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Archive for May, 2012

Obstacle Course

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012


I feel bad. I haven’t bothered to keep up with Interpol since Turn On The Bright Lights, an album easily listened to a 1000+ times. Yet never bothered with the sophomore. Maybe it was the fear of potentially diminishing the debut’s unexpected spark. I know they caught a lot flack back inthe day for sounding a little too much like Joy Division, but then there’s only so many times one can listen to Closer or Unknown Pleasures. However Bright Lights, a fine album in my opinion, satiates that JD jones nicely.
No mate having Joy Division purists be damned.
Today’s feature Obstacle 1 was released in 2002. Has it really been a decade already? Interpol ushered in our new milleneum of new sounds (good riddance grunge, I never liked ye) but seem to have been fairly quiet since. However they’ve hardly been forgotten, as evidenced by the roundup of several Obstacles below.
Top cover by far is a heavy duty dub/reggae version from Tiger HiFi. Close second is the Tokyo based Icelandic expat Lily and Fox, armed only with a Japanese koto and a voice that sounds like raw honey. Further out is an all acapella cover from Washington State’s Mosaic Whispers, a classical cut from the ubiquitous The String Quartet Tribute to… and lastly, music for 1-Ups; an 8-bit Game Boy hacked rendition from Kunal Anand.

Tiger HIFI – Obstacle 1
Lily and Fox – Obstacle 1
Mosaic Whispers – Obstacle 1
The String Quartet Tribute to Interpol – Obstacle 1
Kunal Anand – Obstacle 1


Young At Heart

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Neil Young is one of those musicians, that ironically enough, I lump in the same category as Johnny Rotten (AKA John Lydon) of The Sex Pistols. Someone whom I have immense respect for as a musician and a cultural force, but try as I might, I honestly can’t stand the sound of their voice. The dynamic is as such that I can only stomach his work when it is covered by someone else; The Pixies, Saint Etienne, whomever, just not him.
Heart Of Gold, great example. Beautiful piece that, but I’d rather sit in a cave all day listening to Charlie The Iceman’s ARRGHHHHRAWWRREHHHH version, than having to endure 30 seconds of Neil’s unfortunate warbling.
Well as much fun as singing along with unfrozen cavemen sounds, here’s something that’s probably a little easier on the ears; two funk/soul covers from the foxy Betty Lavette and Daptone’s “The Screaming Eagle of Soul”, Charles Bradley. Also in that same vein is a vintage soulful reggae cut from Honeyboy (AKA Honey Boy).

Bettye LaVette – Heart Of Gold
Charles Bradley – Heart Of Gold
Honeyboy – Heart Of Gold


PS For the more dj minded members of Thee Versions Galore Fanclub, if you can believe it, I managed to track down a Heart Of Gold re-edit. You know where to look…

Jungle Brothers

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

When my dusty digital fingers are not sifting through cover versions, you can usually find me dancing around like an idiot, with my dachshund, to the sound of bronze age acid house/house (circa ’85-89), of which I’m a dyed in the smiley face T-shirt fanatic.
So you know what made my week? Stumbling across Adam Cruz & Eddie Nicholas‘ brilliant and rather percussive, leftfield human beatbox and conga cover of acid house classic Time Marches On by Jungle Wonz (AKA house music godfather Marshall Jefferson with Harry Dennis on vocal duties.). FYI Sharp eared fans of Kraftwerk take note of a certain non-stop rhythmic accoutrement running throughout.

Adam Cruz & Eddie Nicholas – Time Marches On


PS Those in Thee Versions Galore Fanclub with only a cursory knowledge of mid-80s Chicago House, got the original on the wall for you…

Fly Robin Fly

Sunday, May 20th, 2012

God hates disco apparently as another 70s icon, Robin Gibb of The Bee Gees, hustles his way into the great nightclub in the sky.
While I can’t say I was ever a big Bee Gees fan, they were however the indelible soundtrack of my youth, whether I listened or not. When the one-two punch of both Saturday Night Fever and Grease hit the theatres there was nary a grocery store, resaurant, dentist office, bad parental party or AM radio that didn’t succumb to the falsetto sounds of the chesty, satin wrapped trio.
Wel with that here’s the mysterious but brilliant GrandMagneto with a totally spot-on reggae/rocksteady rendition of Night Fever.

GrandMagneto – Night Fever

Enjoy! (and RIP Robin…)

Flashback Friday:Cure-iosity killed the…

Friday, May 18th, 2012

Apparently we’re doing back to back Flashbacks.
Though yesterday’s somewhat tragic post was a bit unplanned, today’s proper Flashback Friday revisting of The Love Cats by The Cure was inspired by a recent jazzy electronic soul version by Kinny. Kinny shares space with the likes of Alice Russell, Belleruche, Nostalgia 77 and more on the utterly excellent Tru Thoughts label, which has gotten into the awesome habit of breaking new artists via some uncommon sounding downtempo covers.
So even though we featured a bunch of ace versions in our original post, we did miss quite a few. For example a slow and sultry one from Katrine Ottosen, an Iggy-influenced cut from Supergrass sideproject The Hot Rats, 2 rockabilly-ish renditions from the Hot Rocket Trio and Boppin’b and a short and silly speed organ version from Germany’s Boy Division.
Oh and the indie darlings The Futureheads, they did one too.

Kinny – The Love Cats
Katrine Ottosen – The Love Cats
The Hot Rats – The Love Cats
Hot Rocket Trio – The Love Cats
Boppin’b – The Love Cats
Boy Division – The Love Cats
The Futureheads – The Love Cats

Check out the original Love Cats post here…


RIP Donna Summer (1948 – 2012)

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Yet another icon joins the choir invisible. I really should change the Versions motto ‘I hear dead people’.
But in all seriousness tough, this is a big loss.
While many artists back in the day reluctantly got their toes wet with disco (coughcoughDianaRosscough) via the heavy hands of coke addled record execs looking to cash in on the new sound, Donna Summer was 70s disco funk through and through. She set the vocal bar pretty high for all her surrounding contemporaries.
So really wanted to drop State of Independence for this one, but lo, I just realized it’s not an original Donna, it’s a cover (maybe something for later then). So I thought I’d bring out a 3rd installment of my fave proto electro/house track, the Moroder driven I Feel Love.
First up is are two robotic versions; a cute electro/indie-pop cut from The New Deal and bizarre experimental synth pop version from Bob. Next is a drone-y gypsy bongo rendition from Hamburg’s Kristof Schreuf (who also weaves in bits of Ride Like The Wind). Say what you will about the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the frat ilk that follow them these days (I know I do), but they’ve always had great personal music taste and their brief cover of I Feel Love (featuring Frusciante on falsetto) is pretty inspired considering. And lastly is an experimental metal one from ex-Racer X, Paul Gilbert. Not really my bag, but I’ll slack for posterity on this one.

BTW For those that missed the original I Feel Love postings be sure to have a gander here and also here

The New Deal – I Feel Love
Bob – I Feel Love
Kristof Schreuf – I Feel Love
Red Hot Chili Peppers – I Feel Love (Live)
Paul Gilbert – I Feel Love

RIP Donna

Ain’t Nothin But A Ting

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Personally I can’t think of anything whiter or probably less soulful than UK indie synthpop duo The Ting Tings, whose whose little jingle That’s Not My Name seems to be on inifite loop at my gym. Gotta admit though it’s catchy and I often find my fat ass breathlessly humming along ‘They Call Me Stacey! They call me Jane!’ whenever I’m in spin class.
However along comes Brighton’s The Impellers, on the ever infallible Freestyle Records label, to extinguish all that unnecessary guilt with their brilliant 60s style heavy funk/soul rendition (fans of Sharon Jones and Baby Charles, grab this).

The Impellers – That’s Not My Name


PS Out of town at The Ace (Palm Springs) for the next few days for some much needed vitamin D and mojitos. See you when I get back…


Can’t Touch This

Monday, May 7th, 2012

Johnny Kidd & The Pirates were an influential UK rock and roll outfit known for being one of the few pre-British Invasion groups to achieve some global success prior to the Beatles. They are primarily known for their cult 1959 rocker classic, and today’s cover fodder, Please Don’t Touch. And they were also known for their theatrics, dressing up like pirates with Kidd going so far as to donning an eyepatch. Seems pretty pedestrian by today’s standards but practically unheard of back in the 50s, thus paving the way for Paul Revere & The Raiders, Screaming Lord Sutch, Alice Cooper and even to some degree Adam & The Ants. Tragically however The Pirates rise was cut short when Kidd died in a car accident in 1966. In the end Kidd’s musical legacy was an influence on blues based rock and rockabilly that was done not in imitation of the original but rather in their own tenor, a style that would be picked up later to great effect by The Rolling Stones.
Like I mentioned earlier Please Don’t Touch is a bit of a cult classic and has become quite the go-to standard for many a rockabilly and rocker. However I’m going to lead the pack as I tradionally do with the more unconventional takes.
First is Uberwensch. I got a softspot for dirty analog-electro-garge rock electronics (ala Add N to X) and and an even softer for saucy UK lasses like it’s lead wensch Pippa Brooks. Pippa is one of those poly-talented, fashionable creatives that you see in i-D magazine whose got more ideas in her small, probably well-painted, toenail than any of us combined will have in a lifetime. At this point I’ll stop gushing.
While I’m sure Uberwensch won’t be everyone’s bag, you may dig my second favorite of the lot Kurt Wagner & Cortney Tidwell‘s alt country version. Wagner (of Lambchop fame) and Tidwell (Grand Ole Opry legacy child and all around go-to Nashville songwriter) slow their rendtition down a few notches from the usual frenetic pace Touch is known for, to a nice dreamy slide.
Next up a double bass case worth of rockabilly/pyschobilly versions (from Amulet to West Five). Standouts include dos versiones España; Nena No Me Toques from The Evil Ones and Loquillo Y Los Intocables. Me gusta! There were also a perplexing amount of Swedish ones (in both rockabilly and rock). Both Amulet and Johnny & The Dodgers stuck to their native tongues (Ei Koskettaa Saa) but special mention must also go out to the Slaptones a Swedish all-girl rockabilly trio. Oh and Japan represents too with the psychotic Battle Of Ninjamanz. You’ll also notice The Pirates, who were the remaining members of the original Johnny Kidd & The Pirates, and later recut a new version of their own.
Last batch (Crucified to Torment, lol.) is the rock ones. This a mixed bag of straight ahead rock, punk, garage and a little metal. Speaking of the latter, when compiling today’s feature I came across several of these that were incorrectly listed as Motörhead covers. That is because in 1980 Lemmy and 1st wave British metal all-girl outfit Girlschool (under the moniker Headgirl) own their version so thoroughly that people often mistake it for the original. Barring that tidbit, there are more yet more Swedes (Enhärjarna and Fuckin’ Hippies) as well as Japan’s infamous garage rocker trio Mad 3 (featuring Nippon ichibon badass and ex-founding 5,6,7,8’s, Eddie Legend). Oh and an early rare cover by some guy named David Bowie.

Uberwensch – Please Don’t Touch
Kurt Wagner & Cortney Tidwell present…KORT – Please Don’t Touch

Amulet – Ei Koskettaa Saa
Bachelors – Please Don’t Touch
Battle Of Ninjamanz – Please Don’t Touch
Belmont Playboys – Please Don’t Touch
Betty & The Bops – Please Don’t Touch
Boothill Stompers – Please Don’t Touch
Chico Holiday – Please Don’t Touch
Evil Ones – Nena No Me Toques
Housewreckers – Please Don’t Touch
Johnny & The Dodgers – Ei Koskettaa Saa
Lee Rocker – Please Don’t Touch
Loquillo Y Los Intocables – Nena No Me Toques
Matchbox – Please Don’t Touch
Mess Of Booze – Please Don’t Touch
Mott The Hoople – Please Don’t Touch
Rockin’ Rocket 88 – Please Don’t Touch
Slaptones – Please Don’t Touch
Sneaky Pete & Cool Cats – Please Don’t Touch
Stray Cats – Please Don’t Touch
The Dicers – Please Don’t Touch
The Meteors – Please Don’t Touch
The Midniters – Please Don’t Touch
The Pinstripes – Please Don’t Touch
The Pirates – Please Don’t Touch (Live)
The Shakin’ Arrows – Please Don’t Touch
Top Cats – Please Don’t Touch
West Five & Cavaliers – Please Don’t Touch

Crucified Barbara & American Dog – Please Don’t Touch
David Bowie with Mott The Hoople and Lou Reed – Please Don’t Touch
Dirty Black Beans – Please Don’t Touch
Enhärjarna – Please Don’t Touch
Fuckin’ Hippies – Ei Koskettaa Saa
Headgirl (AKA Motorhead & Girlschool) – Please Don’t Touch
Hellbillys – Please Don’t Touch
I Spit On Your Gravy – Please Don’t Touch
Mad 3 – Please Don’t Touch
Rachel Stamp – Please Don’t Touch
The Retardos (featuring The Pumps) – Please Don’t Touch
The Traceelords – Please Don’t Touch
The Trip Daddys – Please Don’t Touch
Throw Rag – Please Don’t Touch
Torment – Please Don’t Touch


PS Pirates and land lubbers of Thee Versions Galore Facebook Fanclub, got the original and some other booty up on the wall for you…

RIP MCA (Adam Yauch) 1964 – 2012

Friday, May 4th, 2012

Gutted today to say the least and it feels as if I lost an old classmate.
To say that MCA, as well as the other remaining Beastie Boys, have made a global impact on culture would be an understatement. Besides being the obvious major force in hip hop, their influence could also be felt in fashion, sketch comedy (Andy Samburg, Flight of the Conchords anyone?) and even global politics, what with Yauch’s heavy promotion of Tibetan causes. On another personal note had the opportunity to design for (and be invited to) an event with the Beastie Boys speaking recently. All three were there including a very frail Adam Yauch. Any heaviness to the situation was quickly undercut by a 300 strong crowd of fans who all stood to applaud very long and loud. A living tribute to say the least.
Since I already tackled Fight For Your Right To Party some moons ago, here’s what I got on short notice; 2 1/2 covers of Brass Monkey (not the most subtle right now I know, but when were the Beastie Boys ever subtle?).
Two lounge versions by ineffable Richard Cheese and a long instrumental blues/bugaloo rendition by Reuben Wilson (Ex-Blue Note-r) & Bernie Worrell (Ex-Funkadelic).

Richard Cheese – Brass Monkey
Richard Cheese – Brass Monkey (Live)
Reuben Wilson & Bernie Worrell – Brass Monkey

Rest in peace man…