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Caturday Covers

Posted: June 4th, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Caturday Covers | Comments Off on Caturday Covers

Violent Femmes – Good Feeling
White Hassle – Good Feelings

Andy Kim – Rock Me Gently
White Hassle – Rock Me Gently

(To begin with, please assume that I am using the band names “Railroad Jerk” and “White Hassle” interchangeably, and that both are meant to refer primarily to the human name “Marcellus Hall.”) Though I came to them a few years late, Railroad Jerk have always seemed to me to hit a mid-90s sweet spot between early Beck’s ramshackle, tin-pan clang and Pavement’s mildly sneering sloppiness. Add in just a drop of Lower East Side punk and you have something purely evocative of a particular time in music. Or maybe it’s just that the combination screams “Matador Records” that leaves me with such warm feelings of brain-eating nostalgia.

Anyway, they’ve probably had a greater reach into my life-force than the Violent Femmes ever did, but we’re nevertheless dealing with one of my favorite Violent Femmes songs here. It kills me the way Marcellus Hall rolls over the phrasing around “have to find a bed / that can take this weight,” totally destroying the most important part of the original song. Otherwise I love the thrift store charm of this cover, the way Marcellus Hall’s voice approaches Gordon Gano’s weary whine while still retaining a certain distance. He’s good for this kind of constant wavering between warmth and possible contempt, so that you can never quite be sure whether to take the song seriously. These two covers, though, are remarkably faithful despite nevertheless sounding perfectly at home with the rest of the Railroad Jerk / White Hassle discog.

(What can we say about the Andy Kim version of “Rock Me Gently” that hasn’t already been captured in the sound of a million cats barfing and then eating their barf (do cats do that?) and then barfing again?)

Gnarls Barkley – Crazy
Violent Femmes – Crazy

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