Stars released their third album, Set Yourself on Fire, in 2004. It was fairly well received, gaining popularity with tracks like “Your Ex-Lover Is Dead,” and “Ageless Beauty.” Not quite riding on the coattails of that success, but also not leaving enough time for people to forget the album, Stars released a remix album of Set Yourself on Fire in 2007, called Do You Trust Your Friends?
The first CD released by The Postal Service was the 2003 single ”Such Great Heights.” The song was written by Ben Gibbard and Jimmy Tamborello and featured Iron & Wine doing a cover version on the B-side. The Iron & Wine take was featured on the soundtrack for Garden State and went on to become the wider-known version. Ever since, the song has made the cover rounds. Ben Folds, Rilo Kiley, Streelight Manifesto have all had a go and recently we featured Amanda Palmer and Kim Boekbinder doing a wonderful ukulele version.
They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s big day with cover tributes to his or her songs. Let others do the work for a while. Happy birthday!
Prolific indie musician Ben Gibbard celebrates his 35th birthday on August 11. He’ll be spending the big day in Georgia, touring in support of Death Cab for Cutie’s latest release Codes and Keys; here at Cover Me we’re saluting him with five covers of his work by other artists. In light of his extensive catalogue with both Death Cab and electronic side project The Postal Service, there were a lot of options, but we’ve narrowed it down to a few of the best.
Well, it’s late October. Leaves are turning, temperatures are diving, and the best Halloween costumes are long gone from the shelves of stores across the country (looks like it’s “homeless guy” for me again this year). For many, this all amounts to just one thing: the baseball playoffs. But as the Giants and Rangers get ready to square off in the World Series, it may seem like there’s little excitement in it for those of us unfortunate enough to call ourselves Dodgers, Mariners, or, worst of all, Yankees fans.
Music fans, on the other hand, are having a field day (get it? field day? heh). At last Wednesday’s NLCS game between the Giants and Phillies in San Francisco, Death Cab frontman Ben Gibbard sang the national anthem. As if that wasn’t enough, Gibbard’s wife, She and Him‘s Zooey Deschanel, took on “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch. Gibbard and Deschanel – the match made in indie heaven – were a nice lead-in to Phil Lesh and Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, who sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the game the following day. All three of these performances, available for streaming below, are remarkable in their simple beauty.
David Bazan is endlessly fascinating. Known primarily for his work with Pedro the Lion, he has spent decades on the Christian rock circuit questioning the religion’s basic tenants. The fantastic Body Piercing Saved My Life: Inside the Phenomenon of Christian Rock aptly describes him as “leading his listeners out of the desert of certainty, preaching the gospel of doubt.” He won’t play most Christian music festivals and most Christian music festivals wouldn’t have him anyway.
A few months ago Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie fame performed Pedro the Lion’s first single “Big Trucks” at a Stereogum SXSW event. After all this waiting though, a video just surfaced. It’s a close-up pro-grade recording (shot for Stereogum I’m guessing, though they never posted it) that looks good and sounds better. Nice of Gibbard to shout out a fellow Seattleite, who actually opened for Death Cab on tour in 2007 (that’s Bazan on the left in the photo above, Gibbard on the right).
The best-selling album of all time, sampled by current hitmakers like Rihanna and Kanye West, it just received a flaccid “25 Anniversary” edition with covers that sound just the originals…but shittier. So here is how they should have done it, some songs drastically reinvented, other turned into smooth jazz jams. Think you’ve got a better version of any of these songs though? As always, let me know. It’s close to midnight…
-Update: New feature being added to all the Full Album posts. When the individual link expires, there will still be a rapidshare link at the bottom to download the full set!-
1L – Wanna Be Startin’ Something
An industrial-disco take that is certainly interesting, it might make you dance or it might give you a migraine. It was recorded entirely backwards, which certainly makes it sound…different.
Blowout – Baby Be Mine
Jazz-flute abounds in this instrumental meander through and around the original tune, with a laid-back bass line and muted horn solos. It keeps a steady focus though, never veering too far away from the arrangement, and thus avoids falling into the “jazz that gives me a headache” category.
Umphree’s McGee – The Girl Is Mine
No McCartney on this cover, but instead plenty of jam band grooves. They do it live a lot, and throwing a bit of Jane’s Addiction’s “Jane Says” in the middle is a nice contrast.
Ben Gibbard – Thriller
The Death Cab for Cutie frontman performs a solo version that strips back the zombie hysteria and plays the lyrics completely straight…which just makes them funnier. I do miss Vincent Price though.
The Last Dinosaur – Beat It
A somber duet by this British group, with stately piano and low violin that makes it sound like a love ballad. Fabulous.
Chris Cornell – Billie Jean
The Soundgarten/Audioslave frontman’s voice could not be more different than Jacko’s in this live take, boozey and aching. Hell of a guitar player too, plucking soft here and slamming furiously there.
Craig David – Human Nature
Though his voice is beautiful, the real highlight here is the funky acoustic guitar part. Interweaving it with SWV’s “Right There” isn’t his own idea, as the girl group released a mash-up of the two songs themselves, but it works. Alicia Keys also did a fully-orchestrated version of this one recently; check it out here.
Spitalfield – P.Y.T. (Pretty Young Thing)
A solo electric guitar version by lead singer Daniel Rose, it’s a bit emo, but still a nice listen as he belts it out as well as his skinny-white-boy voice will allow. It’s taken from a live video, so sorry for the slightly fuzzy sound quality.
Stanley Jordan – The Lady In My Life
Another instrumental jazz take, this one screams “elevator music”. But if you can get beyond that, it’s actually not bad, with some nice soloing by Jordan on both electric guitar and synthesizer (often at the same time).
Full set: http://www.mediafire.com/?ymtnj23zgjm