Sep 102020
 
the dresden dolls

I do enjoy when covers elevate a song out of it’s original environment and strengthens the power of the song itself. Indeed, this is what the Dresden Dolls (made up of Amanda Palmer and Brian Viglione) have achieved with their cover of “I’m Going to Go Back There Someday,” originally from The Muppet Movie.

Currently residing in New Zealand, Palmer said in a tweet “this song’s about being homesick for something you don’t understand.” The cover doesn’t change much from the original – the slow ballad structure and sense of yearning is retained, but Palmer’s piano sounds more poignant and powerful considering the context in which it is now being sung. This is what good covers should do – take songs from one context, and make them perfectly describe another.

Separated by distance and by quarantine, the Dresden Dolls were meant to be collaborating for an album this year, but managed to record this cover and put it on Bandcamp to raise money for the Boston Resiliency Fund.

Listen to the track and purchase it over on Bandcamp.

 

Jul 232020
 
Eli Paperboy Reed

Though “Do It Again” was Steely Dan’s first hit, 48 years later it remains their second biggest, full of instantly-recognizable moments from the “Woodstock”-esque electric piano that undergirds the song, to lead singer Donald Fagen’s choppy delivery of “Back. Jack.” in the chorus. Most of us are more familiar with the radio edit, which shortens that intro and removes Fagen’s organ solo.

Eli Paperboy Reed is a New York-based soul singer who’s been active for about a decade and a half, receiving acclaim for his traditionalist approach. This cover of “Do It Again” was originally intended for use in Suits but was not used, so he has released it on Bandcamp instead. Inspired by fellow traveler Nick Waterhouse, Paperboy completely reinvents the song. Continue reading »

Jul 092020
 
sasami toxicity

“Toxicity,” the second single from the album of the same name, was System of a Down’s biggest hit to date, helping to briefly establish them as one of the most commercially successful metal bands of their era. Since then it’s become a bit of a metal classic – please don’t call it nu metal – and a favorite cover for YouTubers. The song perfectly captures the band’s legendary dynamics of accessible, melodic verses with manic, pummeling choruses. Continue reading »

Jun 092020
 
Joseph Shabason

Gymnopédie No.1 is the most famous of Erik Satie’s Gymnopédies and probably one of his most iconic compositions. A soft, lilting melody for piano, legend has it Satie introduced Paris to it by having a pianist play all three pieces during the reception prior to his scheduled performance. Whether or not the story is apocryphal, it’s characteristic of Satie’s satiric wit and innovative approach to composition. The Gymnopédies may not technically be part of his infamous “furniture music,” but they are are an important precursor. A piece like this shows why Satie is regularly regarded as the godfather of ambient.

Saxophonist and composer Joseph Shabason takes this legacy seriously. As part of Western Volume’s Composure: Classical Reworks for Modern Relief series, Shabason has updated the first Gymnopédie with an ambient jazz vibe. The piano is still there, but it takes a while for it to enter. Loops and samples provide the backdrop, but also the introduction. When the piano does enter, over a minute in, it is accompanied by Shabason’s saxophones taking part of the melody. Violinist Drew Jurecka guests, adding to the ambient background noise.
Continue reading »

Jun 052020
 

If you’ve seen The Sopranos, you know Alabama 3’s “Woke Up This Morning.” It’s arguably now one of the most famous themes in TV history. Few songs are so associated with a particular type of TV show, even though the song predated the show by a couple years. The moment you hear the title line, it’s almost impossible not to envision Tony Soprano driving through New Jersey.

Guts Club clearly don’t want that connection. Though nominally a folk group, this New Orleans duo has taken an entirely different approach on this cover, abandoning their acoustic instruments for electric guitars and a synthesizer. They’ve even renamed their version “Song for Carm,” shifting the focus to Tony’s wife and back to the song’s original subject: a woman who has suffered domestic violence fighting back, not gangsters. Continue reading »