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what came first?...the cover or the cover version...

Posted by Brad Schelden, November 11, 2007 05:32pm | Post a Comment
I don't know what it is that gets me about cover songs. But I really do like them. It is always fun to hear one of your favorite bands cover some horrible song that was not really good before they covered it. Or to hear  some band do a sort of tribute to some awesome song you loved in your youth. As I listen to more and  more music I also find out that some of the songs that I loved forever and thought were originals were actually covers of much older songs. I didn't grown in the girl group 60's or the Motown 70's. So many of the songs that I originally heard in the 80's and 90's that I thought were originals, were actually just covers. When I bought the  Siouxsie & The Banshees "Through the Looking Glass" cassette and listened to it for the first time, I had no idea it was all covers. It only took me a couple years to figure it out. I had not heard Television and Iggy Pop yet. I also heard most of the covers on the This Mortal Coil albums for the first time as "This Mortal Coil" songs.  It is weird to grow up hearing one version of a song only to learn later that there is some older original version that actually inspired the version I grew up loving. How would I know that the Soft Cell song "Tainted Love" was actually performed 10 years before I was born by the great Gloria Jones. The song was then covered by Ruth Swan in 1975. After the Soft Cell version that I grew up with in the early 80's, the song has of course been covered countless more times. The song has been performed by Blue Oyster Cult, Coil, Marilyn Manson, and the Pussycat Dolls. Rihanna even sampled the Soft Cell version a couple of years ago for her song "S.O.S."

There have been many entire tribute albums over the years. Some have been great. Most have been pretty bad. The best covers tend to turn up as b-sides and bonus tracks on actual artists albums. Sometimes they work there ways into the live shows and then end up as extra tracks on reissues or singles. They tend to also turn up on soundtracks. The great Cat Power will release her second entire album of covers early next year. The first one was fantastic. There is a great website to search for all your favorite cover songs. You can look at it here. Some of my favorite covers over the years have been covers of new wave and 80's songs by artists in other genres. I absolutely love Johnny Cash's covers of "Personal Jesus" by Depeche Mode and "Hurt" by Nine Inch Nails. I don't know why but I really love Rammstein's cover of "Stripped" by Depeche Mode. And even though this song was a bit overplayed, I still have a special place in my heart for Frente's cover of "Bizarre Love Triangle" by New Order. Placebo have a whole bonus disc of cover songs. They do great covers of "Running up that Hill" by Kate Bush and "Bigmouth Strikes Again" by The Smiths. Xiu Xiu does an amazing cover of "Fast Car" by Tracy Chapman. I also love Low's incredible version of "Last Night I Dreamt That Somebody Loved Me" by The Smiths. These are just some of my favorites. I could go on forever. The band Japancakes do an entire album cover of "Loveless" by My Bloody Valentine. The original is one of my favorite albums and they really do a great job covering the entire album. But I also love those cover versions that you really only need to hear once. Sometimes I just need to laugh and some covers often do the trick. William Shatner did a brilliant cover of "Common People" by Pulp. Me First & the Gimme Gimmes do a great cover of "Jolene" on the their last country album. There have been many brilliant covers of Jolene over the years. My favorite being Strawberry Switchblade. But it is really about the b-side of "I Will Always Love You" on the recently released single. Whitney Houston already ruined the song for the "Bodyguard" soundtrack. The song was originally by the great Dolly Parton for the movie "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas." That Whitney Houston song was so overplayed that she almost made me never want to listen to the Dolly version again. Me First sort of make up for it with their version. It is at least meant to be funny.

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joy division reissues out 10/30...

Posted by Brad Schelden, October 30, 2007 08:05pm | Post a Comment
So it's now only one more day until Halloween and I finally got around to watching the Paul Lynde Halloween Special. The special originally aired over 30 years ago in 1976. But it is now rescued from obscurity and released on a nice little DVD. I knew it was going to be ridiculous and hilarious. But it really is hard to even explain. You must simply watch it. The guest stars include Billie Hayes (Witchiepoo from H.R. Pufnstuf), Tim Conway, Betty White, Margaret Hamilton (The Wicked Witch of the West), Florence Henderson (The Brady Bunch), Billy Barty (Legend, Willow, Sigmund & the Sea Monsters), Roz Kelly (Pinky Tuscadero of Happy Days), Donny and Marie Osmond, and Kiss! I know what you are thinking....amazing. Yes it is. And with the brilliant Paul Lynde as the host and Bruce Vilanch helping out with the writing this special was bound to be amazing. Kiss perform the amazing song "Beth" on the special.  The show includes ridiculous skits and musical numbers and the network debut of the band Kiss. I sort of wish they still made specials like this today. There really was nothing like Paul Lynde and he paved the way for many who came after him in Hollywood.

Here is a clip from the special...


There are some very exciting things out today. First of all in the land of TV on DVD there are two very exciting releases. Twin Peaks the Complete Series comes out today. The definitive Gold Box Edition is really amazing. Not only does it include the recently released Season 2 but also the out of print Season 1. Also included is the original and European version of the pilot for the first time on DVD domestically! It is finally all together in one box. The 10 disc set includes new interviews and special features all supervised by David Lynch. This show was amazing and nothing has ever come close to its brilliance. I have been waiting for years to watch the whole series over again in anticipation of this release. If you have never seen this show in its entirety, I highly recommend it. For my review of Season 2 you can go back and read it here.  I can't even begin to explain how much this show means to me. Also out today is My So-Called Life on DVD. The complete series gets a better more deluxe treatment than the previous release on DVD. This show started a couple years after Twin Peaks in 1994. But it was just as important and nothing has really come close to this show except for maybe Freaks & Geeks. This new release comes with a book with photos and special things from the show. It also has interviews with cast members including Claire Danes and 7 audio commentaries. These are exciting times.

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Control

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 29, 2007 11:21am | Post a Comment
    

I saw Control with Morten. It's the movie about Joy Division and more specifically Ian Curtis. It's funny because the first I heard of it was critics tripping over themselves to point out that they liked it though they'd never heard of the band. The point is always pretty much, "I'm a square. I'd never heard of these guys but I liked the movie, although for a rock band, they sure weren't that much fun." I wonder what those critics were listening to back then. To me, Joy Division is one of those bands that, if you have taste, you should've at least heard during their existence if you were teenage or older. I mean, how separate are the worlds of music and movies that you'd have us believe you've got great taste and an ear to the underground if you still haven't heard of Joy Division? What bigger independent bands were there in the late '70s? And didn't you review 24 Hour Party People not five years ago?

Back to the 24 Hour Party People then. When that came out I saw a lot of dour Raincoats leaving the theater expressing their wish that whole film had been about Ian Curtis and not those awful acid house Blue Tuesdays or whatever was going on after Ian Curtis' death, at which point their lot zoned out 'til the credits. Pity them. And I thought of how awful that would be -- a film about Joy Division. Biopics are so suspect. Made For Cable movies that sit in the wings like vultures to be released in theaters only in the event of the subject's death because what is an awful film will likely reap the awful rewards at the Oscars.

Control is directed by Anton Corbijn, which I didn't know till the end. Whatever you think of the guy, and I love his videos, you've got to admit that his images always have to easy to appreciate visuals. I mean, Bryan Adams got him to direct "Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman," after all. He's f---ing Dutch, for Christ's sake.

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NEW IAN CURTIS BIOPIC - CONTROL

Posted by Billyjam, October 11, 2007 10:13am | Post a Comment

This week (Oct 10) is the Stateside opening (in select US cities) of the film Control -- the biopic about Joy Division's tragic lead singer Ian Curtis (played by Sam Riley) who committed suicide in 1980 at age 23. Even though I've read various reviews of the movie that range from good to bad and mediocre, I know I will definitely be going to see this film, which was directed by Anton Corbijn (shot in black and white -- similar to his infamous photography of Joy Division, U2 etc.) and based on the book Touching From a Distance by the film subject's widow Deborah Curtis. Some reviewers warn Joy Division fans that it is not really a story of the ever-influential band, but rather a dramatic love story -- a tragic tale of this troubled young artist who liked Bowie and cigarettes, got famous at an early age, married too young (19) and then fell in love with another, suffered from deptression and anxiety, and on top of all this had epilepsy for which he had to take pills that had negative side-effects. 

Additionally, fans fiending for original Joy Division music should know that the music is not by the band itself but rather the actors playing the band in the movie, with the exception of a Joy Division cover by the Killers over the closing credits. In one magazine interview, on the topic of having the actors learn the music of Joy Division and play it in the film, director Anton Corbijn (who is interviewed on Dutch TV below) said that it would be more authentic to have the actors learn to play the songs and perform them in the movie, noting that Joy Division were not really that advanced as musicians anyway, so it wasn't impossible to have the actors learn the musical parts. It might have been had it been, say, a film about Pink Floyd, he said. For more information on the film go the official website. And if you go check it out in theaters, please come back here to this AMOEBLOG and post your review in the COMMENTS box. Thanks!

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AMOEBA HOLLYWOOD'S TIM LATHAM INTERVIEW

Posted by Billyjam, September 14, 2007 06:30am | Post a Comment

AMOEBLOG:
How'd you end up working at Amoeba Music Hollywood and what exactly is your job there?

TIM LATHAM: I brought my resume in for a good few months (at least five times) and they told me to keep bringing it in and to bug the shit out of them. I've worked there for about 3 months and I work in the new rock section.

AMOEBLOG: What makes working at Amoeba unique compared to other jobs you've had?

TIM LATHAM: Working at Amoeba Music is unique for a bunch of reasons: [one] being no uniforms. We just wear red stickers to tell us apart from the customers. And Amoeba Music is very chill and laid back and like a HUGE family.

AMOEBLOG: When not working at Amoeba, what other things do you do?

TIM LATHAM: When not working at Amoeba I come to Ameoba and look through soul 45s and CDs to make mix CDs. I also do marketing and promotions for DJs and labels...I work for (help) redbird( Mr Timothy Husom) and work with artists and groups such as Ladytron and the Divics.
 
AMOEBLOG: What are the top three Items at Amoeba Music in your department this past week that people are seeking out?

TIM LATHAM:

1)  Spoon Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga - recent sixth album from Austin band

2)
Interpol Our Love to Admire (Capitol)

3) Yeah Yeah Yeahs
                                                                                                                                                                                       
AMOEBLOG: How would you describe the LA music scene to people who know nothing about LA?       

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