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Caturday Covers: “a classic of morose introspection”

Posted: May 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Caturday Covers, machines | Comments Off on Caturday Covers: “a classic of morose introspection”

Supposedly written by that asshole Jackson Brown at sixteen, the first recorded version of “These Days” was actually released by Nico* (with Jackson Brown on guitar, I think), in 1967. (Our generation will forever associate this, the “classic” version of the song, with the image of Gwyneth Paltrow walking toward us in slow motion.)

(*Nico, as evidenced by her diction in this recording, was the first iteration of the highly-secret German Femmebot program, inhumanly attractive but soulless robots who were originally fueled only by heroin).

Elliott Smith, also fueled by heroin (though not a robot), frequently performed “These Days” live, this version from 1999 being the most notable for the way it sounds like it’s being played in a teenager’s bedroom to an audience of no one, for no reason other than the singer’s sad enjoyment. This and the following version seem pretty hell-bent on undoing the coolness of Nico-bot’s version by replacing it with unashamed sentimentality (while at the same time missing out on the soul-eating dread that infuses every line Nico sings).

St. Vincent, for whom the song apparently has SENTIMENTAL SIGNIFICANCE, also frequently performs it live. My favorite version by far is this (mildly jazzified) one recorded in DUMBO in 2007:

Like Elliott Smith’s, St. Vincent’s performance is relatively faithful to the Nico version while seeming pretty inwardly-focused considering the cameras in her face. Look at her expression around 2:17 to 2:22, and then her head-shake at 2:28-32. You are pregnant now.

(What I enjoy about covers is seeing a good songwriter appreciate a song as a fan, without the baggage of artistic intentions. This may be what makes this particular song such a great vehicle for covers (there are many more): the fact that even its first recorded version was an interpretation.)

(For your convenience I have extracted the audio from the clip above and present it to you in MP3 form.)

Contrast all this with that asshole Jackson Brown, performing the song in 1978:

And, for no reason other than that it has the same title, my second-favorite Joy Division song, “These Days”:

Caturday Covers

Posted: April 24th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Caturday Covers, machines | Tags: | Comments Off on Caturday Covers

The Smith’s “Handsome Devil,” off of Hatful of Hollow. Morrissey sounds like he’s bluffing, which privileges the “eager to be held” aspect over the “let me get my hands on…” aspect.

Parenthetical Girls’ cover of “Handsome Devil,” which unlocks all the predatory masculinity that’s somehow a million times less menacing in the original. Zac Pennington is not bluffing. With those chimes the song becomes more of a warning, and the weird pace adds a layer of sleaze that Morrissey is incapable of. Somehow Morrissey can sing these lines and still sound weirdly chaste (British?), whereas Zac Pennington wants to make it abundantly clear that THIS IS A SONG ABOUT GAY CRUISING.

To put it another way, the Smiths version will probably chicken out and just want to hug all night, whereas the Parenthetical Girls’ version is never going to call you again and is probably going to post explicit photos of you on Facebook.

Bonus, for the quiffage:

Caturday Covers: the greatest song ever written and re-recorded

Posted: April 17th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Caturday Covers, machines | 2 Comments »

This week I am giving you my all-time forever favorite song in various of its incarnations. First, the pre-original, Joy Division’s “Ceremony.” This is one of only two versions with Ian Curtis singing, recorded at a live performance sixteen days before his suicide.

After Joy Division became New Order, the song was re-recorded with Bernard Sumner having transcribed the lyrics from those two originals (and re-written the first verse which is indistinguishable in both). This is the album version of “Ceremony,” off of New Order’s Movement.

BUT, my preferred version and favorite song of all-time favorite songs forever, and the song I will die to, is Xiu Xiu’s (massively gayified) version of Ceremony, from Chapel of the Chimes, which unsurprisingly replaces the focused angst of the original with unconstrained hysteria.

Bonus section:
Here is an obvious failed attempt at trying to figure out what made Ceremony so good, post-Ian Curtis, which is nevertheless the best song New Order ever made, “Leave Me Alone.”

Here is Xiu Xiu remixing their more recent live version of Ceremony.

Here is a disgusting, too-stoned-to-know-what-makes-this-song-good version of Ceremony by Galaxie 500.

Also, Radiohead:

Caturday Covers: Alex Chilton RIP

Posted: April 10th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Caturday Covers, machines | Comments Off on Caturday Covers: Alex Chilton RIP

For your consideration, Big Star’s “Thirteen,” in its unsurpassed original form.

Or: Elliott Smith, taking the lyrics to heart a bit too slavishly, on the Thumbsucker soundtrack.

But: Evan Dando performing a live version of “Thirteen” that is somehow tossed-off yet more faithful to the teenage menace that’s just under the surface of the original. (Say what you will about his never-try attitude, Evan Dando has an effortless understanding of power pop).

Bonus: The Replacements’ “Alex Chilton,” a song which explains why you love Alex Chilton without ever having heard of him.

Caturday Covers

Posted: April 4th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Caturday Covers, machines | Comments Off on Caturday Covers

Because I love you, here is Why?’s cover of Xiu Xiu’s “Wig Master.”

But because I want you to remain open-minded, here is the original Wig Master, off of Air Force.

And, to further confuse you as to my intent, here is Xiu Xiu’s cover of Why?’s “Yo Yo Bye Bye.”

Boom, baby

Posted: January 15th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: machines | Comments Off on Boom, baby

But don’t forget:

I knew it!

Posted: March 3rd, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: holy shit !1, just for you, machines | Comments Off on I knew it!

the boehner family is totally right