Tag Archives: covers

New Luna video: Fire in Cairo starring Rose McGowan

Video: Luna – “Fire in Cairo”

Luna – “Fire in Cairo” (Official Music Video)

From A Sentimental Education, due September 22 on PledgeMusic/Double Features Records.

My favorite era of the Cure is the Three Imaginary Boys period before they incorporated synths. They were just scrappy young punks with a clever sense of melody. Their gloomy stuff is great too, of course, but I drove around for an entire year of high school with a tape of Boys Don’t Cry stuck in the cassette deck of my Cutlass Supreme (with Love and Rockets’ Earth•Sun•Moon on the flip) and never got tired of it. While never showcased as a single, “Fire in Cairo” is a highlight of that era.

Luna is the band that Dean Wareham started after leaving Galaxie 500. They’re a 90s band, but they got back together a couple years ago to tour and record an album of covers. Their take on “Fire in Cairo” sticks pretty close to the original arrangement but the tone of the guitars and Wareham’s vocals make it sound like classic Luna.

The video follows Rose McGowan around as she goes about her day, hanging with friends, admiring fan art drawings, taking in a rock show at Gold Diggers, doing interviews, etc. It seems to suggest a commentary on the loneliness of aging, but that might just be me projecting my own feelings onto it.

Luna: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

Via Slicing Up Eyeballs.

Continue reading New Luna video: Fire in Cairo starring Rose McGowan

Dawes covers Jackson Browne

Stream: Dawes – “Something Fine”

Dawes has an obvious affection for Jackson Browne. Singer Taylor Goldsmith’s voice sounds so similar to Browne’s, it took me a long time to realize that Browne contributed vocals to “Fire Away” on last year’s Nothing Is Wrong. They even played a couple of songs together for Occupy Wall Street in December. And now Dawes faithfully covers Browne’s song from his 1972 self-titled debut.

Video: Jackson Browne – “Something Fine” (Old Grey Whistle Test, 1976)

Five From the Archive: Umphrey’s McGee in 2012

About two and a half years ago, we ran our first “Five From the Archive” piece. We called it “Top Five Covers by Umphrey’s McGee”, predating the official series name, since we only decided to make it a more regular item after we saw how much interest the Umphrey’s McGee covers generated. Since we’ll be sending a team to cover Summer Camp Music Festival over Memorial Day weekend, and Umphrey’s McGee will be playing each night of the festival, we decided it was a good time to revisit and see what other brilliant covers we could highlight.

1. Umphrey’s McGee – “Burnin’ For You”: Have some Blue Oyster Cult with your Wheaties today. This is the first time they played this one. Anyone remember the video from early MTV? I was around 12 or so when I first saw that and “Don’t Fear The Reaper.” Great memories. In this version, Cinninger has got the licks down pat, and delivers a smoking little solo in the midst of this B.O.C. celebration. Full show: February 17, 2012 – LC Pavilion, Columbus, OH

2. Umphrey’s McGee – “Dear Prudence”: A pretty straightforward cover of a classic Beatles track. It’s not a jam-a-lot version, like you might hear from the Jerry Garcia Band, Furthur, and other post-Grateful Dead bands that cover it. But it hits all the right notes. A quick four and a half minute jaunt into Beatles space. Full show: February 16, 2012 – The Fillmore, Charlotte, NC

3. Umphrey’s McGee – “The National Anthem”: Great Radiohead cover. An appropriately spacey exploration of the song, always grounded by the unstoppable, anthemic bass line. Full show: February 9, 2012 – Town Ballroom, Buffalo, NY

4. Umphrey’s McGee – “Hollywood Nights”: Man, these guys just nail this one! It’s my favorite of the bunch –  a great all American, Midwest rock and roll song from Ann Arbor’s own Bob Seger. From 1978’s Stranger In Town, which was like some sort of Midwestern rock anthem hit factory (also included “Old Time Rock n Roll”). The vocals are on fire. Cinneger rips some hot licks. Full show: January 21, 2012 – Best Buy Theater, New York, NY

5. Umphrey’s McGee – “Cheap Sunglasses”: This is from the first of two pre-party Jam Cruise X shows by Umphrey’s McGee, both of which were at Revolution Live in Fort Lauderdale. Another pretty straightforward cover, with some nice soloing by Cinninger in the middle again. Full show: January 8, 2012 – Revolution Live, Fort Lauderdale, FL

On Jake Cinninger, lead guitarist and one of the vocalists in Umphrey’s McGee: Is there anybody out there playing better than him? With the range and depth of ability? I ask the question. I don’t know the answer, but I’m leaning towards no, there isn’t.

Photo of Umphrey’s McGee taken by Mike Vasquez at the All Good Music Festival in 2010.

Five From the Archive: Greensky Bluegrass

Greensky Bluegrass is a local Michigan band done good. Coming out of Kalamazoo, they hit a soft spot for me right away, since that’s where I (and some other GLONO folks) went to college. And they have done a lot of shows at a place I know well: Bell’s Brewery. I was drinking their beer when they were still putting it in wine bottles. And I look forward to summer mostly because that’s when Solsun Oberon is available.

More importantly, these guys have put together a great band. Their originals are fantastic, and they incorporate a lot of different bluegrassified rock covers. I don’t know what your conception of bluegrass might be, but I can tell you that Greensky’s music is joyous.  Something about the banjo playing just drives the band’s music forward with a bounce, the same way it did in Neil Young’s International Harvesters.

I’ve spent some time this week going through their 2012 shows and pulling out noteworthy covers. Below are five of the most enjoyable.

1. Greensky Bluegrass – “Atlantic City”. This may be my all time favorite Bruce Springsteen song. These guys give it the treatment it deserves. It’s like the middle ground between Bruce’s version and The Band’s version. To top it off, they end this particular show with an 11 minute “Small Axe” cover. Full show: February 8, 2012 – Bluebird Theater, Denver, CO

2. Greensky Bluegrass – “Don’t Stop Believing”. This cover pretty much speaks for itself. Journey, baby! Of course, most of the audience knew the lyrics and sang along. Full show: February 4, 2012 – Bell’s Back Room, Kalamazoo, MI

3. Greensky Bluegrass – “Time/Breathe Reprise”. This may be my favorite of the bunch. It’s got a jaunty bluegrass step to it that masks the morbid rumination in the lyrics. “The Sun is the same in a relative way, but you’re older, shorter of breath, and one day closer to death.” How about that banjo, though? Snappy and upbeat. Full show: January 26, 2012 – Canopy Club, Urbana, IL

4. Greensky Bluegrass – “Ain’t No Sunshine”. This is from their New Year’s Eve show at the Majestic Theater in Detroit. Somehow, these guys have managed to turn this song about love and heartache into a murder ballad. About love and heartache after the song’s protagonist has killed his beloved in a fit of angry passion. At least, that’s how it felt to me. And  it’s fucking fantastic. Full show: December 31, 2011 – Majestic Theater, Detroit, MI

5. Greensky Bluegrass – “Road to Nowhere”. They also played this when I saw them at the All Good Music Festival in 2010 (coverage here, here, and here). Full show: January 20, 2012 – Middle East Upstairs, Cambridge, MA

If you like what you hear, and want to explore more, intrepid tapers have been uploading full shows to the Live Music Archive for years. They’re also currently on their Spring tour – with some upcoming dates in Michigan. Check out the tour dates here and go see them if you get a chance.

Five From the Archive: Elliott Smith’s Best Covers

Elliott Smith always picked interesting songs to cover. Some that were well known, some that were more obscure. But they were all good. They certainly hit my musical sweet spot. These five selections are just a sampling — he was a serial covererist — and you can find more just browsing through the shows available on the Internet Music Archive.

1. Elliott Smith – “Harvest Moon”. I’ll be honest. I’m a huge Neil fan, but not that big a fan of this song. Or the album it comes from. But this is a really tender cover of the song, and I think Elliott brings out the best in the song. I think I prefer this version over Neil’s. Full show:  April 5, 1999 – Ludlow’s, Columbus, OH

2. Elliott Smith – “Jealous Guy”. He played this a lot in 1998. His whistling is a little weak in this version — which is why he usually asked the audience to whistle with him — but the sound quality is outstanding. Soundboard recording. Full show: April 17, 1998 – Black Cat, Washington, DC

3. Elliott Smith – “Ballad of a Thin Man”. “Something is happening, but you don’t know what it is… do you, Mr. Jones?” When it starts, just Elliott playing his guitar, you can hear the telltale rustle of the snare as he strums. It’s about to get loud in there. Full show: October 11, 1998 – 400 Club, Minneapolis, MN

4. Elliott Smith – “Isn’t It a Pity”. “Isn’t it a pity? Isn’t it a shame? How we break each other’s hearts, and cause each other pain?” Lyrically, it’s a perfect cover choice for Elliott. Heartbreaking vocals accompanied only by his acoustic guitar. A soundboard recording. Full show: August 12, 1998 – Maxwell’s, Hoboken, NJ

5. Elliott Smith – “Out on the Weekend”. This is the poorest quality recording of the bunch. It’s still going to blow your mind. It wraps up with about two minutes of mumbling into the microphone, but I can’t understand what he’s saying… From: December 21, 2001 – Showbox, Seattle, WA

Flaming Lips – I Am the Walrus

Video: Flaming Lips – “I Am the Walrus”

I actually expected this to be a lot weirder than it is. It’s a surprisingly faithful rendition of the Beatles classic, considering the stripped-down nature of the effort. It’s almost entirely driven by the fuzzed out Rickenbacker bass, but Drozd fills in all the sound effects with his own mouth.

I can remember buying the Beatles’ “Blue Album” on vinyl from Believe in Music on Plainfield Avenue. I was in junior high, and it made a big impression on me. “Walrus” was my favorite. The lyrics blew my innocent mind. I had never heard anything like it with its self-references (“See how they fly like Lucy in the Sky”) and its graphic, gory images (“Yellow matter custard dripping from a dead dog’s eye”). It’s an intense song.

The Lips do it justice, reveling in the psychedelia, but not taking themselves too seriously. It’s a rock song, and these guys emphasize that. People are too reverential about the Beatles. Putting them so high up on a pedestal obscures the fact that the Beatles were just four guys who wrote and played cool songs. You don’t have to be a God to do that. You just need to find someone to pound the shit out of a drum set.

Speaking of drummers, dig that Tonight’s the Night shirt!

Merry Clayton – Gimme Shelter

Merry ClaytonWe posted a link to this gem on Twitter last week but it’s too awesome to hide away in that ghetto so we’re putting it here on the front page.

Merry Clayton is responsible for the spine tingling backing vocals on the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter” and in 1970 she released her own version. This is a scorcher, folks. It’s just a kiss away.

Video: Merry Clayton – “Gimme Shelter”

And check out the isolated tracks of the original Stones version. The genius of this song just becomes clearer.

Merry Clayton: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, eMusic, MOG, wiki

The Rolling Stones: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, eMusic, MOG, wiki

The Sinatras – She Said I’m Neil Young

Video: The Sinatras – She Said I’m Neil Young

The Sinatras perform “She Said She Said” and “I’m Neil Young” at Access Vision Studios. April of 1992, Battle Creek, Michigan.

This was the era when the Sinatras first blew my mind. You can see from this video exactly why Twin/Tone expressed an interest in them; they would’ve fit in perfectly there. They were so great, and they deserve far more recognition than they’ve ever received. If you’re not familiar with these guys you can read our big, long feature from 2006: The Sinatras: Kinda Like Love. And you should definitely check out their album, Life in Flames, finally released in 2009 after being tinkered with for more than a decade.

The Sinatras: iTunes, Amazon, eMusic, MOG, MySpace, Facebook.

Continue reading The Sinatras – She Said I’m Neil Young

Elliott Smith – Thirteen

An Introduction to Elliott SmithMP3: Elliott Smith – “Thirteen” (Big Star cover) offered by Kill Rock Stars in honor of the release of An Introduction to Elliott Smith, out now.

That song is not on the compilation, but these ones are:

Elliott Smith – “Between the Bars”

Elliott Smith – “Twilight”

Elliott Smith – “Last Call”

Elliott Smith: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, eMusic, wiki

Glorious Noise Records: Riviera Returns, New Order Cover

GLONO Records: Riviera So, yeah…Riviera is back…sorta. As most loyal readers know, Mick and I moved to Portland a while back. Well, this city is just too great to NOT play here. And since we have a ton of stuff to sell still we figured it made sense to resurrect the Riviera name.

You can get all the nitty gritty details on the band’s website or at ReverbNation, but the gist is that we found some great, great players here in Portland and will be playing some shows starting December 4.

In the meantime, enjoy this clip of me and pal Hamilton Sims of Little Beirut covering New Order’s “Love Vigilantes” shot in the GLONO West HQ, La Finca.

We miss the Chicago crew something fierce and could never replace those boys even if we wanted to. But the music calls! Be sure to check out Josh B’s new joint too.

Riviera: iTunes, Amazon, Insound, eMusic, wiki, web, ReverbNation.