Category Archives: covers

Los Angeles, I’m Yours

By the time you’re reading this, I’ll be in a car somewhere on the Interstate 10, nothing but desolate desert … and the Flying J truck stop in Ehrenberg, Ariz., for some Wendy’s, on the way to Los Angeles. For a six-hour car drive, I don’t get to Calif. as much as I should. So I’m looking forward to my three days there.

The highlight of the trip is Wednesday’s show with The National and Talkdemonic. Cannot wait. After reading Ryan’s recap of the Chicago show and Frank’s review of the Toronto show, I’m even more excited for this sold-out event.

We’ll also be seeing my sister-in-law June, who is very much pregnant. Due to pop next month. So here’s a Talkdemonic song off the new one, Beat Romantic, for her – and our soon-to-be nephew.

Talkdemonic | Junesong

My boy Royce has promised he’ll be posting while I’m gone … so there will be no interruptions of your regularly scheduled programming.

Also …

I absolutely forgot to recap my haul from Saturday’s record swap meet in Phoenix. I was having little luck finding much: I picked up Inxs Kick on 12″ and a live Marvin Gaye album.

I decided to hit one last table. The lady was super nice and said all LPs were $4 or three for $10. She told me the 45s (two boxes worth) were 50 cents apiece. So I snag the Rolling Stones’ Out of Our Heads and the Cream Disraeli Gears on 12″. Need that third one, right? So I go back and find the Who, Live at Leeds. Not only is the record in decent shape, the cover opens up like a folder and contains paperwork with typed lyric sheets and other odd, record label stationery and such. The woman couldn’t believe I found it and says it books for $50-$70. I immediately feel awful, telling her she should take it back. But she insists that I found it so I should have it in the three for $10 deal under the condition I don’t resell it. Done.

As for the 45s, I snagged a bunch of Michael Jacksons for the jukebox at home. The gems were a Capitol 45 (orange vinyl!) of Blind Melon’s No Rain and an REM 45 for The Sidewinder Sleeps Tonite with a ridculously cool cover on the b-side of The Lion Sleeps Tonight.

Here it is, converted from vinyl.

REM | The Lion Sleeps Tonight

Lazy covers post

(Experimenting with a new wide-angle lens I got for X-mas.)
I spent the evening with my fine friend John and his wife watching a couple of episodes of the Twilight Zone Season 1 (Definitive Edition), which I, uh, sorta bought myself for Christmas. What a great show, yes?

Anyway, I chased my 2-year-old niece around all day, too. So what I’m saying is I’m too lazy for a cutting-edge post, but if I’m going to keep up with the joneses, I needed something new. And I realized I haven’t ever really done a covers post. So these are a couple of my favorites in my collection.

(p.s. – I did find time to go vinyl shopping Wednesday. And if anyone wants me to convert the Extended Subway Mix of Milli Vanilli’s Baby Don’t Forget My Number into an mp3, all you have to do is ask.)

Catherine Wheel | Spirit of Radio (Rush cover … you like Rush. Admit it.)
(This is part of a “hidden” 10-minute montage on Like Cats and Dogs.)
Quicksand | How Soon is Now? (Smiths cover)

Halloween, Alaska

On Tuesday I stumbled across Halloween, Alaska, thanks to an NPR interview at its Web site. The four-piece from Minneapolis formed in 2002, and recently released the full-length Too Tall to Hide.

The music is a compelling marriage of acoustic instrumentation and electronic technology; a Powerbook is listed as an instrument on the bio. What sold me was a low-key — albeit truncated — cover of LL Cool J’s classic I Can’t Live Without My Radio. Granted, an indie act covering a hip-hop song isn’t all that novel these days, but I find this version absurdly endearing. That could be because I love Cool J’s album Radio or, more likely, it’s because singer James Diers somehow pulls off some of the lines with total sincerity: “Don’t mean to offend other citizens, but I kick my volume way past 10.” Great stuff. Even if you don’t like it, they get points for having the cajones to tackle it.

Buy the CD here, which includes enhanced content and instrumental mp3s.

Halloween, Alaska | Drowned
Halloween, Alaska | I Can’t Live Without My Radio
Halloween, Alaska | Call it Clear (from self-titled debut LP)

For comparison’s sake …
LL Cool J | I Can’t Live Without My Radio

Kaiser Chiefs cover Marvin Gaye

Ricky Wilson at ACL.
I used the weekend to catch up on my KCRW podcasts. If you don’t subscribe to any of these, I highly recommend you rectify that. In particular, Nic Harcourt and BBC’s Steve Lamacq’s Music Exchange podcast.

That’s how I heard about the War Child benefit CD Help. War Child, as its name suggests, benefits children affected by war. The CD appears to be available only in the UK at this point. (Anybody in the UK wanna hook a guy up?) The CD (22 songs) includes tracks (most new, I believe) by Radiohead, Elbow, Gorillaz, Damien Rice, Bloc Party, The Manic Street Preachers and the Kaiser Chiefs, who cover Marvin Gaye’s I Heard it Through the Grapevine.

The Music Exchange podcast played the Kaiser Chiefs track in two parts. So, using Audacity, I cut and pasted the two parts together to make an mp3; it’s choppy only in one part (where I had to paste the two parts together). Regardless, it’s a pretty cool cover, and I’d be really eager to buy this CD if it were available in the U.S.

Kaiser Chiefs | I Heard it Through the Grapevine

45: Come Together/Soundgarden cover

Another trip to the record store this weekend, another vinyl 45 score: The Beatles Come Together for 99 cents (B-side is Something). It even had (what I think is) the original Apple Records sleeve. The collection for the jukebox gets sweeter by the day.

So I thought I’d share, along with a Soundgarden cover from Loudest Love, a seven-song Japanese import from 1990. I’ve always had an affinity for Soundgarden, and I won’t apologize for that.

The Beatles: Come Together
Soundgarden: Come Together

Comfortably numb

I won’t let a little root canal this morning keep me from posting today. I’ll spare you all the details, but it wasn’t as bad as I was fearing. A few shots of novocaine go a long way. I will say, I had some perverse attraction to keeping my eyes open during the whole procedure. My mouth was kept open by this rubber wedge — something akin to a doorstop — and I could see each instrument, and I had an idea what the endodontist was doing with it, but I really couldn’t feel much. The tooth is a little sore now, but I have prescription pain killer to keep it at bay.

Alas, I’m thinking an easy post here. I’ve been on a Mike Doughty kick (see a few posts below) of late, and that’s made me pull out the Soul Coughing, which has made me pull out this excellent cover of Blue-Eyed Devil by Low. It’s on a box set called A Lifetime of Temporary Relief, (a three-CD+DVD compliation which I gave to my brother for Christmas and have since borrowed and haven’t returned. Sorry, B); buy it for $33 at Stinkweeds (as opposed to $56 at Amazon). I’ve been listening to Low quite a bit lately, especially after a poignant NPR interview and then singer Alan Sparhawk’s announcement on the band’s message board that the group canceled touring because “I have not been very mentally stable for the last while.”

In the future, I’m sure I’ll put up some original Low stuff. But I’ve been loving these covers (and the originals, too).

Soul Coughing: Blue-Eyed Devil
Low: Blue-Eyed Devil
Bob Dylan: Blowin’ in the Wind
Low: Blowin’ in the Wind