Tag: Nouvelle Vague

Covers

I remain unashamed by my musical tastes but there is a quirk in there which has recently surfaced. Regardless of the genre into which they are dragged, I do have a love of cover versions. At the moment Mark Ronson’s album, Version, seems to float to the top of my playlist. The reworking on Toxic, originally by Britney Spears, a favourite, closely followed by a version of one of my favourite Radiohead tracks, Just.

Previously, cover versions were the remit of live acts and the occasional B-Side. However, in the past few years, and this may just be because I’m starting to notice them, there have been a spate of entire albums of cover versions. Particularly of note are the Nouvelle Vague albums, taking punk tracks and reworking them into lounge acts with a little sprinkling of je ne sais quois, and the Johnny Cash American Recordings albums.

But what is the appeal?

For me it’s similar to hearing a track played live, hearing, sometimes for the first time, a distinct nuance or the use of a specific instrument. Such things are sometimes only revealed during a live gig, with the sound mix adjusted and the volume playing a significant part, or perhaps the arrangement is different, there are a variety of reasons I guess.

Anyway, I’ve started compiling a list of my favourite cover versions:

  • I Will Survive – Cake (original by Gloria Gaynor)
  • Feeling Good – Muse (original by Nina Simone)
  • Wind Cries Mary – Jamie Cullum (original by Jimi Hendrix)
  • Heart beats – Jose Gonzalez (original by The Knife)
  • Just can’t get enough – Nouvelle Vague (original by Depeche Mode)
  • Just – Mark Ronson (original by Radiohead)
  • You were always on my mind – Pet Shop Boys (original by Elvis)
  • Personal Jesus – Johnny Cash (original by Depeche Mode)

Of course, I’m not the only person to come up with a list of best cover versions, but I’m sure you all have some suggestions.

So, have at it, the comments are open, what’s your favourite cover version?

New Music

Bit of a splurge recently, some current stuff, some not.

Muse – Black Holes and Revelations

First things first, do not let the current single (Supermassive Black Hole) sway you either for, or against, this album. It’s definitely a standout track but it’s not really representative of the album as a whole, which is more of a progression from Absolution than a “new direction” for the band.

So you can expect more grand piano moments, more wailing guitar solos and more theatrics from a band who seem to be falling just short of being REALLY huge. I’m guessing it’s because they aren’t “heavy” enough for some, and too “heavy” for others, as they veer between pounding, screeching rock to some of the lighter tracks which you could describe as “pop music”… almost. They seem to be one of those bands you either enjoy or don’t really ‘get’, but to me they are a natural extension of two of my favourite bands, Queen and Radiohead. They have the drama and theatrics of Queen coupled with the angsty introspectiveness of Radiohead… ohhh and like both bands, Muse can ROCK (not the capitals, that’s important).

I’m still only on first impressions with this album but after a couple of listens it’s already growing on me, and I’m pretty sure it’ll be heavy rotation in the coming months. Ohh and if you get a chance to see them live, grab it with both hands, they put on one hell of a show.

Howe Gelb – ‘Sno Angel Like You

Funny one this, it’s been out for a while and I picked up a copy in FOPP a while back but somehow forgot about it. Anyway, I “discovered” it last week and it’s been quietly impressing me with it’s laidback melodies and general “nice tuneness” – god, I’m the worst music reviewer ever, what the hell is “nice tuneness”?!.

The album ranges through a variety of styles, all underpinned with a simplicity and charm that slowly wheedles its way under your skin, all the while revealing another layer you missed in the last round of listening. A nice lazy day album then, coupled with some Jack Johnson, Corinne Bailey Rae, and maybe a tall, cold gin and tonic. Good stuff.

Nouvelle Vague – Bande A Part
Hmmm, if you don’t know Nouvelle Vague then this may sound very odd. Bande A Part is the follow up to their eponymous 2004 album, and continues in the same vein of providing bossanova inspired covers of well known new wave/romantic tracks. Odd, definitely. Intriguing, of course. But the appeal lies in the approach they take, which is definitely tongue-in-cheek, and slowly you find your feet starting to tap, as your brain double-takes when it realises the track it’s listening to — that slow, acoustic guitar, plodding piano and tom-toms — is New Order’s Blue Monday.

This is an ace album, an excellent background music, especially at a BBQ or something. I’ve yet to try it but I imagine half the fun would be watching people slowly realise that they KNOW that samba track that’s playing in the background.

If you snag a copy of this album give it time, it’s a real grower. The first listen may put you off but I strongly suggest you stick with it and reap the benefits of this wonderful album.

And of course next week I’ll be mainly listening to Thom Yorke’s new album – The Eraser. I’ve heard a couple of tracks already and it sounds great.

Summer Burn 2005

Yeah I signed up again, my third year (I missed 2004 because Louise was in hospital I think) and this is my playlist:

01 The B52’s : Love Shack
02 The Beach Boys : Sloop John B
03 Bran Van 3000. : Drinking in L.A.
04 Chungking : Come With Me
05 The Kinks : Sunny Afternoon
06 Luke Vibert : Slipped Disc
07 Jill Scott : Spring Summer Feeling
08 Go Home Productions : Shannon Stone
09 James Brown : I Got You (I Feel Good)
10 The Zutons : Confusion
11 Ian Dury & the Blockheads : Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick
12 Bebel Gilberto : So Nice (Summer Samba)
13 The Polyphonic Spree : Hangin’ Around
14 The Shortwave Set : Slingshot
15 Dusty Springfield : Spooky
16 Mylo : Sunworshipper
17 Marlena Shaw : California Soul
18 Nouvelle Vague : Too Drunk to Fuck

Your too late to sign up now I’m afraid but if you HAVE and you haven’t confirmed your address then you’d better do it soon!

I wonder what I’ll get on MY CDs?