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Posts Tagged ‘Phil Spector’

Sunday, December 25th, 2011

"Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)"

Slow Club, Death Cab For Cutie, The Raveonettes, and Arab Strap cover Darlene Love

Image via WikipediaWikipediaGood: the holiday season is just lousy with cover versions. Bad: they’ve all been posted by every blog under the mistletoe ad nauseum. So while in past years I’ve done mini-omnibus holiday mixes – 2010 and 2008 are still up – this year I’ll just focus on one song, Darlene Love’s most famous contribution to the classic Phil Spector-assembled A Christmas Gift To You, and four diverse covers of it.

Slow Club do the most faithful version of it, thanks to Rebecca Taylor’s soulful vocals and the Spector-ish production. It’s taken from last year’s Christmas, Thanks For Nothing EP and also last year’s Christmas covers post, but is topical because the band released their second album Paradise this year and will be bringing it on tour through North America this Winter; they’re at The Rivoli on February 19.

Death Cab For Cutie took a swing at the tune for the 2004 Maybe This Christmas Tree compilation and, basically, it sounds like Death Cab – for good or for bad. They also released a new record this year in Codes & Keys.

The Raveonettes turn their synths up to 10 in reinterpreting the song as the leadoff track of their 2008 Wishing You A Rave Christmas seasonal EP. They put out their fifth studio album in Raven In The Grave back in the Spring and their Rarities/B-Sides compilation just a couple of weeks ago.

Arab Strap split up back in 2006, so this version recorded for BBC Radio 1’s Evening Session – featuring Lauren Laverne of Kenickie on vocals – must date from before then, but I don’t know exactly when, sorry. In any case, Maclolm Middleton and Aidan Moffatt unexpectedly got back together this year, though not under the Arab Strap name, to record a Slow Club cover of all things. Then they got back together under the Arab Strap name for a one-off show in November. Could more be coming? Why not?

Darlene Love also had an eventful 2011, what with being inducted into the Rock’N’Roll Hall Of Fame this Spring. Phil Spector’s appeal to overturn his murder conviction was denied this Summer and he remains in prison for murder. His year has been less good than the others in this post.

MP3: Slow Club – “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”
MP3: Death Cab For Cutie – “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”
MP3: The Raveonettes – “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”
MP3: Arab Strap – “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”
Stream: Darlene Love – “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”

Sunday, December 19th, 2010

Mandatory Holiday-themed Covers Post

A bunch of people cover a bunch of Christmas tunes

Photo via ICHCICHCI’m not really a Christmas person. I’m certainly not against it or a conscientious abstainer, at least not from its secular aspects, I just do my best to ignore it for the first couple weeks of December until denial gives way to blind panic when I realize I still have too much to do to the degree in which I do participate. Things end up so hectic that actually enjoying the season, whatever that means, is mostly out of the question.

One thing the holidays are good for, though, are covers as everyone and their mother seems inspired to track a seasonal standard or two. The potential downside of this is that the same tunes crop up, year after year, but I think I’ve collected a bunch of more recent/less ubiquitous tunes that will hopefully come across as a little fresher to your ears. Happy statutory holidays, everyone!

Billy Bragg and Florence Welch of Florence & The Machine teamed up for the BBC last year in taking on the Pogues holiday classic. I’ve mixed feelings about Welch’s parts, and not just because Kirsty MacColl can’t be touched – while it’s nice to hear her not overpower things with her voice for a change, the restrained Flo sounds kind of bored. Billy, however, is wonderful as always.

MP3: Billy Bragg and Florence & The Machine – “Fairytale Of New York”
Video: Billy Bragg and Florence & The Machine – “Fairytale Of New York”
Video: The Pogues with Kirsty MacColl – “Fairytale Of New York”

British duo Slow Club gave their debut album Yeah, So? a North American release this year and followed it up with the holiday-themed Christmas, Thanks For Nothing EP last week, which included this terrific cover this Phil Spector tune (performed by Darlene Love) which allows Rebecca Taylor to show off her pipes in a way she doesn’t get to nearly enough.

MP3: Slow Club – “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”
Stream: Darlene Love – “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)”

Another British duo making noise this year was Summer Camp, first thanks to the mysteriousness of their identities and then the retro-pop excellence of their debut EP Young. They got into the Christmas spirit with a cover of the beloved Waitresses tune.

MP3: Summer Camp – “Christmas Wrapping”
Stream: Summer Camp – “Christmas Wrapping”

London’s 6 Day Riot, who released their third record On This Island earlier in the year, wished their fans a merry Christmas with this cover of this Pretenders song which, for my money, is always overlooked/underappreciated when it comes to seasonal songs. It’s one of my very favourites.

MP3: 6 Day Riot – “2000 Miles”
Video: The Pretenders – “2000 Miles” (live)

Bostoninans Wheat are working on their next album, the follow-up to last year’s White Ink, Black Ink, but still found the time to record a couple of Christmas tunes to give away – the b-side is an original composition and the a-side is the song made famous by Judy Garland in Meet Me In St. Louis.

MP3: Wheat – “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”
MP3: Wheat – “It’s Snowing – I Love You”
Video: Judy Garland – “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas”

Toronto’s Ohbijou covered Wham!‘s “Last Christmas” as a special treat last year about this time, and yet in the interim it hasn’t been added to the not-quite-definitive index of covers of that song over at www.last-christmas.com. Someone get on that! The band would, but they’re busy making album number three.

MP3: Ohbijou – “Last Christmas”
Video: Wham! – “Last Christmas”

The Rural Alberta Advantage only played this song – which I thought was traditional but actually only dates back to 1941 and was written by Katherine Davis (thanks Wikipedia – this past Thursday night at their hometown show at Lee’s Palace, but it was captured for posterity thanks to Joe at Mechanical Forest Sound. The RAA are set to release album number two in Departing come March 1 and have just been announced as playing the New Year’s Eve show at The Tranzac on, um, New Year’s Eve. Tickets were going fast and will now be going faster.

MP3: The Rural Alberta Advantage – “Little Drummer Boy” (live)

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

Glasvegas covers Spector

Photo via WikipediaWikipediaFirstly – some of you who make this a weekly Sunday stop may have been a mite confused as to why the area to the right formerly reserved for the cover of the week is now vacant… well, henceforth that feature is now going to be rolled into the regular blog.

The benefit of this to you is that it’ll now show up in the RSS feed, like a number have asked for, and you can comment, which is always amusing. The benefit to me is that I now no longer have to have these things locked and loaded before midnight Saturday night for fear of the site breaking. Same thing about missing a week – no breakie. I mean, I’ve been churning out these things one a week for six years now, the well is starting to run a little dry, so by segue – if anyone’s got a stash of cool or interesting covers that they’d care to donate, drop me a line. It’d be appreciated. And links will still be going down after a week.

Anyways, that’s the PSA portion of things.

Glasgow’s Glasvegas rather ably conquered the UK in 2008, and are turning their eyes to America for 2009. Their self-titled debut, released back home in September, will come out in North America this Tuesday and be accompanied by a couple of bonus tracks to annoy those of us who sprung for the import.

Not amongst them, however, is this cover of Phil Spector via The Ronettes, which proves they’re not shy to own up to one of their most obvious influences. It was a b-side to their “”It’s My Own Cheating Heart That Makes Me Cry” single.

They also kick off a North American tour tonight in Boston. No Toronto date yet, but Google certainly seems to think they’ll be at the Mod Club on April 3. I’ll confirm that when I can. Update: Date confirmed, tickets $21 on sale Saturday.

Features on the band have recently popped up at The Boston Herald, The Boston Globe and The Daily Record.

MP3: Glasvegas – “Be My Baby”