Jan 232018
 

review dr demento covered in punkLet’s be blunt: No one needs novelty songs.

Loosely defined as “a satirical or comedic parody of popular music,” most people instinctively leave the room – or the house – at the first whiff.

Or do they? What, then, explains the enduring popularity of Dr. Demento, querulous-voiced prankster and legitimate, if puzzling, cultural icon? A rock ’n roll writer, label A&R man, and sometime roadie, he began broadcasting a rock and oldies show at Pasadena station KPPC in 1970. He quickly found that the novelty songs he slipped in – notably Nervous Norvus’ “Transfusion,” a truly demented tale about reckless driving, and a precursor to the Cramps’ psychobilly – were what his listeners really wanted to hear.

Now 76, Dr. Demento – a.k.a. Barret Eugene Hansen – ceased terrestrial radio broadcast in 2010, though his program persists online. And now we’re treated to Dr. Demento Covered in Punk, by some counts his 15th official album release. If you’re already hooked on the good doctor’s offbeat charms, you’re likely not in need of encouragement to purchase this collection of supposedly “punk” covers (more on that later) interspersed with the Doctor’s commentary. But can we rightfully recommend this 2+ hour compilation to the rest of the record-buying public? The answer, surprisingly, is: “Yes!” Sort of.

Continue reading »

Nov 012011
 

Last year to celebrate Halloween, Amanda Palmer held a Dresden Dolls reunion show in New York City. This year she hit the other coast, appearing on a taping of The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. She brought along Stephin Merritt of the Magnetic Fields, Moby, and husband Neil Gaiman for a cover of Rocky Horror’s “Science Fiction/Double Feature.” Continue reading »

Jun 032011
 

This Week on Bandcamp rounds up our favorite covers to hit the site in the past seven days.

Mostly covers of older songs today, going back all the way to 1958 for James Brown’s “Try Me.” 1963 looks to Bob Dylan, 1969 gets some Beatles, and 1975 sees Rocky Horror reimagined. Then we jump forward to 2002 Iceland though, for the most beautiful song you’ve probably never heard. Continue reading »

May 272011
 

Our resident Gleek Eric Garneau looks back at a season of covers. If you didn’t watch the show, see what you missed; if you did, relive the high points.

If you’re like me (and I know some of you are), you might have thought Glee floundered for most of its second season. As one of my friends put it, most of the episodes were like “the first season on steroids” in that all of the characters and plots were taken to their ridiculous extremes. In perhaps the most egregious example, the season opener “Audition” had Rachel act on her jealousy by tricking her rival into going to a crack house, presumably so she’d get roughed up by junkies. That’s a pretty embarrassing event on which to hinge a plot. Continue reading »

Dec 102010
 

When Glee opened its second season with “Audition” back in September, an in-show speech from choir director Will Schuester promised that our favorite kids would embrace more musical variety. Looking back through its offerings in the past few months, I’m not sure it’s succeeded in that mission (with one key exception). Then again, Glee‘s first season did a pretty good job of covering a lot of musical bases anyway. If we believe Will’s speech in “Audition,” Glee really wants to focus on more modern music. I suppose they’ve done that (check out “Furt,” half of which is given over to the songs of Bruno Mars), but then last season had its share of contemporary hits too; consider, for instance, the Lady Gaga episode. Overall I think Glee‘s basically maintained the fair variety it had already established for itself. Continue reading »

Oct 272010
 

Every Wednesday, our resident Gleek Eric Garneau gives his take on last night’s Glee covers.


Glee‘s been busy this season. When they’re not angering parents with talk of scissoring or risqué photos, they’re shining the spotlight on individual artists and productions in themed episodes. The entirety of last season only had two, one of which featured Madonna and another all about Lady Gaga. Yet only five episodes deep in the second season we’ve already had as many served to us, and we know there’s more to come. This season’s second episode, “Britney/Brittany” (featuring the music of Britney Spears) received the highest ratings of the season and second-highest for the show’s entire run. Although we won’t know right away, I suspect last night’s episode, which brought us the music of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, will do just as well. Continue reading »