Aug 032012

In the Spotlight showcases a cross-section of an artist’s cover work.  View past installments, then post suggestions for future picks in the comments!

Just over three decades since The Birthday Party helped spark off the doom & gloom sub-stream in ‘80s post-punk, Nick Cave now belongs in the great club of certified songwriters.  Like several members of that club, Cave has his share of skeptics, and it’s not so easy to bring them into the fold.  Nonbelievers in latter-day Nick Cave would benefit from checking out the Birthday Party, or Cave’s earlier albums with The Bad Seeds, to better appreciate one of the most prolific and consistent musicians to rise from the ashes of the punk era. Continue reading »

Sep 222011

They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s special day with other people singing his or her songs. Let others do the work for a while. Happy birthday!

nick cave covers

The second of this week’s birthday twofer follows yesterday’s Leonard Cohen feature. There, we heard Nick Cave cover “Avalanche” with the Bad Seeds. Today, Mr. Cave takes a load off while others pay tribute to him. It’s his 54th birthday and, judging by the vital fury of his last few albums, we suspect he’s just getting started. Continue reading »

Sep 232010

Under the Radar shines a light on lesser-known cover artists. If you’re not listening to these folks, you should. Catch up on past installments here.

Bass + Drum – Guitar = All Rock.

That’s how singer Ivan Russia describes Mr Russia: Guitar-less rock and roll. A conceit like that might color every aspect of the music – a one-trick band, so to speak – but it doesn’t. In fact, you forget it pretty quickly. The tunes stomp along on their own momentum with what the Chicago Sun-Times’ Jim DeRogatis called “a slash-and-burn mix of adrenaline and melody.”

Add a touch of spooky glam and you’ve got killer cover-song potential. The trio delivers. They’ve appeared on tribute albums to David Bowie, Radiohead, and Nick Cave. For each they prepared a video using found or filmed footage (similar to what we saw from The Peptides). For “Boys Keep Swinging,” a faceless girl cryptically explores her apartment. “The National Anthem” (the Radiohead song) blends public-domain footage of girls dancing with creepy A-bomb PSAs. Finally, The Birthday Party’s “Wild World” uses footage from a ’60s zombie film called Carnival of Souls (yes, it is streaming on Netflix). Continue reading »