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MP3 Of The Week

2009 and onwards / 2008 / 2007 / 2006 / 2005 / 2004 / 2003 / 2002

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.

Past Selections - 2007

December 30, 2007
Gillian Welch - "Black Star"

So yeah, that new Radiohead record - you know the one - is out this week, at least in obsolete physical form and since I started the year off with a Rhead cover, why not finish off with one? This one's as unexpected as the Anthrax one that kicked off 2007 but works just as well. Gillian Welch took this track from The Bends and transformed it into a bluegrass lament so convincing, it's hard to imagine it ever not sounding like this.

Originally by : Radiohead

December 23, 2007
Six By Seven - "Heldon"

It's Christmas this week, and when I think of Christmas I think of "Little Drummer Boy" and when of "Little Drummer Boy", I think of Bowie and Bing and when I think of Bowie I think of "Heroes" and when I think of "Heroes", I think of Six By Seven covering it in German for a Peel Session and releasing it as a b-side to the "Ten Places To Die" single. Okay, not really, but it worked, didn't it? Yes? No? Six By Seven have finally released their best-of CD/DVD collection, Any Colour So Long As It's Black, on sale here.

Originally by : David Bowie

December 16, 2007
Charlotte Hatherley - "This Is Pop"

Hey, I kind of like this end of year, nothing going on so forget about context selections. Like this one - Charlotte Hatherley covering XTC for an XFM session earlier this year. Hatherley worked with Andy Partridge on her rather terrific sophomore album, The Deep Blue.

Originally by : XTC

December 9, 2007
The Radio Dept - "Bachelor Kisses"

So this week I hope to have my year-end wrap-up finished and posted, and so I'll take this opportunity to post one of my favourite covers of the year. Swedish label Friendly Noise, as part of their free MP3 single series this year, released this cover of the Go-Betweens' classic "Bachelor Kisses" by Radio Dept, and the rest is simple mathematics - a beautiful song done by a beautiful band gives a doubly beautiful result. Fingers are crossed for a new Radio Dept album next year.

Originally by : The Go-Betweens

December 2, 2007
Kevin Drew - "Feel The Pain"

I don't think anyone was fooled by the Broken Social Scene presents billing on Kevin Drew's Spirit If... so as the tour rolls in for a hometown show at the Kool Haus on Saturday, for all intents and purposes, it's just a Broken Social show. In addition to his "solo" stuff and BSS material, Drew has been including no shortage of covers in his recent set lists including this one from hero and collaborator Dinosaur Jr, taken from the recent Washington DC show streamed by NPR and ripped by Deaf Indie Elephants. Sounds good except for a) the closing solo not going quite as stratospheric as J Mascis' original did and b) the terrible banter from Drew mid-song. Gawd.

Originally by : Dinosaur Jr

November 25, 2007
Great Lake Swimmers - "Don't Cry No Tears"

Neil Young's three-night stand at Massey Hall is easily the big event of the upcoming week, so to commemorate I'm going to reach back to another mutli-show affair, though obviously much smaller, and Great Lake Swimmer's two nights at the Church Of The Redeemer this past April - shows that closed with this Neil cover.

Originally by : Neil Young

November 18, 2007
Uncle Tupelo - "Maggie's Farm"

Unbelievably, I thought I was almost out of decent Bob Dylan covers, leaving me with nothing to mark this week's (limited) release of I'm Not There, the ersatz Dylan bio-pic. Then I found this undated but respectable (in terms of both performance and fidelity) cover by Uncle Tupelo and all was right with the world.

Originally by : Bob Dylan

November 11, 2007
My Bloody Valentine - "We Have All The Time In The World"

So the big news this week was the revelation that My Bloody Valentine was, after well over a decade of rumours, falsehoods and chinchilla droppings, finally happening. The skeptical (and sensible) are surely keeping that grain of salt nearby, but sometimes it's fun to get excited about stuff. And so I present to you their second-to-last official release, a Louis Armstrong tune released on a benefit album for Northern Ireland called Peace Together in 1993 - fitting because they not only had all the time in the world, but it took them nearly that long to come back to us.

And yeah, I posted this one back in 2003. Gimme a break, there's only so much material out there.

Originally by : Louis Armstrong

November 4, 2007
Ohbijou with Kids On TV - "Heartbeat"

I already used up all my words enthusing about Ohbijou in advance of their show at Lee's Palace on Friday in this post so I'll just post this Annie cover, so unexpected yet perfectly suited to the band, and refer you to that. It comes courtesy of B(oot)log and comes from a session the band did with Kids On TV for CBC's Fuse last year.

Originally by : Annie

October 28, 2007
British Sea Power - "Green Grass Of Tunnel"

Fairly high up on my list of my unlikeliest bands to be covered list would be Iceland's Mum, but if you consider that also fairly high on my list of bands most likely to attempt to do the unlikely are British Sea Power, then this BSP cover of Mum's "Green Grass Of Tunnel" - issued as a b-side to their "It Ended On An Oily Stage" single - makes perfect sense. Mum are on tour in support of their Go Go Smear The Poison Ivy and are at the Opera House on Friday while British Sea Power release their Krackenhaus? EP in three weeks and the Do You Like Rock Music? LP on February 12.

Originally by : Mum

October 21, 2007
Shout Out Louds - "Streams Of Whiskey"

Off the top of my head, I can't think of two less alcohol-soaked bands out there than Shout Out Louds and The Essex Green (okay, maybe Low) and yet, here they both are having a rowdy old time with The Pogues' "Streams Of Whiskey" - a song which is the very definition of "drunk in public". This one comes from the Shout Out Louds' Tonight I Have To Leave It EP - they're at the Mod Club on Monday night.

Originally by : The Pogues

October 14, 2007
Okkervil River - "Mellow My Mind"

Neil Young releases his Chrome Dreams II next week, and I am commemorating the event with one of my current favourite artists - Okkervil River - covering one of my all-time favourites. This recording comes from a show in Schorndorf, Germany in September 2003 and in it, Will Sheff and co perfectly capture the boozy and barely upright glory of Neil's original from Tonight's The Night. Something tells me they didn't have to try to hard to do so.

Originally by : Neil Young

October 7, 2007
The National - "Pretty In Pink"

The National have had a hell of a year riding the success of their stellar album Boxer, support of which brings them back to tToronto on Monday night for the second time this year. While the set list will undoubtedly lean towards the newer material, they took advantage of a Daytrotter session earlier this Summer to not only air out some older material but also this unexpected Pyschedelic Furs cover

Originally by : The Psychedelic Furs

September 30, 2007
The Watson Twins - "I Summon You"

The Watson Twins, who first came to prominence as collaborators on Jenny Lewis' recent solo outing, are on the road this Fall to promote their own debut, the Southern Manners EP. Earlier this Summer, they stopped in at KCRW for a session from which this Spoon cover comes. The Watson Twins are at Lee's Palace opening for the Magnolia Electric Co on Friday and Spoon are in town at the Kool Haus on the 15th.

Originally by : Spoon

September 23, 2007
Smoosh - "This Modern Love"

Earlier this year I half-joked that the best way to score an opening slot for Bloc Party was to cover one of their songs. After all, it already worked for Final Fantasy and Sebastian Grainger (ex DFA1979). Well I guess Smoosh was taking notes because they tossed off this cover of "This Modern Love" and lo and behold - are opening for them this Friday night at The Docks.

Originally by : Bloc Party

September 16, 2007
Miracle Fortress - "Hanky Panky Nohow"

The Polaris Music Prize is being awarded next week and while I'm not sure who you'd consider the favourite to win, Miracle Fortress is my dark horse pick and considering Canadians do love the underdog, he might well have the best chance. This John Cale cover was the b-side to the 12" single for "Have You Seen In Your Dreams".

Originally by : John Cale

September 9, 2007
Arctic Monkeys - "You Know I'm No Good"

This week is bookended by festivals - V Fest this weekend, Austin City Limits next, and both were originally supposed to feature both Arctic Monkeys and Amy Winehouse. The former are still showing up, the latter… well, we know how that went. Maybe the Monkeys will pay some sort of tribute with this cover?

Originally by : Amy Winehouse

September 2, 2007
Yeah Yeah Yeahs - "Hyper-Ballad"

I'm usually loathe to repost something I've already used before, but in this case it's just one of those times, what with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs rolling into town on Friday night for a special Vice-sponsored party at the Berkeley Church and Bjork headlining the first night of V Fest out on Toronto Islands on Saturday. The recording comes from an XFM acoustic session some years ago and listening to Karen O's little epilogue after the performance, I still hope against hope that the band will somehow find their way onto the festival lineup for Saturday... if not for me, then for Karen.

Originally by : Bjork

August 26, 2007
Richard Hawley - "Some Candy Talking"

Richard Hawley, former guitarist in Pulp and The Longpigs as well as producer extraordinaire released his third solo record Lady's Bridge in the UK last week. His contribution to Q's 80s compilation from last Summer, which I've gone back to repeatedly, was this track by The Jesus & Mary Chain who, incidentally, have announced their reunion is taking them back into the studio. Maybe they can get Hawley to produce.

Originally by : The Jesus & Mary Chain

August 19, 2007
The New Pornographers - "Dreams"

The New Pornographers are many wonderful things, but an exceptionally tight live band isn't one of them. But despite this, they're always at least fun - like this Fleetwood Mac cover recorded live at New York City's Webster Hall in October 26. Neko gaffes the lyrics and Todd Fancey one ups her by butchering the guitar solo but the rest of it sounds great and no one's taking it too seriously anyways. This recording was added as a bonus track to a limited edition live album released last year. Their new one Challengers is out on Tuesday and they play the Phoenix on October 21.

Originally by : Fleetwood Mac

August 12, 2007
Luna - "Straight Up"

The Guilt By Association compilation, wherein indie heroes cover songs that indie kids would otherwise utterly shun, was released last week and seriously - it's a terrific collection. If there's any irony to be found in these covers, it's buried under some terrific and creative performances. I was tempted to share Superchunk tackling Destiny's Child or Jim O'Rourke's salute to The Spice Girls but this Paula Abdul cover by Luna, which I didn't even know existed and have no idea what era it's from, won out in the end. Update: Pitchfork has got three videos from the comp. Check it.

Originally by : Paula Abdul

August 5, 2007
Okkervil River - "Riot Act"

Well I don't know about you but I've been waiting for this week to come for ages now - this Tuesday, Okkervil River release the follow-up to 2005's magnicifent Black Sheep Boy in the form of The Stage Names. Let's mark the occasion with this contribution to Almost You, an excellent and rather unknown Elvis Costello tribute from 2002.

Originally by : Elvis Costello & The Attractions

July 29, 2007
Sonic Youth - Theme from The Simpsons

So the Simpsons Movie opened on Friday and only a sucker would bet against it being the #1 movie at the box office this weekend. Everyone's talking about how Green Day contribute a version of the show's theme song to the soundtrack but it's pretty vanilla - much more interesting is the Sonic Youth version that closed out the "Homerpalooza" episode... and since this week's MP3 isn't even a minute long, I'll throw in another version, this one by Yo La Tengo.

Originally by : Danny Elfman

July 22, 2007
Editors - "Orange Crush"

Editors' sophomore album The End Has A Start, which debuted at #1 on the sales charts in the UK last month, came out in North America last week. Here they redo R.E.M. in dance-rocking style, taken from Q's 80s tribute disc from last Summer. Editors play day two of V Fest in Toronto on September 9.

Originally by : R.E.M.

July 15, 2007
Britt Daniel - "Set Me Free"

Spoon released their new record Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga last week, another solid platter of lean, soulful indie rock in a career filled with the like. This Kinks cover is taken from Britt Daniel solo show at the 40-Watt Club in Athens, GA way back in 2000 featuring just the Spoon-man and his trusty drum machine.

Originally by : The Kinks

July 8, 2007
Buffalo Tom - "Going Underground"

Buffalo Tom return this Tuesday with their first new album in nine years, the actually quite excellent Three Easy Pieces. The last song the band released before, well, going undergound and dropping out of sight was this contribution to Fire & Skill, the 2000 tribute to The Jam. The Wikipedia entry for which recounts a bit of background on the cover from Bill Janovitz.

Originally by : The Jam

July 1, 2007
Built To Spill - "Take The Money And Run"

It's kind of mind- boggling to think, but apparently next week's Built To Spill two-fer - they're at Lee's Palace on the 10th and 11th - will mark the first time they've ever played in Toronto. And this is a band that's been around for nigh on 15 years. But we won't hold any grudges, no. While ostensibly they're promoting last year's You In Reverse, I would hope the set lists would be career-spanners - after all, they've got a decade and a half to make up for. But if they want to throw in a cover or two, like this Steve Miller Band selection which dates back to the turn of the century, well that's okay too.

Originally by : The Steve Miller Band

June 24, 2007
Final Fantasy - "No Cars Go"

Next Sunday is Canada Day and the annual party down at Harbourfront will feature Final Fantasy and Do Make Say Think. Free show, sunny day (hopefully), fireworks (I think) - sounds like a birthday party to me. Owen Pallet is also a sometime-member of Arcade Fire, whom he covers here in this undated live recording.

Originally by : Arcade Fire

June 17, 2007
Nina Persson - "Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground"

I'm not much of a White Stripes fan but I will admit their stripped down songs make good raw materials for cover versions. Cardigans singer Nina Persson recorded this one for the soundtrack of the Swedish film Om Gud Vill, in which she also starred - check out the trailer here. The new White Stripes record Icky Thump is out on Tuesday and they're at the Molson Amphitheatre in a couple weeks on July 5.

Originally by : The White Stripes

June 10, 2007
Wilco - "Something In The Air"

Forecast for this week? Nothing but Sky Blue Sky. Wilco released their latest record last month and will be in town at Massey Hall in a couple weeks. This Thunderclap Newman cover was taken from their New Year's Eve 2004 show at Madison Square Garden, a covers-heavy show that I've gone back to for tracks before.

Originally by : Thunderclap Newman

June 3, 2007
Broken Social Scene - "The Wagon"

The last time J Mascis was in town, it was to play a two-off show with local heroes Broken Social Scene as the cleverly-named Broken Mascis Scene. BSS enjoyed it so much, they added one of the songs they played together to their repetoire for the following US tour, including this show at Brandeis University in Massachusetts. Pity Kevin Drew couldn't remember all the words. Mascis returns to town on Friday with Dinosaur Jr for a show at the Phoenix. Thanks to Bradley's Almanac for the recording.

Originally by : Dinosaur Jr

May 27, 2007
Edson - "I Believe In A Thing Called Love"

Before striking out on his own, Swedish popster Pelle Carlberg fronted the band Edson and their discography includes this cover of one-hit, glam-metal revivalists The Darkness, done acousti-folky. I dare say Carlberg has a better falsetto than Justin Hawkins. Carlberg will be at Supermarket in Kensington Market on Tuesday.

Originally by : The Darkness

May 20, 2007
Catherine Wheel - "Wish You Were Here"

Hello from Europe! If it's Sunday, this must be Frankfurt. Hopefully I'm having a good time and even though I don't know who's reading this, I wish you were here. So much so, I'm going to say it in song. Or the Catherine Wheel will, anyways. This Pink Floyd cover came from their 1996 b-sides collection Like Cats & Dogs, which is really as essential as any of their proper albums (which is to say quite).

Originally by : Pink Floyd

May 13, 2007
Arcade Fire - "Age Of Consent"

The Arcade Fire finally return to Toronto this week for two sold-out shows at Massey Hall on Tuesday and Wednesday and so I'm offering up this New Order cover from a show in Edmonton circa October 2005. New Order, incidentally, announced they were disbanding last week after a legendary 27-year career.

Originally by : New Order

May 6, 2007
Metric - "Between The Bars"

New Moon, the collection of Elliott Smith unreleased songs and rarities is being released this week and while Smith was known to play a cover or ten during his shows, there's considerably fewer covers of Smith songs out there. This one, done by Metric in very un-Metric style, was recorded in a session for Rolling Stone - you can also watch the video of the performance.

Originally by : Elliott Smith

April 29, 2007
Manic Street Preachers - "Train In Vain"

Manic Street Preachers return next week with the release of their new album Send Away The Tigers and it's supposedly a return to the big arena rock sound of their mid-90s heyday. It was in an arena - in Newcastle, 1998 to be precise - that they recorded this tribute to their heroes in The Clash. It originally appeared as a b-side to "You Stole The Sun From My Heart" in 1999 and again on the Lipstick Traces b-sides compilation in 2003.

Originally by : The Clash

April 22, 2007
The Wedding Present - "I Found That Essence Rare"

This week I celebrate the release of The Wedding Present's staggeringly comprehensive The Complete John Peel Sessions box set. Out this week in North America, it collects every track the band ever recorded for the legendary BBC DJ, and since that they were one of Peel's favourite bands, it takes six CDs to do it. This Gang Of Four cover was recorded for the BBC but NOT for Peel - it appeared on the Evening Sessions 1986-1994 compilation and came from a 1986 session for Janice Long.

Originally by : Gang Of Four

April 15, 2007
Bright Eyes - "Mushaboom"

During a March 2005 Black Session in Paris, Bright Eyes did the unexpected - they covered Feist and did it reasonably well. No, Conor doesn't sound as good as Feist but few mortals do. Their new record Cassadaga hit stores last week and Feist's The Reminder arrives in two weeks. They're also both playing Massey Hall soon - Bright Eyes on May 22 and Feist on May 25 and 26. Photo by Sophie Jarry.

Originally by : Feist

April 8, 2007
Drive-By Truckers - "Holland 1945"

I wasn't sure whether to name this Neutral Milk Hotel as by The Drive-By Truckers or by Jason Isbell, who performed it solo during encores on their last tour. The question gets a little murkier with the revelation this weekend that Isbell has officially left the band. Sad news to be sure, and we'll get a look at Isbell's post-Truckers material this Thursday night when he opens for Son Volt at the Mod Club. His solo record Sirens Of The Ditch is out July 10.

Originally by : Neutral Milk Hotel

April 1, 2007
Shearwater - "Baby's On Fire"

One of my favourite albums of 2006, Shearwater's Palo Santo gets a second lease on life when it's rereleased next week (April 10) with half of it re-recorded and a bonus disc of unreleased material, courtesy of Matador. This Brian Eno cover was recorded on their Fall 2006 European tour in support of the original issue of the album - it comes from their October 29 show in Bruges, Belgium.

Originally by : Brian Eno

March 25, 2007
Death From Above 1979 - "Luno"

It seems that the easiest way to score an opening gig for Bloc Party is to cover them. After all, Final Fantasy, who covered "This Modern Love", is opening a leg of BP's North American tour as is Sebastian Grainger, whose old band Death From Above 1979 offered up this version of "Luno" on their MySpace for a while. He's on the bill with them at the Kool Haus tonight.

Originally by : Bloc Party

March 18, 2007
Ted Leo - "Many Rivers To Cross"

Everyone thinks of Ted Leo as the righteous, punk rock firebrand - and rightfully so - but he's got a sensitive side, too. Witness this cover of reggae legend Jimmy Cliff, which you might think to be way outside of Leo's wheelhouse but which sounds perfectly natural. The reggae influence also shows up on his new album Living With The Living out Tuesday. Leo and his Pharmacists are at the Mod Club on May 2.

Originally by : Jimmy Cliff

March 11, 2007
Of Montreal - "Know Your Onion"

Long-time readers may note that I actually posted this one before, way back in the Summer of 2004, but it's just so fitting this week as Of Montreal are in town at the Opera House on Tuesday whle The Shins pay us a visit at the Kool Haus on Saturday. Of Montreal released this cover on a bonus disc that came with initial pressings of Satanic Panic In The Attic. And for those of you feeling cheated 'cause you've already got this one in your collection, here's Of Montreal doing The Who's "I Can't Explain".

Originally by : The Shins

March 4, 2007
Arcade Fire - "Five Years"

Is there a bigger new release this week than Arcade Fire's Neon Bible? I'm thinking no. So to mark the occasion, I offer up this cover recorded live at First Ave in Minneapolis, September 2005. On it, the band pays tribute to one of their patron saints of cool, David Bowie with a song they backed him on at the Fashion Rocks event in NYC earlier that month.

Originally by : David Bowie

February 25, 2007
Luna - "Only Women Bleed"

It was two years ago on Wednesday that Luna played their final show at the Bowery Ballroom in NYC, so it's a little bit of serendipity that Dean & Britta (Wareham and Phillips) will release their second record and first post-Luna, Back Numbers, on Tuesday and will be in town in a couple weeks for a show at the Mod Club on March 12. This shimmering Alice Cooper cover was a b-side to "Lovedust", the first single from Romantica, Phillips' first record with the band. And to be clear, the song's about domestic violence, not menstruation. But you knew that.

Originally by : Alice Cooper

February 18, 2007
Sparklehorse - "Albuquerque"

The creepy, creaky brand of country that Sparklehorse trades in is a pretty unique sound but like all things in music - and really, the universe - it still owes a huge debt to Mr Neil Young. Mark Linkous paid off some of that debt with this 2001 live cover of a song from Young's own creepiest, creakiest record, Tonight's The Night. Don't spook the horse. Sparklehorse are at the Mod Club this Friday night.

Originally by : Neil Young

February 11, 2007
Josh Ritter - "Chelsea Hotel"

Josh Ritter returns to town on Thursday evening for a special solo acoustic show at the Horseshoe, and to mark the event I'm offering up this Leonard Cohen cover recorded two years ago just down the street, when he played the even-cozier Rivoli in support of Kathleen Edwards.

Originally by : Leonard Cohen

February 4, 2007
Born Ruffians - "Knife"

Grizzly Bear are in town at Lee's Palace this Tuesday evening, and you might see the boys from Toronto's Born Ruffians in attendance. They declared their love of the band when they covered "Knife" from Yellow House during a radio session for KEXP last December and honestly, I like it a lot better than any of their own stuff I've heard.

Originally by : Grizzly Bear

January 28, 2007
Camera Obscura - "Modern Girl"

Camera Obscura appeared on a Q magazine compilation last Summer dedicated to the 80s with a cover of a song by fellow Scot Sheena Easton, someone that the band has obviously drawn great inspiration from in their career. Still waiting on that Prince collab. Camera Obscura are at the Opera House on Wednesday night.

Originally by : Sheena Easton

January 21, 2007
M Ward - "Saturday"

The mighty M Ward stops in for a solo show at the Mod Club this Saturday, which is why I'm sharing this Yo La Tengo cover, which starts out in a low-key understated style like the original but builds to an explosive finish. It's taken from a 2001 tour-only album of live recordings called Live Music & The Voice Of Strangers.

Originally by : Yo La Tengo

January 14, 2007
The Shins - "Strange Powers"

It's a big month for The Shins - they were the musical guest on last night's Saturday Night Live and they play Letterman next Tuesday - the same day their long-awaited new album Wincing The Night Away hits stores. This Magnetic Fields cover was a live staple on their Spring 2005 tour, though this version sounds like it came from a radio session.

Originally by : The Magnetic Fields

January 7, 2007
Anthrax - "The Bends"

Usually I go for some kind of topicality or context for the MP3 of the week, but this week there's just nothing happening so I'll take the opportunity to post something I probably wouldn't ever get the chance to otherwise. Namely Anthrax covering Radiohead. For serious, and it's good. It comes from a 1999 import EP called Inside-Out.

Originally by : Radiohead