Nov 182008
 

For many bands, rocking you hard isn’t enough. They feel the need to tell you how hard they’re rocking you. So as a tribute to the many groups too insecure to let the music speak for itself…let there be rock.

Ludwig Van 88 – We Will Rock You (Queen)
I don’t know when Ludwig plans on rocking me, but until then I’ll settle for being pleasantly reggaeed. [Buy]

Patti Smith – So You Want to Be (A Rock’n’Roll Star) (The Byrds)
Having established herself as cover artist extraordinaire with “Gloria,” Patti’s fourth album threw in this Byrds tune. It hews a little closer to the original, but Smith’s punk spitting strips aways the polish of the original to show what being a rock star is really about. [Buy]

Roxanne Morgens – Rock’n’Roll Ain’t Noise Pollution (AC/DC)
Half of the AC/DC catalogue could be used here; those boys love to talk about how hard they rock (more evidence here). Morgens rocks a lot more quietly though, proving that sensitive folk music isn’t noise pollution either. [Buy]

We Are Scientists – Bang Bang Rock and Roll (Art Brut)
For a co-headlining tour with Art Brut a few years ago, the pair put out a tour-only EP that featured them covering each others songs. Art Brut tackled “The Great Escape,” but did a far worse job. [Buy]

Bruce Springsteen – Rockin’ All Over the World (John Fogerty)
Though Bruce deals with more original subjects for his own material, his live covers tend to have a theme. Seven Nights to Rock, Good Rockin’ Tonight, I Don’t Want to Hang Up My Rock’n’Roll Shoes, etc. His focus on rocking is justified by the exuberance of the performances. [Buy]

Twisted Sister – It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It) (The Rolling Stones)
Oh Twisted Sister, you can’t possibly take yourselves seriously. They stretch it out for over ten minutes in this live raver that features plenty of aggressive crowd participation. [Buy]

Hayseed Dixie – I Love Rock’n’Roll (The Arrows)
This bluegrass cover band got their start doing AC/DC tunes (hence the name), but have since taken on from The Cars to Spinal Tap. Here they do Joan Jett – wait, I mean The Arrows. That’s right, Joan’s huge hit was in fact a cover, and not a very creative one. I’m sure the royalties have been keeping those Arrows boys in gold-plated diapers for years now. [Buy]

Rasputina – Rock and Roll (Led Zeppelin)
Cello goth lends itself to covers far better than one would imagine. Sounds like it’s been a very long time since she’s rocked and rolled – centuries, perhaps. [Buy]

Laptop – It’s Still Rock’n’Roll to Me (Billy Joel)
Billy Joel is criminally under-covered, but this group does it right, turning one of his biggest hits into a weird electronic dirge. [Buy]

The Alarm – Rocking in the Free World (Neil Young)
This cover doesn’t veer very far from the original, but when the original’s so good, does it need to? For a more adventurous take though, check out this post. [Buy]

Going Goth

 Posted by at 3:14 pm  No Responses »
Sep 182008
 

On a whim I went to a goth-cello concert a few weeks back because it sounded unique. Rasputina is just that, dueling cellos with an aggressive percussionist who plays songs with titles like “1816, The Year Without a Summer” and “Desert Vampire.” A couple amazing covers they did during their show, one of which is below, inspired a little gothic cover action. So light some candles, put on your black lipstick, and join me in my lair.

Rasputina – Bad Moon Rising (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
In concert Melora Creager introduced this as a “weather conjurer,” saying she loved the lyrics but thought the original was way too upbeat. Transpose it to a minor key, slow it down a ton, and rock out some grinding cellos, and here you go. If you like this one, bowhowdy over at Cover Lay Down just posted their Pink Floyd cover. Great minds and all that.

Siouxsie and the Banshees – This Wheel’s On Fire (Bob Dylan)
A classic cover, these goth pioneers make the Dylan-Danko apocalypse sound completely natural with shivering synth violins and a pounding drum machine. And that voice…brrr.

Inkubus Sukkubus – Paint It Black (The Rolling Stones)
My sketchy friend somehow discovered this band in high school, with song titles like “Wake of the Christian Knights” and “Vampyre Erotica” (sample lyric: “I’ll beat you / I’ll eat you / I’ll laugh at your torment”). I gotta admit though, I’m a fan, and this tune fits in with the rest perfectly. A little research revealed it’s often covered in the gothic music world. Not hard to see why.

Marilyn Manson – The KKK Took My Baby Away (The Ramones)
One of my favorite Ramones songs, this comes from the hit-or-miss We’re a Happy Family tribute disc. It’s electronic, brooding, and downright disturbing. Manson in fact is an unlikely master of the cover; check out a recent taken on a Justin Timberlake track here.

Ex-Voto – Riders on the Storm (The Doors)
First off, the fact that a Goth Tribute to the Doors exists makes me very happy. Then the fact that it’s called Darken My Fire makes it even better. Many of the songs work quite well in their new, darker arrangements, and I recommend checking it out.

The Northern Kings – Rebel Yell (Billy Idol)
I posted these guys take on Creep a while back, but this might be even better. Loud, long and epic as hell, it builds, then dies, then builds back up bigger than ever. Their all-covers album Reborn is worth picking up.

Bauhaus – Spirit in the Sky (Norman Greenbaum)
Most of the tunes here are accessible goth-pop, but not this one. It’s crunchy, jarring, and all around strange.

Lacrimosa – Phantom of the Opera (Andrew Lloyd Webber)
A gothic take on a gothic song isn’t a stretch, but this dark and shimmery take brings out the ultimate creepiness.

HIM – Solitary Man (Neil Diamond)
These quasi-hitmakers also do a nice version of (Don’t Fear) The Reaper, but this song choice is far more unexpected. Unlike Bad Moon Rising though, the lyrics made far more sense in their original context.

Sisters of Mercy – Jolene (Dolly Parton)
These members of the goth old guard did their own gender-bending version of this song long before Jack White discovered it. It’s a demo, angsty and throbbing.