Wednesday, December 28, 2005


After an unintentionally long hiatus, I'm back with my year-end post. There's not going to be much rhyme & reason here: An amalgam of my favourite songs/covers of 2005 and a bunch of random stuff that topped my iTunes playcounts for this year.

Andrew Bird - A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left

A few years ago I had a big Squirrel Nut Zippers phase (still going...) and started branching off from there to hear some of the band member's side projects like Katherine Whalen's Jazz Squad, James Mathus Knockdown Society, and... Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire. His first couple solo albums were sort of in the vein of SNZ's 1920's jazz stylings. Then the Weather Systems album started to showcase Andrew Bird's extraordinary versatility on the violin and other instruments in a variety of genres, which is further displayed on his new album from this year: Andrew Bird & The Mysterious Production of Eggs. It's fascinating to watch him play live as he uses a sampling machine to record his voice and various instruments to perform a multi-layered song by himself. There's some good shows of his on's Live Music Archive.

Hockey Night - For Guys' Eyes Only
Another plug for this song, which surprisingly became one of my favourite songs of the year via a random download. Musical quotage of the Pinball Number Song only makes this catchy song catchier. Speaking of the Pinball Number song, head over to I Dig Worms who features a video link to a Family Guy clip that features (!) the classic Sesame Street ditty.

The White Stripes - Red Rain
This summer, I got to see two of the best concerts I've ever been to: The White Stripes on back-to-back nights in Vancouver. Very little overlap in playlists between the two shows that for lack of a better description, just plain rocked. I had only listened to their new album a couple times and then watching Red Rain live was electrifying... like hearing it for the first time.

Best covers of 2005:
Hayseed Dixie - Holiday [orig. by Green Day]
Karen Abrahams with The Austin Lounge Lizards - White Rabbit [orig. by Jefferson Airplane]
Phantom Planet - Our House [orig. by Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young]
Jon Brion - Play the Game [orig. by Queen]

Some current top covers (pre-2005):
Danny Michel - Young Americans [orig. by David Bowie]
Favourite cover I've heard all year.

Inspection 12 - I Think We're Alone Now [orig. by Tommy James & The Shondells]
The Polyphonic Spree - Five Years [orig. by David Bowie]
The Shins - Baby Boomerang [orig. by T. Rex]

Covers From Hedwig & The Angry Inch [written by Stephen Trask]:

I've yet to see this musical or the film, but I really should because I'm addicted to these songs from it.

The Polyphonic Spree - Wig in a Box

The Bens - Wicked Little Town (Tommy Gnosis Version)
One of my most listened to covers this year from the one-off meshing of Ben Kweller, Ben Lee, and Ben Folds.

Ben Jelen - Wicked Little Town
By jove, another Ben doing another cover of Wicked Little Town, no less. Jelen covers the "Hedwig Version" of the song, so it doesn't even overlap with the other Bens' cover. Makes a nice companion piece.

Miscellaneous tunes:
Georgie Fame - Somebody Stole My Thunder
I caught the tail-end of a Wal-Mart commercial this year and was excited because I thought they were using a Fantastic Plastic Machine song. As I listened to it more closely, I realized that this song had different lyrics and was in fact the source of a sampled riff from the FPM remix. The original song itself is a groovy hoot, but also check out this remix from The Escalator Team (featuring Yukari Fresh), which remixes Fantastic Plastic Machine's Bon Voyage with samples from Georgie Fame:
Fantastic Plastic Machine - Bon Voyage (Escape Mix)

Jason Forrest - War Photographer
This is another sample heavy track, which I discovered last week and became instantly hooked. The video was listed by Pitchfork's top 5 music videos of the year, which is where I first heard it. Check out the video here. The song reminds me of 70s funk mixed with the guitar-heavy electronica of Tomoyasu Hotei (probably best known from "Battle Without Honor or Humanity" used in Kill Bill). Unexpectedly near the end of War Photographer, he works in samples from Blood, Sweat, and Tears' Spinning Wheel. Awesome!

The Greenhornes - Shelter of Your Arms
The White Stripes - Shelter of Your Arms
I saw the Greenhornes open for the White Stripes earlier this year, but didn't realize that they had worked with Jack White on Loretta Lynn's Van Lear Rose album and that he had produced their latest album. Then, the b-side of their latest single The Denial Twist is a cover of this Greenhornes tune. Both versions are good though fairly similar... The Greenhornes reminds me sort of The Doors, while Jack White just does his Jack White thing.

Best concerts I went to this year:
The Killers with Tegan & Sara [Shaw Convention Centre; Edmonton, AB]
Jeff Healey's Jazz Wizards [Arden Theatre; St. Albert, AB]
Beck with Le Tigre [Queen Elizabeth Theatre; Vancouver, BC]
Aimee Mann [Commodore Ballroom; Vancouver, BC]
The White Stripes with The Greenhornes (two nights!) [Orpheum Theatre; Vancouver, BC]
Ben Folds, Ben Lee, & Rufus Wainwright [Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery; Woodinville, WA]
Robert Plant & The Strange Sensation [Rexall Place; Edmonton, AB]

Other tracks I dug from this year that I won't post:
Ben Folds - You to Thank
Ben Folds - Landed
Gorillaz - Feel Good Inc.
Jamie Cullum - Get Your Way
Death Cab for Cutie - Where Soul Meets Body
Harvey Danger - Cream and Bastards Rise
Andrew Bird - Skin is, My
Andrew Bird - Opposite Day
Beck - Girl
Supergrass - Low C
Billy Talent - Red Flag
Eleven featuring Josh Homme - Stone Cold Crazy
Hot Hot Heat - Running Out of Time

Friday, December 09, 2005


It's about that time of year when the bloggers take to posting their Top Tens or some sort of mix of x-mas songs, which invariably consists of copping some tracks from the Maybe This Christmas series. Generally, I can't stand most traditional Christmas songs or their covers because of their inherently saccharine nature (combined with a healthy dose of cynicism for the holidays), but here are a few choice tracks in the spirit of giving:

Jet - Back Door Santa
I didn't really realize until earlier this week that there's this large anti-Jet contingent and that the band's artistic credibility is "hotly debated". The other day a friend and I were in the car listening to Take It Or Leave It and I suddenly asked "Why the hell hasn't Jet had another album?". So I followed this up by doing a google search for their new album and after a news article on an album possibly coming out next year, there was page after page of adamant Jet-bashing. And according to the Wikipedia entry on Jet, my fellow Jet fans and I suffer from "obvious, but mostly mild, cryptomnesia". Mmmmmmmmmokay, if that's not rock snob pretentiousness, I don't know what is. Or maybe I'm just a chronic cryptomnesiac.

Everclear - Santa Baby [originally sung by Eartha Kitt]
A rousing cover by Everclear. I love the underlying cynicism of the lyrics.

Rockapella - You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch [originally sung by Thurl Ravenscroft]
Though narrated in the classic 1966 film by Boris Karloff, the original song was actually sung by Thurl Ravenscroft, the voice behind Tony the Tiger.

Whirling Dervishes - You're A Mean One, Mr. Grinch
Another nice cover of the Grinch song with awesomely ridiculous lyrics written by Dr. Suess himself. "I wouldn't touch you with a
thirty-nine-and-a-half foot pole." Classic. There's also another great version of the song by the Asylum Street Spankers on an archived episode of Coverville.

Ben Folds - Lonely Christmas Eve
This song written by Ben for the regrettable Jim Carrey remake is from the point of view of poor ol' misunderstood Mr Grinch. Wouldn't the Whos kinda piss you off too?

Harvey Danger - Sometimes You Have to Work on Christmas (Sometimes)
Last Christmas was an exciting time for HD fans as they staged a reunion concert and released a X-Mas EP. They even sent me a signed Christmas card with my order. Of course, back in September they released their first album in 5 years. It's available online for free from their website, though of course the physical album would make a snazzy Christmas gift...

Hayseed Dixie - Holiday [originally by Green Day]
This isn't really a X-mas song... or a holiday song for that matter. But I've been giving this a few listens lately. Like Richard Cheese, Hayseed Dixie takes a gimmicky stance towards contemporary covers. And like Richard Cheese, I find that some of their songs actually transcend the novelty value of a hillbilly cover. I actually think these guys got better after they evolved past the original AC/DC tribute album they did. Way better than those generic Pickin' On albums.... (Amazon lists 120 Pickin' On albums - do they crank out a new album every 3 days??)

The Polyphonic Spree - Happy Xmas (War is Over) [originally by John Lennon]
The Polyphonic Spree are an inspired choice to do cover this. By the way, this is from the Maybe This Christmas Tree album (my token offering).

Happy Holidays!

Friday, December 02, 2005


[EDIT: OK, QuickDump sucks. I'm sorry. SaveFile's down. Um, links will be down until I figure something out here.]

[EDIT 2: Alright, I've now managed to host the songs on our shaw account. Much easier to upload, might I add. This seems to have solved the problem for the foreseeable future. Fingers crossed.]

Three is The Magic Number by Embrace [originally from Schoolhouse Rock]

3 Covers:
Danny Michel - Young Americans [David Bowie]
Tom Jones & Stereophonics - Mama Told Me Not to Come [Randy Newman]
Brad Roberts - Bette Davis Eyes [Kim Carnes]

3 Originals:
Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire - Case in Point
Harvey Danger - Cream and Bastards Rise
The Dresden Dolls - Girl Anachronism

3 Mash-ups:
Dirrty Girl [Christina Aguilera vs. Jet]
Screaming Pro [Beck vs. Michael & Janet Jackson vs. AC/DC]
Crazy Little Fool [The Beatles vs. Queen]

Thursday, November 24, 2005

6 Degrees with Winnie the Pooh, Radiohead, & Bette Midler

The wonderful thing about covers:

1. Carly Simon - Winnie the Pooh
[composed by Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman]

2. Radiohead - Nobody Does it Better (live)
[originally by Carly Simon]
Thom Yorke prefaces this live version with "This is the sexiest song that was ever written..." and they perform it like they mean it. Indeed, I've never heard a better cover of this.

3. The Darkness - Street Spirit (Fade Out)
[originally by Radiohead]
Pretty good 80s metal interpretation of Radiohead, who are not sacred in my books.

4. Ben Folds - Get Your Hands Off of My Woman
[originally by The Darkness]
Pounding keys replace the heavy guitar riffs of the Darkness with Ben doing his best falsetto.

5. Bette Midler - Boxing
[originally by Ben Folds Five]
This is one of, if not the only studio recorded cover of a Ben Folds Five song. This cover scares me in the same way as clowns & carnivals (makes me involuntarily twitch). Midler sings it with about as much poignancy and pathos as a cardboard box. Though, I may be biased toward the original.

Not quite 6 degrees, but I think Kevin Bacon would be proud (or spiteful).

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Dead links

Is it just me or are all the savefile links dead?
Um, I'll figure something out in the next few days.

[EDIT: They're alive!!! No worries, they were just upgrading their servers.]

Friday, November 18, 2005

Now That's Edutainment!

Over at I Dig Worms, the latest post features Sesame Street Fever, a disco Sesame Street album sporting a cover with a vaguely disturbing image of Grover striking a John Travolta stance -- disturbing, I think, mainly because a full-bodied muppet is a little creepy. Ernie looks unsettlingly dispropotionate too... but I digress.

The highlight of the post is a full 2:41 version of the Pinball Number Count! Remember the animated pinball rolling through a plethora of obstacles to the beat of the funkiest little number ditty imaginable? Rock on. Here it is in all its glory. I remember several years ago going on a mission to find this song and eventually downloading a shortened version (just the number 4) through Napster. This was also pre-"google-takes-over-the-world", so I never did really find out anything more about it. What a difference a few years makes. Inspired by I Dig Worm's uncovering of this long-lost childhood relic, I googled "Pinball Number Count" and found this swack of cool links:

1. A Letter from Walt Kraemer
This guy composed and produced the Pinball Number Count. A couple years ago, some guy (obviously way more determined than I was) tracked this guy down and e-mailed him about the song. Here's his response, which details the hitherto secret history of the Pinball Number song. I didn't know this, but the vocals on the track are, in fact, The Pointer Sisters. Nice!

2. The Dead Hensons
A Muppets/Sesame Street cover band... bloody brilliant. Guess what: a cover of the Pinball Number song. Get it here. There's even a cover of "Can You Picture That?". This made my day. Possibly my month.

Year-old blog entry on the Dead Hensons and the jackpot: a 26Mb avi movie of the Pinball Number Count. I am currently wallowing in nostalgia.

4. Hockey Night - For Guys' Eyes Only
A couple weeks back I downloaded this awesome track by Hockey Night, which I admittedly only downloaded because the band was called Hockey Night. About 1:30 into the song, an unexpected quotation of the Pinball Number Count. Must have been an omen.

Some related tracks:
Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra - Sesame Street theme
Captain Vegetable [from Sesame Street]
Goodness - Electricity, Electricity [originally from Schoolhouse Rocks]
Deluxx Folk Implosion - I'm Just a Bill [originally from Schoolhouse Rocks]
Moxy Früvous - Photosynthesis [re-lyricization of their own Jenny Washington]

"Out of his secret garden somewhere in New Jersey..."

Friday, November 11, 2005

Neil Young covered

[EDIT 11/16/05: OK, I've (hopefully) fixed all the broken links there. I'm not sure why some links worked and others didn't but I'm back to SaveFile until I find something better. I did in the meantime get a hold of that Phantom Planet cover and have added a link to that below as well.]

So the new Philosopher Kings album Castles hits stores in less than 2 weeks. I've got all their albums (only 3) and I thought I had heard all their one-off contributions to compilation albums such as "Work", which was on a 30 Hour Famine charity album. I was wrong. Just a couple weeks ago at the library I stumbled onto Borrowed Tunes, a 1994 2-disc tribute album to Neil Young, and lo and behold: there's another Philosopher Kings track. The entire album features Canadian artists covering Neil Young and includes such names as Treble Charger, 54·40, Big Sugar, and Randy Bachman. Here's a few tracks from that album (I particularly liked OLP's cover) and some other Neil Young covers:

The Philosopher Kings - Coupe de Ville
Our Lady Peace - The Needle and the Damage Done
Lawrence Gowan - Heart of Gold

Oddly enough on a Canadian tribute album to Neil Young, there were no contribution from Tragically Hip or Rush. Though Rush did do a version of Mr. Soul on their covers album Feedback: Rush - Mr. Soul

Pixies - Winterlong

Devo - Ohio [originally by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young]
Interesting factoid: Devo founders Mark Mothersbaugh and Jerry Casale were on campus during the Kent State shootings. Casale's first-hand account of the shootings can be read here.

Dread Zeppelin - Suite: Judy Blue Eyes [originally by CSNY]

Some big names covering For What It's Worth [originally by Buffalo Springfield]:
Robert Plant
Ozzy Osbourne
Rush (also from their Feedback album)

Phantom Planet also does what sounds to be a pretty good cover of CSNY's Our House for the soundtrack to The Chumscrubber (a snippet is featured in the trailer). I intended to buy it via iTunes but for some reason it's only available in the US and it wouldn't let me buy it through my Canadian account. Bah!

[EDIT 11/16/05: Got it! Check out Phantom Planet's Our House]

(Yeah, trying a new file-hosting site too)


11:11 by Andrew Bird's Bowl of Fire

Monday, November 07, 2005

Zkippy Stardust

Oops, kinda slacked off on the postings there. I'll try to add something more substantial tomorrow. For now, here's an Italian David Bowie tribute band Zkippy Stardust and an mp3 album of one of their live shows "The Garden of Reality". It's actually pretty cool and it's great to hear an electric cover of Queen Bitch, one of my Bowie fav's.

Check it out here: Zkippy Stardust

Monday, October 31, 2005


Well, here I am on All Hallow's Eve haunting the ol' library. Found out today that Hallowe'en is also known as Pooky Night in some places, which is decidedly unscary. Although, it does have a cute ring to it. Pooky Night. Ok, from now on I'm calling it Pooky Night.

When I was but a wee lad, I remember watching some Disney Pooky Night special with clips from Disney films/shows set to music like ELO's Evil Woman, CCR's Bad Moon Risin', Rockwell's Somebody's Watching You, and Stevie Wonder's Superstition. It was all diabolically narrated by the evil "mirror-mirror-on-the-wall" from Snow White. The most frightening clip was from Disney's adaptation of Washington Irving's The Legend of Sleepy Hollow. In the scene, poor Ichabod Crane is chased through the menacing forest by the unstoppable Headless Horseman, and it culminates with the horseman rearing and throwing his flaming pumpkin head at the camera. Now, both the original short story and the Disney short film add a little epilogue that reassuring admits that Ichabod Crane's disappearance is likely due to his self-exile out of sheer embarrassment. However, in the Hallowe'en special, the clip is truncated and ends with him apparently murdered in a blaze of pumpkin inferno by the evil headless spirit. Ah, wholesome family fun.

Another treat from the special was an abbreviated version of Bing Crosby's Headless Horseman from the 1949 Disney adaptation. For years this tune would crop up in my head, but it wasn't until last year that I watched the whole film (now on DVD) while doing a group presentation on adapations of Sleepy Hollow for a film class. So here's Bing Crosby's awesome The Headless Horseman and even a cover of that song by Kay Starr, which came out not long after.

Bing Crosby - The Headless Horseman
Kay Starr - The Headless Horseman

Bonus Pooky Night cover:
Ian Brown - Thriller

Saturday, October 29, 2005

And the walls came down...

... all the way to hell.

Headstones - Tweeter & The Monkey Man
[originally by the Traveling Wilburys]

Yes, the correct answer to Cover Riddle numero 2 is The Traveling Wilburys. Each of the covers were of members of the late '80s supergroup The Traveling Wilburys: George Harrison (of the Beatles, of course), Jeff Lynne (of ELO), Tom Petty, Roy Orbison, and Bob Dylan.

They only released two albums: Volume 1 and Volume 3, which are both out of print although I read somewhere that they may be re-released late this year. The non-existent Volume 2 is to account for the passing of Roy Orbison who died just a couple months after recording the first album.

The Traveling Wilburys - Runaway [originally by Del Shannon]
I presume while listening to this song that it's Jeff Lynne singing lead vocals since each of the other Wilburys can be distinctly picked out while listening to any of their songs. Hmmm... not Roy, not Tom, not George, and definitely not Bob. I guess Jeff Lynne was in the midst of producing Del Shannon's comeback album when Shannon committed suicide in 1990. Apparently, there were rumours that Shannon would actually join the Wilburys after Roy Orbison died, but I guess 'twas not to be.

Look for a Wilburys cover coming in January as Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis releases her first solo album and does a version of Handle With Care with guests Death Cab for Cutie's Ben Gibbard and Bright Eyes' Conor Oberst subbing in for Roy Orbison and Bob Dylan. I'll be looking forward to that one for sure.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A 2nd Cover Riddle

Riddle me this: What do these tunes all have in common?

Johnny Cash - I Won't Back Down [originally by Tom Petty]

Leslie West - Old Brown Shoe [originally by The Beatles]

The Jeff Healey Band - All Along the Watchtower (live)
[originally by Bob Dylan]

Yeti Girls - Don't Bring Me Down [originally by Electric Light Orchestra]

Rockapella - Pretty Woman [originally by Roy Orbison]

Another easy one, je pense.
The answer in the form of a cover in a few days.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

O Oilers, why doth thou suck?

Oilers lost.

It's so depressing, I can barely muster up the strength to be mad.

We started the season with a promising 3 straight wins before dropping the next 6, punctuated by a humiliating 7-1 loss last night to the hated Colorado Avalanche.


About three or four years ago, the Oilers either broke or were on the verge of breaking a team-record 9 or 10 game losing streak. [EDIT: I just read a newspaper blurb that said it was a 9 game losing streak in the 1994/95 season... so my concept of time is a little off.] At the time, I cobbled together my own personal Oilers Slump Song as a sort of mental rallying call. So I guess it's an appropriate time to un-retire this little ditty in order to appease the vengeful hockey spirits.

Oilers Slump Song by me
[borrows from Simpsons, Zombies, Cardigans, Police, Network, Who, Queen, WDVE, Zeppelin, Beatles, & Ramones]

Sunday, October 16, 2005

The Philosopher Kings

Just found out that one of my favourite bands The Philosopher Kings have a new album coming out next month. This Canadian band only released 2 studio albums in the mid-90s and a live album in 2000... and have been on a hiatus since. The individual band members have been busy: Jason Levine and James McCollum went off and formed the cartoon pop band Prozzäk while lead singer Gerald Eaton went and did a solo album under the pseudonym Jarvis Church. Eaton and fellow Philosopher King Brian West as the producing team Track & Field "discovered" and produced Nelly Furtado & K'Naan.

The Philosopher Kings - Cry [originally by Godley & Creme]
The Philosopher Kings - If I Ever Lose This Heaven [originally by Quincy Jones]

Prozzäk - Wild Thing/Poor Boy Medley [originally by The Troggs]

Jarvis Church featuring K'naan - One [originally by U2]
This is a really nice version of the song, although I'm not a huge fan of the rap rant near the end.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Top 10

At the expense of clogging up the sidebar, I've added my Top 10 cover songs based on ipod playcounts. Just curious... for any iTunes users, care to divulge what your #1 most played cover is?


The White Stripes - I Just Don't Know What to Do With Myself
[originally by Burt Bacharach]

Jobless and out of university, the above song was my personal theme song for the past month... but I'm happy to report that in the last 24 hours I was offered two library-related jobs, both of which I accepted. The second call that came this morning was a shock since I thought I had bombed last week's interview and had been all but assured by external sources that I didn't get the job.

So, I'm in a jolly good mood right now. I've taken to walking with a spring in my step, a goofy grin on my face, and with this song on my ongoing personal soundtrack:
Bobby Darin - Don't Rain on my Parade

This song also came to mind: Wax - Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy [originally from Ren & Stimpy]

Saturday, October 08, 2005

You Probably Think This Song is About You

The answer to Sunday's cover riddle is, of course, Carly Simon's You're So Vain. Her song's one of the enduring music riddles that have had people clamoring to find out the identity of the song's subject. A couple years ago, there was even a charity auction where she finally revealed the secret to the high bidder... however, the winner was obviously bound to secrecy by penalty of death by cabbage.

Three of the previous tunes posted were covers of potential candidates: James Taylor, Cat Stevens, and Mick Jagger (who sand back-up vocals on Carly Simon's original hit). Another potential suitor was Warren Beatty, who I'm pretty sure does not have the distinction of having another artist cover his songs (if any), hence the Beatty/Madonna duet.

Alright, so here's some covers of Carly Simon's You're So Vain... the Anna Waronker version is particularly good, IMHO:

Anna Waronker
Faster Pussycat

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Hockey Hockey Hockey Hockey Hockey Hockey Hockey

Well, goshdarn, it's been a while... NHL lockout is over, CBC strike is over, Hockey's back! And my how we've missed you. Tonight I'm off to the Oilers home opener versus Colorado in about an hour. Should be a rocker. Go Oilers!

To celebrate the kick-off (or rather, face-off) to another NHL season, here's some hockey tunage:

Shuffle Demons - The Hockey Night in Canada Theme [originally by ? for CBC's Hockey Night in Canada]
Ah, the other Canadian national anthem.

Coach's Corner Theme
Like or hate Don Cherry, I'm sure any Canadian hockey fan can whistle this sweet theme from Coach's Corner.

Hanson Brothers - The Hockey Song [originally by Stompin' Tom Connors]
Punk cover of THE most enduring hockey song.

The Corb Lund Band - The Hockey Song (live) [originally by Stompin' Tom Connors]
Another cover of the Stompin' Tom Connors song with an Edmonton twist.

Jughead - The Hockey Song
Not a cover... Same title, different song. Awesome hockey song.

Warren Zevon - Hit Somebody (The Hockey Song)
I guess guys writing songs about hockey just aren't that original with their titles... They're all called "The Hockey Song". This one about a hockey goon was co-written by author Mitch Albom, features Paul Shaffer's Late Show band and David Letterman himself on background vocals (probably the guy yelling "hit somebody!").

There are some good hockey parodies to be downloaded here by 'Scary' Pete Cugno, which are pretty funny despite being from a Toronto-centric view. Check 'em out:
Leaf Kings (The Tragically Hip's Wheat Kings)
Goodbye Stanley Cup Hopes (Elton John's Goodbye Yellow Brick Road)
Every Shot You Take (The Police's Every Breath you Take)

The two best ones are:
Bye-Bye Flyers (Don Mclean's American Pie)
The Ottawa Song (Adam Sandler's Hanukkah song... often miscredited to Sandler on the p2p networks)

BTW, I'll post the answer to Sunday's riddle in a couple days.

[Post-game EDIT: Awesome home opener! We beat the Avalanche 4-3... Let's hope that's sign of things to come.]

Sunday, October 02, 2005

A Cover Riddle

Today's theme is "Guess the Theme"...
Riddle me this: What do the following tunes all have in common?

Little Richard - Brown Sugar [originally by the Rolling Stones]
Try to imagine Little Richard covering the Rolling Stones and you'd be 100% right. This cover brings a big grin to my face at precisely the 18-second mark.

Me First & The Gimme Gimmes - Fire & Rain
[originally by James Taylor]

Madonna & Warren Beatty - Now I'm Following You (Part I)
Catchy tune from Madonna's album I'm Breathless, which served as a soundtrack to Dick Tracy (hence Beatty's guest vocals). News to me, but Madonna's massive hit Vogue was originally from this album.

Mr. Big - Wild World [originally by Cat Stevens]

That shouldn't be too hard, methinks.
I'll post the answer in a few days in the form of a cover.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Actors singing

Adam Sandler - Werewolves of London [originally by Warren Zevon]
Quite good. In fact, Sandler's mock gruff vocals seem to suit the song well.

Robbie Williams & Nicole Kidman - Somethin' Stupid
[originally by Frank and Nancy Sinatra]
Not bad, though a bit bland.

Jack Black - Let's Get it On [originally by Marvin Gaye]
I remember the first time I saw Jack Black was in an old episode of X-Files where he worked at an arcade (I think) with Giovanni Ribisi who could control lightning...or something like that. Or who could forget in The Jackal when Bruce Willis blew Jack's arm off with some sort of gatling gun. Well, he has since moved on to bigger and better things, and his scene-stealing performance in High Fidelity (from which this cover song is taken from) was a big factor in that.

Wakefield featuring Mary-Kate Olson - Suffragette City
[originally by David Bowie]
Half of the Olson twins plus some guy named Wakefield covering David Bowie should be a disaster, but it's surprisingly tolerable. Mary-Kate's contributions are thankfully limited to singing "hey man" and "suffragette city" every now and then.

Kevin Spacey - Beyond the Sea [originally by Bobby Darin]
I didn't catch the film, but judging from the soundtrack which is full of Kevin Spacey covering Bobby Darin tunes, he seems to do a pretty good job.

Bill Cosby - Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band
[originally by The Beatles]
This cover is just downright painful.

Sarah Polley - Courage [originally by The Tragically Hip]
Completely different take on the Tragically Hip classic. From the soundtrack to the Atom Egoyan film The Sweet Hereafter, in which Polley also starred.


Unlikely duets:
William Shatner & Henry Rollins - I Can't Get Behind That
From last year's Has Been, which of course featured the fantastic cover of Common People with Joe Jackson, this "song" is more of a back-and-forth rant between Shatner and Rollins.

Eddie Vedder & Susan Sarandon - Croon Spoon
This unlikely duet between the Oscar-winning actress and Pearl Jam frontman is made moreso unlikely by the fact that it's from a 1930's musical. Taken from the soundtrack to Cradle Will Rock, which was directed by Tim Robbins.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

"These wheels are made for crushing..."

Today's theme: the Cake/Ben Folds Five/Satan/Transformers connection
(i.e. just an excuse to post some more Ben Folds content).

Satan is My Motor by Cake
Satan is My Master by Ben Folds Five

Ben Folds Five - Cigarette
Ben Folds - Fred Jones Pt. 2 (live)
Cigarette is off of BFF's Whatever and Ever Amen album. The lyrics are basically one run-on sentence supposedly taken verbatim from a newspaper article Ben read. Fred Jones Pt. 2 is from Ben's first solo album Rockin' the Suburbs and is a sequel of sorts to Cigarette. In this live version, he is joined on harmonies by (in his words) "John McCrea of Cake, y'all."

And yes, I know 87.3% [edit: make that 99.9%] of you are just here for the covers... so here you go:

Crosstown Traffic by Ben Folds Five
[originally by The Jimi Hendrix Experience]

These Boots are Made for Walking by Velvet 99
[originally Nancy Sinatra]

(by the way, you can click either image above to find out more about the Decepticon known as Motormaster.]

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Led Zeppelin Covers

Went to a Robert Plant concert last night... Wow. I'm majorly impressed that he can still wail like he used to, even though he's pushing 60. Kudos to his backing band too, The Strange Sensation, who ploughed effortlessly through his new material and major reinterpretations of classic Zeppelin tracks. Led Zeppelin is one of my favourite bands, so it was very exciting since this would be the closest I get to seeing them live (outside of that DVD they put out a while ago). The new versions of the Zeppelin songs were tinged with Middle Eastern and African influences, and in some cases were nearly unrecognizable. One guy behind me said "What was that... no, that wasn't a Zeppelin song" after Plant & company ripped through Four Sticks, which either showed how different these new incarnations were or revealed his ignorance of all things Zepp. I'll go with the latter since, after all, Four Sticks is off of Zeppelin IV (of all albums). They even played some non-Zeppelin cover songs with Bob Dylan's The Girl From the North Country and a psychedelic earth-shaking version of Hey Joe. The opening band from Nova Scotia, The Trews were good too and closed their set with a pretty sweet rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody. My funniest part was when the show ended and Plant said something into the microphone that sounded mysteriously like "See you at Denny's".

As Plant understood last night, there's generally no point in revisiting old tracks unless you've got something new to add. Here's some of my favourite Led Zeppelin covers in some unexpected genres:

Goldbug - Whole Lotta Love [originally from Zeppelin II]
This sweet electronic version of Whole Lotta Love uses samples of Tina Turner's vocals and what sounds (to me) like part of Macarthur Park(?!).

Rasputina - Rock and Roll [originally from Zeppelin IV]
This cello-rock version rocks the socks off those string quartet tributes.

Johnny Favourite Swing Orchestra - Black Dog [originally from Zeppelin IV]
Black Dog works surprisingly well as a big band swing song from this Canadian swing band.

Stone Temple Pilots - Dancing Days [originally from Houses of the Holy]
As messed up as Scott Wieland appears to be, he and his bandmates consistently put out some of my favourite covers.

Other related songs:

Jimmy Page & The Black Crowes - Hey Hey What Can I Do
I'm hesistant to call something a cover song if any member of the original band appears. Armed with Jimmy Page, The Black Crowes do a more than ample job rocking out Zeppelin tunes and more on their Live at the Greek double-disc album. The original song was not on any of Led Zeppelin's albums, but was released as part of a boxset I think.

Dread Zeppelin - Viva Las Vegas
Dread Zeppelin performs Zeppelin tunes in a reggae style with an Elvis impersonator lead vocalist. It probably shouldn't work, but it does. In a way, they sort of performed mash-ups before they became fashionable by infusing Zeppelin riffs into covers of other classic rock songs (or even original songs). They manage to do something new with their renditions with a good sense of humour. For instance, lead singer Tortelvis recites a passage from Meville's Moby Dick over the extended drum solo from Zeppelin's Moby Dick. Another example is their combinations of Heartbreaker/Heartbreak Hotel or Black Dog/Hound Dog. The track I've posted combines Elvis Presley's Viva Las Vegas with riffs from Zeppelin's Custard Pie (plus some sort of Godzilla overtones). Best cover since the Dead Kennedys.

Jake Holmes - Dazed and Confused
Alas, Led Zeppelin is pretty notorious for ripping off other artists and not giving credit where due, which has led to a number of lawsuits and settlements. Here's the original Dazed and Confused by Jake Holmes, which is actually quite awesome in its own right. In an interview I read with him, he was surprisingly not all that bitter about the whole deal despite not getting any credit or money whatsoever. Apparently he did write a letter to the band in the early 80s about getting credit on the song, but never got a response...

Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe - When the Levee Breaks
The classic Zeppelin track has its roots in this old recording by Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe, now available from public archives.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

George McFly, You One Crazy Cat

That image is, of course, from Crispin Glover's legendary appearance on the David Letterman show in 1987. He showed up in a wig, striped pants, and shoes with giant heels acting like he was on drugs (on later Letterman appearances he claims to have been in character... or that it was not even him). It's a little hard to describe what happens, but the climactic moment is when Glover attempts to show off his kicking prowess. Check out an old article on here for more details. This bizarre incident repeatedly crops up in interviews with Crispin Glover, though I had never actually seen the clip until today. There's a pretty good video of the interview here (link at bottom of page). Strange stuff.

Anyway, some Crispin Glover covers!

Ben [originally by Michael Jackson]
This song has a strange story in its own right. The original song was MJ's first hit as a solo artist from the film Ben, which was a sequel to the 1971 movie Willard. Ben, if you were unaware, is one of Willard's pet rats who eventually rebels and becomes the leader of an army of killer rats. It's the only song I know of that is an ode to a rat. Okie dokie, then. In 2003, Crispin Glover starred in a remake of Willard and covered this tune for the soundtrack.

These Boots are Made for Walking [originally Nancy Sinatra]
This is the craziest, but funniest cover I've ever heard of this song from Crispin 'Hellion' Glover's album "Big Problem Does Not Equal the Solution. The Solution = Let It Be." His delirious vocals are somehow more sincere and palatable than Jessica Simpson's version... well, it makes me laugh anyhow.

[EDIT: I forgot to mention that Mr. Glover will be playing the role of Grendel in the currently-in-production Neil Gaiman/Roger Avary-penned Beowulf, directed by Robert Zemeckis. Angelina Jolie will play his mother (no joke).]

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Harvey Danger (and Death Cab for Cutie postscript)

Today in the mail I received Harvey Danger's new album Little by Little. It's their third album and the first one in about 5 years. They're probably best known for their big hit in the 90s Flagpole Sitta (i.e. "I'm not sick, but I'm not well), and were subsequently labelled one-hit wonders... which is unfortunate because their follow-up album King James Version is great and one of my favourite albums ever. I discovered the band by accident when I took out King James Version from the library on a whim since it was just ordered in and I was attracted to its shiny new cd case. I was hooked immediately. A few months later, I bought the CD in Toronto from a bargain bin at HMV for 99 cents. Best. Deal. Ever.

They disbanded soon after making the King James Version album in 2000, but had a reunion concert late last year... which leads to the new album. It's released today in very select stores (easiest to get it from their website), although the entire album will be released for free on their website in a couple weeks. I, of course, being an HD-uberfan pre-ordered the album/t-shirt/button/sticker combo from their site.

Just doing my part to spread the word on Harvey Danger. Here's some of their stuff:

Meetings With Remarkable Men (Show Me the Hero)
The opening track off K.J.V. that started my Harvey Danger addiction.

You Missed the Point Completely, I Get the Point Exactly
Oddly enough, this is not the longest song title on the album.

Underground [originally by This Busy Monster]
This is a cover of a fellow Seattle band called This Busy Monster and Harvey Danger puts their twist on the song. The original song, which was an early recording by the band and is not available on CD, can be heard on their website here (link at the bottom right of page).

Save it For Later [originally by The English Beat]
This is one of those covers where I've heard versions by Pete Townshend and Flashlight Brown, though never actually heard the original.

Another Washington band, Death Cab For Cutie seems to be making the rounds on MP3 blogs lately. The indie band has made the jump to a major label with their just released new album Plans. Apparently, they've gotten lots of recognition from being featured on The OC. This is one of those bands that I keep hearing good things about, but never get around to listening to. I should get on that... Anyway, Death Cab sort of owes it to Harvey Danger for its initial gig and mini-tour back in the day (see here). Now it's come full circle, with the reunited Harvey Danger opening(!) for Death Cab for Cutie next week at a Hurricane Katrina Benefit Concert in Seattle. Strange reversal of hype. Also should mention that Death Cab frontman Ben Gibbard also has a side band The Postal Service, who did the awesome song Such Great Heights.

Friday, September 09, 2005

I'm a Creep, I'm a Weirdo.

When I first heard Radiohead's classic angst-ridden Creep, I misheard the lyrics as "I'm a creep, I'm a widow", which in retrospect only vaguely makes sense. Apparently, the band grew to hate this song, which brought them their first huge success. The memorable guitar scratchings preceding the chorus was an attempt by the guitarist trying to screw the song up (or so I'm told), which ironically made the song even more classic. I just recently found out that my favourite Radiohead song My Iron Lung is actually the band's bitter response to the overwhelming popularity of Creep. Intriguing.

In my iTunes collection, this song rivals Come Together, Whole Lotta Love, and Suffragette City as single most covered song... though they all got nothing on Crosstown Traffic. Here's a few:

Gina Jeffreys
I love this version, which is one of my favourite covers ever. It sort of reminds me of that scene with the singing Sirens from O Brother, Where Art Thou?. This is from one of the Andrew Denton's Musical Challenge CDs, which showcases artists performing unlikely covers.

SKAndalous All-stars

The Senti-Mentals

Moby's comments at the beginning of this version make me wonder what other bands covered Creep at Glastonbury 2003... a little research turned up nothing except that Moby probably misinterpreted what he had been asked to do. Other bands apparently did do some Radiohead covers (not specifically Creep) including The Darkness doing a version of Street Spirit (Fade Out), which incidentally rocks.

The Pretenders

Richard Cheese
Of all the Richard Cheese lounge covers, this is one of the few that (for me) transcends its novelty value.
Found this cover by some guy, Yonner, who posted on the forums. A lot of people didn't like it and let him know too... On first listen, it does sound like a complete butchering of Radiohead, though with his omission of chunks of lyrics it reminded me of a creepy poetic lullabye. Not great and a little annoying, but different nonetheless.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

E-Town Pride

After the last post on Alberta's centennial, I was inspired to throw out some tunes with an Edmonton connection (a couple covers for good measure too).

The Arrogant Worms - We Are the Beaver
A couple years ago, the folk-comedy group The Arrogant Worms came to town to perform a show at the Winspear Centre with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. All dressed up in tuxes, they unleashed their comedic stylings on the crowd with an epic orchestral oomph. Being a long-time Worms fan, I was lucky enough to get to go to this concert, which was also recorded for a TV special on Bravo I think. In their words: the US is the eagle, Russia is the bear, and Canada.... well, we are the beaver.

Captain Tractor - London Calling [originally by The Clash]
My favourite Edmonton band who just had their 10th anniversary party gig a few months back. This Clash cover is off their 2nd East of Edson album and is my favourite version of the song.

Captain Tractor - The Last Saskatchewan Pirate
[originally by the Arrogant Worms]
At the Arrogant Worms symphonic gig, they were jokingly resentful of Captain Tractor's success with this cover.

The Arrogant Worms - The Last Saskatchewan Pirate
Another one accompanied by the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra.

Painting Daisies - Don't Leave Me Here
This all-girl bluesy rock band hails from mighty E-Town and won CBC's The Great Canadian Music Dream, a television series that was sort of like Canadian/American Idol but with real bands.

The Corb Lund Band - Mora (Blackberry)
The first time I heard of Corb Lund was when I was working at the downtown library and he was playing a gig in the library's basement theatre, which was odd since there aren't a lot of gigs down there. Now he's got a few albums out and his band was a double winner at the 2004 Canadian Country Music Association Awards. Plus, he got a Juno nomination in 2003 as well. He's about the closest thing to country that I enjoy.

King Letus - It's Still Rock and Roll to Me [originally by Billy Joel]
I found this at the library on an Alberta punk compilation.

Procol Harum - Conquistador (Live with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra)
This band is probably most famous for the oft-covered A Whiter Shade of Pale. In 1971, they recorded a concert with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra at the Jubilee Auditorium.

U2 - With or Without You (Live from Edmonton)
On their 1997 PopMart tour, U2 played two shows at Commonwealth stadium here in Edmonton. I got to go to one of the shows, which is odd since this was years before I started actively going to concerts. This track was recorded at one of the shows and featured on their Please EP.

Pixies - In Heaven / Wave of Mutilation (UK Surf)
[originally from David Lynch's Eraserhead]
When the Pixies reunited last year, Edmonton was in the first wave of gigs they had played in 10 or more years. In fact, almost all of the shows were small venues across Western Canada, thus frustrating many fans south of the border and abroad. I was able to buy 4 tickets for an unbelievable price of $30 per ticket (scalpers were getting $200-300 from rabid fans!). I was right up there just couple metres away from the stage as the Pixies blew us away. And with some fancy DiscLive technology, we were able to purchase a "professional" bootleg of our show just minutes after it ended. Probably the best souvenir one could get from a concert... more bands should be doing this. Trivia: Pixies opened for U2 on the 1992 Zooropa tour.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

I'm back & Happy 100th B-day, Alberta

Got back yesterday morning after over 20 hours of driving during the last 2 days.

I was vaguely disappointed by last Friday's Ben Folds show. The music was great and all, but he barely played for an hour with no encore and quickly had to vacate the stage for Rufus Wainwright since the whole outdoor show apparently had to wrap up before 10pm (noise bylaws, I reckon). A lot of the people there weren't even there to see Ben Folds, but to either see Rufus or sit and drink wine. Did I mention this concert was at a winery? I think the older folk were clueless about the performers but had some sort of season pass to the Summer Concert Series which includes (later) the likes of Mark Knopfler, Steve Winwood, Robert Plant, and Tori Amos. Plus, I had a junky seat way at the back. Hopefully I'll get to see him perform again someday in a better venue (with better seats!).

One of the highlights was a hilarious live cover of Dr. Dre's Bitches Ain't Shit. He apologized to the band's adoptive family in Seattle, who he said had probably not heard such salty language before. I'm sure the parents in the crowd with their toddlers weren't too impressed either, but it was a hoot. Check out a studio version of it here:

Ben Folds - Bitches Ain't Shit

Another cool part was when Rufus Wainwright joined Ben on stage for a cover of Careless Whisper. Here's a version of that recorded at a show last year:

Ben Folds with Rufus Wainwright - Careless Whisper
[originally by Wham]


I came back to Edmonton just in time for our province's 100th birthday celebration yesterday. I had a ticket to the big gala show at our newly renovated Jubilee Auditorium. It was a big live television thing synchronized between a bunch of cities/towns in Alberta, but mainly in Edmonton and Calgary. The Prime Minister, Governor General, Lieutenant General, and Premier were all there for this 2 hour show which featured performers like Paul Brandt, Jann Arden, and K.D. Lang. The show kicked off with a big country song about Alberta from Paul Brandt, which made me vaguely embarrassed that our province is stereotypically defined by horses, tractors, haystacks, and cowboys. I'm not a country music fan, so I thought I was in for a long night. Thankfully, the rest of the show was more diversified with some rock, jazz, Celtic, and native performances. There were also simultaneous province-wide fireworks supposedly bright enough to be viewed from space. Organizers had hoped for NASA to take photos of the event, though apparently the available satellites over North America were focused on hurricane Katrina, which does seem a bit more important than a big birthday party.

The showstopper of the night was a gut-wrenching, fist-clenching, wall-shaking performance by K.D. Lang of Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah. Oddly enough, this was the second time in less than a week that I had heard this song performed live. Rufus Wainwright also did a cover of it last Friday beautifully accompanied by his cousin Lucy. Though his version was great, the person who yelled "Wooooo! The Shrek song!" basically underlined the vaguely cheapened effect of having the song so prominently featured in the big CG ogre film [trivia: John Cale's version is in the film and Rufus's is on the soundtrack]. Here's K.D. Lang's take off her album last year of Canadian covers, Hymns Of The 49th Parallel.

K.D. Lang - Hallelujah [originally by Leonard Cohen]

Later in the show Paul Brandt came back on stage for a dreadful cover of Convoy (not gonna post it). I generally don't like country music and combining that with Convoy makes my ears bleed. Ian Tyson ended the show with some old-school country, which I enjoyed in spite of myself (so there, I don't hate all country music).

Friday, August 26, 2005

#1 from Chapel Hill

Shant be anymore posts until late next week... I'm off down to a little town outside of Seattle called Woodinville to see Ben Folds (!) at a winery (?). He's co-headlining with Rufus Wainwright with special guest Ben Lee. That's two-thirds of the Bens. Score!

Ben Folds Five - Barrytown [originally by Steely Dan]
They used to show up with a non-album track on a lot of soundtracks at the turn of the millenium. This one was from Me, Myself, and Irene. Other soundtracks included The Truth About Cats and Dogs, Godzilla, and then Ben went solo on the Grinch, I am Sam, and The Banger Sisters.

Ben Folds Five - Song For the Dumped
[live from The Complete Sessions at West 54th]
I'm lucky they put out this DVD before they broke up since I'll never see them live... sigh. This is probably my favourite version of this song.

Ben Folds - Rockin' the Suburbs
This is live from The Panel, which I think is an Aussie radio station though I could be wrong. I prefer this stripped down "Ben and a piano" version over the studio album cut.

So that'll take care of the top placeholder in the must-see-artists-before-I-die gigs. Ben Folds and White Stripes in the same summer... unbelievable. Next up, Andrew Bird and Harvey Danger (back together with a new album next week! more on that in the near future...).


And tomorrow, Terry Gilliam's first film since Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas (7 years ago) will be coming out... double whammy of Gilliam with another called Tideland coming out later this year. Won't get to see it until next week, but should be a gooder. A quick glance at some initial reviews seem to savour the opportunity to use "grim" puns to describe their bad reviews, but who cares what they think? Adventures of Baron Munchausen was panned (enjoyed it). Fear & Loathing panned (quite enjoyed it). I'll be there next weekend. So to commemorate my Gilliam excitement, here's the music used as the theme to one of my favourite flicks ever, 12 Monkeys.

12 Monkeys theme

Plus, some tracks from his Python cohorts:
Meaning of Life
I Like Chinese
Theme from Monty Python's Flying Circus
(without a doubt, this is the single song I've heard more than any other in my entire life. And not this wimpy truncated theme version, but the full-length Liberty Bell March by JP Sousa. For further details, visit the downtown library in Edmonton at closing time)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Under the Sea

Squirrel Nut Zippers - Under the Sea
[originally from The Little Mermaid]
My 2nd favourite band out of Chapel Hill, North Carolina (must be something in the water there)... Squirrel Nut Zippers with their rendition of Under the Sea. They performed it for some sort of Disney album, though it was rejected from the final selection. But they later got to release it on their "best-of" album.

Guttermouth - Under the Sea [mmm... not a cover]
While on my endless quest for cover songs, I came across this rather chipper punk version of Under the Sea... or so I thought. It became pretty obvious it was not a cover of the Disney tune, but it's a funny song nonetheless.

Monday, August 22, 2005

Farewell, Mr. Moog

I heard that Bob Moog died yesterday. He was the inventor of the Moog synthesizer in the 60s and an early pioneer of electronic music. Moog synthesizers have been used (or so I'm led to believe) by artists such as U2, Rush, Genesis, Stevie Wonder, The Police, and Fatboy Slim (among many others). George Harrison also played a Moog synthesizer on a number of songs off the Beatles' Abbey Road album including Here Comes the Sun and Maxwell's Silver Hammer. So next time you listen to those songs, think: Moog.

Well, I can't pretend to have known these things before today... but I am familiar with some covers by Moog Cookbook, a group that plays cover songs, Moog-style. Mr. Moog, your contributions have been great, whether we knew it or not.

Are You Gonna Go My Way? [originally Lenny Kravitz]
Whole Lotta Love [originally Led Zeppelin]

Saturday, August 20, 2005

What about Bill?

Just watched Broken Flowers last night. Thus, I was inspired to throw together this unlikely combo of a song covered by Bill Murray and a cover of a Bill Murray song(!).

Bill Murray - More Than This [originally by Roxy Music]
This karaoke version was a hidden track on the Lost in Translation soundtrack.

Lounge Brigade - Star Wars [originally by John Williams, lyrics by Bill Murray(?)]
This one is odd since it's actually a cover of a cover song. The original cover was Bill Murray as a sleazy lounge singer in an SNL skit, which makes this new cover (in a more polished lounge style) a bit redundant. Like those SNL skits after 1am, it goes on a little too long to retain its humour.

Bonus cover:
More lyricized sci-fi theme fun: Tenacious D - Star Trek

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

TV Tunage

Here are a bunch of full-length songs used as TV Themes:

The Rembrants - I'll Be There For You [Friends]
I never really watched Friends, but I remember when this was a radio hit in the mid-90s. Instantly catchy with some ridiculous lyrics: " When it hasn't been your day, your week, your month, or even your year . . ." Heh.

Shadowy Men on a Shadowy Planet - Having an Average Weekend
[Kids in the Hall]
Classic theme. Who knew this song had a title?

Lazlo Bane - Superman [Scrubs]
No, not the theme from Smallville, but Scrubs. One of my favourite shows (and a pretty good song too).

The Refreshments - Yahoos and Triangles [King of the Hill]
Never liked this show, but liked its theme.

Christopher Tyng - Futurama [Futurama]

Gary Burton & Friends - Tossed Salads & Scrambled Eggs
[originally from Frasier]
Had to include at least one cover here. A jazzy instrumental version.

The Presidents of the United States of America - Cleveland Rocks
[Drew Carey Show; originally by Ian Hunter]
Bonus! A cover used as a TV theme.

And just for fun:
Ira Newborn - Naked Gun Theme [AKA theme from Police Squad!]
Iggy Pop - Space Goofs Theme
The idea of Iggy Pop doing the theme to an animated monster kids show is brilliant warped. The little kids' monotonous chanting is a nice touch. A video of the opening sequence is here.

Saturday, August 13, 2005


Also... a couple Fiddler on the Roof covers:

Captain Tractor - If I Were a Rich Man
Nice accordion usage on this cover by local Celt-rockers, Captain Tractor.

The Magnetic Fields - If I Were a Rich Man
Another cover courtesy of's free downloads with singer/songwriter Stephin Merritt bringing his distinct musical sensibilities (think: ukulele) to a Fiddler on the Roof cover album. His main band is The Magnetic Fields, though he also releases music as The 6ths, The Gothic Archies, and Future Bible Heroes

Friday, August 12, 2005

Musical Brouhaha

When I was in elementary, I was taken to a bunch of musicals containing many tunes that I still love to this day. So today, some musical covers from film and stage. It's great to get a hold of some showtune covers because generally they're very different from the original version. I'd love to hear a Les Miserables cover, but I've yet to find any...

Nightwish - The Phantom of the Opera
This Finnish metal band does a rousing rendition of the Phantom, which was already a bit of rocker to begin with.

Toy Dolls - Any Dream Will Do
[from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat]
The original is pretty cheesy, but a bit of a guilty pleasure. This cover by the Toy Dolls rocks, with a sense of humour too (the children's choir is a nice touch). This band has a number of really good covers that I'll put on future posts.

The Bens - Wicked Little Town (Tommy Gnosis version)
[from Hedwig and the Angry Inch]
The Bens were a collaboration between the three Bens: Ben Kweller, Ben Lee, and Ben Folds (one of my favourite artists). I have to admit I've never seen the film (or musical) that this comes from, though I hear it's good. Nor have I heard the original song... but since I'm an ardent fan of all things Ben, I came across this song, which I took a quick liking to.

Me First & The Gimme Gimmes - Rainbow Connection
[from The Muppet Movie]
I'm glad to see artists recognizing the awesome tunage from The Muppet Movie, particularly Kermit the Frog's The Rainbow Connection, which has been covered several times. I love the Gimmes' pop-punk updates of distinctly non-punk songs such as their album of R&B covers, Take a Break, which has a great cover of Nothing Compares 2 U. This muppet cover is from their album, Are a Drag, which is dedicated completely to musical covers. It also contains another Phantom cover and Don't Cry for Me Argentina.

The Fantastic Leslie - Movin' Right Along [from The Muppet Movie]
Another Muppet Movie classic! This version by an Aussie pop/rock band called The Fantastic Leslie that I discovered long ago on a defunct version of and whose official website has now disappeared into internet oblivion, but not before I bought their 6-song CD, A Tiny Mark (one of my first online purchases ever).

Less Than Jake - Summer Nights [from Grease]
This song is available as a free download on off the album Greased, which features Less Than Jake doing no less than eight cover versions of Grease songs. Not a particularly good cover, but a nice segue into the next song:

Tenacious D and special guest - The One That I Want [from Grease]
Over on the Live Music Archive, there's a Tenacious D show hosted from The St. James Theatre in Wellington, NZ (12-27-2004). JB introduces a "friend of the D" with some mental problems who launches into this Grease number. I imagine Jack Black was in New Zealand for filming King Kong when this concert was performed, which should give you a hint as to the special guest's identity... Very surreal and hilarious (also vaguely obscene).

There are a couple great covers including an Abbey Road medley and a Tommy medley. Jack Black & Kyle Gass will rock your socks off. Note: the files are in the lossless FLAC format, which are a lot larger in size to mp3s because they're not compressed in order to preserve sound quality, so you'll need a winamp plug-in or another player to hear these. There are 20 or so other shows by the D hosted there as well!

I just found out about the Live Music archive last week, which collects live concerts of trade-friendly artists for posterity. Lots of great artists' concerts are available here such as Andrew Bird, The Ditty Bops, and Jack Johnson (about 100 shows). By far, the most represented artist on there is the Grateful Dead with nearly 3000 shows covering 30 years!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Covering Jack & Meg

Double post! trying to get some content on this here blog...

Continuing the theme of White Stripes and covers, here are two unique covers that stray far from the original, but are both quite successful, IMHO.

Seven Nation Army
A sort of jazz-funkified 7 Nation Army by Nostalgia 77 (AKA Ben Lamdin) with wailing vocals by Alice Russell. I like it.

Fell in Love With a Boy
I'm sure you've all already heard this, but Joss Stone's gender-swapping, soul-stylin' take on this White Stripes song is quite nifty. I even heard one sacriligious reviewer attribute this to Joss Stone with The White Stripes doin' the covering (?!). This is from her album The Soul Sessions, which is all cover songs. It's hard to believe she was 16 when she recorded this. Listen to that husky voice! Wow.

First post: you go, me.

Ok, here's my blog. Since one of my favourite hobbies is imposing my musical tastes on others, I decided it was about time I jumped on the proverbial bandwagon and started an mp3 blog. As I understand it, sharing music on a blog is sketchy in terms of copyright/fair use policies, but most blogs have an average audience of 12 people and the record companies don't really care because it's free advertising. So, it's not a big deal as long as I encourage you to buy music, which you do. Yeah, support your favourite bands... I do.

As my friends found out on a winter roadtrip, I have a disturbing amount of cover songs on my iPod. Until this was pointed out to me (and I was mocked), I did not think of it as being particularly odd... collecting covers, that is. I only have a few hundred, but apparently that's more than the average schmuck [EDIT: upon further review of my itunes collection and some re-labelling, it's actually closer to 1200 covers... yikes!]. So the main focus of my mp3 blog shall be (drum roll please) cover songs! Now there are already a number of cover blogs, which i'll talk about in another post sometime. I'll try not to rip them off too much (or cover them, ho ho). But in addition to cover songs, I'll post whatever I so fancy.

For instance, I recently had the insane pleasure of attending back-to-back White Stripes shows in Vancouver. These are some photos I took from my 6th row seat (rock!).

Today's mp3 is of Boll Weevil, a White Stripes cover of a Ledbelly song, which typically closes out the night at their concerts (including both shows I went to). The highlight of this version from the Roseland Ballroom (NYC, 11-19-2003) is Jack stops mid-song twice to rant and swear at the moshers in the crowd. I think this is awesome because I find moshers are pretty annoying at concerts. I guess it's fine at punk shows and stuff, but I find it weird that people go to concerts specifically to get drunk and shove people around. So Jack gives them a little piece of his mind... I also think it's funny because he sounds a bit like Steve Buscemi when he's mad.

Jack's Boll Weevil Rant

That's all for now. Let's see how often I update this blog...

"Everybody got their teen angst out over here?!?"