Sunday, September 11th, 2011
"Sleep All Summer"
The National and St. Vincent cover Crooked Fingers
The NationalI am tempted to set up some kind of automated script that, every couple weeks, posts “Crooked Fingers‘ Dignity & Shame is one of my favourite albums ever” to my Twitter, because a) it’s true and b) every time I listen to it I feel like I need people to know this and understand it. Eric Bachmann has sang with many female foils over the run of Crooked Fingers but none was more perfect that Lara Meyerratken and nowhere is that better demonstrated than their gorgeously intertwined duet “Sleep All Summer”, arguably the album’s centrepiece and a song capable of breaking my heart pretty much every time I hear it.
So when no less than The National opted to cover it with Annie Clark of St. Vincent playing the role of Meyerratken to Matt Berninger’s Bachmann for the Merge Records 20th anniversary tribute album Score!, it was both exciting and worrisome. Exciting because here were two of my favourite artists covering one of my favourite songs and worrisome because, well, there’s no such thing as loving two different things equally – one version was going to come in second. And it’s sort of a photo finish, but as much as I like the Berninger-Clark reinterpretation, the original is still tops. But damn it was good listening and re-listening to each to decide.
Crooked Fingers – who are now the two-piece of Bachmann and Liz Durrett – will release a new album in Breaks In The Armour on October 11 and play The Drake Underground on November 8. St. Vincent’s new album Strange Mercy comes out on Tuesday. The National are awesome. Summer is just about over. Update: Now with extra relevance – just announced, The National are going to be at The Air Canada Centre on December 8 with Neko Case and Wye Oak.