Placebo update ’80s art classic

Lots of bands have strange evolutions over time – and Talk Talk went from being possible rivals to Duran Duran in 1982 to ambient art-rockers over the course of their five studio albums over the next decade.

Placebo, meanwhile, may have emerged around the same time as the Britpop crowd, but they’re still going strong over twenty years later, without having had to cross over to the comeback/nostalgia trail.

Placebo have just unveiled the video for their version of Talk Talk’s 1986 hit ‘Life’s What You Make It,‘ which probably remains Talk Talk’s best known song. Placebo’s Brian Molko had a concept in mind that was loosely based around the original 1986 Talk Talk video that was shot at night on London’s Wimbledon Common. Directed by Tim Pope – most famous for his work with The Cure – the video featured the band surrounded by nature, complete with, as Molko puts it, little beasties crawling over leaves. Brian felt that there could be an updated version, where the band would be robots playing instruments and that e-waste would replace nature, as it appears to be doing only a few decades after the song’s original release. The brief that the band put out to prospective directors was short, simple and open to interpretation: e-waste, please!” 

The only response they got was from Sasha Rainbow. The resulting video was shot in Agbogbloshie, a former wetland in the heart of Accra, in Ghana, which is home to one of the world’s largest electronic waste dumps. It sets an apocalyptic backdrop of first-world waste against the daily lives of those who inhabit this thoroughly otherworldly space.

She explains: “The two boys in the film live in this extraordinary place, which for me, highlights a human’s ability to adapt with incredible strength, resilience, and humanity.” She adds: “I hoped to capture the environment in a dreamily meditative way that would at once juxtapose and yet synergise with the theme of the song, and glimpse at part of the repercussions of our current technological revolution. On the one hand, technology is enabling us to create things beyond our wildest imagination, and yet little discussion has been had about what to do with all our discarded e-waste.”

Placebo will also be on tour in the UK in October:

Sat 7  Edinburgh Usher Hall
Sun 8  Dundee Caird Hall
Tue 10  Doncaster Dome
Wed 11  Blackpool Empress Ballroom
Fri 13 Reading Rivermead
Sat 14  Cardiff Motorpoint Arena
Mon 16 Portsmouth Guildhall
Tue 17  Swindon Oasis
Fri 20  Plymouth Pavilions
Sat 21 Wolverhampton Civic Hall
Mon 23  London O2 Brixton Academy

It’s Friday…so it’s covers time


Utterly exhausted here.

Sorry for lack of posts over the last few days -yesterday evening I burned my hand and was more concerned with trying to make sure I was actually going to be able to get into work today.

There will be more reviews appearing here over the weekend – but for now enjoy these…

Ash -‘Does Your Mother Know? (Abba cover).’ mp3

Black Box Recorder -‘Seasons In the Sun (Terry Jacks cover).’ mp3

Teenage Fanclub -‘Like A Virgin (Madonna cover).’ mp3

Placebo -‘Johnny & Mary (Robert Palmer cover).’ mp3

Manic Street Preachers -‘Suicide Is Painless (Theme From M*A*S*H)( M*A*S*H cover).’ mp3

Siouxsie & the Banshees -‘The Passenger (Iggy Pop cover).’ mp3

Mercury Rev -‘I Don’t Want To Be A Soldier (John Lennon cover).’ mp3

Flying Saucer Attack -‘Outdoor Miner (Wire cover).’ mp3

Primal Scream -‘Know Your Rights (Clash cover).’ mp3

Sonic Youth -‘Hot Wire My Heart (Crime cover).’ mp3

Some covers for Sunday night


Yup, a quick fun post of cover versions…

First up, posted these before but two great and very different versions of one of the best songs of the decade:

Manic Street Preachers -‘Umbrella.’ mp3

Biffy Clyro -‘Umbrella.’ mp3

Meanwhile…I posted Voxtrot’s cover version of ‘Love Vigilantes’ by New Order a couple of weeks ago; here are two other takes:

Hungry Lucy -‘Love Vigilantes (New Order cover).’ mp3

Laura Cantrell -‘Love Vigilantes (New Order cover).’ mp3

And almost New Order…three takes on foreerunner Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ by two different acts…

Susanna and the Magical Orchestra -‘Love Will Tear Us Apart (Joy Division cover).’ mp3

Swans -‘Love Will Tear Us Apart (Jarboe vocal).’ mp3

Swans -‘Love Will Tear Us Apart (Gira vocal).’ mp3

Finally, let’s finish off with some Kate Bush covers…

Placebo -‘Running Up That Hill (Kate Bush cover).’ mp3

Swimmer One -‘Cloudbusting (Kate Bush cover).’ mp3

The Futureheads -‘The Hounds Of Love (Kate Bush cover).’ mp3

China Drum -‘Wuthering Heights (Kate Bush cover).’ mp3

One of my favourite cover versions at the moment is X-Lion Tamer’s take on ‘Tugboat’ by Galaxie 500, available from all good download stores now…


I received a communique from a reader called Laura earlier today asking if I could repost Placebo’s cover of ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again.’

Well, I thought, why not, and then I thought -make a post of it!

So, ALL VIA YOUSENDIT, here are some Placebo covers:

Placebo -‘Bigmouth Strikes Again.’ mp3 (Smiths cover)

Placebo -‘Holocaust.’ mp3 (Big Star cover)

Placebo -‘Johnny and Mary.’ mp3 (Robert Plamer cover)

Placebo -‘Running Up That Hill.’ mp3 (Kate Bush cover)

Placebo -’20th Century Boy.’ mp3 (T.Rex cover)

and for a wee bonus…

Plaecbo -‘Slave To The Wage (Les Rhythmes Digitales New Wave mix).’ mp3

Placebo’s website is here

BTW, am planning on doing a post on cover versions The Fall have done. Watch this space…

Some Covers For Sunday III

Well, I have been away for a few days with Mrs. 17 Seconds, but the cats and the flat have been looked after well by our friend Ken whilst we were off in Italy. Edinburgh seems rather grey and overcast after the delights of Tuscany.

Anyway, how’s about some covers for Sunday, then?

First up, a trio of delights from Placebo:

Placebo -’20th Century Boy (T.Rex cover).’ mp3

Placebo -‘Holocaust (Bog Star cover).’ mp3

Placebo -‘Bigmouth Strikes Again (The Smiths cover).’ mp3

This is a cover of a Leonard Cohen song from his I’m Your Man album, by the Jesus and Mary Chain, which as well as being a b-side (1990’s Rollercoaster EP) was on the Leonard Cohen tribute album I’m Your Fan.

Jesus And Mary Chain -‘Tower Of Song (Leonard Cohen cover).’ mp3

The Strokes may have claimed ignorance of Television, Tori Amos apparently surprised at comparisons to Kate Bush, but at least the Manic Street Preachers never denied the obvious impact The Clash had on them:

Manic Street Preachers -‘Train In Vain (The Clash cover).’ mp3

Can you ever have too many Beatles covers? Er, well, depends as if they are as good as this…

Gene -‘Don’t Let Me Down (The Beatles cover).’ mp3

Finally, this has become quite a legendary cover, but why not, eh?

Belly -‘Trust In Me (cover from The Jungle Book).’ mp3

Enjoy. As always, if you like what you hear, support the artists involved.
I Should be posting more regularly now I’m back, though hibernating seems like an appealing option right now…

Some Covers For Monday II

Hell, now that maybe one or two more people are reading this blog, a few more covers I thought I’d repost:

Foo Fighters -‘Baker Street (Gerry Rafferty cover).’ mp3

Placebo -‘Running Up That Hill (Kate Bush cover).’ mp3

Futureheads -‘Let’s Dance (David Bowie cover).’ mp3

The Raincoats -‘Lola (The Kinks cover).’ mp3

Sonic Youth -‘ Superstar (The Carpenters cover).’ mp3

Idlewild -‘I Found That Essence Rare (Gang Of Four cover).’ mp3

Ian Brown -‘Billie Jean (Michael Jackson cover).’ mp3

And one I haven’t posted before…

The Fall -‘A Day In The Life (The Beatles cover).’ mp3

Enjoy. And as always, if you like what you hear, support the artists through your local independent record shop.

Seven Covers For Sunday

Here, rather like it suggests on the tin, are seven covers for Sunday. I am now only six days away from my wedding to the wonderful soon to be Mrs. 17 Seconds, so there may not be as many posts as I run around trying to sort out yet another thing.

One thing there will be is the very first 17 Seconds interview, with Swimmer One. Hopefully up here tomorrow…

Hell Is For Heroes-‘Boys Don’t Cry (Cure cover).’ mp3

Idlewild-‘Everything Flows (Teenage Fanclub cover).’ mp3

Placebo-‘Bigmouth Strikes Again (Smiths cover).’ mp3

Katzenjammers-‘Cars (Gary numan cover).’ mp3

Flying Saucer Attack-‘Outdoor Miner (Wire cover).’ mp3

Sonic Youth-‘Into The Groove(y)(Madonna cover).’ mp3

Nirvana-‘Molly’s Lips (Vaselines cover).’ mp3

OK, you know the drill…these mp3s will be up for one week only. If you like what you hear, support the artists involved, preferably through an independent record shop.

Some Covers For Sunday

It’s Sunday – and time for some more covers!

First up, these three came with a free CD with Q magazine last year. The Futureheads track was recorded exclusively for Q; the Camera Obscura and Placebo tracks had been available commercially. Try ebay or iTunes.

Camera Obscura -‘Modern Girl (Sheena Easton cover).’ mp3

Placebo -‘Running Up That Hill (Kate Bush cover).’ mp3

The Futureheads -‘Let’s Dance (David Bowie cover).’ mp3

These next three tracks all appear on a compilation called ‘If I Were A Carpenter‘ whihc was a tribute album, not to Tim Hardin but to The Carpenters. These are my favourite three tracks off the album.

Sonic Youth -‘Superstar (Carpenters cover).’ mp3

Shonen Knife -‘Top Of The World (Carpenters cover).’ mp3

Bettie Serveert -‘For All We Know (Carpenters cover).’ mp3

This track appears on the Raincoats’ debut album, the sleevenotes for which were written by none other than Kurt Cobain. It also later turned up on the rather fine Rough Trade Shops Post-Punk 1 compilation. On the latter album, the sleevenotes (this time not by Kurt Cobain) note that one of the 100% endearing things about this version of The Kinks’ classic is that it sounds like it is about to fall apart any second.

The Raincoats -‘Lola (Kinks cover).’ mp3

Finally, this cover of Gerry Rafferty’s most famous song (though Stuck In The Middle With You probably is very close, thanks to its inclusion in Reservoir Dogs) was originally recorded for a compilation for EMI, and then turned up as one of the extra tracks on the ‘My Hero’ CD single.

Foo Fighters -‘Baker Street (Gerry Rafferty cover).’ mp3

Links removed May 27, 2007

Some Covers For Friday

Now that I have finally got the hang of how to get stuff from CD converted into mp3 (like everything; easy WHEN you know how!), I thought I would delve through my CD singles (I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of any more, even though I don’t play them very often) and post some covers. In the world of the mp3 blogs it seems that people often stick covers up on the weekend. Well, no time like the present.

Please note: all the singles I refer to here are the UK releases. If iTunes cannot help you, try ebay

This track was originally on the ‘Carnival’ single in 1995. Whilst some of their later releases could be rockier, does anyone else think The Cardigans sounded quite ‘twee’ circa the Life album? Check that name for starters. Though not many twee indiepop bands tended to cover Ozzy Osbourne. As far as I know.

Cardigans – ‘Mr. Crowley (Ozzy Osbourne cover).’ mp3

This track was originally recorded for the Leonard Cohen tribute album I’m Your Fan (ouch!), and also turned up on the CD single to ‘Drive’ in 1992.

REM -‘First We Take Manhattan (Leonard Cohen cover).’ mp3

This track was on the ‘Kowalski’ single in 1997, a cover of the track from the Clash’s Combat Rock album.

Primal Scream -‘Know Your Rights (Clash cover).’ mp3

I cannot say I was ever a huge Robert Palmer fan, and the album this song originally was on, Clues, did little to alter that. This track, though, is a classic and was used for numerous years to advertise Vauxhall cars in the UK (Opel to any any European readers). Placebo’s cover appeared on one of the CD singles of ‘Taste In Men.’

Placebo -‘Johnny And Mary (Robert Palmer cover).’ mp3

John Lennon’s anti-war activities unnerved Richard Nixon. Rather like upsetting the Daily Mail (a UK newspaper that is just poison on paper and reminds you of the downsides of free speech) this is probably A GOOD THING. This cover, by Mercury Rev, appeared on the re-issue of ‘Goddess on A Hiway’ in 1999.

Mercury Rev-‘I Don’t Want To Be A Soldier (John Lennon cover).’ mp3

I was really tempted to post Johnny Cash’s version of ‘Hurt,’ because it is so good, but then it occured to me that the song has been posted a hell of a lot. So, why not post his cover of Glen Campbell’s ‘Wichita Lineman,’ which was recorded for American IV: The Man Comes Around, but is only on the vinyl version of the album and the ‘Hurt/Personal Jesus’ CD single.

Johnny Cash -‘Wichita Lineman (Glen Campbell cover).’ mp3

Gang Of Four’s Entertainment! has really come back into vogue with all those bands showing ‘post-punk’ influences. Apparently not a single, but this was covered by Idlewild on their ‘Live In A Hiding Place’ single.

Idlewild -‘I Found That Essence Rare (Gang Of Four cover).’ mp3

Michael Jackson, whatever the problems he has had (and I really can’t be bothered to go into it all here), has been responsible for some fantastic music. Ian Brown is a man who knows this, and told us via his ‘Dolphins Were Monkeys’ single.

Ian Brown -‘Dolphins Were Monkeys (Michael Jackson cover).’ mp3

One of my claims to fame is that in 1991, I was in the audience at the Smash Hits Poll Winners Party when Philip Schofield took the mick out of Carter the Unstoppable Sex Machine for their name – and guitarist Fruitbat decked him. On Live Television. Considering what a ‘family-orientated’ show it was (Salt ‘n’ Pepa couldn’t perform
‘ Let’s Talk About Sex’ because it mentioned sex, and performed a far inferior tune instead), Carter were performing ‘After The Watershed,’ which dealt with the issue of child abuse. The single contained their cover of the Inspiral Carpets ‘This Is How It Feels’, and my brother and I have always felt it superior. My brother recently got the chance to meet Jim Bob, the other Carter guy, who is by all accounts, a thoroughly decent bloke.

Carter USM -‘This Is How It Feels (Inspiral Carpets cover).’ mp3

Teenage Fanclub. A legendary Scottish band who covered a Bevis Frond song and according to Nick Salmond of the Frond, earned him more money than anything else. BMX Bandits. A legendary Scottish band who covered a Teenage Fanclub song which featured a Kylie lookalike in the video. Singer Duglas T. Stewart once (*allegedly) tried to copy the K Foundation by burning all the profits from his career on the radio. Predictably, the 50p piece failed to catch alight.

BMX Bandits -‘Kylie’s Got A Crush On Us (Teenage Fanclub cover).’ mp3

OK, you should know the drill by now. These covers will be up here for one week only. If you like them, support the artists involved, and with covers, make sure you also investigate the original if you haven’t already.

Have a good one, Ed x