Monday, February 06, 2006

screwed up eyes and screwed down hairdo, like some cat from japan

Saturday morning, I woke up thinking about Bauhaus. Specifically, their version of "Ziggy Stardust". About a month ago, I dusted off my "Bauhaus" section of the CD racks and listened to them for the first time in years. That was prompted by a text message from Hans, who recently saw Bauhaus perform in Chicago.

I don't think that was what caused me to wake up thinking about Bauhaus, though. I figure it had something to do with a mix tape that was made for me on my last night at my old job. There's a girl there who I have a crush on. She'd been promising me a copy of her band's CD for a while, and for the occasion of my last night, she made that for me plus a mix CD. As far as her band, I have to give the hesitant thumbs down. It sounds a bit like Bikini Kill but with significantly less talent. Is that mean?

Anyway, the mix CD is pretty awesome, but it didn't have a track listing. I knew about a third of the songs, and I could guess the artist on another third, but there were four or five that I had no idea. With a little help from the internets, I was able to figure them all out. Except one. There's a cover of "Love Will Tear Us Apart" that's almost exactly like the original. I guess it's possible that it actually is Joy Division (maybe some alternate version), but it just doesn't sound like Ian Curtis. Not that I'm a huge Joy Division fan, but I have heard that song hundreds of times, and it sounds different. After all, as my friend Kevin always points out, the beginning of that song marks the threshold between the punk era and the new wave era. You know... when the synthesizer kicks in.

Anyway, I spent a while trying to figure out who it is, and why they chose to do a cover of a great song without adding anything to it. I like it when someone covers a song brilliantly by maybe changing the instrumentation, or the pace of it, or the gender of the singer, or something like that. Or they do something, anything, to make the cover stand apart from the original. Except mess with the lyrics.

All that said, I still think that Bauhaus' version of "Ziggy Stardust" is incredible. It's damn near identical to the Bowie version, musically and lyrically. And even though it doesn't do anything to stand apart, I love it.

So anyway, thinking about the cover(?) of "Love Will Tear Us Apart" made the wheels start turning, and I woke up thinking about "Ziggy Stardust". For your enjoyment, and perhaps your criticism, here's Kate's mix:
  1. Mason Jennings -- Nothing
  2. Of Montréal -- Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games
  3. Arcade Fire -- Neighborhood
  4. Built to Spill -- The Plan
  5. Björk -- Human Behaviour
  6. David Bowie -- Sound and Vision
  7. The Amps -- Full on Idle
  8. T-Rex -- Jitterbug Love
  9. Modest Mouse -- Interstate 8
  10. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah --The Skin of My Country Yellow Teeth
  11. Fugazi -- Bed For the Scraping
  12. Tiger Bear Wolf --You Play Guitar
  13. We Versus the Shark --The Graceless Planet
  14. The Faint --Glass Danse
  15. Tom Waits --Hoist that Rag
  16. Pixies --Here Comes Your Man
  17. Johnny Cash --I Won't Back Down
  18. ????? --Love Will Tear Us Apart
  19. Kill Creek --Colors of Home
  20. Neutral Milk Hotel --In the Aeroplane Over the Sea
  21. Stellastarr --Pulp Song

Quick notes on some of the ones I didn't know:

Tracks 12 and 13 are both very mathy and they're by bands that I hadn't listened to, but all of the indie kids around here talk about. To be honest, I'm not that into either.

Kill Creek. I didn't recall ever hearing this band before, but a quick look at their website told me that they've been around for quite some time, and I recognized one of their records from having been in heavy rotation at WQFS back in the early 90s. Back then, they sounded like they were trying to sound like Superchunk. The song that's on Kate's mix sounds like they're trying to sound like Rainer Maria.

Stellastarr. Can anyone say PiL? I actually had to go to their website to make sure is wasn't really John Lydon.

It had probably been seven years since I've listened to the Amps, so that was really neat to have that song on there.

I don't care if you call me a fag, but I really like Mason Jennings. He keeps showing up on mix CDs, and I don't own anything by him, but I like everything I've heard. Say what you want.

I've got something in the works for a Tuesday afternoon post that will be full of arrogance, snobbery and holier than thou-ness. Tune in later for that.

A sneak preview: Football is inferior to hockey.

Now Playing:

Hayden Elk-Lake Serenade

1 comment:

Bill Purdy said...

You think stellastarr* sounds like PiL (I think they sound like Pixies), you oughta hear Wilderness. Seems everyone these days is cahnnelling the bands we listened to in college. And those bands, they channelled Bowie and VU, and... clearly, rock and roll is just an infinite loop.

As for the JD cover... could it be Swans? It doesn't quite fit your description (i.e., it's distinctive enough that you'd probably not confuse it with the original), but it's worth a swag. I'll rip and post a link for you later.