Thursday, January 31, 2013

31 January 2013 - Dandy Warhols - The Wreck (of the Edmund Fitzgerald)

It's especially poignant to hear a cover when there is a personal connection to the song.

In this case, singer Courtney Taylor had a cousin - the third mate -who died on the real-life Edmunnd Fitzgerald.  For him, Gordon Lightfoot's classic really means something.  So, when he puts a dirge-like feel on this cover, you know he's singing it with real emotion.

This is one of two covers of this song that the Dandy Warhols did.  Here is the other, which is even a little more ghostly and less dirge-y with the jangly acoustic guitar.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

30 January 2013 - Sugarland - Sex on Fire

About 15 minutes ago the Emergency Broadcast System rudely interrupted my Beverly Hills 90210 viewing with one of those annoying tests. I did get a good laugh out of the brief experience as Faith Hill's Mississippi Girl was playing in the background before and after the test. BINGO, find a cover of Mississippi Girl and post it today. Hell yeah! Hell no. Couldn't really find a good one. But, I did stumble upon one of my favorite country duos playing some Kings of Leon. Works for me.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

29 January 2013 - Meaghan Smith - Here Comes Your Man

Pixies covers work best when the vocalist does not try to do a Black Francis impersonation.  There is only one Black Francis, so it is best to make the song your own.

Which Meaghan Smith does extremely well here.  From the movie "500 Days of Summer", this video features Ms. Smith riding a bike.  And her lips are moving!  It's a quiet and subtle reading of a classic song, and not at all like the original.  But it still works.

For those who didn't get my "her lips are moving" joke, here is the original video, itself an homage to a Talk Talk video.

Monday, January 28, 2013

28 January 2013 - Pink - Janie's Got A Gun

Here's another video from the former annual MTV Icon series (if you recall I recently posted Blink covering the Cure from the 2004 show). In 2002, MTV decided to celebrate Aerosmith (yeah, I have no idea why either . . . but it happened). Pink was there and she performed this hit song from Aerosmith's Pump album.

Friday, January 25, 2013

25 January 2013 - Disturbed - Land of Confusion

I never would have imagined this heavy a cover of the classic late Genesis tune, which was one of my favorites in its original version.  Phil Collins mustered up a fair amount of anger in fear in this Cold War-era song, and Disturbed have amped up that anger in a post-September 11th era.

The story behind this cover is: Disturbed wanted to find a song that was nothing like them, and make it their own.  Mission accomplished - this is the biggest hit they've had to date.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

24 January 2013 - Richard Cheese - Gangnam Style and Gin and Juice

OK, I promise this is the last odd cover for some time. While GWAR playing Kansas and Pat Boone playing Deep Purple and GNR was pretty awesome, they can't really top the righteousness of lounge lizard extraordinaire Richard Cheese swingin' to Psy and Snoop Dogg. Dig it baby!

Here's Mr. Cheese sippin' on some Gin and Juice. Laid back...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

22 January 2013 - Pat Boone - Smoke on the Water & Paradise City

So, last Friday I rendered myself speechless when I posted a video of GWAR playing Carry on Wayward Son. It got me thinking (never a good idea) about other odd covers out there. I think I found a few good ones. You've been warned.

In the summer of 1996 I was fresh-faced and out of college. I was working as an editor/reporter for my hometown's weekly newspaper. The office was a quick skateboard ride away from my mom's house (yup, I was living rent-free at my mom's house). Two weeks into the job a used record store opened up next to my office. Needless to say I was in heaven. I spent more time there than I did in my own office (which probably explains why I only lasted a year...I was going to quit anyway to move to DC). The record store owner was a former banker who said "screw it, I'm opening up a record store" (my kind of guy). We became fast friends. He gave me first dibs on any "new" used stock he received. Things were good.

One day I was sitting in my office when the phone rang. "Scott, you gotta get over here," my record store owner friend said. He rarely called my office so I knew it had to be good. I rushed over. When I barreled through the door he thrust this gem into my hands. Yes, the squeaky clean Pat Boone had just released a metal cover album. "DUUUUDE, you have put it on," I plead. He reluctantly put it on (somehow he knew the disaster that he was unleashing unto our ears). For the next 40 or so minutes we ran the gamut of emotions (mostly us laughing uncontrollably until we started crying).

I never did buy No More Mr. Nice Guy. Shame really, as it's being sold on Amazon for over $50. Who would have thunk it?

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OK, this one isn't a video per se, but you have to give up to Mr. Boone for tackling a little Guns 'N' Roses.

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Monday, January 21, 2013

21 January 2012 - CSS - Knife

Strange that Tony is posting on a Monday, eh? Well, this week, Scott and I have flipped schedules.

Which means you get CSS on a Monday.  This somewhat upbeat cover of a morose Grizzly Bear was so impressive, Grizzly Bear included it on their 2007 Friend EP. Grizzly Bear was supposed to do a CSS cover in response, but I don't think they ever did.  Anyway, enjoy this different take.


Friday, January 18, 2013

Thursday, January 17, 2013

17 January 2012 - Alison Moyet - Windmills of Your Mind

I had the original version of this song stuck in my head this morning. This is why I post things sometimes.

An Academy Award-winning song from the 1968 film The Thomas Crown Affair, and one of my all-time favorite songs for its beautiful complexity, this version was done expertly by Alison Moyet. Her husky, powerful voice brings a certain air of mystery and intrigue to the song, perhaps even more so that the original Noel Harrison version.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

16 January 2013 - Blink 182 - A Letter to Elise

Here's a cool one that I just dug up. It's recently reunited pop-punkers Blink 182 upping the tempo and the feel of The Cure's A Letter to Elise (one of my favorite tracks on their Wish album). This was from a 2004 special called MTV ICON The Cure which explains why Robert Smith was sidestage nodding in approval. By the way, is it just me or does Mark Hoppus kind of look like a young Robert Smith here?

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

15 January 2013 - Daughtry - Poker Face

As you might know, our companion blog Wicked Guilty Pleasures is celebrating two weeks of American Idol goodness.  Since the whole show is basically nothing but covers, I figured I'd feature a couple of covers over here as well.

A few years back, Chris Daughtry did an acoustic version of this huge Lady Gaga hit - largely based on her piano version of the song - when appearing in the Radio Hamburg (Germany) studios. He discovered the piano version when Lady Gaga appeared on American Idol and performed it, which got him thinking about this interpretation.

And it turned out really well.  There's clearly more ache and pain in this version than the original (although not the piano version, which matches the emotion here).  I hope you enjoy it.

Friday, January 11, 2013

11 January 2013 - Sara Bareilles - Single Ladies

I simply adore Sara Bareilles. I have since the first time I heard Love Song and saw her in my town's little 250 seat venue. Anyway, she really makes this Beyonce smash hit her own. It really wouldn't be out of place on any of her albums. I probably should have saved this for Superbowl Week seeing that Beyonce is playing the halftime show (nothing screams football like Beyonce), but I'm fairly certain that I can dig something else up when the time comes.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

10 January 2012 - Happy Mondays - Step On / Tokoloshe Man

In the early 90's, right about the time that all that "alternative" music was starting to get popular.... or maybe a little before that time.... the college music scene was defined by their styles and their cities.  Lots of people know about the Seattle grunge scene, thanks to Nirvana and Soundgarden (who don't get enough credit for that), or the pop-rock Boston scene.

Manchester, England was known for their trip-hop music scene, where big beats and samples were combined with light guitar- and keyboard-based pop-rock.  It was a fun sound, and one of the pioneers of this scene was the Happy Mondays.  This song, released in 1990, was their biggest hit.  What a lot of people don't know is that it was a cover of a song by John Kongos, originally titled "He's Gonna Step On You Again".

This version goes so far as to sample the original.  Which is fitting.  The Guinness Book of World Records cites the original version of this song as the first to use a sample.

The song was originally recorded for the Elektra Records 40th anniversary tribute album "Rubaiyat", on which new Elektra artists (Happy Mondays) covered old Elektra artists (Kongos).  They were so pleased with the output, they decided to keep it for themselves and release it as a single.

The Happy Mondays not only still did a song for "Rubaiyat"; they still did a John Kongos cover. I'm a bigger fan of the original version of "Tokoloshe Man" than I am of "Step On" - I don't think the keyboards add as much here - but it's still a good, fun version of the song.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

9 January 2013 - Shonen Knife - Top of the World

This song originally appeared on 1994's way rad If I Were A Carpenter tribute album. I don't think it's possible to listen to Shonen Knife's wonderfully jangly version of Top of the World without bouncing around the room with a big old goofy grin on your face.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

8 January 2013 - Alex Clare - When Doves Cry

I wasn't sure if this was really the Prince song when I first heard it. About 2/3 of the way through, the keyboard rift that is the signature of the original finally makes an appearance.

Alex Clare - he of the Internet Explorer commercial - does an interesting take on a classic song.  In my opinion, it's not quite as maudlin as the original, but more aching.  More interestingly, Alex Clare adds something that the original did not have - a bass line. Prince used no bass in the original.  Alex Clare clearly uses some sort of bass, either real or synthesized, in this version.  It's unexpected when you hear it - especially since its absence is so noteworthy and distinctive in the original.

Monday, January 7, 2013

7 January 2013 - Sum 41 - Master of Puppets

Sum 41 didn't play this Metallica classic when I saw them at Warped in 2010. Kinda wish they did because it's pretty freaking awesome.

Friday, January 4, 2013

4 January 2013 - The Bouncing Souls - Mommy, Can I Go Out And Kill Tonight?

It's hard to believe that this is the first Misfits cover that I've posted, as there are a ton of great ones out there. Granted, none of them are really appropriate, but that's never really stopped me before now has it? So here's one New Jersey punk band paying tribute to another.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

3 January 2013 - The Pixies - Winterlong & I've Been Waiting For You

Originally from the Neil Young tribute album "The Bridge" - I strongly suggest picking that up if you can find it, by the way - this song is one of the high-water marks for The Pixies.  I love these guys, and was fortunate enough to see them live once - in 1991.  They're really good, and I'm really that old.  The band's anger matches the rage that is an undercurrent in a lot of Neil Young's music.  This is one of the more melancholy songs in his catalog, but the band are up to the task.

A lot of people don't know that this isn't their only Neil Young cover.  One of his early songs - I've Been Waiting For You - was a B-side to the Pixies' single Velouria.  And it's really good, too - Kim takes more of a lead on the vocals, but she and Black Francis again show the harmonies that make the Pixies great. Highly recommended.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

2 January 2013 - Rise Against - Sliver

Welcome to 2013! I'm proud to kick off another year here at Totally Covered. My first band in college used to cover this Nirvana song all the time...I used to have to count the "grandma take me homes" so I wouldn't lose my place in the song. No offense to my old bandmates, but Rise Against does a much better version.