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May 262014
 

Recently, Detroit band Promartyr paid tribute to their fellow citymen and garage punk legends The Stooges as part of the AV Club series. This was possibly due to Iggy’s 67th(!) birthday falling around the same date, but more likely as a mark of respect for the recently departed Scott “Rock Action” Asheton.

The Michigan four-piece power through “Down on the Street,” an aggressive highlight from Fun House. Frontman Joe Casey initially appears quite juxtaposed to the band as he nonchalantly, hand in pocket, makes his way through each verse, but he becomes monstrously alive for each increasingly antagonistic chorus, leading to a blistering, feedback-heavy finale.
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Jan 142014
 

Back in 2010, Anna Rose performed the Stooges “Gimme Danger” for the “Jam for Ron Asheton” honoring the recently-deceased Stooge with current band members Scott Asheton, Mike Watt and Steve Mackay. As these things generally are, the tribute night was somewhat of a karaoke-esq affair. In the subsequent years though, she stuck with the song, re-arranging it and fiddling with it to arrive at the version you hear below. She delivers the song like nightclub singer with a spaghetti western bent, like if Blue Velvet was set near the Alamo. Continue reading »

Jan 182011
 

Even the most imaginative of us would have difficulty finding much in common between garage-punk geniuses The Stooges and Swedish popsters Ace of Base. They are likely all warm-blooded and oxygen-dependent…anything else? Maybe Missouri-based electro-rockers We Are Like the Spider see something the rest of us don’t, as they recently covered The Stooges “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and Ace of Base’s “All That She Wants”. Continue reading »

Oct 262010
 

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

Songs don’t get much dirtier than the Stooges‘ “I Wanna Be Your Dog.” Not dirty lyrically – no curse words here – but dirty sonically. The slimy three-chord riff crawls through the mud, ignoring any pretense of real melody. The low-down crunch of Ron Asheton’s guitar fits the self-loathing lyrics perfectly. A five year old could play the riff, but recreating the feeling would be a challenge indeed.

John Velghe doesn’t try. Instead, he strips away any hint of electricity, blending acoustic picking and chugging cello for a romantic duet. “I’d been performing this song live for almost a decade as the raucous rock anthem that it was originally,” he tells us. “Then one day I played it on my acoustic and this cover was born. Some will be offended, some will be pissed, but honestly, I think it’s one of the most gorgeous songs in music history no matter how it’s performed.” Continue reading »

Mar 052021
 

Cover Classics takes a closer look at all-cover albums of the past, their genesis, and their legacy.

Siouxsie Through the Looking Glass

By 1987 the angular sounds of Siouxsie and the Banshees had mellowed enough for them to be regulars in the British charts and on the accompanying TV shows. The striking appearance of icy she-wolf Siouxsie had always contributed much to their success, her atonal approach to melody both idiosyncratic and chillingly effective, the only remnant from their first appearances, wherein the grasp of rudimentary technique was echoed by the lack of any instrumental prowess. Which only goes to prove the worth of their perseverance with the punk ethos: in any other time the band wouldn’t have stood a chance.

Fresh from touring Tinderbox, an album that had cemented their reputation, the band spent the downtime back in the studio, producing the covers album they had always wanted to do. No stopgap contractual filler, this; Through the Looking Glass was squeezed in ahead of any expectation. Of course, the band had already shown their cover capabilities, with the delightfully uber-psychedelic version of the Beatles’ “Dear Prudence,” a brave move in a time when admitting a Beatles affinity (in public, at least) might be considered poor form.

The initial choice of songs came largely from the early ’70s, a time when the old order was beginning to look pregnable, with new styles beginning to emerge, biting at the ankles of the towering giants of an increasingly bloated music industry. Bands such as Kraftwerk were showing how much (and how little) could be done with cheap electronic keyboards; Roxy Music were blurring and blending styles and genres into a sci-fi retrodelia; Television were proving outriders for the earlier and more cerebral NY take on punk. Add in the bizarre world of Sparks, quirky oddballs in their homeland, who were beginning to find acceptance in the UK. Then mix well with some of the more favored sons of the sixties: the Doors, Iggy from the Stooges, and the Velvet Underground’s John Cale. Here were where Siouxsie and company went panning for gold. With a song from The Jungle Book thrown in for good measure. And perhaps the oddest version yet of Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit” for dessert.
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