Thursday, March 29, 2007

Dylanesque. Part Three.

What makes a good cover version? Ask twenty people this question and you'll get a variety of replies - but there must be some kind of science to it. So what type of covers can you get? -

1. Well established (successful?) band/artist covering a big band/artist song

2. New band covering old (successful) song

3. Old band covering unsuccessful song

Have you fallen asleep yet?

4. New band covering less well known song by established artist (maybe a 'b' side)

5. Same working of song

6. Radical reworking of song

Well you get the general idea. It could go on forever almost. But I won't. Not today at least. But we seem to inherently know when a cover is a good attempt or a bad one. And it could be any one of the permutations above. Anyway here are a couple more for you to peruse over. Make your own mind up.........

Cowboy Junkies - If You Gotta Go, Go Now (mp3)

Marc Carroll - Gates of Eden (mp3)

Buy Cowboy Junkies. Buy Marc Carroll.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Dylanesque. Part 2.

Its late. I'm tired. Mrs Vicar got a new job today. We celebrated. And I'm pissed.

Howard Devoto/Luxuria - She's Your Lover Now (mp3) Buy

The Specials - Maggie's Farm (mp3) Buy

Monday, March 26, 2007

Dylanesque. Part One.

Mr Toad from Song, By Toad has done a series of Dylan covers today and as promised last week (I'm not copying honest) I'm going to attempt to do the same. Dylan is probably the most covered artist ever (do you think there are any figures available to prove this one way or another? Or is this just too anal for consideration?) but considering his vast output perhaps this is none too surprising. As most people are aware Bryan Ferry has just completed his regular covers album, with mixed reception it has to be said, this time only covering Mr Zimmerman. I'm certain there will be numerous artists trying their hand with his output for years to come. Here are a couple right now:

The Waterboys - Girl from the North Country (mp3)

I suspect that Mr Toad will disagree with this choice given his posting today (see link above) but I think this is a worthy version, but without the pathos added by Mark Everett. I think the Eels treatment is better by a short head.

Echo and the Bunnymen - It's All Over Now Baby Blue (mp3)

I'm just a sucker for Macca whatever he sings.

Buy the Waterboys here and the Bunnymen here and Dylan here

Friday, March 23, 2007


For my last post in acoustic week I have to keep the floor open to his holiness, Robert Zimmerman. I have to say I've never been the greatest Dylan fan there ever was - particularly with the electric stuff. (Yes I would have been there at the Newport Folk Festival jeering and booing with the best of them). And try as I might I have never really liked 'Blonde on Blonde' or 'Blood on the Tracks' despite the plaudits coming from the music press - and all my friends - and family. But I would be foolish indeed not to realise his impact on the music industry over more than four decades. He is a giant, a leviathan, a behemoth of modern recording, and as such needs just recognition. And anyway I might as well blow the entire bandwidth in one go.

Bob Dylan - A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall (mp3)

Bob Dylan - It Ain't Me Babe (mp3)

Buy his Bobness here and look out for other Dylan inspired moments next week.

By the way Crash from Pretending Life Is Like A Song has asked me to send all you in blogland his rather plaintive cries of sorrow for not posting today. There was a rather catastrophic hardware failure in the West Midlands rendering his best laid plans redundant. Service will be resumed on monday.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Standing here in the dark

When you go through as much as Mark Everett did before the release of 'Electro-shock blues' it is any wonder that he was able to do any song writing whatsoever. Obviously, for many people writing songs, poetry, literature or painting pictures is a way of releasing pent up emotions that can often not be released in any other way. 'Sad songs say so much' can never be truer in some situations. There are many occasions where I wish that I had the talent to express myself creatively in this way. I guess you either have it or you dont. Whatever my own shortcomings, Mr Everett has this talent in spades. And no more so than on this track:

Eels - Dead of Winter (mp3) Buy

I've being seeing a lot of Imogen Heap in the blogosphere recently. She is, quite plainly, a very accomplished and talented musician - but unfortunately that alone is not enough to make it in the hard-bittened world of the music industry. Her early work, in particular, sound a little too earnest. Its like she was trying very hard to fit into cubby holes formed by other artists such as PJ Harvey or Tori Amos. Lately, however, she seems to be far more happy with her own sound as she lets her undoubted vocal talents lead the songs in her own direction rather than others.

Imogen Heap - Hide and Seek (mp3) Buy

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Come closer and see

Yes a return to familiar territory today as we revisit The Cure. When The Cure released their last album for Fiction Records it was decided that this was to be a greatest hits effort. Robert Smith decided that this was asking perhaps a little too much of the diehard fans, and so the first pressings of the CD came with a bonus disc full of acoustic versions of many of the tracks. Some of these songs are not particularly great, but a few of them are worthy attempts. First (predictably perhaps) is 'A Forest' and second one of the great lament songs in 'Lovesong'.

The Cure - A Forest (mp3) (Acoustic version)
The Cure - Lovesong (mp3) (Acoustic version)

My second treat comes with Everthing But The Girl. I first went to college in October 1984 and those first few months of freedom shall forever be remembered as the 'winter of sophisti-pop'. Every room in the Halls of Residence seemed to be ringing with the sounds of EBTG, shagging, Sade, more shagging, or The Style Council. (Except mine of course which had no shagging and musically The Smiths, The Cure, The Bunnymen and The Redskins). Yes, those were the days.

Everything But The Girl - Each And Every One (mp3)
Everything But The Girl - Another Bridge (mp3)

Buy EBTG here and The Cure here

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Theres a Random Painted Highway

I dont really know what is my favourite album of the 2000's but 'A Ghost is Born' would be up there in the top ten. I am rapidly beginning to think that Jeff Tweedy is a songwriting god. I am so looking forward to the release of 'Sky blue sky'. Everything Wilco seeemed to have done in the last ten years seems to have turned to gold. The collaborations with Billy Bragg, 'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot', 'A Ghost is Born' - all are superb. With many of the tracks of the new album now floating around in hyperspace, I've been deliberately trying to avoid downloading any of them in order to listen to the album in one go - 'freshlike'. Lets hope I'm not disappointed.

Wilco - Muzzle of Bees (mp3) Buy

A bit of a cheat I know as its not all acoustic but I do as I please.

In February this year The Pentangle got together and performed for the first time in over 20 years at the Radio 2 folk awards. Formed in 1967 at the height of the British folk revival they were like a folk supergroup featuring the combined guitar talents of Bert Jansch and John Renbourn. The band was also graced by the sweet vocals of Jacqui McShee, and the Jazz influence of Danny Thompson and Terry Cox. The 'Basket of Light' album of 1969 was a favourite of my folky sister and I remember (sort of) liking the album in spite of my disdain of most things she liked during the late 70's punk/new wave era. By the time I returned to the album about 10 years later I was won over by the accomplished playing of all the musicians. This track is actually a cover version of a Phil Spector track from the early 60's and features on the aforesaid 'Basket of Light'.

The Pentangle - Sally Go Round The Roses (mp3) Buy

Monday, March 19, 2007

Let Normal Service Resume

After having the lurgy all last week, its hopefully back to normal as I finish off the curtailed acoustic week.

With all the plaudits bestowed upon Nick Drake over the last few years I feel a little reluctant to make a post about an artist when it feels like I'm joining a bandwagon. There appear to be endless people I know who all say the same thing, 'I liked Nick Drake before he became popular'. Well I think all the arguments are irrelevant because it matters little about when you like a band or an artist. It only matters that you appreciate them in the first place. Each to their own and all that. For all sorts of reasons, both musically and personally I have turned to his three albums for many years. I have been made happy, saddened and enthralled in equal measure. We all know that this is what music is all about.

Nick Drake - Northern Sky (mp3) buy

My second track today comes from Illinois based band Beauty Shop. I don't know an awful lot about them except that they have been around for few years and have released a couple of albums during this time. This track comes from a 2004 release 'Crisis Helpline'.

Beauty Shop - Nightcrawlers (mp3) buy

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

A Shelter in a Storm

Way too much electric stuff over the last few posts, so time to chill out and warm to some rather more mellow sounds. It's Acoustic week at 'The World Wont Listen'.

Joan Armatrading is one of those singers whom I always come back to. In the early years, before she picked up the electric guitar, her music was romantic, enticing and pure emotion. Some of the songs are some of the very best songwriting I have ever heard.

As Crash from the Pretending Life is Like A Song pointed out to me, she was more than a little tarnished by the opposition to 'Red Wedge' and her support of the Thatcher government. But despite this, her undoubted ability seems to make her bad choice of politics bearable. I will keep on listening to those first three albums.

Joan Armatrading - Love and Affection (mp3)

Joan Armatrading - Willow (mp3)

Buy Joan here

Friday, March 09, 2007

Too Much Volume

I missed 'Volume 3' and went straight onto 'Volume 4' and although I was still enjoying the magazine the price was prohibitive to a point that it meant less food to eat. As much as I like listening to new music my appetite (or more importantly that of my wife) always comes first.

So this was it to me -the end of 'Volume'. Nowadays free music on other monthly music magazines, or more especially the blog, has meant that finding new music to buy is easier than it has ever been (a point still missed by a few record companies, its worth repeating again and again and ag........).

1. Suede - My Insatiable One (mp3) - new piano version

Any song that contains the lyric, 'on the escalator we shit paracetemol' has got to be worth a listen. This was a track on 'The Drowners' ep.

2. Swallow - Lovesleep (mp3)

Dont know an awful lot about this band except that they were on 4AD. Sounds good though.

3. The Fall - Arid Al's Dream (mp3)

This a bit of a rare one to all you Fall fans. When I first went to college a new friend (Kurt where are you?) played The Fall to death every night for about a year. I think I hated them then but have since learned the error of my ways. This track is just vintage Mark E. Smith.

4. Babes in Toyland - Sometimes (mp3)

Lollapalooza. Riot grrrl. You get the idea I'm sure. I can't say I'm the greatest fan in the world but this is okay.

Buy all these artists at the following links:

Suede - Swallow - The Fall - Babes in Toyland

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Pump Up The Volume

Today is my 1000th hit party. Hooray! Somebody from Leandro, California was the lucky boy/girl, and will receive the prize of my eternal gratitude. Well done.

Today a few more little slices of musical heaven from the halls of 'Volume' magazine. I think that issue 1 was rather like a promo copy and issue 2 was more like they had envisaged the product when writing their proposals/ treatments. First up today is:

1. The Blue Aeroplanes - Aeroplane Blues (mp3)

This is an alternative mix from the 'Beatsongs' album of 1991. I'll have more about The Blue Aeroplanes in a future post, but they have got to be one of the most underrated bands ever. Live they were just awesome.

2. Blur - Oily Water (mp3)

Taken from 'Modern Life is Rubbish' which has to be my favourite Blur album. Just shows you how different they were from the 'baggy brigade' brush with which they were generously tarred.

3. The Sugarcubes - Hetero Scum (mp3)

I havn't got enough Sugarcubes. Mental note - must get some more.

4. Pulp - She's Dead (mp3)

Released on Fire records just before they hit paydirt this was from the 'Separations' album which was a commercial failure. Little did they know what was just around the corner.

Buy The Blue Aeroplanes 'Swagger' or 'Beatsongs' here and/or Blur with 'Modern Life is Rubbish' at only £5.97 here. You wont regret these purchases.

Buy The Sugarcubes here

Buy Pulp or Jarvis Cocker here - £7.49 for 'Different Class' is a bargain

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The volume goes up to seventeen

In the early to mid-nineties, those of a certain age may well remember a music magazine called 'Volume' which had about 200 pages in each issue and was the size of a CD case. I remember its format and content seeming to be much more radical than the mainstream music press. Although, I only ever bought the first 4 or 5 it went all the way upto issue 17 with each magazine featuring a CD of all the artists appearing in that issue. Inside each issue was a mixture of interviews, discographies and factual information. There were variety of artists, some new some well established, featured from a range of genres icluding hip-hop, electronic, ambient, indie etc. Many of the acts were a little dodgy but there were some nuggets inbetween. So here we are from Volume One:

1. Throwing Muses - Red Shoes (mp3)

2. The Popguns - Going Under (mp3)

3. New Order - Confusion: DMC Remix (mp3)

4. The Wolfgang Press - Sucker (mp3)

Buy them (in the order you see above) here here here and here

Monday, March 05, 2007

When the routine bites hard

Last post on the 'B' Sides of the 90's today. I have to say that this collection isn't the finest set of songs that have ever been produced and is indicative of some of the things that I've said in earlier posts. I don't think I will be attempting something so foolhardy again- at least not from single culled after 1990.

However, that said, I do actually like my two offerings for your perusal. First up is Pavement with a track from the 'Watery, Domestic' ep from 1992. Recorded after the 'Slanted and Enchanted' album from the same year the ep was a bit of a watershed for the band with Gary Young leaving shortly afterwards. Despite all the (wrong in my opinion) comparisons with The Fall I think Pavement were one of the better indie offerings at the time.

Pavement - Frontwards (mp3)

The second track is a bit of a cheat. In 1995 there was a re-release of 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' and although this is not entirely in the spirit of the post it will do for me. It needs no other introduction.

Joy Division - These Days (mp3)

Buy Pavement here and buy Joy Division here

Friday, March 02, 2007

No way baby lets go

Two more 'B' sides from the 1990's today. Seen lots of posting about The Wonderstuff recently. Two good albums and then mostly shite, but when they were good they were very good. This one is from the 1994 re-release of 'Unbearable':

The Wonderstuff - Hit by a Car (mp3)

Primal Scream are one of those bands whom you either love or hate. There seems to be no middle ground. I fall very definitely on the love side of the equation.

The self titled 'Primal Scream 'album from 1985 had a track on it called 'I'm losing more than I'll ever have'. The band had obviously decided on a new sound, so that when they teamed up with Andrew Weatherall before the Screamadelica album they decided to remix the album track into a new single. This deconstruction was to become 'Loaded'. The track I have for you today is a remix of the album track in a rather less radical way. It appears as a 'B' side on the 'Loaded' CD single.

Primal Scream - I'm losing more than I'll ever have (mp3)

Buy Primal Scream here and the Stuffies here

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Going Blank Again

Oh dear! Suddenly I've found myself not having posted for 3 days. This week seems to have flown by. Anyhow, I want to start a couple of blog entries under the umbrella title of 'b'sides since 1990. And today I want to share a couple of my favourite tracks from the early part of this period. I say 'b' sides in the loosest sense of the word, of course, because the CD revolution seemed to have disposed of the flip side in favour of either:

(a) Some ridulous set of remixes by people I've never heard of bearing stupid names like 'DJ Spongebob' or 'Hell Boy' etc. (They also have equally ridiculous names like the 'upside down, inside out mix' or 'Osram lightbulb mix').

(b) 'Live' versions at some dingy club in backwatersville.

(c) An 'EP' featuring maybe one good track and then two fillers that give the word 'filler' a bad name.

The first track is from The Manics 1994 release of She is Suffering. Taken from the album The Holy Bible you might argue that this was the last great Manics album. While I can't say I care for the live version of Suedes The Drowners that pads out the single (see (b) above) - I do like this track:

Manic Street Preachers - Love Torn Us Under (mp3)

The second item is from shoegazing favourites Ride. With one or exceptions I think a lot of the early 90's 'wall of sound' stuff has weathered very poorly. But Ride, My Bloody Valentine and to a lesser extent Chapterhouse all produced some worthy songs. Especially the ones where the vocals were not put so far back in the mix to be unintelligible. The 'b' side is from the 1992 single 'Leave Them All Behind'.

Ride - Grasshopper (mp3)

Buy Manics stuff here and read about the upcoming tour here

Buy Ride here