Sunday, August 05, 2007

Canadian Cover Content #5: Grab Bag

Before I regale you (i.e. bore you to death) with long-winded tales of last weekend, here are some covers by and of Canadian artists. Completely by accident today, I stumbled upon this interview on a NYC-based webzine called PsychoPEDIA talking about (of all things) Edmonton's music scene. Shocking, I know. It was Shout Out Out Out Out (Out?)'s Jason Troock discussing local veggie eateries, the Edmonton mentality, and lying on a rubber beach in the middle of winter. They're probably one of our biggest exports in years, but their name reminds me of that Demetri Martin joke: Bana... Bananana… damn!

In that note, here's a country cover of Canadian childhood icon, Raffi's ubiquitous Bananaphone!
Rhonda Vincent - Bananaphone [originally by Raffi]
This is from the unexpectedly delightful album Country Goes Raffi with various country singers performing Raffi classics. Country music generally causes me to involuntarily twitch, but this... this is okay. Ha, where else can you hear Keith Urban singing Apples and Bananas? Um, that one's not a particular highlight.

The Bad Plus - Tom Sawyer [originally by Rush]
Experimental jazz group The Bad Plus walk a precarious line between a sweet cover and utter chaos. It's not for everyone's tastes and their original compositions can try one's patience, but they have a penchant for cover songs, which is what brought them to my attention in the first place a couple years ago. I find they work better as a cover group since the familiarities of the tune provide an anchor when they veer off into avante-garde territory. In any event, I'm lovin' this Rush cover from their latest release Prog.

Serena Ryder - Good Morning Starshine [originally from the musical Hair (MacDermot/Rado/Ragni)]
I don't know much about Serena Ryder, but her name seems to be cropping up a lot lately and there are long waits at the library to get her CDs. Her second album If Your Memory Serves You Well is mostly a collection of covers of Canadian songwriters plus a few originals. Probably indicative of The Simpsons' massive cultural impact on our generation (as if it wasn't readily apparent in the past couple weeks), when I hear this song I picture a gooby-looking Mr. Burns singing it with Leonard Nimoy, Mulder, Scully, and all of Springfield with Chewbacca going ARRRARARHHRRH in the background. Am I crazy?

Tin Foil Phoenix - Man of Constant Sorrow [originally by Dick Burnett]
This cover by Winnipeg band Tin Foil Phoenix has been getting a fair bit of airplay on our modern rock station here. It's doesn't match the heights of Osaka Popstar's Man of Constant Sorrow, but it's pretty decent.

Great Big Sea - Run Runaway [originally by Slade]
I was walking past when Great Big Sea was playing in Edmonton at our Capital Ex festival and two days later they were the headlining act at the Calgary folk fest. I couldn't help but wonder how they feel playing probably the same 4 or 5 songs from their 1997 Play album every night 'cause that's what the audience expects. I guess this could be said about any band, but it struck me particularly while watching them. Gotta give them credit for playing with an infectious level of enthusiasm all the time.

Captain Tractor - Lord of the Dance [originally by Sydney Carter with excerpts of Slade's Run Runaway]
Super underrated Edmonton band that deserve to have been way bigger than they were. Consistently great songwriting, impressive musicianship, awesome live shows, and the best damn cover of London Calling ever. I'm not biased just because they're local; these guys were great. Technically, I guess they're still around but the shows are sporadic and the line-up's slightly changed (not bad, just different). Bought the Farm is a brilliant album.

That is all for now.


Amy said...

Hey, there. I tried playing or downloading in both IE and firefox, and get a javascript error. Any idea how to get around that?

Thanks, Amy

Fongolia said...

I tried clicking on the download links and had no problems. I'm guessing it has to do with some incompatibility between mediafire and your browser(s)? My only advice is to update your browser to the newest version and try again.