Friday, June 29, 2012

29 June 2012 - The Walkmen - Holiday Road

And with this totally appropriate Lindsey Buckingham cover, I'm off to the beach for a week...

Thursday, June 28, 2012

28 June 2012 - Joan Jett (& The Blackhearts) - I Love Rock 'n' Roll

I bet you all thought this was an original.  Well, it was.  When The Arrows performed it in 1975.

This song helped Joan Jett launch a post-Runaways career, but she would never have a bigger hit than this cover, a faithful one at that, with a twist. The original was sung by a man, and so the person standing by the record machine.... was a she, not a he.  For some reason, that original version was a little creepier.



This was the second time Joan Jett recorded the song.  The first time was in 1979, while still a Runaway, with Paul Cook and Steve Jones of the Sex Pistols.  Here is a badly dubbed version of the same video, in color, with this version.   It's a little more glam-rock and less rockabilly.  As an added bonus, the video is the original color version - Joan Jett was not a fan of the red leather.



Wednesday, June 27, 2012

27 June 2012 - The Killers - Shadowplay

When I saw The Killers in 2009 they busted out this Joy Division cover which appeared in the 2007 film Control. I had no idea they covered it, which is sad because I had the DVD for the movie at the time (which to this day still hasn't been opened).

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

26 June 2012 - Glen Campbell - Wichita Lineman

This.  This is my favorite song of all time.  Bar none.

Glen Campbell captures perfectly the heartbreak of... well, a Wichita lineman.  The ache of the loneliness of the work comes through in the guitar/violin combination as well as Glen's gentle vocals.  He wants to hear his love through the wires, and yearns for it.  

It's a song I wish I could sing.

It's also a song Glen didn't write.  In a Totally Covered twist, the recording of Jimmy Webb's song - which was written for piano - was released before Jimmy Webb ever was, and in fact was written FOR Glen Campbell.  Jimmy Webb wrote a lot of Glen Campbell's hits.

But it is his song.  And it is the most perfect song ever written and performed.



As an added bonus, here is a video of Glan Campbell performing the song in Toronto last year, on his Goodbye tour, as he is suffering from the early stages of Alzheimer's. I haven't seen him live yet, and I really hope I get the chance to.

Monday, June 25, 2012

25 June 2012 - Berlin - The Dope Show

I got to see Berlin play a few years ago, which I have to say was pretty cool. While they played a ton of their old hits (The Metro was always a favorite of mine), they were touring for a new album of covers, which of course brings us to today's live video of the band covering Marilyn Manson (the only video I could find wasn't exactly the best quality, but you'll get the idea of how cool it was...and yes, they brought up the crowd at my show too...and no, I didn't go up and shake it with Teri and the band).

Thursday, June 21, 2012

21 June 2012 - Kris Delmhorst - You Might Think / Drive

Anyone who reads my other blogs knows what my Album of the Year pick was for 2011.  Far and away, it was Cars by Kris Delmhorst.  This is a bit of an understatement; I would call it the best album I've heard in the last five years, at least. She was able to retain the dark optimism of Rik Ocasek's original lyrics and vocals (and yes, in some cases, Ben Orr's), while bringing her own folky soulfulness to the music.  This was the best of the best.  Expertly done, this version gives me chills.



The album was so good, I wanted to also share Kris's take on Ben Orr's lyrics.  Equally chilling, this is a song I don't like in its original form, but love in hers.



Wednesday, June 20, 2012

20 June 2012 - Paul Weller and Amy Winehouse - I Heard it through the Grapevine

Do I really need to say anything here? It's Amy Winehouse AND Paul Weller covering a Motown classic from the Later...with Jools Holland show. Just sit back, push play and bask in the awesome goodness that is this video.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

19 June 2012 - The Carpenters - Superstar / Sonic Youth - Superstar

I always found The Carpenters to be dull.  I mean, Richard was an excellent songwriter, and Karen a talented drummer and vocalist, but the combination of the two of them was just so boring.  However, there are exceptions, such as this Delaney and Bonnie song.  Karen really captures the heartbreak of the unrequited love of an adoring fan, and made it huge.



Of course, the song was so popularized by The Carpenters that it really became their song, so when Sonic Youth covered it, it was featured on the Carpenters tribute album.  It's clearly a darker version than the one sung by Karen Carpenter, but still captures the heartbreak.

Monday, June 18, 2012

18 June 2012 - Ane Brun - Jóga

A few years ago I was looking for something new to listen to while I was at work (this was when Lala.com still existed as a streaming music site). I asked a few Lala friends with similar tastes for some suggestions. As expected, I got some interesting, and some not so interesting suggestions, but the "big win" that day was discovering Norway's Ane Brun. Of course I picked up her records. How could I not? That voice is so incredible.

So that brings us to today. I had no idea what to post but for some reason had Ane Brun on my mind. I wondered if she had done any interesting covers and a simple YouTube search turned up this stunning performance from the 2010 Polar Music Prize Ceremony in Stockholm (Björk who originally did the song was one of the year's prize winners). Brun later said about the performance, “I’ve never been so nervous. It felt like my heart was leaping out of my chest...I couldn’t look at her until I was done.” (From an interview on wearsthetrousers, February 24th, 2012).

Saturday, June 16, 2012

16 June 2012 - Linda Ronstadt - Blue Bayou

I grew up with a mother who loved the country-pop fusion phase of the early 70's. One of the biggest artists in that genre was Linda Ronstadt.  Trust me - there are plenty of others you DON'T want to hear.

I couldn't stand this song, a Roy Orbison cover, growing up, because I thought it was boring.  However, I have grown to appreciate it now, and its cool contrast between the quiet, mellow verses and the belted chorus.  I hope you appreciate it as well!

Friday, June 15, 2012

15 June 2012 - Dinosaur Jr. vs. Katie Melua - Just Like Heaven

Y'all up for a Friday Cover Fight? Who does the better version of this Cure classic: alt legends Dinosaur Jr. or the breathy and beautiful Katie Melua? Let's get it on!

First up is Dinosaur Jr's version. On a side note, my first college band used to perform this version of the song (I loved screaming that chorus).



And now Katie Melua's version.



So who wins? Post in the comments.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

14 June 2012 - Sid & Susie - Different Drum

Sid & Susie is the stage name for the collaboration between Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs. An unlikely combination - a guy from the Athens, GA music scene, a gal from LA - but it has been a combination that has worked thus far, in almost every circumstance.  I am a fan of the two of them separately, and I am a fan of them together.

Here they are, performing the song "Different Drum", itself originally popularized as a cover.  The song was written by Mike Nesmith of the Monkees, and performed by them and others before The Stone Poneys got a hold of it and made it a classic.  Susanna Hoffs has at least as perfect a voice for these sweet lyrics as Linda Ronstadt did back then.




Wednesday, June 13, 2012

13 June 2012 - Concrete Blonde - Everybody Knows

Concrete Blonde had a great string of records in the 80s and 90s (1990's Bloodletting is one of my favorite albums of the decade), but I have to say that this Leonard Cohen cover from the Pump Up The Volume soundtrack may be their finest moment.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

12 June 2012 - The Lemonheads - Into Your Arms

Sometimes, I learn something from my own blog.

Today, I wanted to post a cover of this song, one of the biggest and most jangly hits by Evan Dando's Lemonheads.  Here is that video.  It's a big, fun, happy, sweet song, and has always been one of my favorite Lemonheads songs.



But, in my search for a cover of this song, I found this.  This is the original recording of Robyn St. Clare's song, as done by her two-piece Love Positions. This is where it gets a little incestuous. Robyn, a bassist, was also in a band called The Hummingbirds. When she had to take a maternity leave from the band, Nic Dalton filled in for her on tour.  Nic was the other half of Love Positions.  He went on to replace Juliana Hatfield in The Lemonheads...



So, today's cover IS The Lemonheads's version of the song.  I never did find the other cover, by the band By The Tree - if you have Spotify, you can listen to it here - but I got to post the song I wanted to anyway!

Monday, June 11, 2012

11 June 2012 - Nicole Atkins - Bird On A Wire

Me, Nicole Atkins and my Mrs.

I'm going to be honest, my knowledge of Leonard Cohen is pretty much limited to his overly-covered Hallelujah and Everybody Knows (which I first heard in the movie Pump Up The Volume...Note to self: post Concrete Blonde's version of Everybody Knows sometime soon). After hearing today's wonderfully performed cover by the insanely talented Nicole Atkins, I'm convinced that I need to do some digging into Mr. Cohen's catalog...and maybe listen to Nicole's fantastic Mondo Amore record on my afternoon walk today.

Friday, June 8, 2012

8 June 2012 - Siouxsie and the Banshees - Dear Prudence

I really couldn't come up with an unusual cover today (as usual, my mind is totally blank), so I had to settle for a classic one instead. Here's Siouxsie and the Banshees playing Dear Prudence by The Beatles on Top of the Pops.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

7 June 2012 - After The Fire - Der Kommissar

This classic 80's tune was originally performed by Falco.  In German.  This English-speaking group did an English-language version of the song soon afterwards.... and attained greater success in the United States with it.  The original was a hit outside the English-speaking world - this version brought it to those of us who did not speak German.

This is a very faithful cover, staying true to Falco's musical and vocal styles.  This fact angered Falco, who famously hated this version of his song, to no end.  After The Fire did make it a little richer musically, as the original was even more keyboard-heavy than this version.



Alles klar, Herr Kommissar?

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

6 June 2012 - Ministry - Lay Lady Lay & Rehab

I have to admit I didn't like Ministry's Filth Pig disc when it came out in 1996. It just didn't sound right to me, especially coming off a string of industrial classics - The Land of Rape and Honey (1988), The Mind Is a Terrible Thing to Taste (1989) and the epic Psalm 69: The Way to Succeed and the Way to Suck Eggs (1992). After my initial disappointment with Filth Pig, I kind of took a break from Ministry for a little over a decade (sure, I'd play the classics every so often, but I pretty much had my head somewhere else musically). A few years ago I decided to catch up with the rest of their catalog (including giving Filth Pig another shot...this time I "got it" and I dug the newer output as well). So here is the lead single from Filth Pig, a bruising cover of Bob Dylan's Lay Lady Lay. I'm still trying to figure out if it's easier to decipher the lyrics with Al or Bob singing it.



This Amy Winehouse cover is NOT to be missed (sorry, it's just the song, no video).

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

5 June 2012 - The Breeders - Lord of the Thighs

The Breeders started life off as something of a supergroup, featuring Kim Deal from the Pixies, Josephine Wiggs from The Perfect Disaster, and Tanya Donnelly from Throwing Muses.  Naturally, I was interested.  The lineup morphed somewhat - Tanya left to form Belly, Kim's twin sister Kelley joined the band - but they still stayed compelling.

Featuring a rare Jo Wiggs vocal, I always thought this version captured the cool spirit of Aerosmith as only The Breeders could.  Frankly, I can only picture Jo Wiggs singing this, and not Kim Deal.  Or even Steven Tyler, for that matter.  Jo's vocal is much cooler and less harsh than the original, itself an excellent tune.

Monday, June 4, 2012

4 June 2012 - Butthole Surfers - The Hurdy Gurdy Man

As a fan of the Butthole Surfers, I was looking for the perfect way to best sum them up. Then I came across this line on wikipedia: "The Buttholes have a well-reported appetite for recreational drugs, an evident influence on their sound." Yup. Totally explains this Donovan cover.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

3 June 2012 - Shane Nicholson and Kasey Chambers - Can't Get You Outta My Head

I have written elsewhere of my love of this excessively catchy Kylie Minogue tune.  I've also written elsewhere of my love of Kasey Chambers. Bring both of them together (along with Kasey's husband), and we get a countrified version of an excessively catchy tune.

I enjoy this version because it takes a really poppy tune, sung by one talented artist, and moves it to a excellent 2-part harmony, and a different genre, without losing any of its catchiness. If you can ignore the closing credits, you'll experience an excellent combination.

Bonus: everyone involved is Australian.



Friday, June 1, 2012

1 June 2012 - Amy Millan - I Will Follow You Into The Dark

I was a pretty big fan of Amy Millan and her band Stars long before I heard this countrified cover of one of my favorite Death Cab For Cutie songs. This live video is from a show at the Black Cat in Washington, DC (a great place to see a show). The studio version appears on her stunning second solo album Masters of the Burial.