Wednesday, March 05, 2008

The Spirit of Freeform Radio

I was going to take the rest of the week off from blogging since I'm off tomorrow to Seattle for the Harvey Danger 2-day extravaganza, but I just had to pass these next few covers along. The past week and a half has been the 2008 fundraising marathon at popular freeform radio station WFMU. This is the 50th anniversary of the station which is based in New Jersey, though honestly I'm more familiar with them from their blog of music & curiosities started in 2004, WFMU's Beware of the Blog. On Sunday, Yo La Tengo was in-studio to play cover requests for pledges. I missed it due to some incompetent time zone calculations, but it can already be found online if you're somewhat determined. Last night I did manage to record The Best Show on WFMU hosted by Tom Scharpling, who as part of the pledge drive welcomed guests Ted Leo, Ben Gibbard, and Patton Oswalt.

Ted Leo - The Spirit of Radio [originally by Rush]
Ted Leo appropriately kicked off the proceedings with this solo Rush cover, a song inspired by an Ontario free-form radio station in the late 70's, CFNY, whose slogan was "The Spirit of Radio". Somewhat ironically, it's now just your standard modern rock station 102.1 The Edge. Ted Leo channels Tom Waits in place of the Words of the profits.../Concert hall! section. Coincidentally, covers of Way Down in the Hole, used as the theme to The Wire, can be found in a recent post at The Late Greats.

Ted Leo - Union City Blue [originally by Blondie]
At one point, Tom Scharpling asked Ted, "Aren't you going to play any of your own songs?"

Ben Gibbard - Look Out (Here Comes Tomorrow) [originally by The Monkees; written by Neil Diamond]
This is the sort of song that confounds those of us posting covers... "originally" by the songwriter or performer? Ben dedicated this cover to Mickey Dolenz whose birthday is coming up on March 8th. The only reason I know that is because the very next episode on Coverville is going to be a Monkees cover story!

Ben Gibbard & Ted Leo - Porcupine Pie [originally by Neil Diamond]
Neil Diamond can take FULL credit for this lemon. Host Tom Scharpling has called this "The Worst Song in the History of Mankind", so it's only fitting that Ben and Ted cover this on his show.

Ben Gibbard, Ted Leo, Tom Scharpling, & Patton Oswalt - Take a Chance on Me [originally by ABBA]
The big finale on the show was four guys singing a goofy ABBA cover out of key. Not particularly inspiring, but pretty funny. As they chant take-a-chance-take-a-chance-take-a-chance throughout, I couldn't help thinking of my favourite misheard lyric of all-time. Someone thought ABBA was singing jackie-chan-jackie-chan-jackie-chan-jackie-chan-jackie-chan...

Marathon '08 continues until Sunday!

  • Couldn't get their banner to work, so pledges can be made here.
  • Photos and article about show on Pitchfork
  • Full show available as a realmedia and mp3 streams for the next week in the WFMU archives.
  • **UPDATE: videos of some of these songs here


Nazz Nomad said...

Ted Leo doing Rush-

fucking pure genuis.


Philippe said...

Hello! I'm looking for the NHL 99 soundtrack, I saw a post you were talking about, unfortunately the website you're linking has the wrong soundtrack (It is labeled NHL 99 but it NHL 2001). I was wondering, do you have the NHL 99 soundtrack ?! I want it, despairately.

You can contact me via email :

Thanks a lot if you can take a little bit of your time :)

Carlos said...

Good Job! :)