Each week I'm posting a random or not-so-random cover song. Only the current week's track will be available but if you see a past one you'd like, contact me and we'll make arrangements.
If you are the copyright holder of the current track and wish it to be taken down please contact me to do so.
Sunday, December 30th, 2012
Lightspeed Champion covers ABBA
thepiratebayKind of an arbitrary selection to close out the year – and the regular cover of the week thing as a whole – but hey, it’s timely.
Dev Hynes doesn’t operate as Lightspeed Champion anymore, and even his new Blood Orange persona is presently taking a backseat to his role as Solange’s producer/co-conspirator, he was/is an amazingly prolific musician no matter what you call him, releasing music through whatever avenue happens to be convenient.
In 2007, that was MySpace and even before his debut full-length as Lightspeed Champion Falling Off The Lavender Bridge came out, he was giving away music to his early-adopter fans, like the Garageband Xmas EP. As the name implies, it was an EP of holiday songs recorded with GarageBand and one of the selections was the 1980 ABBA single from Souper Trouper. It’s an odd cover of an odd single, but it’s how we’re going out. And while the EP’s not available via MySpace anymore – though apparently they’re trying to be a thing again in 2013 so good luck with that – you can hope this torrent still works.
And with this the likely final post of year, I’d like to make note that the “worst retirement ever” will be getting a little less worst from here on out. I had said that I would ride 2012 out at pretty much the same pace I always had, but 2012 is over; expect things to get somewhat quieter hereabouts as, over these holidays, I’ve rediscovered how nice it is to not be writing a blog post every night/weekend. There’s actually a lot of hours in the day!
In any case, have a safe New Year’s Eve, and I’ll see you in 2013 eventually.
MP3: Lightspeed Champion – “Happy New Year”
Video: ABBA – “Happy New Year”
Sunday, December 23rd, 2012
Richard Hawley covers Father Joseph Mohr
Frank YangWait, who?
No, that’s not a misspelling of Father John Misty. Joseph Mohr is the 19th century Austrian priest who wrote the Christmas carol that would become know as “Silent Night” in English. Read about it at Wikipedia if you want to know more.
And click on the MP3 and video below if you want to hear Richard Hawley do his crooningest interpretation of the classic. The studio version comes from a holiday gift single which was given to attendees of a show in Sheffield in December 2006; luckily for us, one of those attendees saw fit to rip it and let it loose onto the internet. The live video is from the 2010 edition of Ireland’s Other Voices festival, and has Hawley backed by Jarvis Cocker and Lisa Hannigan.
Richard Hawley’s latest album Standing At The Sky’s Edge was released earlier this year. It’s great. “Silent Night” is, at this very second, being played or sung somewhere in the world and will continue to be so for the next three days. Just accept it.
MP3: Richard Hawley – “Silent Night”
Video: Richard Hawley (with Jarvis Cocker and Lisa Hannigan) – “Silent Night” (live)
Video: St. Thomas Boy’s Choir – “Stille Nacht”
Sunday, December 16th, 2012
Boy George and Antony Hegarty cover John Lennon
Frank YangIt’s that time of year again, when holiday songs become inescapable, and why should I offer any respite? Christmastime is easy covers, man. Way easy.
Trying to contribute a new song to the canon of Christmas songs is no easy feat – there’s no shortage of familiar classics to draw on – but when you’re the man who helped define what modern pop music is, maybe you’ve got something to offer. And so John Lennon’s 1971 single – assisted by Phil Spector, he himself responsible for a solid Christmas song or two – would become a holiday classic to be covered many times over, particularly by those looking to inject a little social commentary into their festive greetings; that made it a natural fit for the 2005 War Child benefit compilation Help: A Day In The Life, which closed with this rendition by Boy George and Antony Hegarty of Antony & The Johnsons.
Boy George marked the 30th anniversary of Culture Club this year by reconvening the band and recording a new album for release in 2013. He also recently accidentally offended Mexico. Antony & The Johnsons released a live, symphonic album in Cut The World earlier this year. John Lennon died thirty-two years ago last week.
MP3: Boy George with Antony Hegarty – “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”
Video: John Lennon – “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)”
Sunday, December 9th, 2012
Tokyo Police Club cover LCD Soundsystem
AV ClubHungover, half-assed cover posts seem to have become a theme of late, but at least this time it kind of ties into the track in question. Holiday are here and that means holiday get-togethers and that means being reminded how great your friends are and if you have a blog-like platform on which to broadcast unfiltered thoughts because you’re still probably about 10% gin and in all honesty should probably still be in bed but are kind of hungry and think that that last bagel in the fridge might not have gone off yet, then yeah. Holidays!
Local boys Tokyo Police Club covered this most beloved of LCD Soundsystem anthems as part of their 2011 project to cover ten bands from ten years in ten days – collected as 10 Days, 10 Covers, 10 Years – this one repping 2007. That collection was a stopgap of sorts after their last proper release, 2010’s Champ, and while they didn’t get anything out this year, they are giving their fans something to hold them over with a few holiday shows this week, including Saturday night at The Sound Academy. A Music Blog, Yea has an interview with Graham Wright of the band.
As for LCD Soundsystem, they’ve made good on their promise to not exist as an active concern, but have still remained a presence through 2012, mainly through their excellent Shut Up And Play The Hits concert film/documentary, which screened at festivals through the year before getting a physical release. And though he downplayed his involvement, it was revealed this week that James Murphy had indeed been working with Arcade Fire on their new record in a collaborator/producer/whatever capacity on at least a few songs. It’s cool, they’re all friends.
MP3: Tokyo Police Club – “All My Friends”
Video: LCD Soundsystem – “All My Friends”
Sunday, December 2nd, 2012
The Weakerthans cover Rheostatics
ZuniorA lot of people were excited when Canadian indie icons Rheostatics announced that they were reuniting for a couple of shows to mark the 65th anniversary of Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern this week, and then a lot more – particularly those who missed out on tickets for those two shows – got excited when a third show was added to meet demand. Then all of them were disappointed when the shows were abruptly cancelled, presumed due to Martin Tielli’s long-running battle with performance anxiety, and disappointment turned to concern when producer and one-time Rheo (though not involved with this reunion) Michael Philip Wojoweda implied the reasons were somewhat darker than that.
I hadn’t planned to attend – best to let those three square feet of Horseshoe floor go to real fans rather than casual observers – but was disappointed because I was pretty keen to post this Rheos cover. It’s taken from a tribute album assembled by the folks at Zunior called The Secret Sessions, recorded in secret and released as a surprise rhetirement gift to coincide with the Rheostatics final shows in Spring 2007. It finds arguably one of the most Canadian of Canadian indie bands covered by maybe the next-most Canadian of Canadian indie bands, The Weakerthans; certainly they’ve got the most songs about hockey between them.
Then I decided, why not post it anyways if just to draw attention to the comp, which at five years old is probably a little under the radar these days. All proceeds from the sale of the tribute go to support the Daily Bread Food Bank, so why not take a bit of that ticket refund and treat yourself to some new takes on old Rheos songs by the likes of Weeping Tile, The Inbreds, Cuff The Duke, and more and support a worthy cause in this giving season.
And if you were going to those rheunion shows and now find a hole in your calendar, know that Rheos guitarist Dave Bidini has stepped up with his solo project Bidiniband to perform at The ‘Shoe the night of December 5; it’s a free show that promises lots of guest vocalists and probably no shortage of Rheostatics songs. It starts at 10PM.
The Globe & Mail has an article about how musicians – Tielli included – have battled with stage fright, with a sidebar from Jenn Grant about how she came to terms with her own fear of performing.
Update: Dave Bidini has offered a couple clarifications on the cancellations: “MT said he cldnt do shows; we didn’t bail on him. and he never had history of perf anxiety with us.” Awkward grammar courtesy of Twitter.
MP3: The Weakerthans – “Bad Time To Be Poor”
Video: Rheostatics – “Bad Time To Be Poor”