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, November 25th, 2012
Titus Andronicus covers Nirvana
SpinSeeing as how I’m presently some combination of underslept, overtired, and probably hung over, I’m keeping this brief. Which is good because this week’s selection doesn’t really need a lot of description beyond, “it’s Titus Andronicus covering Nirvana’s ‘Breed'” – it sounds exactly as you would think it would, all punk, snot, and snarl.
It was the New Jersey outfit’s contribution to last year’s Newermind, a tribute album assembled by Spin to mark the twentieth anniversary of Nevermind. Some of the other contributions may have been more creative or unexpected, but for capturing the intensity and attitude of Nirvana, Patrick Stickles and company got it right.
Titus Andronicus are at Lee’s Palace this Tuesday in support of their third album, Local Business. I imagine the twentieth anniversary editions of In Utero are being readied for release next year as we speak.
MP3: Titus Andronicus – “Breed”
Video: Nirvana – “Breed”
Sunday, November 18th, 2012
Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton cover Buffalo Springfield
Frank YangIdeally, I’d have been able to label this one as “Metric covers Neil Young“, given that both acts are in town this week making sure the Air Canada Centre is still hosting some serious Canadiana even with the NHL locked out, but that wouldn’t be quite correct. Even though Metric as a full band can officially include the Young-penned classic “Expecting To Fly” in their discography, the track I’m posting predates that by a good five years or so when frontwoman Emily Haines was operating as a solo artist and the track was a staple of her live sets, padding out the Knives Don’t Have Your Back material in a sparse, piano-led form.
That’s how Neil Young performed it in the early ’70s, whilst on tour as a solo artist after leaving Buffalo Springfield in the late ’60s, a far cry from the lushly-arranged studio version that appeared on Buffalo Springfield Again and which clearly served as the template for Metric’s version which appeared on their 2011 iTunes Session. You could probably draw a flowchart of some kind denoting the relationships between the various versions. Go ahead. I’ll be over here.
Neil Young & Crazy Horse are at The Air Canada Centre on November 19 in support of their two 2012 releases, Americana and Psychedelic Pill. For a while, it looked like Neil’s next time through town was going to be as part of a reunited Buffalo Springfield, but obviously that didn’t happen. Metric are there on November 24 as part of a cross-country tour on the back of their fifth album, Synthetica.
And oh yeah, Neil turned 67 last week. Happy birthday, Neil. Long may you run.
MP3: Emily Haines & The Soft Skeleton – “Expecting To Fly” (live at 9:30 Club – January 10, 2006)
Video: Metric – “Expecting To Fly”
Stream: Buffalo Springfield – “Expecting To Fly”
Stream: Neil Young – “Expecting To Fly” (live 1971)
Sunday, November 11th, 2012
Luna covers Led Zeppelin
WikipediaTrue story – I was letting my iTunes run on random a couple weeks ago, and when the opening guitar riff to this week’s selection rang out, I sat up and thought, “why do I have Stone Temple Pilots in my music library?”. Because, you see, I never listened to Led Zeppelin as a young’n – like really never – and only knew “Dancing Days” because it was released as a single from 1995’s Encomium, a Zep tribute album.
But no, it was my beloved Luna and the track was one that I had forgotten existed, one of the bonuses that came with the late-era Luna digital reissues from earlier this year – their final two studio albums Rendezvous and Romantica, and the Close Cover Before Striking EP, to which this track was appended. It’s pretty faithful in structure – that riff must be lots of fun to play – but is so very Luna from top to bottom. The drums are bigger than you’d usually expect, but Dean Wareham’s slightly detached and deadpan vocals and the swirling, fuzzy guitar tones makes me miss the band so very much.
Celebration Day, the live document of the 2007 Led Zeppelin reunion show, is out on CD and DVD on November 19. If and when we have a Luna reunion, it will probably be a little smaller in scale… but until then, we have Wareham’s first solo record – currently being recorded – to look forward to.
MP3: Luna – “Dancing Days”
Stream: Led Zeppelin – “Dancing Days”
Sunday, November 4th, 2012
Aimee Mann covers Carly Simon
WikipediaSkyfall, the twenty-third film in the James Bond franchise, is now here and with it comes another Bond theme, this one courtesy of Adele. “Skyfall” is a solid tune in the Bond tradition and charted respectably – number two in the UK – but only time will tell if it becomes as famous a contribution to the Bond canon as, say, Carly Simon’s theme for 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me, though “Nobody Does It Better” is arguably one of the least Bond-like themes of them all, more romantic ballad than spy-game thriller.
Still, it wasn’t going to be left out when British composer David Arnold assembled his Shaken and Stirred tribute compilation to Bond themes in 1997, which included Aimee Mann doing a slick version of Simon’s song. And while intended as a labour of love, it turned out to be a pretty good job application as well – with legendary Bond composer John Barry’s endorsement, Arnold would be hired as composer for five 007 films from Tomorrow Never Dies through Quantum Of Solace.
Aimee Mann is at The Danforth Music Hall on Tuesday night, November 6, in support of her latest, Charmer. Skyfall premiered in the UK on October 23 and has been rolling out worldwide since then; the North American release is this Friday, November 9.
MP3: Aimee Mann – “Nobody Does It Better”
Video: Carly Simon – “Nobody Does It Better”
Sunday, October 28th, 2012
R.E.M. cover Roky Erickson
AmazonI was going to make this the first Sunday in almost a decade I didn’t post a cover, but then I remembered that this selection from Where The Pyramid Meets Eye – the 1990 tribute album to Roky Erickson – existed and even though I used it three years ago, I don’t care. Hallowe’en-themed songs are tougher to find than you might think.
And in those three years, a lot has changed. R.E.M., who at that time were coming off their celebrated return to rock form Accelerate and prepping their Live At The Olympia. Now, they no longer exist having retired after one final album together in last year’s Collapse Into Now. Now, Peter Buck has just released his deliberately low-key debut self-titled solo record and Michael Stipe is judging an art exhibition of animated .gifs. Because… yeah.
Erickson, for his part, has continued to re-establish the psych-rock legacy he started with the 13th Floor Elevators, releasing the Okkervil River collaboration True Love Cast Out All Evil in 2010 and touring semi-regularly. In fact, he was coming to town the week I posted this last time, and is going to be at Lee’s Palace again this coming Saturday, November 3. How about that?
MP3: R.E.M. – “I Walked With A Zombie”
Stream: Roky Erickson – “I Walked With A Zombie”