exercise all that childhood trauma I’ve got a hilarious drunken 80s garage version from the UKs The Galactic Symposium. Fun fact about The Galactics is that they were all competent musicians, but for just shits and giggles had decided to all swap instruments, regardless of competency. So here’s their version (results?) of Baker Street, complete with sax ‘solo’.

The Galactic Symposium – Baker Street

Enjoy! (and thanks for all the McNuggets)


Monday, January 3rd, 2011

While the murky musical origins of Heavy Metal can be tricky to pin down, Godda Da Vida this, Born To Be Wild that, I’m sure most will headbang in unison to where it got it’s more theatrical cues. During his live performances, frontman Arthur Brown, of 60s psych rockers The Crazy World of Arthur Brown, would usually don some sort of bohemian Snuggie and hellish makeup (to which Alice Cooper owes more than a debt of gratitude) and take the stage, whereupon he would ignite his self made 2 foot flaming helmet and loudly proclaim ‘I AM THE GOD OF HELLFIRE’ then segue into his signature 1968 hit Fire.
Flaming Fun Fact: Despite Fire being a diabolical point of origin for Metal as well as being an all around psych favorite, there’s actually no guitars being played, it’s all in the organ. Take that Church Lady.
So I know what you’re thinking, yes but can I dance to it? Funny you should ask as we’ve eschewed the obvious rock and metal covers in lieu of tripping the light fantastique. First up is my favorite; a funky mutant-disco version by the late great 80s no-waver Lizzy Mercier Descloux. Furthering that meme we also have some proper disco renditions by Panama and Deborah Washington (incidentally there were about a half dozen more disco versions out there that, try as a might, I couldn’t get my hands on. Sorry!). And just for posterity is Die Krupps who, hats off to them, actually managed rope in the actual Arthur Brown for vocals on their Prodigy-esque cut.

Lizzy Mercier Descloux – Fire
Panama – Fire
Deborah Washington – Fire
Die Krupps – Fire


PS Bonus non-disco cover and the original for those in Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub.
PPS This post/request goes out to my fellow design brethren Silas, who at this point bears an uncanny resemblance to Mr Brown (which no doubt he’d take as a compliment.)