Thursday, September 10, 2009

No Apologies

Depending on your gaming preferences, this weekend you may be either butchering the Beatles or making Kurt Cobain your karaoke puppet. You may have recently read about Courtney Love's wacko ravings on Twitter or Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic's "dismay and disappointment" over the use of Kurt Cobain's likeness in Guitar Hero 5. Players can "unlock" Cobain and have him sing Duran Duran or Bon Jovi, for example. Having properly secured the "necessary licenses", Activision has nothing to apologize for except perhaps terribly bad taste. Funnily enough, getting the usage of Cobain's image was a lengthy process dating back to Guitar Hero World Tour... not only did Love have to sign off on it, she was providing photo and video references for the game designers. Apparently less controversial: Johnny Cash rapping.

Well, Courtney Love may be stupid for letting it happen, but Activision is also stupid for wanting it to happen. Food for thought as you digest these reinterpretations:

DJ MikeA - Celebrity in Vain [Hole vs. The Clash]
"You want a part of me. Well, I'm not selling cheap." Gee, it's like rain on your wedding day, eh? More mash-ups on DJ MikeA's myspace.

Gringo Floyd - In Bloom [originally by Nirvana]
For your next Nirvana-themed cocktail soirée.

Preteen Pornstar - Breed [originally by Nirvana]
Despite the off-putting band name, this is one of my favourite Nirvana covers. Feels like you're visiting some sort of experimental sonic art installation.

Orba Squara - All Apologies [originally by Nirvana]
All this preamble just to present this awesome cover that popped up in my mailbox this week. Orba Squara is the alter-ego of New York artist Mitch Davis whose song Perfect Timing (This Morning) was (speaking of licensing) used in Apple's iPhone TV advertising campaign. If you dig his sound, listen to live audio from NYC's The Living Room or check out the Orba Squara website, which features an incredible 430-foot long side-scrolling travelogue/art project, the result of a 10-day bus run from New York to Portland with music from his follow-up album The Trouble With Flying (due October 27) providing the soundtrack. While Davis wrote and performed nearly the entire album on his own, a fortuitous meeting led to childhood hero Billy Squier contributing vocals and guitar to two songs including the title track. Orba Squara also has a cover of Lady Gaga's Poker Face on the iTunes (but not in Canada, I guess).

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