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Category Archives: April Covers

cover #27: “Fairytale of New York”, The Pogues

Hey, remember that April Covers project I forgot to finish?  Welll….

As a holiday gift to you, my friends and family and acquaintances, I present my cover of “Fairy Tale of New York” by The Pogues, recorded/performed/produced by me with additional vocal help from my friend Julia Lunetta.

It’s one of the great bummer christmas songs, but it has a great lesson of hope and love at the end.  Ah, the Irish….

Note: if you’re unfamiliar with the song, there are a couple words in it you may not want dear grandmama and little Billy to hear.  It’s all within the context of the song, however, so it can be excused.

You can download it directly from Houndbite by clicking on this link.  You can also hear it, streaming, by clicking this link.

Have a merry merry and a holly jolly, ho ho ho, etc.

 
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Posted by on December 24, 2009 in April Covers, War on Xmas!

 

cover #24 – Suede, “The Wild Ones”

Cover #24, and yep, we’re still doing this, whether you like it or not, until we get 30, dammit, because I say so, is Suede’s “The Wild Ones”, from Dog Man Star, released in 1994 and written by Brett Anderson and Bernard Butler.

So, Suede never really got much attention in this country, and that’s really a pity.   You’ve maybe heard “The Beautiful Ones” or, more likely, “Filmstar”, if you sat through the credits after Eddie Izzard’s Dress To Kill comedy show.  But, man, they had some great songs.  This one in particular should have been the “In Your Eyes” of its generation.  It should have been in some movie, where boy loses girl and gets girl back again by playing her some heartwrenching ballad.

This, my friends, is a heartwrenching ballad.  I think it’s about Brett breaking up with Justine from Elastica, but I’m not sure.

Justine, by the way, went on to date Damon Albarn from Blur for several years (see cover #8, “End of a Century'” and, well, basically all of the albums Blur and 13.)   It should be noted that I freaking love Elastica.  Of all the bands that came out of that era – England from 1993-1998 aka “Britpop” – they were my favorite, moreso even than Oasis.   Unfortunately, Justine’s bandmates were all massive smack fiends and it’s really hard to be the best band in the world when everyone’s lying on the floor staring at the babies crawling on the ceiling instead of, you know, rehearsing.   So, Justine’s influence – apart from their self-titled 1993 record which gave the world “Connection” and 15 other rad little tunes – is mainly as the chief muse of the Britpop era.  She dated Brett from Suede, dumped him for Damon from Blur,  dumped him because he was being – let’s face it – kind of a dick, and then went on to host a home improvement show of some type.  The whole thing is written up beautifully in the book The Last Party, which I’ve re-read many, many times because I’m a massive Britpop fanboy and it’s sad.

There’s a story about what Suede means to me, but it’s sort of personal.   I mean, it’s dumb high school stuff, mostly, but I’m putting a break here in case you don’t care/feel uncomfortable with the idea of me talking about kissing girls and such.

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Cover #23 – TV on the Radio, “Wolf Like Me”

Cover #23 is “Wolf Like Me”, by TV on the Radio, from the 2006 album Return To Cookie Mountain, written by Tunde Adebimpe.

I first saw TV on the Radio when they opened for the Yeah Yeah Yeahs a few summers ago.  I wasn’t that into them, I gotta admit.  Not sure what it was, but it wasn’t workin’ for me.

Then, about three months later, I was enjoying a bagel and there was this amazing, weird, mind-altering music on the stereo in the bagel store, and I asked the girl behind the counter who it was, and she said “TV on the Radio, duh.”  Sometimes you gotta be in the right frame of mind to receive something like that.   Sometimes, it has to be raining outside and you’re eating a bagel in Brighton, and suddenly, TV on the Radio makes a lot of sense.  I mean, these guys are so wonderfully cool and odd, and no one – no one – sounds like them.

“Wolf Like Me” , well, it’s a driving, weird song about being a werewolf.  It’s instantly catchy and soulful and edgy.  I’ve wanted to cover it since I started doing this thing, but I didn’t know how to do it.  Oh sure, I could’ve covered it as is, but they already did it perfect the first time, and besides, if you’re covering an off-the-wall band like TV on the Radio, you gotta do something off-the-wall with it.

So: I made “Wolf Like Me” into a ballad.  I couldn’t get the drums to work anyway.  The tonal inspiration was “A Warm Place” or “Eraser (Polite)” mix by Nine Inch Nails.

I really like this one.

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Next up…: well, if Justine from Elastica dumped me, I’d feel the same way, mate.

 
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Posted by on May 5, 2009 in April Covers, music

 

Cover #21: The Cure, “Doing The Unstuck”

Cover #21 is The Cure’s “Doing The Unstuck”, from the 1992 album Wish.  It was written by Robert Smith, Simon Gallup, Boris Williams, Perry Bamonte and Porl Thompson.

The first obviously, earnestly happy song The Cure ever recorded, and the first Cure song I ever loved.  It was actually the song that got me into the band in the first place.  It was the summer of 1996, and I was in a band called Soma.  The frontman was a young man named Jon Martin who frequently teased up his hair like Robert Smith, and the sound of our band was – if kind words could be applied here – at least as schizophrenic and diverse as The Cure’s.  Also, we sucked.  Really bad.

However, I made some really good friends, and occasionally we made passable music.  We’d drive around after rehearsal with Jon’s all Cure mix tape in the stereo, and this song seemed to always be on.  Then, later, Janine from camp had it on a mix tape, too, and we used to sing it together.  It really seemed to capture a specific mood, a specific moment in our lives when all was angst, but anything was possible.

Look.. um… this might be my favorite song.  Ever.  I hope I did it justice.  I’m not doing it justice here, writing about it, but this song may have changed my life drastically in one of those James Burke’s Connections-style chains of events.  If I’d never heard it, my life would be really different.  I wouldn’t have gotten to know this person who introduced me to that person who introduced me to this thing which led me to go here and do this or try that.  And I’m pretty sure “Doing The Unstuck” is to blame.

“Doing The Unstuck” means “getting off your ass and living,” and for a band like the Cure, who specialize in gloomy navel-gazing, it’s quite a statement.  It’s like if the Insane Clown Posse wrote a heartfelt ballad about how violence was wrong.

Robert Smith just turned 50 years old.  He’s still got the hair and the makeup, because growing old with dignity is lame.  The Cure may well be my favorite band ever, and this was my entry point.  I listen to it every year as the weather gets warmer and I start to unthaw from the winter blues.

Also, I quoted the last line from this song in my yearbook  quote, because I was that guy.

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Next up…: what’s this blog called again?  well, there you go.

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2009 in April Covers, music

 

cover #20 – Marilyn Manson, “The Nobodies”

Cover #20 is “The Nobodies” by Marilyn Manson, from the 2000 album Holy Wood: In The Shadow Of The Valley Of Death.  It was written by M.Manson.

This is the 20th cover of the month – I had intended to post it on April 20th, the 10 year anniversary of the Columbine Massacre.

Eric and Dylan did not listen to Marilyn Manson.  As Jello Biafra once pointed out, if they were such big fans of his (as several lazy journalists claimed), why didn’t they wait until after his show in Denver, CO later that month?  Manson’s more a grand guignol-style artist of grotesque imagery and doesn’t really seem to advocate the sort of violence we saw that day in Colorado, but he sure looked scary to middle America back in 1999.

Eric and Dylan did play Doom, but so did I and I never killed anyone.  They didn’t wear trenchcoats when they committed the murders.  They weren’t members of any “Trenchcoat Mafia”.  That expression was something a bunch of computer geeks and goths who went to the school jokingly called themselves.   I understood this mentality – some of my best friends wore black trenchcoats.

There’s been so much writing about Columbine already.  There’s a new book out that’s supposed to be pretty insightful.  Most of what’s written, however, falls into two camps: the “oh, the killers liked the goth music and that’s why they did it and CASSIE SED YES!” camp, and the “no they didn’t and NO SHE DIDN’T!” camp.  I’m not going to add to that.

All I’m gonna do is play a tune Marilyn Manson wrote about Columbine, and about a murder spree in the age of instant celebrities.  We’re the nobodies who want to be somebodies.  Some children died the other day.  You should have seen the ratings that day.  If you’ve seen Bowling For Columbine, you know he’s the most insightful person in it.

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Next up…: He’s fifty and he could kick your ass without smearing his eyeliner.

 
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Posted by on April 29, 2009 in April Covers, history, music, nerd riot

 

cover #19: Better Than Ezra, “In The Blood”

Cover #19 is “In The Blood”, originally written and recorded by  Better Than Ezra for their 1995 album Deluxe.  It was written by Kevin Griffin.

Aaaaand we’re back, after a brief absence of only (mumbles a number under his breath) days.  This whole life thing, it’s crazy, no?

Seriously, this week has been really busy, adjusting to a new job and all, so I’ve barely had time to think, let alone record.  But here we are.  After all that waiting, you’ve got a brand new cover by me, and it’s a song by… um… Better Than Ezra.

Now, now, hang on a minute.  “In The Blood” is a great tune, and it (and not “Good”) was the reason I bought Deluxe back in the ’90s in the first place.  I’m a sucker for lesser-known alt-rock almost-hits, and always have been.  That’s why I like “Photograph” better than “The Freshmen” and “Molly” better than “Plowed.”

This cover owes a lot to the Postal Service in execution, so it’s a very 2000’s take on a very ’90s song.  Enjoy!

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We’ll catch up.  You’ll get 30 covers, eventually.  Promise.  Posting the next one tomorrow afternoon, thanks to the magic of Auto-post.

Next up…: Ten years ago, I couldn’t wear my coat to school.

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2009 in April Covers, music

 

covers month so far….

First of all, I’d like to thank Julia for bringing this project to the attention of Brian from Coverville, an awesome podcast consisting solely of, well, cover songs.  I’m notoriously bad at promoting myself (because I suffer from a rare psychological disorder where I honestly can’t tell the difference between self-promotion and bragging) so it’s great to have friends who’ll do that sort of thing for me.  Again, thanks to Jon and Chris from Generation Goat for pimpin’ this madness on their podcast last week.

Now, then:  I’m starting a new job (huzzah) but I’m still working my old job, which means that Sunday is essentially a 17-hour work day for me – midnight to 5pm.  Saturday was hectic, Sunday evening will be spent sleeping, and Monday I’m back at the aforementioned new job.

We’ll get back to our regularly scheduled program in due course, however, with covers (probably) from Better Than Ezra, the Titanic lady, Smashing Pumpkins,  and more.  We’ll play catch up.  There will be 30 covers this month – they just might be a little bit off schedule.

Right now, though, I’m trying to figure out how I’m going to survive the next 18 hours without losing the ability to speak in complete sentences.  Bear with me.

Below the cut, you’ll find a rundown of all the covers so far.

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Posted by on April 19, 2009 in April Covers