Oct 192010

If you’re a big fan of Bad Religion, you should know this about me up front: I had no idea that they were as influential as they apparently are. I knew them simply as a decent punk band that, for reasons I didn’t fully appreciate, seemed to be on constant rotation on my hometown radio station. So you can imagine my confusion when I heard that a pretty solid lineup featuring the likes of Tegan and Sara, Switchfoot, Ted Leo, the Weakerthans, and others were covering their favorite Bad Religion songs for the tribute album Germs of Perfection: A Tribute to Bad Religion. “Does the world need this?” I wondered.

As it turns out, I was kind of an idiot. Bad Religion’s been around for 31 years—as in, since 1979. Their guitarist for most of that time has been Brett Gurewitz, founder and owner of Epitaph Records and affiliates ANTI-, Burning Heart Records, Fat Possum Records, and Hellcat Records. Germs of Perfection, which was released by SPIN and MySpace Music as a free download today, commemorates the 30-year anniversary of Epitaph, which is as good a reason as any for such a tribute. Continue reading »

Radio Radio

 Posted by at 12:00 pm  1 Response »
Sep 292009

One of my friends recently moved to Chicago and complained to me about the lack of good radio stations. This puzzled me, as it seemed to imply that there were good stations anywhere anymore. If there are, I don’t know ‘em, which leads me to ask this question:

Jesse Malin – Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio? (The Ramones)
Joey and the gang predicted the demise of radio by a good twenty years. Ironically, Malin seems to be making a pitch for mid-tempo “alternative” stations with this one. [Buy]

Town Bike – Radio Nowhere (Bruce Springsteen)
Last Friday I had the privilege of attending a taping of Elvis Costello’s Spectacle show featuring Springsteen (my review). They chatted and played for four straight hours, wrapping things up with a radio medley. It started with this… [Buy]

Dustin Kensrue – Radio Radio (Elvis Costello)
…and finished with this, Bruce taking Costello’s part from the classic Saturday Night Live debacle. Hard to find interesting covers of this, but here’s Thrice’s lead singer breaking it down acoustically at an Apple in-store performance. Fun fact: Whenever his equipment broke down on his last tour, “Weird Al” Yankovic went into a cover (not parody). Watch. [Buy]

Ted Leo – The Spirit of Radio (Rush)
Indie-punk Leo seems like an odd person to cover prog giants Rush, but his guitar chops are up to stuff. A good thing, ‘cause that’s all there is. [Buy]

Josh Millard – Radio Cure (Wilco)
After the bizarre faux-jazz version we heard from the Bad Plus a few months back, here’s a more straight-forward acoustic take. If you like this stripped-back approach, check out James Eric and Erin Vogel covering the whole Yankee Hotel Foxtrot album last month. [Buy]

Matthew Show – Mohammed’s Radio (Warren Zevon)
Zevon is blessed with two excellent tribute albums. Enjoy Every Sandwich features an A-list group of musicians and peers, but the lesser-known Hurry Home Early features some true gems. This is one. [Buy]

Amanda Palmer – On the Radio (Regina Spektor)
Now I love Amanda Palmer, but this one seems almost TOO easy. Spektor and Palmer share the same eastern-European oddball appeal like cabaret-pop twins separated at birth. When I saw Spektor do this one live, she was too drunk to do it justice. Palmer gets it right. [Buy]

Masters of Reality – Devil’s Radio (George Harrison)
The radio intro here includes everything you might hear, from music to war, new cars to pop stars. Harrison included this on his 1987 comeback album Cloud Nine that itself featured a hit cover, of Got My Mind Set on You (great video too). [Buy]

Bruce Lash – Mexican Radio (Wall of Voodoo)
Is this jazz or folk? Sincere or ironic? All I know it’s off Lash’s second Prozak for Lovers all-covers album, which is worth getting your hands on. [Buy]

The Wrong Trousers – Video Killed the Radio Star (The Buggles)
Fun fact: This was the first music video ever played on MTV. Maybe it was the last too; the age of the music video came in with a boom and went out with a whimper. Prepare for the upcoming sequel: “MTV’s Relentless Obsession with Crappy Reality Television Killed the Video Star.” [Buy]