Sunday, September 6, 2015

A Cover-Up?

For your listening pleasure, the Vinyl Vagabonds will be playing an entire night of covers at their next listening party on Friday, October 2, from 7-9pm at Bump N' Grind.  Here's a sneak peek as to how the night may go...

Surfin' USA - Beach Boys (Chuck Berry)
This here blog is about cover songs, so why lead in with this one, not even a true cover?  Read: The foundation of the music is a cover of "Sweet Little Sixteen," but the Beach Boys do their own lyrics and significantly developed instrumentation.  Having not owned any other Beach Boys, it was surprising how it really got these swingin' VVers thinking about how artists pay tribute to other artists.  Berry obviously is a huge hero to the rockers of the 60s, so for the Beach Boys to have done a straight cover would have been perfectly cool, but for them to do this wildly different version is downright revolutionary.  At its peak, the Beach Boys' iconic, high pitched harmonizing gives way to an organ solo that quickly mashes into some lovely electric guitar.  Though it's partially a cover, there really is nothing else to compare it to, even now.

Had ta be Playin' on the Jukebox - Rage Against the Machine (Allen Ginsburg) 
Another untrue cover, but does it matter?  No.  RATM creates the riffing, but the lyrics are Ginsburg's on this flipside to People of the Sun EP.  The beat poetry slam on the absurdity in the aftermath of the Kennedy assassination makes perfect sense piped through the ballistic assault that is RATM.  Though this is in many ways a spoken word track, minus the hip-hop, it's completely relevant to the RATM catalogue in representing their political bent.  Also it's dope to hear Zack de la Rocha lacerating this poem over a psyched-out slow jam.  "WORKING TOGETHER IN CAHOOTS!"  You should listen to this.

Do You Love Me - Nirvana (Kiss) 
This is the only Nirvana song that bassist Krist Novaselic ever split vocal duties on.  He's not cut out for this type of singing, but that in no way stops him from completely going for it.  How does that pan out?  Well, it's kind of awesome in its raunchola.  Thankfully, Cobain helps it along in the right spots with his powerful vocals and the Nirvana rhythm section is furiously on point.  The fact that it's a cover of a Kiss song... Kiss sucks.  There, it's out there.  The VVers are not in the Kiss Army.  Something about Nirvana absolutely ruining a Kiss song just makes sense.

Balls to the Wall - Puscifer (Accept)
Not initially knowing it was a cover, VVer #2 thought "Balls to the Wall" was a strange, yet stand-out song included on Puscifer's Donkey Punch the Night EP.  After a chance listen to the early 80's original in the car one night, things started making more sense.  The original version by Accept has a completely metal approach while Puscifer offers two versions: "Pillow Fight Remix" or "Silent Servant El Guapo Mix" both sounding exactly as their remix description describes.  Pillow fight is a fluffy, yet still hard rendition, while the silent is, well, sans lyrics and techno-esque.  The pillow fight remix is the one to hear; the alt-goth take is confident, well produced, and f%$#*^$ing catchy!  Nice work Puscifer!

Strange Moon - APTBS (Dead Moon)
A Place To Bury Strangers takes the obscure Portland, OR band, Dead Moon, and makes it their own.  This EP is drenched in APTBS' full on, echoey, distortion while keeping the garagey sounds of Dead Moon.  What's interesting is that this entire EP is devoted to covering one band (one the VVers had never even heard of).  Usually you might get one cover on an album or an album of all covers, but of multiple artists.  Not here, APTBS crushes their tribute to these 80s/90s unknown punk heros.

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