“Cover Tunes (Playlist and Mini-Reviews!)” by Richard F. Yates

“Cover Tunes (Playlist and Mini-Reviews!)” by Richard F. Yates


cover tunes by rfy

Greetings Citizens!!! It’s time for another trip down Auditory Avenue! You undoubtedly remember from yesterday’s post that I mentioned a CD I made a few days ago. (For those from the BEFORE NOW times, a CD is a shiny circle with music scribbled on it by a laser. These shiny “disks” spin really fast and sound comes out. They were popular for a while, but not as long as RECORDS. Those were fun, too…)

Below, you will find the playlist for the CD, which I mostly made for Mariah (aka: The Wife) and I to listen to while we were driving somewhere…although I can’t remember where we were driving, anymore. Maybe I wrote it down somewhere… OH!!! Now I remember. I made the playlist for the drive to Portland, Oregon, to pick up our younger daughter’s boyfriend from the Portland Airport. He flew home from New York (he’s away at college) for a few weeks and needed a lift back to Longview… (How could I have forgotten that, already? Too many pills, I guess….)

If you continue down below the list, you will discover a “mini-reviews” section, where I talk a bit about each of the songs. Continue even FURTHER down, and I will provide a handful of links for the tunes that I can find videos for. (Most of these will be audio with a still image. The point of music isn’t REALLY what it looks like, although we forgot that for a while back in the ‘80s… Here is the playlist:

“Cover Tunes” (Approx. 1 hour and 18 minutes)
1. Weezer – “Africa”
2. Michael Andrews feat. Gary Jules – “Mad World”
3. The Beatles – “Act Naturally”
4. Furnace – “Hey You”
5. Jason Mraz – “I Melt with You”
6. The Dickies – “Epistle to Dippy”
7. Tripping Daisy – “Friends / Sigmund and the Seamonsters”
8. Moloko – “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?”
9. Lemonheads – “Mrs. Robinson”
10. The Cardigans – “Iron Man”
11. Me First and The Gimme Gimmes – “Country Roads”
12. NOFX – “Electricity”
13. Kat Edmonson – “Just Like Heaven”
14. Nouvelle Vague – “I Just Can’t Get Enough”
15. The Moog Cookbook – “Whole Lotta Love”
16. Adamski – “Soul Kitchen”
17. Control Freq – “Lola”
18. Groovie Ghoulies – “Pet Sematary”
19. Save Ferris – “Come on Eileen”
20. Templebeat – “You Spin Me Round”

The REVIEW portion of today’s show!

1. Weezer – “Africa” (2018) – Originally by Toto.
There is a [whole big story](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Africa_(Toto_song)#Weezer_cover) about how Weezer came to cover Toto, which I didn’t know before researching the track for this post! What I can tell you is that I got this song off the self-titled “Teal album” by Weezer, which is all cover tunes. The track is rather faithful to the original, and Rivers Cuomo does a great job singing it. It’s one of those, sort of making fun of it, sort of (obviously) love it covers.

2. Michael Andrews feat. Gary Jules – “Mad World” (2001) – Originally by Tears for Fears.
This track comes from the soundtrack to the creepy, cult film, *Donnie Darko*. The track is much slower and far more haunting than the original, with Jules pulling every lost smidgen of emotion he can from his vocal performance. It’s a great cut, but not a pop-dance track anymore, by a LONG shot!

3. The Beatles – “Act Naturally” (1965) – Originally by Buck Owens and The Buckaroos.
Taken from The Beatles *Help!* album, this track is sung by Ringo, and it’s a fun, upbeat, but kind of sadfunny track about a guy being asked to play a lonely, sad man in a movie, and the fellow says he’ll be a hit, for sure, since all he’ll have to do is “act naturally.” It’s a fantastic track, and the performance here isn’t very far from the Buck Owens’ version. Great song.

4. Furnace – “Hey You” (1995) – Originally by Pink Floyd.
This cut, a slow, churning, gritty remake of the dark, Floyd classic, comes from a 2 CD tribute to the Pink ones, called *A Saucerful of Pink*, which was released by Cleopatra Records and includes industrial, goth, and psychedelic-freak version of a bunch of Floyd cuts by bands like, Psychic T.V., Alien Sex Fiend, Controlled Bleeding, Sky Cries Mary, Spahn Ranch, Helios Creed, The Electric Hellfire Club, and a ton more. The set is fantastic, and the tracks from it have been in heavy rotation in my playlists since I bought it when it first came out. This Furnace cut is actually one of the more understated of the remakes, which manages to capture a good deal of the mood of the original.

5. Jason Mraz – “I Melt with You” (2004) – Originally by Modern English.
This track comes from this soundtrack to the goofy rom-com, *50 First Dates*, starring Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore. Mraz adds a slight ragga-synth vibe to the cut, bubble-gumming it up a bit (and it was already pretty poppy), but it’s still a solid version of the track. The originally is one of my wife and my favorite songs, and this version doesn’t hurt our feelings, so I’d say it’s pretty well done.

6. The Dickies – “Epistle to Dippy” (1998) – Originally by Donovan.
The Dickies are well known for their cover tunes, tracks like the “Banana Splits Theme” or “Gigantor” or their scorching version of “Eve of Destruction,” but this track, from the album, *Dogs from the Hare That Bit Us*, is mellower than a lot of Dickies songs. This track is sped up a BIT from the original version, but they chose to keep it kool here, going with more of a psychedelic vibe than a punk thing. I love this track, personally, even if it’s quite different from what we might expect from these guys. FAB cover.

7. Tripping Daisy – “Friends / Sigmund and the Seamonsters” (1995) – Originally by Johnny Whitaker.
*Sigmund and the Seamonsters* was a terrible, live action kids show by the Sid and Marty Krofft crew, starring Billy Barty in a goofy, green foam costume that looked like living seaweed with giant, googly eyes. (I still don’t know why I loved this show when I was a kid---but it makes me feel good to this day just hearing those terrible songs and hearing that awful, canned laugh track!) The Tripping Daisy’s excellent, psychedelic cover comes from a fantastic compilation of bands all doing cartoon theme songs, called *Saturday Morning Cartoons’ Greatest Hits*. The collection, if you can find it, is a brilliant post-grunge monument to weirdness, with songs by everyone from The Butthole Surfer to the Violent Femmes, and Helmet, Sublime, Reverend Horton Heat, Juliana Hatfield, Matthew Sweet, and so on. Super excellent CD, especially if you are nostalgic about the glory days of Saturday Morning Cartoons…

8. Moloko – “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” (1997) – Originally by Gary Numan & Tubeway Army.
Somehow, Moloko made Numan, the KING OF COLD, funky. The track comes from a double CD tribute to Numan, called *Random*, that tears the New Wave God a bunch of new ones. It has songs by Pop Will Eat Itself, Gravity Kills, Jesus Jones, EMF, St. Etienne, Republica, Amanda Ghost, bis, and others. Moloko’s take on “Are ‘Friends’ Electric?” is certainly a highlight, featuring some deep, funky synth, and her soulful, powerful vocals. Great stuff here! (Still weird, too, which I love…)

9. Lemonheads – “Mrs. Robinson” (1992) – Originally by Simon & Garfunkel.
I got this track off the CD single for the song, although if I remember correctly, the song came out right about the same time as the Lemonheads album, *It’s a Shame About Ray*. The original Simon & Garfunkel cut was famously included in the soundtrack to the film, *The Graduate*. The cover is definitely punkier and buzzier, but Evan Dando still manages to kick a little bit a of melodic charm into the vocals. My favorite song by Lemonheads, by a long shot!

10. The Cardigans – “Iron Man” (1996) – Originally by Black Sabbath.
The Cardigans (you remember them from “Love Fool,” surely), were a weird, fun band. Despite being a dream-pop band, suspended somewhere between lounge, twee, and shoegaze, they also thought it was fun to cover a few Black Sabbath tracks every now and then. This doozy comes from their album, *First Band on the Moon*, and it’s a slowed down, sickly sweet, lounge meets trip hop retake on the classic heavy rocking track. The song is uncomfortable and woozy…in all the right ways!

11. Me First and The Gimme Gimmes – “Country Roads” (1995) – Originally by John Denver.
I got this on the Fat Wreck Chords compilation, *Survival of the Fattest*, although the track was originally released on the 7” EP, *Denver*. The Gimme Gimmes speed this sucker up to OVERDRIVE, but they still manage to keep it listenable, and like the track by Weezer, you get the impression that these guys love this song. Most tracks by Me First and the Gimme Gimmes are great, but this one in particular is STELLAR!

12. NOFX – “Electricity” (1999) – Originally by OMD
Here’s a fun one! The snotty punk hooligans, NOFX, take on an iconic New Wave synthpop classic, and they slam this sucker into the dirt. The song goes a million miles and hour, and Fat Mike snarls the lyrics like he’s trying to murder them and their entire family. The track comes from Vagrant Records’s SECOND volume of punk covers of New Wave songs. (Both volumes are a lot of fun. Highly recommended.) This was the one track on this mix that I was worried might be a bit TOO FAR for Mariah to enjoy it, but I couldn’t NOT put it on here, could I???

13. Kat Edmonson – “Just Like Heaven” (2009) – Originally by The Cure.
I found this cut on the now gone (and badly missed) RCRD LBL.com, where artists would put out demos, remixes, and weird cuts for folks to sample and enjoy. Eventually, the track ended up on Edmonson’s album, *Take to the Sky*. What we have with this cut is a full-on lounge / jazz / smoky bar-room cover of THE song by The Cure. It’s slow and haunting and chill. It’s not as good as the Robert Smith version, but nothing ever is! (I’m still angry at Dinosaur Jr. for their piss-take cover of this song… I’ll probably never forgive them.) Mellow and sweet---with all the goth bleached from the bones.

14. Nouvelle Vague – “I Just Can’t Get Enough” (2004) – Originally by Depeche Mode.
Another loungy cut, this one comes from Nouvelle Vague’s self-titled album. It’s a bit peppier than the Kat Edmonson cover, but still chill and sweet. It has a bouncy, upbeat feel, perfect for any cocktail party or tiki bar!

15. The Moog Cookbooks – “Whole Lotta Love” (1997) – Originally by Led Zeppelin.
Here’s a weird one. What would it sound like if a band uses dirty, broken, pawn-shop synths to do elevator music covers a bunch of classic rock hits? It would sound like *Ye Olde Space Bande*. They do mutilated renditions of Eagles, Kiss, Boston, Bowie, and more---but this Zep cover... This is something SPECIAL. It has ROBOT VOICES chanting the chorus. Might be the best thing that ever happened to a Robert Plant lyric…

16. Adamski – “Soul Kitchen” (1990) – Originally by The Doors.
At the dawn of the techno-rave revolution, Adamski dropped an album called, *Doctor Adamski’s Musical Pharmacy*, and I remember hearing the acid-house rendition of Elvis Presley’s “All Shook Up,” redubbed “The Space Jungle” by Adamski, for some reason, at the clubs quite a bit when it first came out. Once I bought the album, though, my favorite song became the odd, downtempo, fuzzy, glitchy version of The Door’s “Soul Kitchen.” It’s DIFFERENT than the original, less Jim Morrison-y, and way more electro-pop, but appealing to me in it’s own way.

17. Control Freq – “Lola” (2000) – Originally by The Kinks.
I got this track from an album, *Freq Show*, that came in as a promo when I used to work at a locally owned record store. It must not have hit big, though, because I couldn’t find a video for the song!!! (I would upload one myself, but I’m guessing the track was flagged because the song, “Lola,” is owned by somebody who doesn’t want it floating around the YoooTooobs for free.) Anyway, this version is noisy and squelchy, in an electronic sense. The vocals are nowhere near as good as Ray Davies’ pipes produced, but that shouldn’t be shocking. It’s still a fun cut, though, so if you find the CD floating around in a cut-out bin or a second-hand shop, it’s worth grabbing! Somewhere between industrial-rock, techno, fuzz-pop, and dance…

18. Groovie Ghoulies – “Pet Sematary” (2003) – Originally by The Ramones.
From the brilliant, funny, cartoony, and endlessly entertaining album, *Monster Club*, this cover of The Ramones’ nod to the Stephen King novel and unsettling film adaptation, is great fun. Kepi Ghoulie has a unique, slightly rough vocal style, and the guitars and BUZZING along here, so this might not appeal to fans of Kenny G or Michael Bolton, but if you love listening to people who LOVE what they’re doing (and you love monsters), then this track is for you. This whole CD is excellent, actually. My whole family used to drive around listening to thing on repeat---for several years!

19. Save Ferris – “Come on Eileen” (1997) – Originally by Dexys Midnight Runners.
You know the original, even if you can’t name the band who did it. This cover, a female fronted, ska-punk take on the classic ‘80’s track, is fun. Save Ferris (named after the slogan in the film, *Ferris Bueller’s Day Off*), speed the original up a bit, pump up the horns, and let it rip. It energetic, fun, and entertaining. Again, Kevin Rowland’s vocals were unique, so they couldn’t be copied, but the tune is still worth a spin here!

20. Templebeat – “You Spin Me Round” (1996) – Originally by Dead or Alive.
This track was available on a few different disks, but I grabbed the version from the 21st Circuitry Records compilation, *Newer Wave*, which was full of industrial, EBM, and dark wave covers of New Wave songs. (You might have noticed, I buy a lot of New Wave covers compilations…) Templebeat take the original hi-nrg track apart, slow it down, goth it up, and quadruple the STOMP factor. The vocals, surprisingly, are quite similar to Pete Burns’ style, with maybe a touch of Cold-War-era, Eastern-Bloc drawl. (The band was actually Italian, but they obviously come from the Laibach / Borghesia dark industrial school of singing…) It’s a fun, spooky, sludgy take on a club classic…

And that’s it for this playlist! Hopefully there’s a band or two in that batch that are new to you and might need further investigation! Before we go, though, let’s see how many of these tracks have videos that I can link;

1. https://youtu.be/mk5Dwg5zm2U

2. https://youtu.be/4N3N1MlvVc4

3. https://youtu.be/yjJd8rZPcAQ

4. https://youtu.be/24kiTIDQt9Q

5. https://youtu.be/6N_DGFtXeX0

6. https://youtu.be/6noPW6TMTjE

7. https://youtu.be/4q5oLzL94MA

8. https://youtu.be/Ab82iZWJ2EU

9. https://youtu.be/zvMFm5nKeUc

10. https://youtu.be/SzgZJEpLuw0

11. https://youtu.be/M50lKtaE8rs

12. https://youtu.be/MkLdUp9jRmg

13. https://youtu.be/-e16OHgss5E

14. https://youtu.be/kcljHWUqLVA

15. https://youtu.be/bL-jdTp3eRA

16. https://youtu.be/gc4Gz6IKSG8

17. (I couldn’t find any video for this cut! Sorry!!!)

18. https://youtu.be/Au5a3v14LoQ

19. https://youtu.be/yzfCFFCSnLE

20. https://youtu.be/B2mcPlX45p0

That’s IT!!!! Hope you were momentarily entertained!!!

Later skaters! Keep those hands clean and those minds filthy!!!

---Richard F. Yates
(Primitive Thoughtician and Holy Fool)

[P.S. - All words and that one digital drawing at the top of the post were created by me, Richard F. Yates. The video links were all found on YouTube. This post was originally published on my Hive blog today, a couple of hours ago, in fact. I would have posted this simultaneously with the Hive post, but I had to run some errands---like sitting in line in the car at the credit union for almost an hour, (I think I fell asleep a couple of times---my wife nudged my arm so I knew that we needed to move the car forward a bit,) so that we could pick up a cashier's check and go pay the rent. Mission accomplished!...Unless I DID fall asleep in the car and this is all part of some weird, sick dream... I'll let you know, later! ---RFY]  

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Richard F. Yates
Richard F. Yates

I'm an artist, author, poet, editor, and critic living in the Pacific Northwest. (Bigfoot Country!) I like weird stuff.


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