Tag Archives: covers

New Goshen Electric Co video: The Gray Tower

Video: Goshen Electric Co. – “The Gray Tower”

Goshen Electric Co. - The Gray Tower (Official Video)

Single b/w “Ring the Bell” due November 2 on Secretly Canadian.

Goshen Electric Co. is what happens when Strand of Oak’s Tim Showalter spends a half a day in the studio with the members of Magnolia Electric Co (Mike Benner, Jason Evans Groth, Mikey Kapinus, Mark Rice, Peter Schreiner).

The digital single will include an extended, nine-minute version of “Ring the Bell” from Songs: Ohia’s Didn’t It Rain (2002) and Magnolia Electric Co.’s Trials & Errors (2005).

It’s been more than five years since Jason Molina died and it hasn’t started hurting any less. Showalter feels the loss as deeply as anybody. “There was such an intimate relationship with his music -– it felt a lot deeper than just liking a song,” he’s said. “You live in these songs.”

Showalter and the band toured Europe, calling themselves “Songs: Molina – A Memorial Electric Co.” This seems like an appropriate tribute to a singer and songwriter who is terribly missed.

Magnolia Electric Co.: amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

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New Willie Nelson video: One for My Baby

Video: Willie Nelson – “One for My Baby (And One More for the Road)”

Willie Nelson - One for My Baby (And One More for the Road) (Official Music Video)

From My Way, out September 14 on Sony Legacy.

Another one from Willie’s tribute to Frank Sinatra. “One for My Baby” is a classic Johnny Mercer lyric set to a complex Harold tune, originally written for the 1943 Fred Astaire film, The Sky’s the Limit. The scene in which it appears features my all-time favorite dance routine as Astaire drunkenly trashes the hotel bar.

Frank owns it though. Of course he does. It’s the perfect sad sack, drunken, breakup song, which all real Sinatra fans prefer to his ring-a-ding-ding happy songs.

Willie’s version is fine. Mickey Raphael’s distinctive harmonica makes it sound like Willie but the orchestration is a little too generic and snoozeworthy. The strings obscure what otherwise distinguishes this arrangement: Willie’s guitar flourishes and some tasteful pedal steel. It would be much better without the lush stuff.

But hey, Willie’s a legend and can do whatever he wants.

Willie Nelson: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

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New Willie Nelson video: Summer Wind

Video: Willie Nelson – “Summer Wind”

Willie Nelson - Summer Wind (Official Music Video)

From My Way, due September 14 on Sony Legacy.

I love Frank Sinatra. When I was in college I visited a friend in Ann Arbor and we went record shopping and I ended up finding a mint used copy of the 4-CD Reprise Collection. We found somebody to buy us forties and we went back to his apartment and drank and listened to Frank while we thumbed through his roommate’s collection of Penthouse and Hustler magazines.

In a moment permanently etched into my memory, we were in the middle of Disc 2 when we both realized Frank was singing directly to the two of us:

To the guy who’d throw a party if he knew someone to call
Here’s to the losers, bless them all

From then on I’ve always associated “Here’s to the Losers” — and Frank’s Reprise years in general — with being a dopey college kid who dreamed of being all ring-a-ding-ding but in reality was way more dum-dee-dum-dum-dum. Still, good times.

Willie Nelson loves Frank Sinatra too.

“I learned a lot about phrasing listening to Frank,” he recently told AARP. “He didn’t worry about behind the beat or in front of the beat, or whatever — he could sing it either way, and that’s the feel you have to have.”

And now Willie’s releasing a new album, My Way, that pays tribute to Frank with 11 songs he made famous. “Summer Wind” is a breezy tune that originally appeared on Strangers in the Night in 1966. This is the era when 50-year-old Frank was sporting a new Caesar haircut and a new 20-year-old wife named Mia Farrow. Peak Sinatra bravado.

Willie is 85 now and doesn’t need a new haircut or a young wife to proves he’s not slowing down. This will be his second album of 2018, following April’s Last Man Standing. Willie’s cool is effortless.

Willie Nelson: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

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New Low Cut Connie video: Hey! Little Child

Video: Low Cut Connie video: “Hey! Little Child”

Low Cut Connie - "HEY! LITTLE CHILD" (official video)

From Dirty Pictures (Part 2), out now on Contender Records.

I heard a segment about this band on NPR last month and upon the recommendation of Ann Powers I checked them out. But the song I listened to didn’t live up to her description of “the essence of rock and roll.” The video is cool, but the song sounded a little too slick, like something one of the “rockers” on American Idol would’ve released after they finished in third place.

I figured they probably put on a fun live show but I don’t need to hear the album.

But then they go and cover Alex Chilton and now it’s a different story. This is good.

Plaid skirt and a flannel vest
Silly nubiles are the best

A dear friend of mine used to hang out with Chilton and heard stories about living across the street from the Catholic school mentioned in this song. The video is giving me flashbacks to my first visit to New Orleans when my pals and I spent an excessively drunken evening at the Muddy Waters in Uptown for a Tav Falco show. I somehow ended up passed out in the back seat of a Ford Fairlane.

Low Cut Connie’s Adam Weiner said, “Alex Chilton is one of my songwriting heroes. What a mercurial genius. We recorded our version of ‘Hey! Little Child’ in the same room in Ardent where he did the original. We are on the road constantly and spend a lot of time in divey bars talking to local yokels and shooting pool. Roy Power and his crew had the good sense to hang with us a couple nights snapping pictures of the band in our scruffy off-stage moments.”

Low Cut Connie: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

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New Regrettes video: Helpless

Video: The Regrettes – “Helpless”

"Helpless" by The Regrettes

Single available now.

I might be the last person on the planet who is completely unfamiliar with the Hamilton musical. I read the Ron Chernow book, but I dunno. Seemed like a corny concept to me. But what do I know? Apparently everybody thinks it’s awesome.

This is the only Hamilton song I’ve actually heard, and it sounds like a poppy love song. I guess I was expecting it to sound more like Schoolhouse Rock. Huh.

Also, this appears to be the first Regrettes release recorded since drummer Maxx Morando left the group. Not sure who the new guy is but he sounds fine. They’re still my favorite band.

The Regrettes: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

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New Juliana Hatfield video: Physical

Video: Juliana Hatfield – “Physical”

Juliana Hatfield - Physical (Official Video)

Directed by David Doobinin. From Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia-Newton John, out April 13 on American Laundromat.

Woo hoo, this is the second video Juliana Hatfield has released for her tribute to Olivia-Newton John.

Hatfield released a statement to Stereogum:

Olivia Newton-John’s lusty “Physical” is a groovy, bouncy song, but my take on it is darker, more aggro, because I don’t think of lust as fun or funny; I think it’s dangerous and disruptive and mostly unwelcome. So that is my interpretation of “Physical”: the human condition is a bummer, and desire a frustrating impediment to serenity.

I can see her point. But even so, even Hatfield’s downer attitude can’t prevent her version from being fun and groovy. ONJ agrees. She tweeted, “Very flattered that Juliana recorded this cd of my music! Great job!!”

I also like Hatfield’s purple suit in the video, a sly nod to Newtown-Johns’ tights in the original video. (See below.)

Juliana Hatfield: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

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New Oak Ridge Boys video: Pray To Jesus

Video: The Oak Ridge Boys – “Pray To Jesus”

The Oak Ridge Boys - “Pray To Jesus” (Official Video)

From 17th Avenue Revival, out March 16 on Lightning Rod Records.

We live in trailers and apartments too
From California to Kalamazoo

My first concert was the Oak Ridge Boys at the Ionia Free Fair during the summer of “Elvira.” I don’t remember much about the show except that the guy who looked like Grizzly Adams was wearing overalls with no shirt and his armpit hair went down to his waist. Now, I’m pretty sure that isn’t accurate or even anatomically possible, but it’s burned into my memory so deeply that it’s all I can picture whenever I think of the Oak Ridge Boys.

My only other memory of that day was that there was an old cop car, and for five bucks you could whack it with a sledgehammer. This too seems extremely improbable in retrospect, but all I can say is that 1981 was still the seventies at the Ionia Free Fair.

And now the Oak Ridge Boys are back with a scootin’ cover of a Brandy Clark jam. Any song that namedrops Kalamazoo in the first verse is okay by me.

Giddy up.

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New Breeders video: Joanne

Video: The Breeders – “Joanne” (Michael Nesmith cover)

The Breeders - Joanne (Filmed at Electrical Audio, Chicago)

All Nerve is out March 2 on 4AD. “Joanne” is not on the album.

“Joanne” is one of my favorite songs of all time. I first heard it back in college when Leppotone supergroup Twister covered it live at Club Soda in Kalamazoo. I was already a huge Monkees fan but had not yet discovered the solo work of Mike Nesmith. It quickly became an obsession as I gathered up as many Nez albums as I could find in the used record bins.

Just recently, Nesmith reformed his “First National Band” and played some shows in California. Nez is the only original member since pedal steel virtuoso Red Rhodes and bassist John London are dead and drummer John Ware was not interested. But it’s still awesome that Nesmith is back into playing the style of country rock that he helped create years before Glenn Frey ever met Don Henley. (Just listen to “Papa Gene’s Blues,” which Nez wrote and produced for the first Monkees album in 1966.)

Anyway, Kim Deal does a fine acoustic cover, recorded — and apparently filmed — by Steve Albini at Electrical Audio in Chicago. And while “Joanne” is not included on the upcoming Breeders album, it does appear as the b-side of the “Wait in the Car” single that is included in the vinyl bundle from 4AD.

The Breeders: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

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New Regrettes video: Soft Shock

Video: The Regrettes – “Soft Shock” (Yeah Yeah Yeahs cover)

The Regrettes - Soft Shock [Yeah Yeah Yeahs Cover]

My favorite band covers a song from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ third album.

I think they’re buying time while they’re working on their follow up to Feel Your Feelings, Fool. They played one new song (“Red Light”) in September at Riot Fest and shortly thereafter posted a video snippet of themselves working on it in the studio. It sounds great. More of that, please!

The Regrettes: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

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New Juliana Hatfield video: A Little More Love

Video: Juliana Hatfield – “A Little More Love”

Juliana Hatfield - A Little More Love (Official Video)

From Juliana Hatfield Sings Olivia Newton-John, out April 13 on American Laundromat.

I was in elementary school when Grease came out and I had the soundtrack on vinyl and I’d play it on my parents’ hi-fi, the kind where you could stack records and the next one would drop down and start playing once the first one was done. I never did this with the Grease soundtrack because even at that age I realized the Sha Na Na stuff wasn’t worth my time. I was all about John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John.

I hated Rizzo for being so mean to Sandy. I hated her. Hated! In fact, I hated her so much that I took a permanent red marker and obliterated Stockard Channing’s face in all the photos in the gatefold of the album. Not only that, I took a pair of scissors and scratched the shit out of the grooves of “Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee” so the song could never be played. Looking back, that reaction seems a little extreme. Were my parents worried? If so, they never said anything.

Apparently, they also weren’t worried about their seven-year-old boy listening (repeatedly) to a song with lyrics such as “you know I ain’t braggin’ / it’s a real pussy wagon” and “you know I ain’t shittin’ / I’ll be gettin’ lots of tit in Greased Lightning.” The 70s, man. It was a different time.

I wonder if Juliana Hatfield felt the same way about Rizzo. She’s about my age and she just recorded a whole album of Olivia Newton-John covers, due April 13 on American Laundromat Records. If “A Little More Love” is any indication, I can’t wait to hear the rest of it.

Juliana Hatfield: web, twitter, amazon, apple, spotify, wiki.

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