Thursday, October 31, 2013

31 October 2013 - Doctor and the Medics - Spirit In The Sky

Despite not being religious hippies like Norman Greenbaum, Doctor and the Medics did a really faithful cover of this song, a Christian classic.  Their goth look now makes this song more appropriate for Halloween than church. 

Their earnest performance makes the song - which I just told you a faithful cover of the faithful original - more associated with them than Norman Greenbaum - it's a better known song now because of Doctor and the Medics.  Of course, it also gave them their only real U.S. exposure and their only U.K. chart hit, where it was a #1 smash.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

30 October 2013 - Au Revoir Simone - Fade Into You

Here are Brooklyn dream-poppers Au Revoir Simone doing a playful cover (love the dancing) of Mazzy Star's highest charting and most known song -- Fade Into You. Who would have thought this song would sound so cool with synths?

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

29 October 2013 (The Infamous Part 4!) - Karmin - No Scrubs & Lighters & Acapella.... wait, what?!

I pretty much promised you this was coming eventually.

If I am being totally honest, I thought I would have done it before now.  Today's first cover is of the TLC classic "No Scrubs", in honor of the VH1 movie.  This version sounds less angry and more.... well, lounge.

Today's second feature is their excellent cover of "Lighters".  I put this here mostly because I am amazed at how well Amy raps and still plays guitar.

This third one is only kind of a cover.  I mean, it's a Karmin song. Buuuuuuuuuuut, since the song is called "Acapella", doesn't it make sense that Mike Tompkins would team up with them to actually do it a capella? And yes, it is an interesting take.

Monday, October 28, 2013

28 October 2013 - Over the Rhine - The One I Love

Happy Monday everyone...yeah, I know. Anyway, I just picked up Over the Rhine's latest double album Meet Me At The Edge Of The World and I'm definitely looking forward to hearing it. I just need to find an evening where I'm not glued to the TV watching a baseball game, hockey game, football game or The Voice (well, at least baseball's almost over). Until then, here's Cincinnati's finest husband and wife led Americana band playing a smokey version of R.E.M.'s The One I Love.

Friday, October 25, 2013

25 October 2013 - Broken Bells - Crimson and Clover

Well, I think I may be the last person on the planet to learn that Broken Bells a is project between James Mercer of The Shins and Danger Mouse. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. But probably not in this instance. Anyway, here's the indie supergroup playing a live version of a "rarely covered" Tommy James & The Shondells classic.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

24 October 2013 - The Carpenters - We've Only Just Begun

Believe it or not, this song started off as a bank commercial, written by and performed by Paul Williams.

Until Richard Carpenter was watching television in a Quaalude-induced haze and saw that commercial.  He knew it had to be theirs.  And, with Karen Carpenter's powerful pre-anorexic vocals, a wedding classic was born.

Not kidding about it being a bank commercial first..... This was the first in a series of commercials using this song, envisioned by the legendary ad man Hal Riney for The Crocker Bank.

Friday, October 18, 2013

18 October 2013 - Halestorm - Empire State of Mind

This one popped onto my Twitter feed a couple days ago and I had to share it. Here's hard rock band Halestorm playing the one Jay-Z song I don't mind (and that of course is because of Alecia Keys' fantastic vocal part...well that, and it just happened to be the unofficial anthem of the 2009 World Series win by the Yankees).

Thursday, October 17, 2013

17 October 2013 - Blake Babies - Passionate Kisses

Some covers are planned and happen with a lot of preparation.

Some covers happen when a guy hands John Strohm a guitar and he happens to be in a band with Juliana Hatfield, who happens to be standing right next to him.

This is the latter. The Lucinda Williams classic has never sounded quite so raw, but still, it works.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

16 October 2013 - We Are Scientists & Ash (WASH) - Touch Me I'm Sick

It's always cool when bands who tour together join up to play a song or two as an encore. Apparently, We Are Scientists and Ash (collectively known as WASH) felt the same a couple years ago when they toured together. Here they are in Melbourne playing the Mudhoney anthem Touch Me I'm Sick.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

15 October 2013 - Guano Apes - Big In Japan

Rather than spend time on a blog post..... I watched the Red Sox beat the Detroit Tigers 1-0 to take a 2-1 series lead in the ALCS.  And then I think back to Kevin Millar, one of the heroes of the 2004 Red Sox that broke the so-called curse of the Bambino - which was ridiculous, by the way - and how he was.... well, big in Japan, where he had played for a bit.

So here are Guano Apes, doing an Alphaville cover.  It's quite heavy. Enjoy.

Friday, October 11, 2013

11 October 2013 - Reel Big Fish - Take On Me

Here's third wave ska band Reel Big Fish playing a punked-up cover of Take on Me by a-ha. The video's kind of fun but how much cooler would it have been if they tried to recreate the original video...but without the animation?

Thursday, October 10, 2013

10 October 2013 - Puscifer - Bohemian Rhapsody

Sometimes, a video tells the whole story.  Sometimes, a video is just bizarre.  This video falls into the latter category.  It's weird, but the song itself is solid, full of the proper emotion, and faithful to the original.

And yet when you realize who Puscifer actually is - Maynard James Keenan, whose day job is lead vocalist of Tool and A Perfect Circle - this becomes all the more bizarre.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

9 October 2013 - Ben Folds & Rufus Wainwright - Careless Whisper

The endless search is finally over. I am proud to present you with "The New Wham!" Here's Ben Folds and Rufus Wainwright with a ridiculously earnest George Michael/Wham! cover.

How awesome would it have been if Ben and Rufus covered this Wham! gem instead?

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

8 October 2013 - The Bangles - Going Down To Liverpool

My first exposure to The Bangles was a song on a Saturday morning music video show in 1985.  I didn't know at the time that this song was originally done by Katrina and the Waves (and was reissued afterwards as the B-side to "Walking on Sunshine").  I didn't know that Debbi Peterson was not the normal lead vocalist of this little group. I certainly didn't know why the camera was giving so much attention to the acoustic guitarist (it's Susanna Hoffs, if you weren't aware, and I would be aware two years later when she gave those sideways eyes again in the video for "Walk Like An Egyptian").

And I didn't know why Leonard Nimoy was so willing to appear in a video for four unknown women.  But it made them cooler.

I know all these things now.  Susanna Hoffs was friends with Adam Nimoy, Leonard's son.

Monday, October 7, 2013

7 October 2013 - Deer Tick - If I Should Fall From Grace With God

Here's a pretty rad live performance of The Pogues' classic If I Should Fall From Grace With God by Providence, RI indie rock/Americana band Deer Tick to get your week started out just right.

Friday, October 4, 2013

4 October 2013 - Coheed and Cambria - A Rush and a Push and the Land is Ours

Whenever I can't think of, or feel too lazy to find a decent cover, I can always count on the The AV Club Undercover series. They've bailed me out on many a Friday (my most vacant brain day of the week) with a killer cover. Here's another good one. I've been a fan of alternative/progressive metal/hardcore band Coheed and Cambria since their exciting debut The Second Stage Turbine Blade came out (hard to believe it's been over 10 years). I wasn't surprised that they chose A Rush and a Push and the Land is Ours by The Smiths. I WAS surprised however with their down-tempo acoustic approach to the song. It's very cool. Very cool indeed, Coheed.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

3 October 2013 - Atomic Kitten - The Tide Is High

So, what do we do to follow yesterday's epic post?

Well, today is our 400th post.  And I could only think of one way to be truly epic for today.

Oooooookkkkkaaaaaaayyyy....... so why pick a British girl group who are seeming desecrating a Blondie classic?  Well, 1. I don't think they are desecrating it and 2. I have a story.  You see, "The Tide is High" - the Blondie version - is the first song that I remember being my favorite song.  I was 8. I couldn't have told you at the time what the song was about, really.  But I loved the island feel of the song.

This version of the song doesn't exactly have an island feel.  It does have three young women - one of them significantly pregnant - earnestly performing a song that was specially crafted to include girl harmonies and fun dance moves.

Disney Channel fans actually know this song already.  It was used in the opening credits of the Lizze McGuire Movie.  (Oh yeah.  We went there.)

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Diving Horses profile and interviews with DJ Dan and Jimi HaHa

Diving Horses was created by the Annapolis-based production duo of multi-instrumentalist Softeyes and DJ Dan. Their self-titled debut album due out this fall on Underground Wednesday Records re-imagines a range of seminal modern and classic rock songs (from artists as diverse as New Order and AC/DC) as indie-dancefloor anthems. It features vocalists from some of Annapolis, Maryland's best bands including Jimmie’s Chicken Shack, Future People, Swampcandy, Starbelly, Van Meter, the Geckos, Pompeii Graffiti, Cole Cash, Hypnotic Panties, Happy Little Robots, and Ethics Committee, as well as solo artists Tobias Russell Music, Dean Rosenthal and Joseph Karr.

Interview with DJ Dan of Diving Horses 

I met DJ Dan Mollen at an Annapolis, MD bar around three years ago. I don't actually recall how it all went down, but I can imagine a Pixies song was playing on the jukebox and a music conversation started that continues to this day. While we share a boatload of music in common, it's our differences that make an afternoon kicking back a couple brews that much more fun. Usually we'll start out talking about some hot new indie rock band and then without fail he'll mercilessly mock my love for pop, country or some "passe" 90s alt band that I happen to be seeing that week. As you'll read in my Totally Covered interview, DJ Dan has very strong opinions on what music should be and I respect that.

Totally Covered (TC): What was the impetus for this project?

DJ Dan: I’ve been a DJ for a long time but since the advent of the iPod, it’s a moniker that’s become increasingly troublesome to me. When I started playing music, I got hired for three things: I had a lot of records, I had taste in music that people seemed to respond to, and not unimportantly, I had equipment. Obviously now, every bartender in America has an iPod and while that’s not always a bad thing, a lot of the time it is. But rather than hearing a broader variety of music when we’re out at night, we’ve been subjected to either increasingly homogenous playlists or stuff that frankly, blows. That’s a long way of saying that I saw this project as a way of paying homage to the music that really formed my sensibilities and a lot of that is grounded in what I would call college radio or classic modern rock. Plus I’ve always been a sucker for a good cover.

TC: How did it all come about? Ideally (and realistically), what are you trying to accomplish with this recording?

DJ Dan: As with anything else, it started off as a way to make music with my friends and have fun. But more than that, there were several things that I hoped to get in front of a broader audience. One, is that we have an incredibly vibrant music scene in Annapolis and it’s my hope that as a community, we can work together to get each other’s music heard outside of our immediate area. Secondly, it struck a chord with me to involve genuine talents in genres like folk, blues, or country and employ their voices in a dancefloor context. It’s not unlike the Verve Remixed series in that regard. Lastly, I really wanted to shine a light on the talent of my fellow Diving Horse, Softeyes. More people should be aware of his evil genius.

TC: We have previously spoken about IDM vs. EDM. Can you explain this concept for our readers?

DJ Dan: Defining EDM is tough because it’s become a uniquely American catchall term for a sound that has certainly permutated but has really been around for a couple decades at this point. But my mind conjures up several things when I hear the term -- simplistic but catchy vocals, big bass, grating synths, and a touch of white noise played really loud for shirtless frat guys in clubs where I would never go. I find its popularity to be somewhat perplexing especially when I consider how bad most of it sucks. But I don’t think that’s unusual for any genre really -- what seems to appeal to the mainstream is bad music of every stripe. Bad rock, bad rap, bad country, you name it. On the other hand, I’m really intrigued by this whole concept of Intelligent Dance Music (IDM). In my mind, it’s far more song-based and far less formulaic. When I think of the kind of dance music that Diving Horses aspires to, it’s artists like LCD Soundsystem, Hot Chip, and others that do such a great job of marrying lyrics that actually say something with electronic music that can do anything from soothe to rock. I’m not trying to compare us to them, but that’s the model.

TC: Are there any plans or thoughts to doing a live performance (even just a one-off) with the singers involved?

DJ Dan: That’s a tricky wicket, my friend, for such a studio-based project, but we’re ironing out the details, and I can tell you a few things. We’re going to have a release party. It’s going to feature a wide array of talented people that appear on the record. And it’s going to be great.

Interview with Jimi HaHa

Jimi HaHa (Jimmie's Chicken Shack and The Jarflys) sings Evil Woman and I Wanna Be Adored on the Diving Horses record. I thought it'd be pretty cool to check in with him (via DJ Dan) to talk about the record, his music and our great city of Annapolis. I desperately wanted to print Jimi's unedited responses but DJ Dan put the kibosh on that saying Jimi's depraved answers would destroy too many lives. I kind of agreed with DJ Dan, but only because I really didn't feel like doing the "fact checking."

TC: Did you have a previous connection with the guys in Diving Horses? What made you want to work with them?

Jimi HaHa: I've known both Dan and Casey (Softeyes) for years. I met Dan because of his DJing. We have a lot of the same taste. Oh except he loves Dave Matthews (editors note: HA! Dan was expressing his love for all things DMB with me just last week). I met Casey when he was playing in a band and he eventually ended up playing guitar with Jimmie's Chicken Shack for five years. When they approached me about being involved in the project I just thought it was going to be so cool. I had to do it. I loved the songs they picked and knew they would make something we all would enjoy.

TC: How was recording for this project different than your previous experiences with Jimmie’s Chicken Shack and the Jarflys?

Jimi HaHa: It was much easier. Basically I went into their studio and sang the tunes and my work was done. Dan remembers that I was sick. I don't remember that, but I count on his memory more than my own.

TC: What’s next for you musically?

Jimi HaHa: I hope to get working on a solo acoustic record. Just one guitar track and one vocal track. Stripped down to the core.

TC: What does Annapolis music mean to you? Is there truly an Annapolis sound?

Jimi HaHa: It just means good music to me. I don't know if you could say there is an "Annapolis sound" other than it tends to be quality. I think there is a wide range of sounds that bands have come up with. They are usually very honest and original.

Diving Horses Tracklist:

1. Ceremony (New Order) feat. Jennifer Van Meter
2. Money Talks (AC/DC) feat. Kahz
3. Evil Woman (ELO) feat. Jimi HaHa and Jennifer Reichwein
4. Heroes (David Bowie) feat. Pompeii Graffiti and Bri Ong
5. For Whom The Bell Tolls (Metallica) feat. Softeyes
6. Magnificent Seven (Clash) feat. Tobias Russell
7. Running Up That Hill (Kate Bush) feat. Ruben Dobbs
8. Let’s Go (Cars) feat. Joseph Karr
9. Never Tear Us Apart (INXS) feat. Starbelly
10. Cuts You Up (Peter Murphy) feat. Greg Harris
11. In Between Days (Cure) feat. Kevin Martin and Dean Rosenthal
12. I Wanna Be Adored (Stone Roses) feat. Jimi HaHa 

Give Diving Horses a like on Facebook and then check out the first single Evil Woman feat. Jimi HaHa at Soundcloud. If you like what you hear, you can then buy Evil Woman at either Amazon or iTunes.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

1 October 2013 - Sarah Brightman and Antonio Banderas - The Phantom of the Opera

Today is my daughter Juliana's 13th birthday.  She is a huge Phantom of the Opera fan.

Happy birthday, Juliana.  Here's some Phantom for you.