Sunday, June 17, 2007


Necessary Note Before We Begin:

If you download only one song: make it Jon Solo's cover of Blue Light.

Alternate Versions:

I have remixes and covers of songs I've never even heard. That is to say: the original is a foreign island. I (most of the time) have heard of it, so I know it exists, but I've never been there. Never tasted the air there, or the food, never felt the warmth or the humidity, never looked up at the skyline and felt content, never taken a dip in the water and thought, "God, it's even colder than it is at home!" But through these remixes and covers (or even alternate versions by the band themselves), I've heard of the elements that are in place - so I kind of think I know that the Mexican food there is great, Italian's not really their kind of thing, the valley's act as sun-traps and on Sundays they go there and relax, but during the week the heat is unbearable, it hardly ever rains but when it does the villages flood, they aren't skyscraper people and because of this I like them - they like to be able to see real mountains as opposed to build buildings that block out the sun, their horizon's are broader than ours, they like to skinny dip past midnight but only in the Great Georgian Lake - never in the East of Eleanor one. Are you following?

It's so hard these days to keep track of who wrote what and who fucked what up and who improved upon what. Case in point: That Kissy Sell Out song I featured - I now know that Ali Love did the talking/rapping bit, thus it was a sample, but did I know that before? No. And I found out accidentally! (by listening to some Modular Dance CD). With the ongoing increase in digitalisation, there are less liner notes accompanying the music - mp3 blogs are mp3 blogs; not sources to find out the producer, writer, remixer, trumpet, tube, flute, piccolo players, and 'miscellaneous tasks' credits.

But alas, I've strayed from the point. The point being, that there are far more (or definitely seem to be far more) remixes and covers of songs nowadays than there ever were before, and so here in these posts I will offer up two versions of each song (and the first won't always be the original) and you can decide which you like more. Or maybe they both have merit! Or maybe you might find that (remarkably) they are two different (aurally) songs despite being cut from the exact-same cloth. Say wha? Whatever. Enjoy.

Elliott Smith - Needle In The Hay
Elliott Smith - Needle In The Hay (Live Full Band Rendition)

Apparently this full-band rendition is remarkable. Unfortunately I can't enjoy it properly, because I'm a stickler for sound-quality, and as far as that goes, live recordings don't really do it for me, unless they're done professionally (e.g. download resource). But perhaps you can see the diamond in the dirt and love it more than the original (which, oddly, I've never really loved as much as everyone else seems to, despite often loving Elliott Smith more than they do. Go figure.)

Midlake - Roscoe
Midlake - Roscoe (Beyond The Wizard's Sleeve remix) [Info]

Talk about blog-hype. This band did the rounds for so long I was ready to abandon hope on the whole discovery-of-great-bands-via-blogs thing. Y'see, I didn't get them at all at first (or even at second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth). I don't know when I finally let this song change my mind about them (or if it ever did - this is the only Midlake song I listen to with anything even approaching regularity). Imagine some sort of durr A-Team theme-tune done by a lazy psuedo-country&western band who constantly smoke and you've got this song. I know, I agree, it sounds like it's gonna be so shit, but somehow it isn't. BTWS provide extra room and softness, so if that's your thing you'll like the remix, and if that's not your thing, you won't, and if you're like me, you'll find that the changes are so inoffensive they're barely noticeable. But then, 'dance' music is all about subtlety, isn't it? [When I say 'dance' I don't mean 'dance', literally. Obviously. If you know what I do mean, you get a pat on the back from me.]

Kate Nash - Foundations
Kate Nash - Foundations (Metronomy remix) [Info]

Kate Nash got very hyped up. I didn't understand why. At all. Now I do. Kind of. You should too. I've liked Metronomy ever since that Infadel's remix ("L-O-V-E-L-I-K-E-S-E-M-T-E-X!"), but I can't tell if this remix is truly enjoyable, or just interesting. Maybe you can.

Metric - Monster Hospital (Acoustic)
Metric - Monster Hospital (MSTRKRFT Remix) [Info]

I didn't even realise that Metric actually mentioned Bobby Fuller in this song! When MSTRKRFT make the song so danceable, I'm not sure I even care.

Athlete - God Only Knows (Live on BBC Radio 2) (Beach Boys Cover)
Petra Hayden - God Only Knows (Beach Boys Cover)

I really like the singer from Athlete's voice - but you can't really tell why in this close-cover of a classic. Petra Hayden's cover sticks even closer to the original Beach Boys version - forever embedded in my mind now as a seasonal song (blame Love Actually); a song for log-fire Christmases and present-wrapper-covered floors.

(image credit: matthew snowden)

Bloc Party - Blue Light
Jon Solo - Blue Light (Bloc Party Cover)

I liked the fact that on the relentless first Bloc Party album this song was a chance to breathe, to sit down, to think, to relax. It's just such a good song. And the cover - it feels completely different; not less of a sigh, just a different kind. The original was hot air on a cold neck; the cover is wet lips on a warm cheek. And it feels happier too. Bloc Party are resigned, but Jon Solo sounds content. The cover has a bounce but it's so laid-back-Sunday-morning that it's almost unnoticeable - you don't so much hear the cheeriness as feel it. If I walked out of the house right now listening to this song there would be a spring in my step, accompanied by a calm sort of happiness - more three-pints-in-two-hours excited than the usual one-after-the-other-after-the-other vodka-and-lemonade buzz.

As if you couldn't tell, this wasn't mulled over for hours, therefore complaints are probably deserved. I hope I haven't offended anyone - if you could see the way I smile as I write you'd know that all jesting was really a form of love. Also, if any of the descriptions seem way off, maybe they are, but they made sense at the time. Perception is a funny funny thing.