Monday covers

Like a lot of people of a certain age, the first band I ever remember hearing was The Beatles. The album in question was A Hard day’s Night and not, as many might think, Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band (not a bad album, but let’s face it, the majority of people who say it’s their favourite album only own five albums. I like the two Terry Pratchett books I’ve read, I’d like to read more but at the moment it seems a bit much to express a favourite). Because there are so many covers of the Beatles’ songs it gets hard at times to pick up on ones that really stand out. (I do like The Breeders’ version of Happiness Is A Warm Gun on Pod). But – and I know I did a big post on Low last time – I figured you had to hear this:

Low – ‘Nowhere Man.’ mp3

And this is a cover by Low of one of John Denver’s songs:

Low – ‘Back home Again.’ mp3

Thinking of the sixties, another classic band – The Beach Boys – get covered by Sonic Youth as the mp3 of the week at the Chromewaves site – the track in question is ‘I Know There’s An Answer.’ This, obviously, was on the seminal Pet Sounds. It was covered by Frank Black as ‘Hang Onto Your Ego on his first solo album. The New Order version can also be found on the re-issue of Goo, still my favourite Sonic Youth album.

The last Joy Division song or the start of New Order? There are places for these debates – but check out Galaxie 500 covering Ceremony:

Galaxie 500 – ‘Ceremony.’

There will be more covers tomorrow, but right now enjoy these. I’ll be back…

Whaddya mean you’ve never heard of…

Low. That’s right. There are people in this world who haven’t, and hungover as I am this Saturday morning (no-one to blame but myself) I decided that I wanted to make this post for these people. If you are already familiar with Low- I salute you.

Most people know ‘that’ feeling, when they hear a band and they realise that this is something truly, truly special. I don’t know, though, that it’s always the first time you hear a band. Back in 2000, in the Rough Trade Shop in Covent Garden, I picked up Low’s Christmas album, because I liked what I had heard, and I had read about it, and I also picked up the ‘Dinosaur Act’ 7″ that was new out. Two great records BUT the moment of revelation came a couple of months later when I heard ‘Sunflower’ on John Peel. ‘Sadcore?’ Whatever. This is one of the most heartbreaking songs ever released, yet life-affirming at the same time. I had to buy Things We Lost In The Fire.

Low – ‘Sunflower.’ mp3

This of course led me to other albums. About six months later their collaboration with Dirty 3, In a Fishtank 7 came out. Worth it for the cover of Neil Young’s Down By the River alone.

I heard Secret Name and the following year they put out Trust. They came and played in Edinburgh in February 2003, which was an amazing show. I remember walking out into one of the coldest nights I have ever felt. Somehow, it felt apt. This track is from Secret Name:

Low – ‘I Remember.’ mp3

Their box set, A Lifetime of Temporary Relief is also essential, partly because it contains this gem that they put out as a 7″ for the mighty Sub Pop

Low – ‘Venus.’ mp3

2005 saw the release of The Great Destroyer which showed almost a rocky Low. Here are the two opening tracks – go get ’em!

Low – ‘ Monkey.’ mp3

Low – ‘ California.’ mp3

Sunny street…very hot buildings

I gotta confess, I am absolutely shattered. And I have to thank those nice people at Dance To The Sun for the music behind the post this evening, so apologies if you’ve already read about this band there…

I know nothing about The Sunny Street – but they sound great, and perfect for a hazy summer evening. Their myspace page has four tracks – go get ’em!

It has been well-reported that Sleater-Kinney are breaking up. I only got into the band a couple of years ago, so I feel like a bit of a Johnny-come-lately posting on them. However, let me point you in the following direction whether or not you are familiar with the band:

the band’s official home page and their myspace page

Their pages at Subpop, their record label also has a few mp3s
A Blog Soup has a hell of a lot of stuff!
(thanks to Copy, Right? for pointing me in the direction of this. Go here to buy Sleater-Kinney if you like what you hear.

Finally, Victoria Bergsman has left The Concretes to pursue a solo career. It bugs me that The Concretes have not yet had the kind of success that they so clearly deserve. Courtesy of their webpage, check out these (snippets of)tracks, which should whet your appetite then go and buy their two very fine albums The Concretes and In Colour.

The Concretes – ‘Say Something New.’ mp3

The Concretes – ‘Diana Ross.’ mp3
Finally, I will add more blogs and links to this page. Right now I really, really gotta sleep…

I am not afraid of Yo La Tengo

There are many fantastic albums out already this year (Belle and Sebastian, Sonic Youth, My Latest Novel, The Pipettes and above all, Camera Obscura- see links to the right of this post to find their websites). There are many I have yet to hear – the disadvantage of no longer working in a record shop is that I simply don’t have the time to hear everything that comes out. However, even more than The Long Blondes album (according to this week’s NME it should be out sometime before the end of the year) the album I am most looking forward to hearing is the pride of Hoboken, NJ: Yo La Tengo’s ‘I am not afraid of you and I will beat your ass.’ The cover art is at the top of this post, and there is a link to a track below. Matador have posted another track from the album called ‘Pass The Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind.’ This is ten minutes long -as is my favourite Yo La Tengo track ‘Space Bebop,’ from 1997’s ‘I Can Hear The Heart Beating as One.’

Yo La Tengo – ‘Pass The Hatchet, I Think I’m Goodkind.’ mp3

Like what you hear? Try these:

Yo La Tengo – ‘ Little Eyes.’ mp3 from Summer Sun

Yo La Tengo – ‘Saturday.’mp3 from ‘And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out.’

Can’t commit yourself to three new albums? Honestly. This is a good place to start if you’ve never bought a Yo La Tengo album

Bands my girlfriend and I have argued about…1

To be fair, my girlfriend and I have actually agreed on many, many bands. We discovered My Latest Novel together, seeing them a fair few times before they even had a record out (including buying tickets for them supporting Smog last year, purely to see MLN). However, I discovered that early on I had nearly caused her to finish with me because I denounced Zero 7 as ‘coffee-table music for over 30s.’ Whoops. I have since decided that was an unfair, ageist remark and this album is worth investigating.

two bands that we have had to disagree on are Death From Above 1979 and The Libertines

She finds Death From Above 1979 too aggressive, and finds Pete doherty an arse. You can’t win them all, I guess. But she found me a copy of The Cure‘s Killing An Arab 7″ on Small Wonder (their interpretation of Camus’ the Outsider and most definitely not a racist song, just in case someone hasn’t heard it) for my birthday, so I guess we’ll just have to agree to disagree on these two:

Death From Above 1979 – ‘Romantic Rights.’mp3

The Libertines – ‘Up the Bracket.’ mp3

As always, if you like The Libertines‘ or Death From Above 1979 tracks, follow the links in this paragraph and go and buy the albums! (And yes, I did discuss this post with my girlfriend beforehand..)

Monday Monday

To be fair, as I write this, this Monday has been okay so far. It’s not been unbearably hot, a minumum of work-related hassle, and no nasty letters when I got in the door. In fact, I’m quite chilled out and relaxed. Long may it last! Holidays are not so far away and the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe are imminent too. Hooray! I acn’t even get upset about the fact that this evening it seems impossible to upload images to the blog. Hell, it’s all about the writing and the msuic, yes?

Here are some covers for people to get their teeth into. Remember: if you like a track, support the artist by buying the records (unless it’s internet only, in which case, try and support the artist in any way you can). And obviously, if you don’t know the original, GO AND INVESTIGATE!

First up, Calexico’s cover of Alone Again Or by Love. Originally on Love’s Forever Changes album, Calexico do it in their own style. Bring it on (and bang a gong, if it makes you happy).

Calexico – ‘Alone Again Or.’ mp3

Before I introduce this next track, it should be pointed out that this cover of a Magnetic Fields song should under no circumstances be seen as an endorsement of taking drugs. Okay?

!!! – ‘Take Ecstasy With Me.’ mp3

Cover versions can take on bizarre new meanings (or not) when covered by the opposite sex (See also: the Raincoats covering Lola by The Kinks)

White Stripes – ‘Jolene(live).’ mp3

The original of this track (I really, REALLY should not have to point out the blindingly obvious, but it’s a cover version of ‘There Is A Light That Never Goes Out’ by the Smiths) came out twenty years ago. I was pointed in the direction of this version by one of my then co-workers in a record shop in Edinburgh. Mark, wherever you are, thank you.

Schneider TM – ‘The Light 3000.’ mp3

The mere thought of this song, in the hands of anyone, sends a shiver of horror down my spine when I think of its’ subject matter. Add Elizabeth Fraser’s voice to that…

Cocteau Twins – ‘Strange Fruit.’ mp3

Hope people liked Canasta’s cover of The Model last week (see earlier posting). This is a live version from their website of the second track on Belle and sebastian’s If You’re Feeling Sinister.

Canasta – ‘Seeing Other People(live).’ mp3

Hooray…it’s Saturday

Saturday has got to be my favourite day of the week without a doubt. A day to catch up on sleep, take gently and not have to worry about the week ahead (that may kick in about 5PM Sunday. It starts when you’re five and just continues from there on, probably into retirement!). However, it is now July, which means that Edinburgh is hot and sticky. Like every Saturday of the year, there are at the very least, slightly too many people whcih means they keep getting in everyone’s way (and I in theirs too, I suppose).

It’s now a week since I started blogging, and I’ve so far been pleased with the feedback, links and mentions and that I’ve had, including from other bloggers, such as those at Silence Is A Rhythm Too Another Form Of Relief, The Torture Garden, Your Moment Of Zen, mp3 Hugger, and indie mp3. Please remember to check out other blogs if you see them linked on here, and if you download the music either here or there remember to support the artist if you like them and to read the posts that are written. It’s only good manners.

Seeing as it’s the weekend, it seems like a nice idea to point you in the direction of some great covers: Everybody Cares, Everybody Understands has posted some great covers including REM doing Wichita Lineman. This needs to be heard, as it is a gorgeous live version of a fantastic song. It’s a blog I read pretty regularly too.

I really like Adam Green and Ben Kweller‘s cover of The Beach Boy’s Kokomo (yes, the one from Cocktail). Go to I am Fuel, You Are Friends to hear it. (I first heard this on the Jessica 7″ a couple of years ago. You can go here to buy it).

The Daily Growl has the lady of the moment, Lily Allen, doing her take on a 50 Cent track and her cover of the Kaiser Chief’s Oh My God. They also have some more on The Pipettes.

Spoilt Victorian Child have a cover of ZZ Top‘s Legs, done by an act called Like A Tim. Both Spoilt Victorian Child and mp3 hugger have paid thoughtful tribute to Rob Collins from the Charlatans, who died ten years ago today. It’s worth owning all the Charlatans albums in my opinion, but if you have to narrow it down to one, go and buy Telling Stories, the album they were making when he died.

Oh, and if the hot weather’s getting to you too, check out Berlioz’s The Shepherd’s Farewell at Hello, Gina Sung in French it is called ‘L’adieu Des Bergers.’

She’s a model and she’s looking good

Hello again, it’s great to get some feedback on this blog.

In answer to one or two questions, yes The Cure will feature at some point soon. Go here if you just can’t wait.

Secondly, the photograph was not of myself and family member but of Aidan Moffat and Malcolm Middleton of the aforementioned Arab Strap. When you click on the link you’ll recognise the photo.

I have been reading other blogs – do this, it’s great seeing just where you end up, and see what you come across. Following a link yesterday on the Hype Machine which is installed to the right of this, led me to a french website, which has some great stuff on it. (My French is not up to understanding it all, but that is nobody’s fault but mine.) This in turn led me to discover a fantastic band I had never heard of before called Canasta. If you like The Arcade Fire or Belle and Sebastian, these should tickle your palette. Apparently they have also played with The Delgados (RIP) and Clap your Hands Say Yeah.

Their cover of Kraftwerk’s The Model is fantastic, taken from an EP called Find the Time which apparently has sold out. They also have completed an album called We were Set Up and there are plenty more tracks posted on the website. Go and check these out.

Canasta – The Model.mp3
Canasta-Slow Down Chicago.mp3
Canasta – Impostors.mp3a>

You can buy Canasta music here

And to the people who said that they didn’t want to become boring old Radio 4 type farts (nothing wrong with that!), check the following out too:

!!!-‘Hello? Is This Thing On?.mp3’

!!! -or Chk Chk Chk as they were known when I worked in a record store (NB your iPOD WON’T file them under C!), hail from New York. They are fantastic, go check ’em out.

This is from their album ‘Louden Up Now.’ Remember: go and buy it if you like it.

Finally, Yo La Tengo have a new album out on September 4 (September 12 for those in America, apparently) called ‘I am not afraid of you and I will beat your ass.’ That’s us told, then. Anyway, whether or not you have ever heard them, give this a listen. And go and buy the album when it comes out (have just checked Amazon; they don’t have a listing for it at the moment). (The compilation ‘Prisoners of Love’ is a great place to start if you like what you hear).

Yo La Tengo – Beanbag Chair.mp3

Some music…perhaps?!

For anyone who’s been following this blog as it has developed, you will notice that the links on the righthand side, both to other blogs and bands has grown. I know that there’s not many bands there – and some people will argue they’re obvious (?!). As before…the best things come to those who wait (nearly put a link to Guinness there, thought better of it).

What I am now going to do is to encourage you to check out some music by a very fine Scottish band; Arab Strap. (Legend has it that one of the band’s Grandmother’s suggested that they change their name to Central Belt as they’re from Falkirk. Bless).

‘The Love Detective’ is from 2001’s The Red Thread, while ‘Who Names The Days?’ is from 2003’s ‘Monday At The Hug And Pint.’ Remember: if you like them, go and buy the albums, whether it’s from Amazon or an independent record store, or a high street store.

Arab Strap – The Love Detective. mp3
Arab Strap – Who Named the Days? mp3

Edinburgh…and Guantanamo Bay

This post kinda flows of from yesterday’s…
There’s many things I like about living in Edinburgh, Scotland. I like the fact that the weather isn;t usually unpleasantly hot, and when you get those rare, warm days you can wander around the meadows. There’s fantatsic pubs and places to go for coffee (my favourite street in the whole of Edinburgh is Cockburn Street, which links the Royal Mile to the station). I like the fact that there’s a decent bus service, and I didn’t have to need to buy a car for ages (until I had to do a teaching placement at a fairly grotty place about twenty miles outside of Edinburgh).

Edinburgh’s music scene is always accused of being inferior to Glasgow’s, but there’s been plenty of great bands over the years -Fire Engines, Josef K, Idlewild (actually I used to work with Roddy Woomble’s sister, not long after I first arrived), Aberfeldy, the Prats, X-vectors, Jesse Garon and the Desperados (and Shirley Manson’s from here too, even if the rest of Garbage are from the US)…just to pick a few out of thin air. The Venue has, alas, closed – but I saw some great bands here. Funnily enough, I seemed to see a lot of bands here supporting who would go on to eclipse the headliners… The Upper Room supported Easyworld, and The Kaiser Chiefs supported The Ordinary Boys in 2004, and the following year I saw the Kooks supporting the Dead 60s (wasn’t blown away by the Kooks at the time, but both my girlfriend and I have now decided we like ’em after all).

I’m rambling…there’s some fantastic record shops – I worked in at least three of them before I gave up my discount to become a teacher. Wandering into one of them to buy The Pipettes album today, I got chatting with the person serving me. (Record shop and person shall remain as nameless as possible – I don’t want t be held responsible for someone getting stalked across the net). Anyway, in a shameless attempt to promote this blog I swapped blogsite addresses with them.

The band is called Guantanamo Bay, which will no doubt be too political for some, but I think worth hearing. They’re unsigned, but go here and download three tracks.