A song for today #43: Hackney Colliery Band

I’ve long been a fan of unusual covers. And the Hackney Colliery Band’s cover of Nirvana’s ‘Heart-Shaped Box’ certainly ticks that box.

It’s by no means a novelty cover. What it does is to transform Nirvana’s 1993 hit single into a dark jazz track. Though it loses the vocals, it maintains the spirit, mystery and angst of the original.

It’s taken from the Hackney Colliery Band’s forthcoming live album, entitled, umm, Live. This will also include cover versions of Blackstreet’s ‘No Diggety’ and Toto’s ‘Africa.’ The album is released on May 12, and two weeks later, the band will headline London’s KOKO.


…and in case you thought this was a one-off, their version of Amy Winehouse’s ‘Rehab’ is pretty special, too:




Some covers for Friday


As you will doubtless be aware, this year marks twenty years since Nirvana’s Nevermind was released, challenging forever people’s perceptions of what would get played on daytime radio, and ten years since Strokes’ Is This It? updated indie for the twenty-first century.

While not my favourite albums of those respective years necessarily (I’d plump for Massive Attack’s Blue Lines and Low’s Things We Lost In The Fire), there’s no doubt that they’re awesome records.

Spin magazine in the US have put a free download album together called Newermind, which features thirteen artists paying tribute to Nevermind by covering a song from the album in turn. The album features contributions from Cobain faves like the Meat Puppets and The Vaselines, as well as newer acts like EMA.

Go here to download

Meanwhile, Stereogum have put together a tribute to Is This It? featuring cover versions from Peter, Bjorn and John and Owen Pallett, amongst others.

Download here

Finally, a cover version of Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back To Black’ will be released by Ronnie Spector. Out next week, proceeds go to Daytop Village Alcohol & Drug Abuse Charity. Go here to , er, hear it.

Amy Winehouse 1983-2011


I’ve been away for the last four days, away from my computer (the last couple of posts were timed to go up), so it’s been frustrating not to be able to post about my thoughts on Amy Winehouse’s death.

Like quite a lot of people, I was aware of the first album, Frank, but really blown away by the second album Back To Black. It was runner-up album of the year the first year of this blog, an album that I only heard towards the end of that year, and was then blown away by.

There’s been a lot of coverage about her death -and there’ll no doubt be more as the weeks go by. I will just say that while I didn’t agree with some of her lifestyle choices, I thought she had an amazing voice and a big talent. I hope that this is what she’ll be remembered for.

If you didn’t hear her albums, that’s a pity. But if this track doesn’t get you…that’s a tragedy.

Rest in peace, Ms. Winehouse and God bless you.

Home and dry

…ah. the week is oh so nearly in sight, there’s gigs to go to, and the first week back at work has actually been okay (so far. Touch wood).

Anyway, I decided that I would actually post four fairly upbeat and wonderful tracks.

Pet Shop Boys -‘Home and Dry.’ mp3

JC at The Vinyl Villain seemed a few weeks ago to feel that he had to justufy his love for the Pet Shop Boys. Absolutely not! Still wonderful, twenty years on.

The Rapture -‘Get Myself Into It.’ mp3

Is Pieces Of the People we love the fourth or third Rapture album, if we include The Mirror, Out of the Races…and Echoes? Oh well. Either way, this still makes me want to dance.

Amy Winehouse -‘Rehab.’ mp3

‘Have you heard Amy Winehouse’s new single?’ asked my brother’s flatmate six months ago. Personally I was aware of her, but thought her too ‘coffee-table.’ Then I heard this, and a few months later her album ended up being my second favourite album of the year (2006). You never can tell…

Ronettes -‘Be my Baby.’ mp3

The sheer wealth of emotions this song can make you feel is just unbelievable.

As always, if you like the tracks, buy them on Amazon, iTunes or your local record shop. These tracks will be posted for a week only. Enjoy!

Best of 2006

OK guys – thought it might be good to post links to some of the best tracks of 2006…

First up, one of the albums I bought in the last few days is Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black. It truly is worth hearing, and so different from the first album in 2003. You can go to Fingertips to download Rehab, but do yourself a favour and buy the album. It’s already proving very pleasantly addictive…more 60’s/70’s classic soul than the jazzier sound of her debut…

Next up, over at Pitchfork they have The Rapture’s Get Myself Into It here.

Though there hasn’t been anything like the sheer amount of hysteria as there was when Echoes came out a couple of years back, new album Pieces of the people we love is still worth a place on your Turntable/iPod/CD player.

The wonderful SubPop is always worth a look…especially as the media page
has music from CSS and The Shins (cannot wait for new Shins album). I know I have posted links to these several times but when they are as good as this…

Finally Insound can provide mp3s for The Gossip and The Scanners, amongst others.

As always, if you like what you hear, please support the artist involved, by going to Amazon or any record shop and buying their music!

As of a couple of hours ago, I am now on holiday for the next few weeks. Hopefully I will have a bit more time to devote t0 the blog… : )

Merry Christmas to all my readers