Monday, October 30, 2006

Cover Freak

Hey, there's a new cover freak on the block and his site is aptly called Cover Freak. Check out his first post, a cover tribute to Country Dick Montana.

Alright! Another ally in the on-going campaign to spread cover-mania. A toast:
Robert Goulet - You've Got a Friend in Me (Wheezy's Version)
[originally by Randy Newman for Pixar's Toy Story]

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Ellen McIlwaine

I went to a sweet live show on Sunday night at the Yardbird Suite (a local jazz/blues club): slide-guitarist Ellen McIlwaine. When I heard she was doing a show, I jumped at the opportunity to see her live because I'm a monster fan of her cover of Higher Ground. Even though I'm obsessed with covers, I have to admit there are just a handful that remotely come close to matching or even topping the original. In my opinion, Ellen McIlwaine's Higher Ground is one of those. Take a listen.

Ellen McIlwaine - Higher Ground [originally by Stevie Wonder]

I first heard the cover from Fatboy Slim's "A Break From the Norm" CD, which featured the original tracks that he's sampled in some of his songs.

Fatboy Slim - Song for Lindy [samples McIlwaine's Higher Ground]

I wasn't sure what to expect when I went to the show. There weren't regular seats set-up since the Yardbird is sort of an old-school jazz club set-up. I ended sitting at a table by the side by myself as I was about 20 years younger than the average patron there. The concert was a treat since it was a CD release show promoting her new collaboration with Cassius Khan, a remarkable Indian tabla player. I had never even heard of a tabla, so it was a real treat to hear him play and talk about the unique instrument. The tabla is sorta like a drum and the various sounds produced are like its own language and he can the sing the vocal equivalent of the tabla sounds while playing simultaneously. Apparently he is one of the few (or only) artists in the world who can play tabla and sing at the same time. When I get the chance, I'll upload a recording I made of his entire tabla lesson. Fascinating stuff. Although she didn't play Higher Ground, I was not disappointed in the least since she put on a wonderful concert. She has a wonderfully expressive voice and she played some sweet blues tracks. Maybe I'll upload her 10-minute R&B medley too sometime.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Pretty Little HD update

I just found out yesterday that Harvey Danger's recent single Little Round Mirrors has a cover of David Bowie's Oh! You Pretty Things. Huge HD fan, big Bowie fan, gotta love Oh! You Pretty Things... Already ordered by the time I finished reading about it. It can be purchased here.

My favourite version of the song from Bowie's BBC radio sessions: Oh! You Pretty Things

Peter Noone - Oh! You Pretty Things
Seu Jorge - Oh! You Pretty Things

Harvey Danger - Cream and Bastards Rise [from their 3rd album Little by Little]

Thursday, October 19, 2006

New Porn

Just saw the New Pornographers last night. Pretty awesome show. I was quite impressed by one of the opening acts Novillero, a Winnipeg band I'd never heard of. Check'em out if you can. I'm a fan of the New Pornographer's music, though not overly knowledgable about the band itself other than that they're a "supergroup" from Vancouver. Thus, I assumed the only female member of the band on stage was Neko Case, but I was later surprised to learn that she was in fact the band's keyboardist Kathryn Calder, Carl Newman's long-lost niece (?!?). She was also in one of the opening acts, Immaculate Machine. I was mesmerized by her performance (taking over Neko's vocals), though I have to admit that a couple bobbing heads blocked out the rest of the band for 90% of the show. The 2nd song they played in their hour-and-a-bit set is one of my favourites, The Laws Have Changed. Unfortunately, I wussed out of yelling out a request in the encore for my all-time favourite The New Face of Zero and One. They were even asking for 3 song requests but I would have been drowned out anyway by the two guys in front of me shouting "Electric Version!" over and over.

I got a cool free CD called Mint Records presents The CBC Radio 3 Sessions, which features live recordings of the New Pornographers, Novillero, and Immaculate Machine among others. If you're checking out one of their shows on this tour, don't skip the contest entry table for the free CD!

The New Pornographers - The New Face of Zero and One
The New Pornographers - The Laws Have Changed
The New Pornographers - Your Daddy Don't Know [originally by Toronto]

Novillero - Abbey

On a completely unrelated note, check out the new Bravia commercia here, directed by Johnathan Glazer [via Waxy Links]. Following that wonderful bouncy ball ad, Bravia does it again. I wish all commercials were this nice.

It's Rainbow Wars all over again!! When I was little I remember seeing repeatedly this film about the warring colours. The imdb page reveals it was a short Canadian film made for the '86 expo and strangely stars Colin Mochrie & Ryan Stiles (of Whose Line) in it. Apparently, the DVD or video can be bought for $95. Insane!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Life on Mars? to the Max

For the past few weeks I've been obsessed with David Bowie's Life on Mars?. Bowie is the one concert I always regret not going to when he came to town a few years ago. The Polyphonic Spree were opening... AARRGH! It still makes me upset. Anyway, despite being a Bowie fan I somehow managed to live to this point in time without ever hearing this song before. Now I've heard it and I declare it Perfection.

As usual when I get obsessed with a song, I gotta find the covers. Some fare better than others-- some quite well, in fact-- but nothing comes close to Bowie's original. Again, Perfection. Life on Mars? comes from Hunky Dory, the same album that we get Changes, Oh! You Pretty Things, Andy Warhol, AND Queen Bitch (also perfection). I'm sure you've all seen Bowie's hilarious cameo on Extras and that just reinforces how great David Bowie is. And WHY OH WHY did I cop out on that concert?!?

Here's what's in the zip file below:

David Bowie - Life on Mars? [original]

David Bowie (VH1 Storytellers; discusses song's origins and mocks Barbra Streisand's cover)
David Bowie (live in Edmonton 1990)
David Bowie with The Arcade Fire (live at Fashion Rocks)

Anni-Frid Lyngstad [of ABBA] - Liv på Mars [Swedish version]
Arid (live)
Barbra Streisand
Des de Moor and Russell Churney
Eurythmics (live)
Hector - Sudenkorento [Finnish version]
Jasper Steverlinck
Joe Jackson (live)
Jon Brion (live) [in the style of Fats Waller]
Kari Palo
Michelle Branch
Phish (live)
Rick Wakeman [played piano on the original]
Robin Goldwasser
Seal (acoustic)
Seu Jorge [Portuguese version from The Life Aquatic Sessions]
Steve Hogarth
The Divine Comedy
The Dresden Dolls (2005-03-02 Hamburg)
The Flaming Lips [Peel Session '92]
The King's Singers
Tino Casal
Zkippy Stardust

Life on Mars?: The Collection

It's on America's tortured brow...

Best new Bowie track

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Do Yourself a Favour and Go to the Library

Over at Cinescape there's an interesting column by Kurt Amacker, albiet vaguely longwinded, about the Marshall Public Library's awaited decision on the fate of two graphic novels on their shelves. The offending works are Fun Home by Alison Bechdel and Blankets by Craig Thompson, the latter of which is fantastic and not remotely offensive.
Read it here: Comics, Sexuality, and the Public Library

EDIT 10/18/06: follow-up article here.

It reminded me of a song I threw together for a friend's mixtape because I lamented the fact (still do) that in all the years of working at the library, none of my friends ever use it... despite it being the ultimate entertainment resource. This song is a mish-mash of Simpsons quotes and a so-lame-it's-cool library card song from the show Arthur (you know, the aardvark?).

At the Library
This song is 100% accurate including the bit about the Big-People Library downtown and potential death. Puppet shows and movies, the cool things never end... IT'S TRUE! IT'S ALL TRUE.

Now you should go to the public library and borrow Blankets and also borrow the truly great Box Office Poison by Alex Robinson while you're at it. I've never heard of Fun Home, but I just went on the online catalogue and requested it. It's actually catalogued under 928.1 in the biography section... SEE HOW MUCH FUN THE DEWEY DECIMAL SYSTEM CAN BE?!? Go Library!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Some obscure Ben Folds tracks

For the record, What's Left of The Who still rocks and can sure show today's modern rockers a thing or two about putting on a show.

For any Ben Folds aficionados, I'm just going to rehash a posting I made on the boards at, a Ben Folds fansite in the UK. These are some non-Ben Folds tracks that are directly or indirectly related to Ben.

Butterfly Boucher - I'm Different
For the Ben Folds completist... I'm not sure how many people know about this track from the children's album For the Kids Too. Imagine my surprise when I read the liner notes and saw additional vocals by Louis & Gracie Folds, Ben's twins.

Rickie Lee Jones - Up a Lazy River [originally by Hoagy Carmichael]
Ben sings background vocals on this cover (for the ultimate version of this song check out Bobby Darin's!).

Rickie Lee Jones - Low Spark of High Heeled Boys [originally by Traffic]
Ben plays piano on this one.

Ben Lee - Brick (live)
One of the Bens covering another. I nicked this from the great music resource Live Music Archive

Darren Jessee - The Magic that Holds the Sky Up From the Ground
An acoustic guitar version by Darren, 1/3 of Ben Folds Five and the song's writer, of what would become Magic on BFF's The Unauthorized Biography of Reinhold Messner album.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Who Ya!


It's almost exactly 30 years ago that my mom saw The Who live at the Coliseum. On Friday at the same venue, now known as Rexall Place, I'll be checking out what's left of The Who and it's sure to be a blast. I'm very pumped about it even though tickets are exorbitant and I only sprung for the so-called "cheapie" tix. The image above is from a photo-shopped art thing I did a long time ago using an unbelievable photo that my mom snapped at the concert, which she worked as an usher. Townshend, in a signature airborne move, Keith Moon below, Daltrey to the side wearing a slick striped shirt/suspenders combo, and John Entwhistle conspicuously unseen. Classic.

Who covered:
The Good
Yvonne Elliman - I Can't Explain
Dread Zeppelin - Baba O'Riley
Goldfinger - The Kids are Alright
Pink Cream 69 - Pinball Wizard
Roxy Blue - Squeeze Box

The Half-Decent
The Waco Brothers - Baba O'Riley
Killer Hayseeds - Squeeze Box
Frankie Randall - I Can See for Miles
Stereophonics - Who Are You
The Greenhornes - Mary Anne With the Shaky Hand
Rush - The Seeker
David Bowie - I Can't Explain

Quite Possibly the Worst Cover I've Ever Heard
Rod Stewart - Pinball Wizard

Who covers:
The Who - Saturday Night's Alright (For Fighting) [originally by Elton John]
The Who - Shakin' All Over (live at Leeds) [originally by Johnny Kidd & the Pirates]

Who sampled:
Jason Forrest - 10 Amazing Years
Jason Forrest's endlessly brilliant War Photographer skillfully created a new song from Blood, Sweat & Tears samples. Here he creates a bombastic new song, sampling Who Are You with some bits of the Beatles thrown in for good measure.