Monday, December 31, 2007


Sit down, tape your eyes open, and unplug your ears. This'll be a doozie of a post. I know, I know we've all been suffering through these year-end lists, but it's just blogger nature to think others care about what we think. I'm no different, so here are my picks of 2007 in no particular order because it's pretty futile to rank these. Also, these aren't the "BEST" of 2007 per se... I'm usually behind the eightball in terms of actually listening to things the same year they're released, not to mention I'm unreasonably biased so every year-end list is basically made up of my favourite bands/artists that happened to release an album that year. See, I can already picture next year's list: Who Killed Amanda Palmer?, new Ben Folds album, Zooey Deschanel's debut, Ben Lee's Mixtape, new Raconteurs album, The Ditty Bops, Supergrass... sigh, I'm so predictable. Alright, here we go:

Top Covers/Cover Albums:

One of my favourite albums of 2007, covers or otherwise, was Mark Ronson's Version. In early 2006, I put a mental checkmark next to Mark Ronson's name when his masterful cover of Radiohead's Just featuring Phantom Planet's Alex Greenwald was making the blog rounds. I hesitate to call any one cover "definitive", but for now that will be the definitive cover of Just. Once I heard Ronson was working on a covers album, that immediately jumped up to one of my most anticipated releases of 2007. Ironically, I didn't know most of the songs being covered and I listened as if they were originals, so I was immune to claims of "Oh! He ruined this song" or "What a pointless cover of that song". I've read some pretty harsh reviews of the album-- "Pandering!", "Unoriginal!", "What a rich spoiled jerk!"-- which kinda baffles me but I guess to each his own. I've said before (possibly to myself) that Britney Spears' Toxic is a great cover song, which is to say it's been covered so many times in various styles that (for the most part) all manage to make it interesting. Mark Ronson's version is no exception, throwing in some Ol' Dirty Bastard vocals and somehow making it work. Other highlights are Amy Winehouse performing The Zutons' Valerie, Lily Allen on The Kaiser Chiefs' Oh My God, a b-side cover of Queens of the Stone Age's No One Knows, and this instrumental Coldplay cover:
Mark Ronson - God Put a Smile Upon Your Face (feat. The Daptone Horns) [originally by Coldplay]

A covers album that grabbed my attention out of nowhere in early December was Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra Hits the Hits. Similar to Mark Ronson, Shawn Lee (a multi-instrumentalist) has brought a retro sound to modern hits. Covers include choices as diverse as the Gorillaz' Clint Eastwood, Red Hot Chili Peppers' By the Way, and (surprise!) Britney's Toxic. I first heard of him when I tuned into KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic when Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings were performing. With a couple minutes to spare before the top of the hour, a groovy little piano-based cover of Hey Ya came on and naturally my ears perked up. Just when I thought I'd heard enough Hey Ya covers, this one comes along to re-inject some life into it. Snag the whole album from eMusic or Amazon.

Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra - Hey Ya [originally by Outkast]
Have you ever seen that online video of the Peanuts gang synced to the original Hey Ya? Originally created by some clever bear at Venis Productions, they got cease & desisted by United Media, though we all know once it's online, you can't stop the signal... It's pretty hilarious especially when Andre 3000 sings "we know we're not happy here" and it cuts to a grumpy Charlie Brown standing alone in front of an empty mailbox. Ha! Even though it can get repetitive with not enough footage to fill out the whole 4 minute song, the "Cooler than being cool" section is quite brilliant. Anyway, Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra, unintentionally or not, takes this concept to its logical conclusion with a Hey Ya cover in the style of Vince Guaraldi's Linus & Lucy.

Shawn Lee's Ping Pong Orchestra - Rehab [originally by Amy Winehouse]
I was probably one of the last people to hear Amy Winehouse's Rehab sometime in November, so I totally missed the whole overexposure to it. Not surprisingly, I started digging the song after hearing covers by Girls Aloud and Paolo Nutini. While train wreck seems to be the phrase most often used to describe Amy Winehouse, it's disappointing since I actually enjoy her music & voice as opposed to say Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan who just won't leave us alone. While Winehouse has been making it on to best-of lists this year for Back to Black, the album was technically released in October 2006 in the UK and last December in Canada. So belated '06 kudos to that album.

The Bad Plus - Tom Sawyer [originally by Rush]
Being Chinese-Canadian, I must be genetically inclined to love piano-based jazz covers of Rush. This so happened to be one of my most played covers of the year. Unlike some Bad Plus covers, this never derails into total chaos and unrecognizability.

Corinne Bailey Rae - Steady As She Goes [originally by The Raconteurs]
Once upon a time in August, I mentioned that BBC was putting together a covers compilation of 40 contemporary artists covering 40 tracks to celebrate 40 years of BBC Radio One. Well, I seem to have missed the whole release part of the equation. It guess it was released in November, though typing combinations of "BBC" "Radio 1" "40 Years" and "Covers" will hardly bring up any Amazon links. To find it, search for "Radio 1 Established 1967", which is available for the low, low price of $63.99! The Amazon 3rd-Party sellers seems to be the way to go if you're desperately seeking this album. After a fly-by listen of that plethora of covers, the most outstanding cover to me is Corinne Bailey Rae's take on The Raconteurs' Steady As She Goes. She continues to blow me away with her covers... first Zeppelin, then the Raconteurs? That's two years in a row that Corinne Bailey Rae has made my top covers. She could probably cover any song and I'd enjoy it-- love her voice!

MC Chris - Dare to Be Stupid [originally by Weird Al Yankovic]
This is interesting: a cover of a Weird Al original. Honestly, though I'm a big Weird Al fan I never really liked this song... until I heard this amped up electro version, which made me reevaluate the original as all good covers do.

The Quartertones - Here Comes the Fuzz [originally by DJ Format]
Somehow over the course of this blog I've never once mentioned DJ Format even though that's the closest thing to rap or hip-hop that I listen to regularly and thoroughly enjoy. The original from 2003's Music for the Mature B-Boy is an instrumental track based on a repeated guitar sample with horns. This cover from the b-side to DJ Format's The Hit Song is performed "unsampled" so to speak by The Quartertones, a Canadian jazz/funk outfit from Toronto. While in the UK last year I specifically went on the hunt for DJ Format albums, which (at the time) were notoriously hard to track down here in Canada for a reasonable price even though a regular collaborator is Toronto rapper Abdominal. Now you can get DJ Format quite simply on iTunes, though it's no match for a physical album.

You may recognize some of DJ Format's music videos such as We Know Something You Don't Know featuring breakdancing mascots (one of my fav all-time videos) or the arcade game-inspired 3 Feet Deep, directed by Keith Schofield who incidentally has a string of awesome retro music videos like Hard 'n Phirm's Pi and Wintergreen's When I Wake Up (telling the legend of the E.T. Atari landfill burial of '83). The We Know Something video was directed by Ruben Fleischer and I've always wondered if he and Kanye West went to the same bear costume shop (FYI, the music video released in early 2003 predates Kanye's debut album The College Dropout by almost exactly one year). Someday soon I'll write up that post I've been meaning to write for months regarding interesting cover/sample breakdowns of DJ Format's The Hit Song and Here Comes the Fuzz.

Same bear? Or just a coincidence?

OK Go - Don't Bring Me Down [originally by Electric Light Orchestra]
This fun acoustic cover comes from a live iTunes session.

Angélique Kidjo - Gimme Shelter (feat. Joss Stone) [originally by the Rolling Stones]
As Angélique Kidjo has done earlier on a cover of Jimi's Voodoo Chile, she transforms the Stones classic (which has been covered often) with latin beats and African chants. Joss Stone contributes guest vocals.

The Kleptones - War of Confusion [Genesis vs. Edwin Starr]
While the mash-ups fad has kind of worn off, The Kleptones have proved why the sub-genre was so exciting to begin with. From the 2007 internet release Live'r Than You'll Ever Be (available in its entirety for free here), War of Confusion seamlessly blends Edwin Starr's War with Genesis' Land of Confusion to create the best anti-war mash-up since George W. Bush sang Sunday Bloody Sunday. The whole live set (the logistics of a "live" show I don't really understand) is an example of some of the best-sounding mash-ups I've heard. This guy's a pro and he doesn't lazily fall back on simply overlaying rap vocals over instrumentals. Just look at the songs mashed together in Underground Hand: Queen's It's a Kind of Magic, Aerosmith's Dude Looks Like a Lady, Nine Inch Nails' The Hand That Feeds, and The White Stripes' The Hardest Button To Button. Other inspired combos include Jet vs. Stevie Wonder, The Doors vs. Dick Dale & The Del-Tones, Beck vs. The Eagles... all to a rockin' dance beat.


Favourite songs/albums of '07:

The White Stripes - Icky Thump
Icky Thump is one of my top albums of 2007, which should come as no surprise to any regular reader since I seem to talk about the White Stripes every 5 posts or so. Even ignoring the Conquest cover (which is hard to ignore), the album is full of nuggets such as the Effect & Cause, Rag & Bone, Little Cream Soda, Catch Hell Blues, I'm Slowly Turning Into You... OK, so I'd better just stop there before I list the entire album. I am under the impression that almost nobody has heard the original Corky Robbins Conquest, except for possibly Jack White.
The White Stripes - Baby Brother (Icky Thump B-side) [originally by Bill Carter & The Rovin' Gamblers]

The Polyphonic Spree - The Fragile Army
The Arcade Fire is topping many best-of lists this year and conspicuously missing from many lists in my opinion is The Polyphonic Spree's The Fragile Army. More than a few times I've seen The Polyphonic Spree unfavourably compared to the Arcade Fire. I've read, for example, that they're "The Arcade Fire's hippie cousins" or they're "trying too hard to be the Arcade Fire", which isn't really fair to either band, especially since the Spree predate the Fire by a few years. The Polyphonic Spree seem to inspire either adoration or extreme hate. I think some people just have a hard time with the Spree's earnestness. Lack of irony doesn't go over so well these days. Anyway, I don't mean to get all defensive here. The Fragile Army was one of my favourite albums of the year. Plans to see them on tour this year clashed with my White Stripes roadtrip, but hopefully I'll see them in 2008. My desire to see them has boosted significantly since I heard they added a cover of Live & Let Die to their repertoire.
The Polyphonic Spree - Guaranteed Nightlife

Coconut Records - Nighttiming
I was completely enthralled by Coconut Records debut album Nighttiming. In case you didn't know, Coconut Records is Jason Schwartzman. Yes, the actor and former drummer/founding member of Phantom Planet, here playing every instrument on the album which is not as pretentious as it may sound. From the disco groove of the title track to the melancholic West Coast to the Tom Petty-esque rocker Minding My Own Business to the dreamy Summer Day, Schwartzman features a range of music, none of which really feels out of place. It took me a long time to disassociate him from his role as Max Fischer in the brilliant Wes Anderson film Rushmore. With an insignificant performance in the underrated CQ and an obnoxious turn in the god-awful Slackers, I was ready to just write him off completely as a one-hit wonder. A few years later, my sister and I would rent I Heart Huckabees and proceed to laugh hysterically throughout. In the process, I was finally able to view Jason Schwartzman as an actor and not Max Fischer. 2007 must have been a good year for him since he released this solo album independently and also reunited with Wes Anderson in the wonderful film The Darjeeling Limited (and the preceding short film Hotel Chevalier). I found out about Coconut Records quite by accident while investigating the limited music samples of Zooey Deschanel (remnants for a future posting), who is a guest vocalist on two tracks on the CD. The album, which I bought directly from Schwartzman's Young Baby Records, came with a "surprise gift" that turned out to be one of hundreds of polaroids he took. These will supposedly be used in a future music video (my polaroid seems to be of clippings/photos on his fridge or wall). I guess he ran out of polaroids since now there's a new surprise gift offered with each order. In fact, I just went ahead and ordered another copy for someone's belated x-mas gift.
Coconut Records - West Coast
Coconut Records - Slowly (featuring Zooey Deschanel)

Andrew Bird - Armchair Apocrypha
This year I got to check off Mr. Bird from the list of must-see acts after finally catching his show in Vancouver. Armchair Apocrypha was another solid record of indie goodness as only Andrew Bird can do it, this time 'round with some electric guitar in the mix. Here he revisits the track "I" from his earlier album Weather Systems with new lyrics and arrangement.
Andrew Bird - Imitosis

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - 100 Days, 100 Nights
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings put out another awesome record of old school funk soul that's even better than her last album. Nobody's Baby has got "AH-ooh's" that would do Aretha Franklin proud and Let Them Knock is a perfect showcase (as is the whole album) for Sharon's wicked soul vocals.
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - Let Them Knock
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings - Nobody's Baby

The Ditty Bops - Dead and Gone
This was from their 5-song Pack Rat EP, a nice gift to tide us fans over until the next album due early in '08. No one sings retro harmonies as beautifully as these girls.

Danny Michel - In the Belly of a Whale (live)
On Danny Michel's live DVD from this year that he released independently, one of the extras was this version of In the Belly of a Whale, one of my favourite of his songs.

Supergrass - Diamond Hoo Ha Man (live)
This live track released towards the end of 2007 is a sneak peek at the direction they're taking with the new album expected in March 2008. Diamond Hoo Ha Man sounds like it's borrowing from the heavy fuzz riff of the White Stripes' Blue Orchid, but that's not altogether a bad thing.


Cover finds of the year:

Tok Tok Tok - The Weight [originally by The Band]
This incredibly groovy head bobbin' cover of The Band is from the 2003 release It Took So Long. This was on constant repeat as I discovered it shortly before departing for China.

Doug & The Slugs - Nobody But Me [originally by The Isley Brothers]
For years this had been on my list of covers to track down. I remember this from an old mixtape my parents had on our family roadtrips. My sister and I loved to sing the lyrics, which are basically "No no no no-no no-no-no-no-no no No No No no No no NO NO no No no no" etc... which makes for some difficult google searching. A couple years ago I finally found out the song was called Nobody But Me, originally by The Isley Brothers and a hit for The Human Beinz in the 1960's. Except neither of those were the version I had heard as a kid. Over the years I would track down covers by George Thorogood, The Dickies, a non-cover of the same name by Blake Shelton, and more, but never that exact one. Then a few months ago I dug up that old cassette tape and recorded it to mp3 with the tag "unknown artist". In a move that should have been obvious from the get-go, I asked my mum if she knew the song, seeing how she originally would have made the mixtape from an LP. She didn't know immediately, but I was inspired to dig through old records in the basement looking for an LP with that cover. As it turns out it was taped off an LP from the library (gee, how times have changed) and my mom remembered it was Canadian rock band Doug & The Slugs from an album originally released the year I was born. Mystery solved!


2007 in Film:

The best film I saw in 2007 was Zodiac, David Fincher's brooding meditation on the Zodiac killer and the individuals heavily involved with the investigation. Even though it came out early in the year, that was the one film I saw that completely engrossed me and left my jaw on the floor as I left the theatre. Last year it was Children of Men, this year it was Zodiac. Of the summer of blockbuster sequels, only the old school action throwback of Live Free or Die Hard and the visceral thrills of Bourne Ultamatum (best of the series) stood out. I hated Transformers, Ratatouille was a delight, The Simpsons Movie was surprisingly not terrible, but Stardust was a disappointment. I caught the Danny Boyle sci-fi thriller Sunshine on the flight home from Hong Kong and it was riveting even on a teeny-weeny seat monitor. I really liked Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited, which had unintended extra pathos in light of the real-life turn of events surrounding Owen Wilson this year (hopefully he bounces back in '08). The absolute worst movie I saw this year was August Rush. Gag! Vomit! I saw it at a free screening and felt totally ripped off. No Country For Old Men was excellent, but I didn't love it.

2007 films I really want to see still: Sweeney Todd, There Will Be Blood, and Gone Baby Gone.

Most anticipated for 2008:
  • Be Kind Rewind (new Michel Gondry film with Jack Black & Mos Def)
  • 21 (long in the works adaptation of Ben Mezrich's Bringing Down the House about the MIT blackjack team)
  • Shine a Light (Scorsese's Rolling Stones concert film; Jack White is a guest star)
  • Iron Man (never really a fan of the comic, but the crew/cast involved seem to trying really hard to make it a worthy comic adaptation)
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (George could have called this anything and I'd show up)
  • The Happening (new Shyamalan film... Lady in the Water was his first film I outright disliked; hoping he returns to Sixth Sense/Unbreakable form)
  • Get Smart (probably going to suck, but hopefully not)
  • The Dark Knight (THE film of 2008)
  • new X-Files movie (I don't have much expectation, but I'm definitely intrigued)
  • The International (Clive Owen + Naomi Watts with Run Lola Run's Tom Tykwer directing)
  • Where the Wild Things Are (Spike Jonze directing the children's classic with a screenplay co-written by Dave Eggers??? Sold!)
  • Harry Potter & The Half-Blood Prince (love the books; movies not so much... but I'll check it out anwyay)
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (David Fincher re-teaming with Brad Pitt)
  • new Bond film (no brainer)

Phew! After that post, I wouldn't expect to hear anything from me for a while! Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Another Year o' Fong Songs

**WARNING! Cover-free posting!**

Ah, the inevitable year-end post.... Almost. This is simply a year-end recap of happenings in my own little world. I'll jump into favourite covers, albums, films, and those sorts of things soon. In the meantime, feel free to not read this at all, though you might miss out on How I Almost Got the White Stripes to Perform at the Library I Worked At. Intrigued?

One of the things that's fun about keeping this blog is that it doubles as a sort of diary of personally significant events (musically, at least) and I can just skim through the 2007 archives to see what happened without wracking my brain too hard.

  • The first post of the 2007 was... um, last year's year-end post.

  • I had a wonderful first-time trip to San Francisco, also finding time to zip down to San Jose to watch the Oilers beat the Sharks (that'd be hockey for the non-hockey inclined).

  • 2007 would turn out to be the year of band reunions with Davie Lee Roth rejoining Van Halen, The Police coming back together, Genesis, and even The Spice Girls getting in on all this reunion action. February saw the return of one of my favourite bands the Squirrel Nut Zippers who had been missing in action since 2001. When I posted about this reunion back on February 2, little did I know that the ultimate band reunion would be announced later in the year...

  • Chinese New Year fell on February 18th and it was MY year, the Year of the Pig. As far as concerts went, 2007 was positively epic. And I had the fantastic opportunity to take a huge trip to China to check out my roots. Yes, it was a very good year and technically I still have a couple months left on the Chinese calendar.

  • Heart-thumping news on March 20 courtesy of the White Stripes. After some hoax tour dates appeared, their official newsletter was sent out with the teaser "The White Stripes have yet to confirm their North American routing as of yet. But we are happy to say that it will include all 10 provinces and 3 territories of Canada, as well as the remaining 16 states of the United States the band have yet to play." Good god, a Canadian tour including the territories?!? Would they actually be coming to Edmonton? Is this a horrible joke?

  • For a time, I was addicted to Desktop Tower Defense.

  • March 30: I finally tracked down the official Interstate '76 soundtrack. Score!

  • April 10: Amanda Palmer of The Dresden Dolls confirmed that none other than Mr. Ben Folds would be producing and playing on her solo album, which as of now is still in the works.

  • April 17: Jack White reiterates the plan to cover all Canadian provinces and territories. Speculation rampant and tour dates imminent.

  • April 26: Jack White is a man of his word. Full Canadian tour dates are released including Edmonton. Unlikely stops: Whitehorse, Yellowknife, Iqaluit, Glace Bay.

  • May 4: Star Wars Day. I post some Star Wars covers, my blog is bombarded with hits after an Idolator shout-out, and I'm inexplicably featured on IMDB's Hit List. At the peak, 4052 unique visitors on one day vs. the usual 150. My virtual ego inflates, but then blog traffic returns to normal as I return to my regular posts. Never underestimate the power of the Star Wars fan contingent.

  • Some time in mid-May I joined Facebook. Strangely, it wasn't really a matter of caving in. I was blissfully ignorant of the addictive site until I was trying to view some Danny Michel tour photos that were posted on Facebook. Ironically after I joined, those photos were unavailable.

  • My rock dreams were coming true as I booked myself aboard a Ben Folds cruise for 2008. These dreams would later be dashed as the cruise was unceremoniously cancelled.

  • They came, they played, they conquered. The White Stripes came into Edmonton on June 30th. Even better than the actual show was one of the now-legendary Secret Shows, which took place in a youth centre in the inner city. I was arm's length away from Jack as he played to a packed room of 200-ish salivating fans. I guess enough time has passed for me to tell the full story on how I almost got the White Stripes to play in my library... I was working at the library in the heart of Old Strathcona, a beautiful newly-renovated brick building that was the first public library in Edmonton built in 1913. A friend and former co-worker at the downtown library called me (although he was sworn to secrecy) with crazy news that someone from the White Stripes camp had contacted them about potentially playing their secret show there. And the library declined! What?!? GRRR! I was so excited and disappointed at the same time. I went on the Little Room forums to rant and rave about what a blown opportunity it was. I also posted some photos of the White Stripes shrine I had put up at the library as the display person and not-so-subtlely suggested the gig should happen at our library. Amazingly, I received a private message from someone... After some rapid back-and-forth e-mails with some scouting photos I took, it turned out our room could probably on hold 80 people and they were expecting more like 300. I also found out later the downtown library gig was kiboshed because of fire hazard and security concerns rather than management simply being close-minded. In any event, I got to go to the secret gig after getting the announcement on the forums and rushing to the youth centre. On the way there, that someone gave me a courtesy call to let me know where the gig was at. And that is how The White Stripes almost played at my library. The end.

  • While on my weeklong White Stripes Maritimes Extravaganza, I was contacted by some guy named Kurtis who was planning to start up his own cover blog... A couple months later, Covering the Mouse debuted featuring all Disney covers, all the time. And the world rejoiced.

  • I went to the Calgary Folk Festival and had a heck of a great time. Squirrel Nut Zippers reunited, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings... it was fun. It occurs to me that I never wrote my Calgary Folk Fest Part II post, which has been condemned to draft hell. So I never told the story of how I weaseled my way into the volunteer's after party to watch the Squirrel Nut Zippers for one last time and danced the night away. Maybe someday I'll finish up some long lost posts.

  • August 28: I stayed up and watched the lunar eclipse like an idiot.

  • September 12: My head exploded as Led Zeppelin officially announces their one-off reunion show. In spite of great lengths to procure tickets, it just didn't work out.

  • Boyhowdy joins the cover blog fray with Cover Lay Down, devoted to folk covers.

  • As I'm off galavanting in China, Kurtis takes over Fong Songs temporarily.

  • While wandering the streets of Macau, I see a sign. Literally a sign for "Fong Song". I wonder if there's a real Coverville out there somewhere.

  • And lastly, I moved to Vancouver.

My Year in Concerts (click links to revisit old concert posts):
2007/01/14 The Tragically Hip Rexall Place, Edmonton, AB
2007/01/23 Video Games Live Jubilee Auditorium, Edmonton, AB
2007/02/06 The Arrogant Worms Winspear Centre, Edmonton, AB
2007/02/25 Wolfmother Edmonton Event Centre, Edmonton, AB
2007/05/17 Danny Michel Convocation Hall, Edmonton, AB
2007/05/23 The Killers with Hot Hot Heat Rexall Place, Edmonton, AB
2007/06/23 Red Shag Carpet with Kyle Riabko Freemason's Hall, Edmonton, AB
2007/06/24 Roger Waters Rexall Place, Edmonton, AB
2007/06/30 The White Stripes with Dan Sartain Shaw Conference Centre, Edmonton, AB
2007/07/10 The White Stripes with Dan Sartain Moncton Coliseum, Moncton, NB
2007/07/11 The White Stripes with Dan Sartain Charlottetown Civic Centre, Charlottetown, PEI
2007/07/13 The White Stripes with Dan Sartain Cunard Centre, Halifax, NS
2007/07/14 The White Stripes with Dan Sartain and Ashley MacIsaac The Savoy Theatre, Glace Bay, NS
2007/07/18 Jon Levine Band Yonge-Dundas Square, Toronto, ON
2007/07/25 Weird Al Yankovic Capital Ex, Edmonton, AB
2007/07/27 - 07/29 Calgary Folk Festival (Squirrel Nut Zippers, The Polyjesters, Eleni Mandell, Watermelon Slim, Hawsley Workman, Sarah Slean, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Don McLean, and many more!) Prince's Island Park, Calgary, AB
2007/09/01 Andrew Bird with Dosh Richard on Richard's, Vancouver, BC
2007/09/02 Gogol Bordello with DJ Scratchy Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, BC
2007/12/09 Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings with Megatron Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver, BC

Clearly this was an outstanding year for concert-going. The White Stripes Maritimes Extravaganza was logistically improbable but in the "so crazy it just might work" way and with the ultimate pay-off. The 10th Anniversary show in Glace Bay was the most unreal concert experience I've ever partaken in and unlikely to ever be topped. I tear up just thinking about it... so great in so many ways. Roger Waters put on a spectacular show and in a non-White Stripes year it would contend for best concert of the year. They had a giant high definition screen as a backdrop that is by far the clearest I've ever seen. Giant inflatable graffiti pig too. Shine On You Crazy Diamond was near-euphoric performed live. That concert now has the distinction of the most expensive concert ticket I've ever paid for at $167 and I somehow convinced two of my friends to come too. Tickets for the three of us nearly matched the cost of all of our White Stripes Maritimes shows put together. After years of waiting, I finally saw the Squirrel Nut Zippers live and they did not disappoint. Concert-wise, there's nothing really on the radar yet for 2008. High on my list of must-see someday are The Polyphonic Spree, Harvey Danger, and if we're really lucky maybe Zooey Deschanel will go on tour with M. Ward in '08.

OK, thank you for indulging me. Next time: top stuff of 2007.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

You're a Mean One

So it's post-Christmas, but you've still got some parties to go to and/or host. You're looking for that perfect Grinch cover. With music written by Albert Hague with lyrics by Dr. Seuss, the oft-covered You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch was originally performed by Thurl Ravenscroft for the 1966 Chuck Jones animated special based on the classic Dr. Seuss story How the Grinch Stole Christmas. From jazz to folk to punk to rock to rap, we've got it covered here.

Whirling Dervishes - (You're a Mean One) Mr. Grinch

Jim Carrey - You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch
Busta Rhymes & Jim Carrey - Grinch 2000
This is Jim Carrey hamming it up (twice!) even more than his usual self. The latter track starts "This is a Flipmode Squad/Jim Carrey collabo..." which should set off warning bells immediately not to mention the constant self name-checking: "Jim Carrey!" "Busta Rhymes!" Yes, we know who you are, thank you. By the time the song ends with Jim Carrey giving a "shout out to the West Side of Whoville", your forehead is red from smacking yourself repeatedly during the preceding 3:35 of X-mas hell, if you even managed to listen that far. It's an atrocious affront to aural enjoyment. In other words, an appalling dump heap overflowing with the most disgraceful assortment of deplorable rubbish imaginable, mangled up in tangled up knots (from the equally appalling dump heap of a live action film adaptation).

Blue Meanies - You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch

Aimee Mann with Grant-Lee Phillips - You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch

Duboce Triangle feat. Orphan Gaby - You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch
This groovy cover is from the on-going Song Fight competition, winning the December 2001 X-Mas Cover Fight.

Rockapella - You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch
Of all these covers, the Rockapella bass vocalist is the only one who can match up with Thurl Ravenscroft's deep vocals from the original. In fact, I think his voice is improbably even deeper than Thurl's.

Brian Setzer Orchestra - You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch

Asylum Street Spankers - You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch
This cover from a live Christmas album is the most fun of all these Grinch covers with each verse performed in a different style.

D.I. - You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch

Pete Nelson - You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch
Thanks to Boyhowdy for this wonderful folk cover by Pete Nelson. If I'm not mistaken, it's got some nice accordion and mandolin going on in there. I was at a party last week and someone had an accordion and it's a fascinating instrument to play around with.

Fareed Haque - You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch
This jazzy guitar number could serve as soft background ambience for a more mellow party-going crowd. Only someone paying particularly close attention may realize they're listening to the Grinch.

Trish & Darin Murphy - You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch

I realize there are a ton of other Grinch covers as well, but being away from my home computer, this is all I could scrounge up from a back-up hard drive. One worth seeking out is by Sixpence None the Richer and another by Deanna Kirk who also incorporates part of the Whoville choral song into her cover (Fah Who Foraze! Dah Who Doraze!).

Broken links

I just realized rather belatedly that the links from the last few posts were effectively dead after exceeding the bandwidth limitations on my free account. Links should be okay now, but let me know if anything's wonky. My apologies.

Also, I just re-watched Children of Men and have to reiterate that it's a great film. Check it out if you haven't.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Christmas Birthday

Merry Christmas everyone! It's also one of my best friend's birthday today (and I don't mean Jesus). A few years ago, I made this track for him. I guess you could call it a mash-up, though I've never really had the technical know-how to do complicated stuff like matching beats and stripping vocals. However, this one was pretty simple. I had the not particularly clever idea of mixing The Beatles' Birthday and the Bob Rivers parody of it, Jesus' Birthday. Bob Rivers is like a more topical, cruder Weird Al and many mislabeled parodies are often one of Bob Rivers Twisted Tunes. Generally, his parodies are spot on imitations of the originals so slapping them together sounds remarkably seamless for the most part. So now you have a theme song for all your Christmas Birthday friends!

Fongo Bongo Productions - Happy Christmas Birthday [originally by The Beatles; Bob Rivers]

John: "So this is Christmas..."
Jimi: "Happy Birthday!"
John: "...Christmas."
Jimi: "...Birthday!"
John: "...Christmas."
[Crazy Milhouse laughter]

They say it's your birthday
Well it's my birthday too--yeah
They say it's your birthday
So have a happy Yuletide
I'm glad it's your birthday
Happy birthday to you.

Yes, we're going to a Christmas party
Yes, we're going to a Christmas party
Yes, we're going to a Christmas party

I would like some presents (Holiday...)
See my uncles and aunts (Birthday...)
I would like you to dance (Birthday...)

[Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer instrumental]

I would like some presents (Holiday...)
See my uncles and aunts (Holiday...)
Get some socks and some pants (Holiday...)

They say it's your birthday
It's Hanukkah too, yeah
You say it's your birthday
We're gonna have a good time
I'm glad it's your birthday
Happy Christmas to you.

Happy X-Mas B-Day, dude!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Tooning in For Christmas

Hello cover fans! I am Kurtis and I run a Disney cover blog called Covering the Mouse and I am happy to be a part of the holiday festivities here at Fong Songs!

I'm not just a Disney fan. I love cartoons of all sorts! Many great songs have come from the cartoon world and many people have covered them. Christmastime is Here from A Charlie Brown Christmas and You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch from How the Grinch Stole Christmas are two of the more popular songs to cover [Note: look for covers of the latter in an upcoming post...].

But what about the other way around? Since cartoons and Christmas specials seem to go hand in hand, it only makes sense that there would be a whole bunch of Christmas covers by famous cartoon characters.

Blue Christmas - Porky Pig (Most people don't know that this is not actually Porky Pig, but Denny Brownlee A.K.A "Seymour Swine".)

O Holy Night - South Park (This version of Eric Cartman singing O Holy Night has become a holiday standard on the radio since it's debut.)

Deck the Halls/We Wish You a Merry Christmas - Alvin and the Chipmunks (The Chipmunks' first hit single was a Christmas song and since then they have gone on to record three Christmas albums!)

Twelve Days of Christmas - Shrek (This one's new. I'm pretty sure it's authentic, although I haven't heard of Shrek releasing a Christmas album. I have no idea where you can find it, except right here!)

Twelve Days of Christmas - Disney (Disney, one of the biggest names in animation had their cast of characters record Christmas albums. These are all the real voice actors doing what they do best!)

Santa Claus is Coming to Town - Looney Tunes (Warner Bros, the other biggest name in animation, also had their cast record an album. Although the voices don't all sound exactly right since it was recorded after the death of Mel Blanc, the voice of almost all the Looney Tunes.)

Friday, December 21, 2007

An X-Mas Post

Well, just a few more days until Christmas. Guess it's time to start shopping (no joke). It's also time for Christmas shindigs, chopping down trees, and posting your favourite festive tunes. Usually I'm already at home for the holidays, but for the first time I've come home for the holidays, which is a bit weird since I basically only moved away for 3 weeks. I feel a bit lost without my own computer to blog from, though I did have the foresight to bring a portable hard drive with all my music on it (not the foresight, however, to write these posts in advance). Since I don't have my itunes here to guide me, I've randomly picked some festive music to brighten your holidays, or at least provide some conversation fodder for your x-mas parties.

Ah, the Chipmunk Song. While nothing has remotely encouraged me to check out the latest incarnation of Alvin & The Chipmunks, somewhere in my brain there is a slight fond spot for the original song. I don't really understand it because even as a kid, Alvin pissed me off with his obnoxious troublemaking ways, Simon was pretentious, and Theodore was slightly retarded. Each chipmunk drove me nuts in their own way and together they were insufferable. As a kid, I guess you watch any TV whether you even like the show or not. Anyway, for some reason or other I happen to like the Chipmunk Song and that solo line about wanting a hula hoop just gets me every time. The 2007 movie soundtrack features re-done versions of The Chipmunk Song and Witch Doctor (though they're not exactly covers) with Jason Lee filling in as the new Dave. Did you know Justin Long was the voice of Alvin? Why? I don't know.

Alvin & The Chipmunks - The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late) [DeeTown Rock Mix]
The soundtrack also features a "DeeTown Rock Mix", which sounds exactly as you might imagine it.

Powder - Christmas Don't Be Late (Chipmunk Song) [originally by The Chipmunks]
Ah, but Powder already did a rock cover for A Very Special Christmas 5. Do they still make those albums? The first two in the series have some of the best Christmas covers ever.

Mau - Chipmunks Christmas Mash-Up
A couple of years ago, someone named Mau made a mash-up of the Chipmunk Song and Royksopp’s Triumphant. The basis of the mash-up is a comedy bit by Patton Oswalt (who incidentally voiced the main character of an exponentially better CGI rodent film this past summer) in which he hilariously describes slowing down an LP of the Chipmunk Song... just listen, it's pretty out there.

Jonathan Coulton - Podsafe Christmas Song
While I haven't gone through all of Jonathan Coulton's Thing a Week songs (all available for free as an iTunes podcast), I think I should really buckle down and do that after recently listening to Tom Cruise Crazy and this one, a parody of the Chipmunk Song. They really nail it especially the hilarious between-verses banter. "I don't want to speak too soon... but, uh, we may have saved Christmas."

John Denver & The Muppets - Little Saint Nick [originally by The Beach Boys]
Anyone notice they re-did that Coke polar bears vs. penguins ad that used to have Little Saint Nick as the soundtrack to the penguin christmas hoedown? Now it's some generic "holiday" music that doesn't match the dancing penguins and when that little bear cub slides in they use that overly cliché record needle scratch sound... except the music doesn't even stop. Ah, the things that bug me that shouldn't.

The Beach Boys - (I Saw Santa) Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree
Thankfully this other Beach Boys song never became a standard. Along the same lines as I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, one boy tells his brother what he saw "going on" around the Christmas tree. It's a bizarre song, alternating between the boy talking over a repeated piano chord and the chorus, which has the weird line "And Mama was as close to Santa as you are to me". It's filled with presumably unintentional innuendo with mommy and Santa doing more than just smooching.

Brian Setzer Orchestra - The Nutcracker Suite
Vandals - Dance of the Sugarplum Fairies
A couple Tchaikovsky covers: swing and punk.

Vince Guaraldi Trio - Christmas Time Is Here [Markus Enochson Remix]
Whenever I hear this now I can only picture the cast of Arrested Development walking around all sad.

The Living End - Jingle Bell Rock (Feat. Kylie Minogue) [originally by Bobby Helms]
My favourite cover of this Christmas staple. I probably don't say this enough, but The Living End do some awesome covers and lead singer/guitarist Chris Cheney is one of the best (and underrated) guitarists in modern rock.

The OneUps - Super Mario's Sleigh Ride
I didn't post anything earlier this week because, um, I was off playing Super Mario Galaxy. Sorry. Anyway, this brilliant Christmas tune from last year [EDIT: 2002] by video game cover band The OneUps seamlessly integrates familiar Mario tunes with Leroy Anderson's Sleigh Ride. Seriously the best Christmas cover I've heard in years. Looking forward The OneUps next album...

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Free Canadian Christmas Music

Everyone likes free music, eh?

The Vancouver Sun and Nettwerk Music Group have teamed up to release a virtual holiday compilation album called Seriously West Coast Vol, 2. You've got 48 hours to download it, starting now.

Track list:
Barenaked Ladies and Sarah McLachlan - God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
The Weepies - All That I Want
Sarah McLachlan - Silent Night
Matt Wertz - What Child Is This
Lily Frost - Skating On The River
Oh Susanna - Go Tell It On The Mountain
Medieval Baebes - The Holly & The Ivy
The Be Good Tanyas - Rudy
Barenaked Ladies - Elf's Lament
Melissa McClelland - O-Holy Night
Jars of Clay - Hibernation Day
Jenny Owen Youngs - Things We Don't Need Anymore
Martha Wainwright - Merry Christmas And A Happy New Year
Kyle Andrews - Under The Misteltoe
Leigh Nash - The First Noel
Sarah McLachlan - The First Noel

Friday, December 14, 2007

Cover of Your Choice

If you're a rich cover lover, you have about an hour left to bid on The Presidents of the United States of America covering a song of your choice. It's part of The Stranger's Holiday Gift auction. Other artists offering charity covers are The Posies, Dina Martina, Visqueen, Erin Jorgensen, and Say Hi.

Last year Harvey Danger did the same thing and the winner chose Jonathan Coulton's Code Monkey... though as of yet they still haven't recorded it yet.

Peace on Earth

The blog Hard to Find a Friend is hosting a holiday charity album that you can purchase and download for $7. All of the artists involved recorded the songs on their own time and 100% of the proceeds are going to Toys for Tots. There are a few names I recognize: Canadian indie band Great Lake Swimmers, The Long Winters, Chris Walla (guitarist for Death Cab For Cutie)... If you're a Harvey Danger enthusiast (like me), the highlight on the track listing is The Long Winters covering an HD Christmas song. If you don't really like traditional Christmas carols (like me), this is a perfect remedy with some original tunes and non-ingratiating takes on x-mas classics, plus you get to discover some new artists. I'm digging this Quiet Company version of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas and methinks I spot a Charlie Brown Christmas cover in there.

Peace on Earth: A Charity Holiday Album
1. Prayers & Tears of Arthur Digby Sellers - Shepherd's Song
2. Quiet Company - Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
3. Great Lake Swimmers - Gonna Make it Through This Year
4. Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin / Sweetwater Abilene - The Wheels Are Off
5. Chris Walla - Coventry Carol
6. David Karsten Daniels - In The Bleak Midwinter
7. Casiotone for the Painfully Alone - Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
8. The Winston Jazz Routine - Through the Snow
9. Via Audio - My Boo
10. The Long Winters - Sometimes You Have to Work on Christmas (Sometimes)
11. TW Walsh - Drop the Bomb
12. Ohtis - American Christians
13. Aaron Robinson - End of the Year
14. The Cotton Jones Basket Ride (Michael Nau of Page France) - White Christmas
15. American Music Club - Please Please
16. Johnny Bertram - Merry Christmas (You Won't Get What You Want)
17. Rosie Thomas - Christmas Time is Here
18. Sleeptalker - This is Christmas

From the same blog I learned Okkervil River has a free covers EP for download featuring the likes of Randy Newman, Joni Mitchell, and Serge Gainsbourg among others, though I admittedly have never heard of any of the songs they're covering.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bob Dylan says Hello Goodbye

While sorting through my perpetually unsorted downloads, I found this odd little clip. Bob Dylan hosts a radio show called, of all things, Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour. On one particular episode earlier this year, the theme of the show was "Hello" with all songs having hello in the title. He ended the show by playing the Beatles' Hello Goodbye, which he introduces by reading some of the lyrics verbatim like a beatnik poet. Not a cover per se, but give it a listen.

Bob Dylan on 'Hello Goodbye'

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

TV Themes... this time with lyrics (Part 4).

Well after a brief Led Zeppelin interruption, we're back with part 4 of

Covers of TV Theme Songs Known Primarily as Instrumentals
(With Lyrics That You May or May Not Know)

Lastly we have the theme from M*A*S*H a.k.a. "Suicide is Painless" from the 1970 Robert Altman film and the long-running television series, which used a shortened instrumental version of the song. At some point in our lives we all have these small epiphanies: "What? M*A*S*H was based on a movie?" or "What? The M*A*S*H theme has lyrics?" And I am further surprised to learn just now that the film itself was based on a 1968 novel by Richard Hooker. The song was written by Johnny Mandel and Mike Altman, the director's son, who was only 14 years old at the time he wrote the lyrics (pretty remarkable when you listen to it). Apparently he earned more in royalties for the song than his dad did for directing the movie. There have been numerous covers over the years, with and without lyrics, a few of which I've included here.

Through early morning fog I see
Visions of the things to be
The pains that are withheld for me
I realize and I can see...

That suicide is painless
It brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.

I try to find a way to make
All our little joys relate
Without that ever-present hate
but now I know that it's too late, and...


The game of life is hard to play
I'm gonna lose it anyway
The losing card I'll someday lay
so this is all I have to say.


The only way to win is cheat
And lay it down before I'm beat
and to another give my seat
for that's the only painless feat.


The sword of time will pierce our skins
It doesn't hurt when it begins
But as it works its way on in
The pain grows it grin, but...


A brave man once requested me
to answer questions that are key
is it to be or not to be
and I replied "oh why ask me?"

'Cause suicide is painless
it brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.
...and you can do the same thing if you please.

Manic Street Preachers - Suicide is Painless [originally by Johnny Mandel & Mike Altman]
Hearing this cover was the first time I realized the M*A*S*H theme had lyrics. They also do one of my all-time favourite covers of Can't Take My Eyes Off You.

Lady & Bird - Suicide is Painless [originally by Johnny Mandel & Mike Altman]
This beautiful acoustic cover is from the 2003 album Lady & Bird, a collaboration between singer-songwriter Keren Ann and Icelandic musician Barði Jóhannsson.

Jay-Jay Johanson - Suicide is Painless [originally by Johnny Mandel & Mike Altman]
I really know nothing about this Swedish musician, but this is a pretty good solo radio performance with a hint of lounge singer.

Matt Costa - Suicide is Painless [originally by Johnny Mandel & Mike Altman]
Here's another acoustic cover that's really good. I think I like these covers more than the original.

Royal Trux - Theme from M*A*S*H [originally by Johnny Mandel & Mike Altman]
This alt-rock version is from a 1993 edition of the Peel Sessions.

Tripod - Theme from MASH Guy
Australian comedy music act Tripod incorporated the theme from M*A*S*H into one of their songs (Lingering Dad) and as part of the process of getting permission to put it on their DVD, they had to send a copy to the original songwriter. And then they wrote a song about HIM. So is this song about Johnny Mandel or Mike Altman...? If you go to Tripod's official website, you may just find some free cover songs including an unlikely cover of Queen's Seaside Rendezvous and Bowie's Life on Mars?. And we all know how much I love Life on Mars covers...

See also:
Part 1: Theme from Star Trek
Part 2: Theme from House (Massive Attack's Teardrop)
Part 3: Theme from Peter Gunn

Monday, December 10, 2007

Let it Die

I'd like to just go on record and say that Fergie's cover of Live and Let Die is absolutely brutal. One of the worst things I've heard (and seen) cover-wise in a while. I'm not even going to link to it.

In related news, the Onion AV Club just posted a list of 23 Covers That Should Never Be Covered Again. I think I'd also be fine without hearing anymore covers of Creep or God Only Knows.


Led Zeppelin - Celebration Day [from Led Zeppelin III]

Well today is the day that I wish I was in London at the 02 Arena. Sigh.

Rasputina - Rock and Roll
I've posted this before, but it's one of my favourite Zeppelin covers ever. Rasputina, sort of a gothic cello rock band, put out a cover EP called The Lost & Found featuring this one as well as covers of Pink Floyd, Marilyn Manson, and The Velvet Underground. Excellent covers, seek that one out.

Corinne Bailey Rae - Since I've Been Loving You (live in New York)
I've been loving this cover since I first heard her perform it on some AOL Sessions last year. Now it's officially on her Live in New York & London CD/DVD combo.

Dread Zeppelin - I Can't Quit You Baby [originally by Willie Dixon]
Dread Zeppelin - Misty Mountain Hop
Dread Zeppelin - Hot Dog
What's a Zeppelin post without a Dread Zeppelin cover or three? Most Zeppelin covers fail because you just can't imitate Led Zeppelin. Going a completely different direction is basically the only way to go, even if it means reggae/ska with an Elvis impersonator. I've posted several Dread Zeppelin covers in past posts since they've got some legitimately great covers and regularly tackle the not so obvious tunes from the Zeppelin canon.

Jeff Buckley - Night Flight
While it's pretty hard to name one Zeppelin album as my favourite, but if I had to choose it'd probably be Physical Graffiti. Night Flight is one of the underrated gems from that album and one of my fav's. This live cover, which is barely recognizable, is from the album Live at Sin-é: Legacy Edition.

Jimmy Page & The Black Crowes - Ten Years Gone
Jimmy Page & The Black Crowes - In My Time of Dying [traditional]
Live at the Greek, a double CD album of Jimmy Page with the Black Crowes performing classic Zeppelin and some blues standards, is one my favourite live albums. I generally don't listen to too many live albums since either the recording quality is so-so, the crowd noise bothers me, or the performances are simply same old, same old. But here, the live recordings are as good as I've ever heard, if not great and the performances are dynamic. Chris Robinson is no Robert Plant, but he doesn't try to be. The shows were performed in 1999, nearly 20 years after the premature demise of Zeppelin, and Jimmy Page shows he can still rock (and rock hard). I saw Robert Plant live in 2005 thinking a Zeppelin reunion was impossible and he's still got it too. I have no doubt the reunion will be a success and now we just have to wait for the inevitable bootleg.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Imagine Peace

The Polyphonic Spree - Happy Xmas (War is Over) [originally by John Lennon]

Friday, December 07, 2007

TV Themes... this time with lyrics (Part 3).

Covers of TV Theme Songs Known Primarily as Instrumentals
(With Lyrics That You May or May Not Know)
Part 3

Unlike the previous two theme songs, the theme from Peter Gunn by Henry Mancini had no lyrics originally. It's instantly recognizable and arguably more well-known than the show from which it originates. I'm sure if you've never heard of Peter Gunn, you'd listen to it and say "Wait a minute, I DO know this song." Technically, the lyricized version is called Bye-Bye with words written by Jay Livingston & Ray Evans.

Every night your line is busy
All that buzzing makes me dizzy
Couldn’t count on all my fingers
All the dates you had with swingers

Bye, bye
Bye, baby
I’m gonna kiss you goodbye and go right through that doorway

So long
I’m leaving
This is the last time we’ll meet on the street going your way

Don’t look surprised
You know you buttered your bread
So now it’s fair you should stare at the back of my head

If you write a letter to me
My former friend don’t you end with an R.S.V.P.

I’m going bye, bye
I’m moving
Tomorrow I may be splittin’ to Britain or Norway

I’m saying bye, bye
Bye, baby

Now that I heard all that jazzing
Whereas I have had it
I’ve had it
I’m through now
With you now

So baby it’s au revoir
Ciao ciao

Sarah Vaughan - Peter Gunn
Sarah Vaughan - Peter Gunn (Max Sedgley Remix)
This remix is from the album Verve Remixed Volume 3, part of a series of albums where classic Verve Records jazz tracks are (surprise!) remixed. Accompanying the album is Verve Unmixed, a CD of the original tracks. I was immediately intrigued when I saw that jazz vocalist Sarah Vaughan was covering Peter Gunn and that's when I first heard these "new" lyrics. The Max Sedgley remix is particularly catchy and you'll never hear the Peter Gunn theme the same ever again.

The Anita Kerr Singers - Bye Bye Theme from Peter Gunn

The Jody Grind - Peter Gunn
While assembling this post, I stumbled upon this cover on my own hard drive. Turns out I got it from Cover Freak a few months ago when he posted it and asked "Who knew this song had lyrics?". Now we know!

Tune in next time for part 4 where I'll feature... well, it's a surprise.

See also:
Part 1: Theme from Star Trek
Part 2: Theme from House (Massive Attack's Teardrop)

Thursday, December 06, 2007

TV Themes... this time with lyrics (Part 2).

Covers of TV Theme Songs Known Primarily as Instrumentals
(With Lyrics That You May or May Not Know)
Part 2

Next up we have covers of Massive Attack's Teardrop, an instrumental version of which serves as the theme of House, now well into season 4. Since I'm ignorant about these sorts of things, I didn't know that theme was a full-length song (from 1998, incidentally) until I heard a fan-made soundtrack to House last year. In fact, I didn't even start watching House until we got the box sets at the library and I plowed through the first 2 seasons in a few weeks. Right now I'm about half-way through season 3 on DVD since, you know, watching shows when they air is oh so unsatisfying. Anyway, it's a beautiful song and as much as I love covers, frankly these ones are pretty unnecessary.

Love, love is a verb
Love is a doing word
Fearless on my breath
Gentle impulsion
Shakes me makes me lighter
Fearless on my breath

Teardrop on the fire
Fearless on my breath

Nine night of matter
Black flowers blossom
Fearless on my breath
Black flowers blossom
Fearless on my breath

Teardrop on the fire
Fearless on my breath

Water is my eye
Most faithful mirror
Fearless on my breath
Teardrop on the fire of a confession
Fearless on my breath
Most faithful mirror
Fearless on my breath

Teardrop on the fire
Fearless on my breath

Stumbling a little
Stumbling a little

Elbow - Teardrop [originally by Massive Attack]
[**link fixed] I don't really have anything to say about this cover other than I think naming your band after a body joint is silly.

José Gonzålez - Teardrop [originally by Massive Attack]
This one's not bad if you like the guy + acoustic guitar approach. While most lyrics sites cite the chorus as "fearless on my breath" there are a couple that say "feathers on my breath". It's quite possible José is singing "feathers" in his cover, but it's kinda hard to tell.

Newton Faulkner - Teardrop [originally by Massive Attack]
Teardrop must be the cover choice of the moment since these latter two covers have both cropped up in the past month or two. This one starts off promising, but this guy (sorry Newton) has that kind of generic rock voice that sounds sort of like a poor man's Eddie Vedder. I can't really articulate that distinct vocal quality that makes me cringe, but this is how you remind me of Nickelback, Creed, Theory of a Deadman, etc. Every line ends like "Fearless on my breahEhEeeeEEeeeAAAH". I may be totally off-base here and it's not really fair to be lumped in with those other guys since Newton Faulkner's other material doesn't really sound like them, but this Teardrop cover just doesn't work for me.

Tune in next time as we revisit a well-known Henry Mancini composition for a Blake Edwards show. And no, I'm pretty sure the Pink Panther theme has no lyrics.

See also:
Part 1: Theme from Star Trek

TV Themes... this time with lyrics.

Today's rather cumbersomely titled theme is:

Covers of TV Theme Songs Known Primarily as Instrumentals
(With Lyrics That You May or May Not Know)

Today I'm trying out a new file hosting site: While downloading folk covers from Cover Lay Down, I've noticed that the download speeds are generally phenomenal and interface less cluttered than most sites.

The impetus for this post pre-dates this blog to around 2001 when the first Tenacious D album came out and a friend introduced me to a live mp3 of the D entitled "Star Trek Lyrics". Jack Black tells the crowd "most you have not heard the lyrics to this... by Gene Roddenberry, the creator of the show" before launching into an acoustic, oddly sincere rendition of the Star Trek theme. I've never actually seen the original show and have maybe only seen a couple episodes of Deep Space Nine, but the original 60's Star Trek theme is just one of those things that permeates pop culture consciousness whether you actively seek it out or not. Considering the comedic nature of Tenacious D, not to mention the ridiculous lyrics, I just assumed they made them up. Cut to maybe 2 years ago, I heard the Project: Pimento cover of the theme. It starts off as expected, except in lounge music fashion, using a theremin to play the distinctive Star Trek melody. And then a female voice joins in singing the exact same lyrics. Clearly Project: Pimento was not covering Tenacious D. Further investigation revealed that in a particularly sneaky move, Gene Roddenberry wrote lyrics to the music written by Alexander Courage in order to lay claim to half the royalties of the song, despite the fact that the lyrics were never intended to be used. Tsk, tsk. And to think we launched his ashes into space.

Beyond the rim of the starlight,
My love is wandering in star flight.
I know he’ll find in star clustered reaches
Love, strange love a star woman teaches.

I know his journey ends never.
His Star Trek will go on forever.
But tell him while he wanders his starry sea,
Remember, Remember me.

Tenacious D - Star Trek Lyrics [originally by Alexander Courage & Gene Roddenberry]
I still can't believe these are the actual lyrics.

Project: Pimento - Star Trek [originally by Alexander Courage & Gene Roddenberry]
Project: Pimento is a San Francisco-based "theremin lounge band". They also do some pretty awesome Bond theme covers, which just so happen to be available on their official site as samples.

Nichelle Nichols - Star Trek [originally by Alexander Courage & Gene Roddenberry]
In the 1970's, Nichelle Nichols, who played Uhura on Star Trek and is currently on Heroes as a character no doubt destined to play a larger role when the show continues post-strike, recorded a disco version of the theme with new lyrics of peace and love. The original lyrics were just about strange love taught by star women.

This post was getting a wee bit long so I've split it up into 4 parts. So tune in tomorrow (or maybe even in a few hours!) for part 2 where we stop by the Princeton-Plainsboro hospital for a check up...

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings in Vancouver

This Sunday I'll be going to a zinger of a show at the Commodore Ballroom here in Vancouver: Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings. I've been looking forward to this since I saw a couple shortened sets at the Calgary Folk Fest, but I think they'll be much better suited to a nightclub-like locale... not that they weren't great earlier, but it'll much more intimate than a festival stage. If you haven't already, seek out their latest release 100 Days, 100 Nights. Definitely one of my favourite albums of the year. Here's a couple of their sessions from KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic, the latest being from just a couple days ago.

Live on Morning Become Eclectic May 12, 2005
1. DJ Intro
2. instrumental
3. How Do I Let a Good Man Down?
4. How Long Do I Have to Wait For You?
5. Your Thing is a Drag
6. interview
7. What If We All Stopped Paying Taxes?
8. This Land is Your Land [originally by Woody Guthrie]
9. My Man is a Mean Man
10. Outro
[Download link]

Live on Morning Become Eclectic December 3, 2007
1. DJ Intro
2. Casella Walk
3. Intro / I'm Not Going to Cry
4. Keep on Looking
5. Be Easy
6. interview
7. Let Them Knock
8. What Have You Done For Me Lately? [originally by Janet Jackson]
9. How Do I Let a Good Man Down?
10. 100 Days, 100 Nights
11. interview
12. Nobody's Baby
13. Outro
[Download link]

Monday, December 03, 2007

Cover Me

There's yet another cover blog on the block (we're practically a neighbourhood!) simply called Cover Me. Cover Me blogger Ray has actually had his cover blog up for over a month now, but what's new to me may be new to you as well. By the way, he's over at Covering the Mouse today with a guest Disney post. On Cover Me, Ray posts thematically-linked covers with commentary and we all know there's plenty of cover songs to go around. If a thousand monkeys on a thousand keyboards wrote a thousand cover blogs, would we run out of cover songs? Probably not. And in that teeny-tiny profile photo, is that Jack & Meg I see hovering over the boy clawing at his own face? That's 10, 000 bonus points, good sir. Welcome to the club!

Steve Tyrell with Dr. John - You've Got a Friend in Me [originally by Randy Newman for Disney's Toy Story]
As per unofficial Fong Songs welcome policy, new cover blogs are greeted by this modern classic from Toy Story. Important notice for any prospective cover bloggers: I've only got 7 more of these covers left. This is from jazz musician Steve Tyrell's album of Disney standards, unimaginatively named Steve Tyrell: The Disney Standards. Here, he's joined by Dr. John whose distinct voice and ivory ticklin' I'm a fan of.

Jamie Cullum - Seven Nation Army (live) [originally by The White Stripes]
This is my cover find of the week. I've been a big fan of Jamie Cullum since he burst on the scene scaring jazz and cover purists everywhere. And to find him covering another of my favourite bands is exciting indeed. I knew Jamie covered Seven Nation Army at his concerts many times including some terrible quality youtube videos. Sometimes it's part of a medley of other covers, but this was the first time I got my grubby hands on a quality live recording of the whole song. Using one of those sample and looping machines, Jamie builds up the distinct riff with his voice then proceeds to jingle jangle on the keys while singing one of the better cover versions of this song that I've heard.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

This is the worst trip...

No covers today. I've been procrastinating on the next posting, but I just couldn't let this pass without comment...

Head on over to WMFU's Beware of the Blog for Brian Wilson's Lost Rap recording.

This is ridiculously hilarious! It's sooooo bad, but oddly compelling. And it sure is fun, fun, fun to play name that Beach Boys track.

Monday, November 26, 2007

I Know, I Know, It's Really Serious:
Girlfriend In A Coma, revisited

Hi, folks! Boyhowdy here, host of folk coverblog Cover Lay Down. Since I showed up at the door bearing some rather insistent covergifts, the Fong-ster has graciously invited me in to write a short follow-up piece to last week's post on The Smiths. It was either that or slam the door in my face, if you know what I mean.

(Meanwhile, Fong isn't slacking -- he's spending the day over at Disney coverblog Covering the Mouse, while Kurtis, who usually hosts the Disney covers, is over at my place. It's a game of musical coverblogs, and everybody wins!)

Now I can't claim to be an expert on the subject of The Smiths -- not by a long shot. But though my tastes these days run towards folk and indie, once upon a time I was a child of the eighties, with a prized vinyl copy of The Smiths' Strangeaways, Here We Come. And there was a week or seven there when, trapped in my own adolescent relationship angst, perhaps even longing for a convenient medical excuse to break up with someone, I played Girlfriend in a Coma incessantly.

Girlfriend in a Coma may be standard Morrissey emopop, but lyrically speaking, it takes on a fairly complex conceit: the ambivalence one might feel if someone close but not THAT close ended up in a comatose state. Notably, this is a girlfriend, not a spouse -- and, as the lyrics tell, this is a girl with which the narrator has had some ups and downs, enough that "there were times when I could have murdered her". Sure, our narrator is a nice guy -- he "would hate anything to happen to her." But does he truly care? How much? And if he cares at all, why does he need to keep reassuring us that he knows this is serious? Methinks he doth protest too much.

There are multiple ways to interpret these lyrics, mostly because Morrissey leaves lots of room to do so: here's one close reading, which I'd give a halfhearted two out of five for both literary merit and basic accuracy. To be fair, though, I'd give any close reading of these lyrics which claims to be able to "solve" its meaning a low score. That's because, in my opinion, since the story asks questions, we must look to the tonality of the music -- the instrumentation, the pace, the level of angst in the voice -- to help us understand the answers.

And here's where covers of the song get interesting.

In the original, the poppy emo-tone of lead singer (and now solo artist) Morrissey speaks well of the narrator's intention, if not his commitment to the comatose girlfriend. His hopeful narrator seems to really think she'll pull through, and really want her to. As if he regrets his homicidal tendencies, and longs for the second chance that an awakened girlfriend would bring. The lyrics are ambiguous enough to leave open the possibility that the coma is in fact the boyfriend's fault, but we feel like, even if it is, the narrator is genuinely concerned about it, at least a little.

But changing the narrative approach changes the way we see the boyfriend, which in turn changes the way we see the relationship.

Mojo Nixon's rockabilly cover, for example, really ignores the ominous possibility of even the slightest hint of ambivalence. It's as if the narrator here is just telling a story of a hurt girlfriend, which makes little sense given the back-and-forth of the lyrics as written. Is he bemoaning her comatose state? Possibly; it's hard to tell. But beyond that, not much in the way of emotional tone interferes with the rockin'.

Nixon's cover also complicates matters by adding extra lyrics imagining the narrator at the girlfriend's bedside before the song devolves into an long, lame joke about Nixon being a kind of anti-Morrisey. But the truth is, Nixon loses us long before we can realize that the real narrator of this song is too concerned about himself to really visit a hospital bed. This version is about the singer, not the narrator. By totally misunderstanding the song's meaning, Nixon doesn't make much of a case for himself as an artist with the chops to compete with Morrisey at all.

On the other hand, comedian Tony Hawks' radio gameshow challenge to sing Girlfriend in a Coma to the tune of Tiptoe Through the Tulips reveals a surprising greatness. Hawks' masterstroke here -- for which he shares credit with his wry accompanyist -- is to apply the ridiculously giddy psychotic bounce of Tiny Tim, whose Tiptoe is known well by his listeners, to the challenge. To this, he adds a hint of bawdy lust found in the original of neither song.

Though it was intended to be a joke, the utter insanity of putting this song to the tune of Tiptoe Through the Tulips turns out to be a unique opportunity to reveal the potential of a coversong to truly bring new meaning to an existing song. Questioning the sanity, rather than just the emotional stability, of the narrator in this song brings a whole new light to its meaning. Most significantly, it raises much more ominous questions about the origin of the coma itself -- is the girlfriend actually dead? Was she intended to be? Is the girl in question not actually a girlfriend at all, but the victim of some psycho stalker who only imagines that this girl cares?

In the end, Girlfriend in a Coma is a song which is long overdue for some real, earnest covers. It's hard to figure out the appropriate tone for this -- the balance Morrissey originally wrote into the lyrics is, admittedly, a hard one to recreate without wandering into the maudlin, or losing too much of the subtle meaning. But I'd love to hear anyone with a sense of literary flair and a good set of musical chops give it a shot. If you think you've got one, feel free to send it our way, and I'll tack it on to the list below.

The Smiths, Girlfriend in a Coma (the original)
Mojo Nixon, Girlfriend in a Coma
Tony Hawks, Girlfriend in a Coma
*Joshua Radin, Girlfriend in a Coma*

Afterthought (Updated 8:14 pm): Thanks to long-time reader and fellow coverfan Jeff, who unearthed the Joshua Radin cover above just a few hours after our original post; "It's a fantastic cover that adds a whole new level of "moody" to the song", says Jeff, and he's right on the money.

According to Wikipedia, there are still at least two more covers out there, including something by Bleach, and one by the Jack Palance Band. Anyone got 'em?

Still here? Over at Cover Lay Down, we like to end a post with bonus covers -- songs which are related to the post topic, but weren't close enough to include in our main post. So here's some other great covers of Smiths/Morrissey songs worthy of your attention, as a reward for making it this far.

Ether Aura, Last Night I Dreamt Somebody Loved Me
The Thrills, Last Night I Dreamt Somebody Loved Me

I'm especially fond of the vastly different covers of Last Night I Dreamt Somebody Loved Me, originally played by The Smiths as a majestic emo ballad; you can hear the same evidence of Morrissey's genius for open yet poetic narrative in the way each artist manages to bring different yet stilldeep meaning to a deceptively simple song.

The Karelia, Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want
Muse, Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want
Weezer, Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want

A languid, resigned plea with tense undertones of strings in this cover by The Karelia (with apologies for the full minute of dead air at the end of the track) strongly contrasts the grungy guitar of Muse's glamrock take and Weezer's feedback-laden throwback to rockstar days.

Ben Lee, Shoplifters of the World Unite
The Decemberists, I've Changed My Plea To Guilty

Indie artists love The Smiths, too! Ben Lee's in-studio cover pays a mixed acoustic/electric tribute to Shoplifters. And it's hard not to love The Decemberists, who know what to do with a Morrissey song in concert.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

How Soon is Now?

Fong Songs, now reporting to you live from sunny Vancouver, British Columbia. That's right, sunny. Notoriously known for its "rainy day depression" in the winter months, it's been surprisingly nice the past few days. I moved in Sunday and have been settling in nicely, thank you.

At the behest of a friend in the UK, I am to do an all-Smiths cover post. This poses a bit of a problem since the only Smiths song I know is How Soon is Now?. But I'm open to a challenge, especially when there's Led Zeppelin bribery involved. Instead of running out and searching for covers of songs I don't know, I figured I'd scour my own iTunes collection and see if I happened to have Smiths covers unbeknownst to me. Surprisingly, I had a few so here they are, plus the inevitable glut of How Soon is Now? covers.

Death Cab for Cutie - This Charming Man [originally by The Smiths]
I always feel that there's pressure within the blogosphere that I'm supposed to actually like Death Cab for Cutie. Or I often come across Ben Gibbard covers that are supposedly amazing. I do like a couple of their songs, but I'm generally hit by a mighty wave of indifference when faced with their music. I've listened to them, seen them live, and remain open to convincing.

Puppini Sisters - Panic [originally by Morrissey]
I have never heard the original, so Morrissey fans will have to weigh in themselves on this cover. The Puppini Sisters are Andrews Sisters revival cover band, sort of. They take the doo-be-doo harmonized singing of the 30's/40's and revamp modern songs, plus throw in a few originals. According to their official website, founding member Marcella Puppini was inspired to create the group after seeing the Triplets of Belleville (nice!). I first heard of them via a particularly swinging cover of Heart of Glass from last year's Betcha Bottom Dollar. Their latest album The Rise and Fall of Ruby Woo just came out in the last month or two, depending where you live. Both albums are available on Amazon and are worth a pick-up. While the arrangements and music are great, my only beef with them is that several of their cover choices are borderline cover clichés: I Will Survive, Spooky, Walk Like an Egyptian, Heart of Glass, and even their "offbeat" selection of Beyoncé's Crazy in Love. Dear god, I'm becoming a cover snob! That said, there's nothing wrong with the covers themselves and I really look forward to future releases from the Puppini Sisters.

Nouvelle Vague - Sweet & Tender Hooligan [originally by The Smiths]
Nouvelle Vague and the Puppini Sisters have a similar approach to cover songs: take a distinct musical style (in this case, bossa nova) and apply to a vastly dissimilar genre. As evident by their name, which is New Wave en français, they tackle new wave songs including Heart of Glass. See? Cover cliché. Again, I know not the original.

The Killers - Why Don't You Find Out for Yourself [originally by Morrissey]
I think this is a good cover... but I've never heard any Morrissey in my life so I can't rightly say.

t.A.T.u. - How Soon is Now? [originally by The Smiths]
In a March 2007 issue of Uncut, Johnny Marr said "t.A.T.u.'s version was just silly. Plastic music." That basically sums it up. It's practically the exact same song, but with dual female lead vocals. Not terrible but kinda pointless, as far as covers go.

Everclear - How Soon is Now? [originally by The Smiths]
A rock version, fairly standard. Everclear has a couple songs that I really like, but their cover songs are generally pretty blah (Santa Baby excepted).

Quicksand - How Soon is Now? [originally by The Smiths]
Hard rock version.

Love Spit Love - How Soon is Now? [originally by The Smiths]
If you listen to 5 versions of How Soon is Now? in a row they all start to sound the same, adhering pretty closely to the original and this one is no exception. Though apparently this may be the most well known cover having been the theme song to the TV show Charmed (shiver.).

Snake River Conspiracy - How Soon is Now? [originally by The Smiths]
This band is the only one to actually do something interesting with the song. As it starts I'm thinking "Here we go again, carbon copy cover", then a strange thing happens at the 47-second mark: as the chorus begins, all the instruments cut out leaving the female lead and a decidedly euphoric string arrangement. I dig it. The next time 'round, it ups the ante with a heavenly choir accompanying "Oh shut your mouth, how can you say I go about things the wrong way?" This one wins the cover challenge hands down.

Noel Gallagher & Johnny Marr - Tomorrow Never Knows (live) [originally by the Beatles]
And we end with Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr joining Noel Gallagher for a John Lennon tribute night.

Dear UK friend, I hope this is to your liking.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

CooooOOOOOOoooonQUEST is Where It's At

Last week the White Stripes newsletter team sent out notice that Jack and Meg had finished up a new music video and 3 brand new songs including a "special collaboration". Would it be a re-teaming with Loretta Lynn? The long anticipated Bob Dylan/Jack White combo? Patti Page coming back to reclaim Conquest? In the latest in a series of curious coincidences, just days after posting about Beck it was revealed yesterday that he was in fact the special collaborator of three new songs with The White Stripes coming out next month! SCORE! This brings me back to the glory summer of 2005 when I saw Beck, Aimee Mann, and the White Stripes (twice!) in Vancouver all within a few weeks. And to think I almost missed that Beck concert, which I assumed was sold out then I ended up buying a ticket 3 hours before the show. It was general admission, but since I was concerting solo I was able to snag an empty spot in the 8th row. Sigh, good times.

The White Stripes, who aren't finished yet despite the unfortunate cancellation of the rest of their US and UK tour earlier this year, are busy prepping the release of their latest Icky Thump single Conquest, which incidentally is a cover of a Corky Robbins tune. A music video set for release on November 26th will feature an "explosive - if unconventional - love story that pits man against bull in the ultimate conquest". Jack White even underwent training with bullfighter Dennis Borba, bullfighter teacher of the stars. I've read that Borba specializes in bloodless bullfighting, in which the bull is "pierced" with a spear that velcros to a patch on its back so it isn't harmed or killed. Though as I understand it, even bloodless bullfighting is banned in the majority of the States unless it is part of a religious festival...

From the White Stripes newsletter: "Jack and Meg recently recorded the new tracks with Beck, who co-produced all three tracks during a recording session in his living room and also contributed vocals and piano to "It's My Fault For Being Famous" and slide guitar on "Honey, We Can't Afford To Look This Cheap". The third song is called Cash Grab Complications On The Matter, which will be on the flipside of an "Acoustic Mariachi version" of Conquest. The vinyl singles (with each song as a B-side) will be released December 18th.

The White Stripes - Conquest [originally by Corky Robbins]
Popularized by Patti Page in the 1950's that's currently making the rounds in an eBay commercial, the White Stripes version appeared on this year's Icky Thump. Has anyone even heard the original by Corky Robbins? I've had a hard time tracking it down.

Lounge Brigade - Where It's At [originally by Beck]
A lounge cover of Beck for good measure.

Now I guess this collaboration was inevitable considering the number of times Beck and Jack have teamed up in the past, though this is the first time on any official release that Beck and The White Stripes (as in Jack AND Meg) have made sweet, beautiful music together. Let's see here...

In conjunction with the release of Beck's Sea Changes in 2002, Jack White interviewed him for Interview magazine, using Chuck Berry's 13 Question method. As you might imagine, this was not your typical interview. For example, "Question number 10: I would love to own a pet chimp. But, I recently heard that they cost $40,000. What do I do?" Read the whole thing here. Don't know the 13 Question Method? Neither do I, but Ry Cooder knows all about it and it's definitely the one to use.
Ry Cooder - 13 Question Method [originally by Chuck Berry]

Beck cameoed in the White Stripes video The Hardest Button to Button, directed by the Michel Gondry. If you're a fan, check out the brilliant DVD compilation The Work of Michel Gondry, part of Palm Pictures' Diectors Label series. Much looking forward to his upcoming Be Kind Rewind next month, which incidentally stars Jack White's cosmic doppelganger Jack Black.

Beck has covered The White Stripes' Black Math live in concert before, although a bootleg has never surfaced. By the way, THE most conprehensive index of every live Beck song (invaluable to this post) can be found at

At a 2002 concert in Ann Arbor, Michigan Jack White joined Beck on stage for three songs, two of which were covers. As far as live recordings go, these are pretty great.

Beck with Jack White - 99 (live) [originally performed by Barbara Feldon]
Beck struggles with making a proper introduction to his special guest, who turns out to be Jack White (not Ghostface Killah). Now get this: they cover a novelty song spun off from the classic series Get Smart sung by Agent 99 herself, Barbara Feldon. Now I know as soon as you read that last line you were all itching to hear it, so here's the original too:
Barbara Feldon - 99

Beck with Jack White - Cold Brains (live)
Next, they played the acoustic folk song Cold Brains from 1998's Mutations.

Beck with Jack White - Last Fair Deal Gone Down [orginally by Robert Johnson]
...and then a Robert Johnson blues cover. Nice!

Beck - Go It Alone (featuring Jack White)
From 2005's Guero, Jack played bass on this groovy track. Producer duo The Dust Brothers produced Guero as well as 1996's Odelay. which reminds me... I've got to post that Dust Brothers remix of the Squirrel Nut Zippers sometime.

Beck - Wish Coin (Go It Alone) [Diplo Remix]
And because I'm fascinated with reinterpretations of all sorts, here's a remix of Go It Alone from the Guerolito remix album.

This isn't the only Beck that the White Stripes have teamed up with. In 2002, they played a set of Yardbirds songs with Jeff Beck himself, but that's a tale for another day...