Mar 232011
 

This March, we pit 64 Beatles covers against each other in what we call Moptop Madness.

Yesterday’s winners: Johnny Cash, “In My Life” and The Breeders, “Happiness Is a Warm Gun”

The winners of some of Round One’s hardest-fought battles go head-to-head today. First, Siouxsie and the Banshees’ gothic “Helter Skelter” faces Wilson Pickett’s soulful “Hey Jude.” Then, it’s all acoustic when Tenacious D’s “Abbey Road Medley” challenges Elliott Smith’s “Because.”

Listen to each pairing below, then vote for your favorite. For added sway, try to convince others to vote your way in the comments. Voting closes in 24 hours. Continue reading »

Mar 132011
 

This March, we pit 64 Beatles covers against each other in what we call Moptop Madness.

Yesterday’s winners: Siouxsie and the Banshees, “Helter Skelter” and Elliott Smith, “Because”

Strap yourselves in, folks. Two of the heaviest hitters of the entire set go head to head in round one. That’s right, it’s Wilson Pickett versus Otis Redding. Then, in what promises to be a less stress-inducing contest, Rachel Unthank and the Winterset’s “Sexy Sadie” take on Tenacious D’s “Abbey Road Medley.”

Listen to each pairing below, then vote for your favorite. For added sway, try to convince others to vote your way in the comments. Voting closes in 24 hours. Continue reading »

Aug 242010
 

Song of the Day posts one cool cover every morning. Catch up on past installments here.

Now, there’s nothing inherently difficult about getting through 32 songs in eight minutes. Try this: “Hey Jude, please please please roll over the rainbow and turn on the 4th red brick in the wall. Rattle and roll a muzzle of cheeseburger puppets to Alice’s house of the rising sonic exploder and sedate my shame and fortune to the blue suede siren. Small and humble homies gonna cut your hair down to the crossroads, but only the funk soul dandy compares 2 losing my rock lobster. No ‘G’ thang, no cry.”

There’s, that’s 32 songs and it took about twenty seconds [side challenge: how many can you identify?]. Getting through 32 songs and making it sound good though…well, that’s something else entirely. Fredrik Larsson aka. Freddegredde pulls it off in a speedy YouTube medley, nodding at viral videos alongside the rock and pop. View the video below, then peruse the full list of songs below the clip. Continue reading »

Mar 292010
 

In the past few years much ink has been spilt discussing “mashups,” the process of remixing two or more songs together. The weirder the combination, the more impressive the feat. DJs like Girl Talk lead the charge, but due to differing keys and tempos the pairings sometimes sound forced. Mashup covers, on the other hand, have more freedom. Here are ten odd couples and unchained medleys that, defying all probably, kind of work.


Touching Earth Made of Steel – Party in the Spirit World (Miley Cyrus / Daniel Johnston)
Yes, that’s “Party in the U.S.A.” paired with “Spirit World,” from the latest CokeMachineGlow covers mix. Dear Mr. Johnston: I’m sure they didn’t mean it. [Buy]

Keller Williams – My Sisters and Brothers / Boob Job (Charles Johnson / David Wilcox)
There’s something wonderfully irreverent about pairing a hopeful gospel song with a song called “Boob Job.” Jerry Garcia covered the first a few times, but died before he could have a go at the second. [Buy]

Saint Bernadette – Owner Things (Yes / Howard Jones)
“Owner of a Lonely Heart” + “Things Can Only Get Better” = an inspired duo. Though I’m not sure Jones deserves the honor — a few years ago he translated his hit to “Simlish” for The Sims 2. Embarrassing. [Buy]

Kenny Mellman – The Gambler / Poker Face (Kenny Rogers / Lady Gaga)
The man behind the Our Hit Parade pop cover series decided that lyrical theme is enough to tie two songs together. How right he was. [Buy]

Jacqui Naylor – Summertime / Whipping Post (George Gershwin / The Allman Brothers)
Jazz vocalist Naylor is known for her “acoustic smashes,” putting the lyrics to one song atop the melody of a second. Here she sings “Summertime” while the band plays “Whipping Post.” Sneak peek: Look for another even less likely pairing next week. [Buy]

The Afghan Whigs – My World Is Empty Without You / Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang (The Supremes / Dr. Dre)
In this live jam from 1994, the quartet tosses in the lyrics to Dr. Dre’s first single so soulfully you might not notice anything amiss. Check out more at our recent Dre feature. [Buy]

The Spinto Band – Give Me Just a Little More Time / The Sweet Escape / The Boys Are Back in Town (Chairmen of the Board / Gwen Stefani / Thin Lizzy)
This song eschews the normal approach of moving from one song to the next, instead splicing some Gwen and Lizzy into the Detroit soul. It took me a couple listens to figure out where “The Sweet Escape” appeared. [Buy]

Paddy Casey with the Dublin Gospel Choir – Grandma’s Hands / No Diggity (Bill Withers / Blackstreet)
What seems a truly bizarre combination is actually an homage to the original “No Diggity,” which contained a “Grandma’s Hands” sample. This cover pushes that fun bit of trivia to the extreme. If someone covered Girl Talk this way each song would become a thirty-minute ordeal. [Buy]

Tenacious D – More Than a Feeling / Just What I Needed / Dream On (Boston / The Cars / Aerosmith)
The best part of this Boston-band medley that the D performed in 2001 is that three times they build to an epic chorus, then switch songs just before it arrives. Hilariously unsatisfying. [Buy]

Allred – Cover Medley (Various Artists)
Ok, here we go: Tonic, “If You Could Only See” — Howie Day, “Secret” — Guster, “Demons” — Better Than Ezra, “Desperately Wanting” — Michelle Branch, “All You Wanted” — Avril Lavigne, “Complicated” — Eagle Eye Cherry, “Save Tonight” — Boys Like Girls, “Hero/Heroine” — Colbie Caillat, “Bubbly” — Fergie, “Big Girls Don’t Cry” — Rihanna, “Umbrella” — The Eagles, “Hotel California” — Panic! At the Disco, “Nine in the Afternoon” — Leona Lewis, “Bleeding Love” — Chris Brown, “With You” — OneRepublic, “Apologize” — Uncle Kracker, “Drift Away.” 17 songs, 7 minutes. Whew! [Buy]

Bonus: The Bloodhound Gang’s mashup of Wu Tang Clan and Weezer just feels right.

At the Movies

 Posted by at 3:00 pm  3 Responses »
Mar 082010
 

The Academy Awards were last night. The competition was fierce, the dresses were stunning, the upsets were upsetting, the…alright, I admit, I tuned out after fifteen minutes. What I do know is that for the first time the Oscars removed the live musical performances from the show, killing the one enjoyable part about the whole thing. So instead we’ll bask in nostalgia with covers of ten classic movie themes.


Steve Tyrell w/ Dr. John – You’ve Got a Friend in Me (Randy Newman)
Randy Newman’s been nominated for an Oscar 19 times. That’s three more than Meryl Streep, who holds the acting record. The Academy always seems to figure they can give it to Randy next year though, since he’s only won once. Last night he lost. Again. Twice. Though it didn’t win in its day either, “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” from Toy Story is surely Randy’s most enduring movie song, and the only one he ever touches in concert. [Buy]

Phish – Also Sprach Zarathustra (2001: A Space Odyssey)
Phish has done this one many times, its epic scope making it a good vehicle for extended jamming. This nine-minute version comes from Brooklyn’s Keyspan Park in 2004. Maybe someone who knows more about Phish than I do can tell us how it stacks up compared with other performances. [Buy]

Surf Champlers – “James Bond” Theme (Monty Norman)
Surf Champlers is a project by Kenji Yano, a Japanese musician who combines the traditional katcharsee style of music from his home of Okanawa with modern styles. Like surf. [Buy]

Kuricorder – The Imperial March (Star Wars V: The Empire Strikes Back)
This song make you wonder why they didn’t do the whole Star Wars soundtrack with a ukulele, tuba and recorder. Off the Ukulele Star Wars Aloha Force album, a comp I’m glad exists. [Buy]

Tito Rodriguez – Theme from “The Apartment” (Charles Williams)
Puerto Rican singer and bandleader Tito Rodriguez gives the theme from this 1960 Billy Wilder flick. Fun fact: Rodriguez has got to be the only non-rapping musician whose Wikipedia page includes a section titled “Feuds.” [Buy]

The Smithereens – Batman Theme (Neil Hefty)
I caught the Smithereens last week, but sadly it was a Who tribute show so no Batman (or Tommy, which is strange, since they dedicated their most recent album to Tommy covers). This Batman comes packing: with drum solo. [Buy]

Tenacious D – Flash’s Theme (Queen)
Posted this one back in our tribute to Queen, but the link’s down so no harm in another go. I still can’t believe they allowed such an absurdly theatrical song to soundtrack an action movie. The video’s even better. [Buy]

Van McCoy – Theme from “Shaft”/Lara’s Theme (Isaac Hayes/Maurice Jarre)
From 1962 through his death in ’79, Van McCoy penned hits for the Shirelles (“Stop the Music”), Gladys Knight and the Pips (“Giving Up”) and himself (“The Hustle”). An accomplished conducter, McCoy here leads some group billed as his “Magnificent Movie Machine” through disco-fied hits. [Buy]

Socci and Pency – Lux Aeterna (Requiem for the Dream)
No question, Clint Mansell and the Kronos Quartet’s soundtrack for Requiem for a Dream has to be on a shortlist for best film scores soundtracks of the past decade. It’s unsettling as hell, making you want to cry even as it sends shivers down your spine. This acoustic guitar duet does justice to several of the film’s motifs. [Buy]

Xentrix – Ghostbusters (Ray Parker, Jr.)
This thrash metal quartet’s take on the classic 1984 call and response is predictable loud. Who you gonna call? [Buy]