Sunday, March 4, 2007

The Velvet Underground & Nico - Covers

Today's entry isn't just one cover...yet an entire album of covers. After quite a bit of searching I managed to find covers of every track from the Velvet Underground & Nico. I then assembled them in the same order as the orignal album and thus voila, a full album tribute. Plus it doesn't suck. You may have noticed my use of the peeled version of the cover art. You could say that the deconstruction of the banana can symbolize the deconstruction process there is when covering a song, yet you'd be looking to much into it. I'm just deviating from the norm. All the mp3s are grouped together below or in the picture via megaupload.

The Velvet Underground & Nico Covers

1. Belle & Sebastian - Sunday Morning
You wouldn't believe how difficult it is to find covers of this song. As the single from the album, I suspected cover versions would be everywhere, yet I was wrong. All I could find were this live Belle & Sebastian take and one by James, that band whose song "Laid" is in practically every movie trailer ever. I couldn't find their version so this bootleg quality version had to do.

2. David Bowie - I'm Waiting for the Man
Talk about a fantastic cover. It comes from 1972 and is also a live take, a BBC session to be specific. Many say that this is better than the original. I say...yeah, yeah it kinda is.

3. Owen - Femme Fatale
Everybody covers Femme Fatale. Teenage Fanclub, Tom Tom Club, Big Star, Duran Duran, R.E.M....yet I went for Owen. First off I knew I wanted a male vocalist for this cover to switch things up. This cover (released last year) is the most recent version of the song I could find, so I thought that was something to take note of. I really like the instrumentation in this one, as it keeps the same melodies yet adds many new touches to it. Good Stuff.

4. Smashing Pumpkins - Venus in Furs
This one is excellent and really hard to find. It's source is a radio show from 1988, their first year as a band. The vocal mixing may be up a little too high yet it shows just how tight this band was even in their earliest days. Say what you will about Billy Corgan nowadays...when he was on in the past, he was superb.

5. Echo and the Bunnymen - Run, Run, Run
This seems to be everyone's least favorite song on the album. Honestly this was the only version of the song I could find. It's live and pretty faithful to the original.

6. Calexico + Iron & Wine - All Tommorow's Parties
This one is exceptional. I've lost a little interest in Iron & Wine over the past year or so and Calexico never clicked with me, but this makes we want to whip out their albums again. The horn section on this is a great addition.

7. The String Quartet - Heroin
Okay, here's a bit of a cop off on my behalf. The String Quartet has covered everything. However between the horrible Billy Idol cover and the Echo and the Bunnymen one (who already were on the list) I really had no choice.

8. R.E.M - There She Goes Again
This is an early R.E.M b-side from Murmur. It's like the original but with an acoustic guitar. I don't pay much attention to R.E.M, sorry. I just have Murmur and that IRC compilation. Don't shun me.

9. Clem Snide - I'll Be Your Mirror
I have no idea who Clem Snide is. They pull off a great cover with this one though. It's a bit alt-country you could say, and they show down the tempo a little. Solid.

10. Bettie Serveert - The Black Angel's Death Song
I think I'll wikipedia this Bettie... Oh so Bettie Serveert is not a person, yet a band. I am also told that they formed in 1986, have had an entire Velvet Underground covers album and their most successful moment was a cover of Bright Eyes' "Lover I Don't Have to Love" that appeared on the OC. Hmm. Well, the cover is impressively loyal to the original which I guess is for better or worse. It's like a guy who paints amazingly accurature replications of the Mona have to appreciate their talents but it'd be more interesting if they put their own touches on it. She even does the "Psshhhhhhhh" thing that John Cale does.

11. The Olivia Tremor Control - European Son
I'm still surprised that this song was covered. However The Olivia Tremor Control is one of the few bands ambitious enought to take it on. Apart from that String Quartet that is. But with a Linkin Park tribute released, what won't they cover? This cover is just off the wall good. When you think European Son... covered? it doesn't make any sense. But they when you hear this version you'll hate yourself for questioning. Wowza


Mr Ray said...
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matt said...

Don't be pricks guys...

Mr Ray said...

A puerile rejoinder.

Rather than resorting to infantile name-calling, why not simply admit that your knowledge of music isn't quite as good as you imagined.

It's high time you stopped deluding yourself, little man.

mr ray said...

I note that you have rectified your elementary error regarding the "Psshhhhhhhh" on The Black Angel's Death Song.

Well done.

Mr Ray said...

In addition to Echo and the Bunnymen's rendition, I know of at least three other versions of Run Run Run*.

I urge you to familiarise yourself with them at the earliest opportunity.

* Note the omission of the commas from the song title. This is its correct form.

matt said...

I won't admit my knowledge of music isn't quite as good as I imagined as I don't need to. The Velvet Underground isn't the beginning and the end of what one needs to know about music. I love the band, but by no means consider myself an expert on them. However you may be pleased to know that since this entry was written, I have since read the 33 and 1/3 book on this record, as well as further pursued the solo career of John Cale. By now I consider Paris 1919 to > any of Lou Reed's solo releases. All I meant with Run Run Run was that there very well may have been other live cover versions, but I just couldn't find them on oink at the time. The least favorite? Yeah, probably comment was just a tongue-in-cheek reference to finding the least covers of it.

Okay, we cool?