Monday, June 15, 2009

Covered: 500th Post

As you might have noticed, lately I've developed a thinly-veiled preference for covers. Should I face it and just transform this blog into a covers-only one? I admit there are lots of pros to posting covers. They take less time to prepare draft, the source is perpetual, and I love seeing songs I heard before in new coats. Plus any song covered should, by default, be at least half-decent. I do have a thing for rarities, be it covers, remixes, acoustic versions, demos or unreleased tracks. But on the other hand, I still want to talk about new artists and other aspects of music too. These days, I mostly talk about new music through Twitter though. Oh dear, this has become rather puzzling, hasn't it?

Oh well, meanwhile, here are 5 fresh picks from my library. All clickworthy.

Nicole Atkins - Under The Milky Way (The Church)
(Digs Other People's Songs EP, 2008)
A rather unexpected but excellent rendition of this underappreciated '80s new-wave gem.

The Watson Twins - Just Like Heaven (The Cure)
(Fire Songs, 2008)
I apologize for not featuring this gorgeous version earlier. Probably one of my favorite covers in 2008. The hazy twang-tinged vibe is so beautiful.

Vienna Teng - 1000 Oceans (Tori Amos) (Live)
Have you heard the new Tori album? It's just like I expected, half of it was good but other was just dreadful. My fave tracks are 'Maybe California' & 'Flavor'. It's such a shame she's past her prime, as I was going through a heavy old-Tori phase earlier this year. Here's a faithful cover of one of her best ballads, '1000 Oceans'.

Duke Special - Shining Light (Ash) (Live)
Annie Lennox recently covered this. But Duke Special & Coldplay got there first. This time, I give you Duke Special's.

Billie The Vision And The Dancers - I'm A Cuckoo (Belle & Sebastian)
(A Century of Covers: Belle and Sebastian Tribute, 2oo6)
Such a straightforward take, and yet I do like it as much as the original. The spirit is not lost here. I haven't spent much time with the new Stuart Murdoch project 'God Help The Girl', but 'Come Monday Night' is lush. Billie makes lo-fi indie pop and he's good at it. And he gives it all away for free! Be sure to look up his excellent collab with Hello Saferide, 'Overdosing With You', maybe the first song to reference Desperate Housewives characters!

PS. A post was deleted by Blogger last week, so technically, this is now my 500th post. Cheers, for the second time!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Covered: Fiona Apple/Betty LaVette

The perennially moody Fiona Apple recently recorded a cover of Cy Coleman's 'Why Try To Change Me Now' for a tribute EP, "Then Was Then & Now Is Now". It was great to hear something new from her. It's Fiona doing what she has mastered at. An introspective jazzy ditty for those rainy days. I hope she is in a studio somewhere working on some new music. It's been 4 years since 'Extraordinary Machine'.

Fiona Apple - Why Try To Change Me Now

I don't know much about Betty LaVette except that she's a well-respected soul singer. Apparently, she really liked Fiona Apple's 'Sleep To Dream', so much that she covered it and named her 2005 album after a line in the song, "I've Got My Own Hell To Raise". Fiona might have sounded bitter and resentful, but for Betty, she is real pissed! I love how she made the song her own by inserting a little more attitude, like "Gimme my back and get yo ass out there". Great cover, and rather rare, too.

Betty LaVette - Sleep To Dream

P.S. I just noticed this is my 500th post. Well, cheers to that!

Covered: Kat Edmonson

Kat Edmonson is a fresh, young voice to emerge in the jazz scene with her debut album 'Take To The Sky' recently released...
No wait come back!
Beside the obligatory standards like 'Summertime' & 'Night And Day', she also offers a unique spin on more contemporary hits, two of which is 'Just Like Heaven' and 'Lovefool'. To be honest, I was too suspicious of how she would reimagine these songs into her smooth, classic jazz style, but she seems to pull it off with ease. In short, I dig her versions. My favorite is probably 'Lovefool', though. So check them out, cover lovers, and see if she did a good job or not?

Kat Edmonson - Just Like Heaven (The Cure)

Kat Edmonson - Lovefool (The Cardigans)
*sorry, removed as requested