LBIII & The Glory Fires – “Sweet Disorder” and On Covers

Sweet DisorderLee Bains III & The Glory Fires have released their latest 7″ this past week. The Alabama rock outfit on the SubPop label, purportedly ‘Too Loud For Texas‘ and known for their energy-filled performances, are coming from the release of 2014’s Dereconstructed which was not only Essential Listening, but my choice for Album of the Year.

While the track opens with thirty seconds of the blistering rock and roll we’ve learned to expect from this band, featuring wailing guitars and crashing cymbals, there’s eventually a brief intermission: Bains, singing quietly on a song for the first time since the band’s 2012 debut, with a simple piano accompaniment, before the rock returns with a vengeance. The point is made. The Glory Fires’ next effort, tentatively titled “Juvenile Detention”, may not be any less aggressive, but may be far more melodic than Dereconstructed. “Sweet Disorder” can be sung without having to be shouted. As the song builds to a climax and then breaks down, you find yourself wondering at the complexity that is possible even within such a powerful wall of sound (was that a trumpet?). Be prepared for it to get stuck in your head, doubly so once you read the lyrics.

The devil may be in the details, but the power of Bains’ songwriting is always in the lyrics. I strongly urge all Glory Fires fans to check them out; they read very easily as stand-alone poems.  In Bains’s own words, “The song developed out of months spent revisiting the Objectivist poets, binging on early Clash albums, and observing the Atlanta actions surrounding the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and other unarmed people of color.” While we on the site have been careful to keep personal politics out of our posts, Bains’s principles made up the bulk of his material on Dereconstructed, and are part and parcel of his music. With this track, Bains is honing his skills as a messenger, delivering sincere and incisive criticism of social norms and systems. While some music may be timeless, dealing with eternal themes like love and loss, who can deny the timeliness of a lyric focused on modern issues such as transgender rights:

I saw them lock her in her body, and tell her that it’s bad
Under the guise of affection.

You can pick “Sweet Disorder” up over on the SubPop website.

The B-side of the 7″ is a cover, “Stars” by the Primitons. The Primitons were a Birmingham band from the 80’s, one Bains describes with clear respect in the release for the single. You can hear it hear, and though while Bains plays it acoustic (there’s a definite Cheap Girls vibe), the original is very electric and very punk. It’s clear that the band influenced Bains in his Alabama youth, and likely continue to do so: just listen to those melodies!

The Cover is one of the most loving acts (or self-centered ones) a musician can undertake. Whether it’s the carefully crafted cover of an all-time favorite or the passionate proselytizing of a new fan, few things are as exciting to fans as covers. It’s a way for artists to pass on their knowledge and tastes, help spread the message of their influences, and most importantly help their buddies sell some records.

Some of these covers achieve almost-legendary status in their own way: how many younger Lucero fans had never heard of Jawbreaker before they heard “Kiss The Bottle”? That was where Lucero came from. How many had not heard of Glossary and Joey Kneiser before Ben Nichols played “Bruised Ribs”? That was the caliber of songwriting that an older Nichols was endeavoring to match. As soon as I learned from Chad Price that Drag The River’s “Leaving In The Morning” was a Lenny & The Piss Poor Boys cover, I bought Lenny’s record immediately. Michael Dean Damron’s soulful cover of Thin Lizzy’s “Dancing In The Moonlight” got me to listen to a phenomenal rock and roll band I always associated with classic rock stations and movie montages.

Is there anything more exciting than hearing a song entirely new to you and discovering that not only do you have a new song, but an entirely new artist to listen to? What are some of your favorite covers, and discoveries you’ve made from them? Let us know in the comments!!

 

TOP FIVE – COVERS RECORDS

topfivecoversrecords

Neil Young just released a new album called A Letter Home that he recorded in a phone booth, with the conceit that he’s playing songs from his childhood over the phone to his mother on the other end. It’s all covers, and most of them have been covered extensively already (Bob Dylan, Gordon Lightfoot, Tim Hardin), so I wasn’t expecting much of a gut response to it. But it’s great! It sounds like the great Neil Young bootlegs of the 70’s like Citizen Kane Junior Blues; it made me want to play all the songs I used to like playing in small living rooms by myself.

The covers album is well-known to be a tricky thing–potentially a sign of songwriting stagnation or just a waste of time that offers nothing new. When they work, though, they can be wonderful sources of imagination and openness and history. Waylon Sings Ol’ Harlan, The Everly Brothers’ Roots, Willie Nelson’s To Lefty From Willie, Dolly Parton’s Sings My Favorite Songwriter, Porter Wagoner, and later, Bob Dylan’s World Gone Wrong and Good as I Been to You–they’re stunning records that lack nothing. Here are some other ones that have stood out to me over the years, in no particular order:

  1. Ronnie Hawkins–The Hawk in Winter (1976): The tracklist to this album has some overlap with the new Neil Young, Bob Dylan’s “Girl from the North Country,” Tim Hardin’s “Reason to Believe,” and Gordon Lightfoot’s “Early Morning Rain.” When Hawkins released his in ’76, it was more about covering some hot songwriters than when Young does it in ’14. In fact, there’s three Tim Hardin songs on this 11-track album. I love this album, despite how I just made it sound out of touch even in its own time. It’s the perfect sparsely luscious heartbreaking folk record from this period. Townes Van Zandt, Tim Hardin, Nick Drake, Nico–none of them escaped the 70s without some questionable studio flourishes stuck to some of their most incredible songs. And somehow this soft album from a hard-ass 40-year-old rockabilly legend gets those kinds of songs down without the fuss (there’s strings and stuff, but nothing too baroque) and in doing so offers an amazing source of brilliant contemporary songwriting.
    Early Morning Rain
    Reason to Believe
  2. Paul Baribeau & Ginger Alford–Darkness on the Edge of Your Town (2006): Paul Baribeau writes perfect songs but he is not prolific; Ginger Alford writes and guitars for Bloomington IN bands like Good Luck, Travelin’, and One Reason. This record comes out of their collaborative Springsteen covers tour. It’s all about fun here–two of the best songs are selected from late in Springsteen’s career, “Long Time Comin'” and “Into the Fire” (the latter is not as fun). The quintessential moment of the album occurs in the acoustic live version of “Born to Run” when the crowd mouth-guitars every electric guitar lick and the extended solo note-for-note. I’m really not sympathetic to criticism of Springsteen–I think his work is unassailable up to and including Tunnel of Love and then after that it’s still better than most things–but I can understand some disgrunts at his self-seriousness–this album is restores the levity (“I’m going to imply things about my penis,” Baribeau prefaces “Pink Cadillac”), community, and ecstasy to these songs while still wallowing in how devastating they really are. Where no one asks any questions or LOOKS TOO LONG IN YOUR FACE!
    06 Long Time Comin’
    14 Born To Run (Live)
  3. Give Me the Cure–D.C. Artists Cover The Cure (1994): The awesome title of this comp references DC band Fugazi’s song “Give Me the Cure,” but the bands here are obviously covering The Cure, and it’s all for an AIDS benefit to fund research to find a cure. Featuring amazing bands such as Edsel, Jawbox, Dismemberment Plan, Glo-Worm, My Life In Rain, and Ted Leo’s Chisel, and Peter Hayes from The High-Back Chairs. The standout for me is “Jumping Someone Else’s Train” by The Ropers. The fucking Ropers are the best and that doesn’t get talked about enough. This is a great album because it collects a good chunk of important DC bands of the time and it gets into different areas of The Cure’s discography–it drags up a lot of their best early singles, but doesn’t limit itself to the obvious choices from The Cure’s punkier early period which would’ve been the easiest songs to translate. Mainly, go check out The Ropers.
    Jumping Someone Else’s Train
    Six Different Ways
  4. Harry Nilsson–Nilsson Does Newman (1970): Brilliant, super-layered studio mastery. Nilsson harmonizing with Nilsson accompanied by Randy Newman, the honored songwriter himself, on piano. This is early in both Nilsson’s and Newman’s careers but the tribute is loving, earnest, and beautifully executed. The version of “Living Without You” from this album gets my vote for Most Beautiful Sounds Ever Made. If you’ve been averse to Newman’s genius songwriting because you can’t get down with his voice, then I suspect it’s because you’ve only heard his Disney songs, and you should check out his 70s albums, but if that still is keeping you at a distance, come at it through this album and Nilsson’s unmatched voice.
    caroline
    living without you
  5. The Crust Brothers–Marquee Mark (1998): The Crust Brothers were meant for only a few shows, including a benefit show for the Washington Wilderness Coalition in Seattle that was recorded for this album. The band was actually STEPHEN MALKMUS from Pavement and Tim, Andy, and Michael from SILKWORM. They all trade off vocals on a set of covers that largely samples Dylan & The Band’s Basement Tapes, but also includes The Rolling Stones, Skynyrd, Marvin Gaye, and an amazing version of The Byrds/Gene Clark’s “Feel A Whole Lot Better.” The truth is I found out about Malkmus’ work because he was on the soundtrack to the Bob Dylan biopic I’m Not There; I went backwards through his work and smacked into this, a love letter to The Basement Tapes, which was an album I was obsessed with in high school but that nobody else beside Peter Vinney and Greil Marcus had ever seemed to have heard. This album means a lot to me as an intersection between my high school folkie/classic rock self and my college rock self. It made me feel really fucking cool to hear these musicians share some love for the stuff I thought I was lame for liking. But it stands up in any context as a must-hear. Malkmus and Andy Cohen are two “incendiary” guitarists–they kill on stage together. One of my favorite live records, as well.
    Bessie Smith
    Feel a Whole Lot Better

(Wolf beat me to the punch on sharing–>) That much-anticipated (announced in 2012) Uncle Tupelo tribute album featuring Drag the River, Have Gun, Two Cow, and Empty Orchestra seems to be making progress recently and might even be out in the summer. Listen to Two Cow’s cover of Tweedy’s “We’ve Been Had.”

Real quick: Top Five Artists that Deserve a(nother) Tribute Album

  1. ALL
  2. Kathleen Hanna
  3. Phil Ochs
  4. Ferron
  5. Sticks & Stones

Let me know what tributes and covers you like best and who you think needs a revisiting. Thought of another one: Grant Lee Phillips’ Nineteeneighties–anybody know that one? Ok, now you go!

DRIVE-BY TRUCKERS: SOMEONE ELSES SONGS

Hey guys. Autopsy checking in from puppy hell with a pretty cool little compilation today. This comp first came across the DBT Mailing list a couple of months back. I knew I wanted to post it but I wanted to get some form of permission from the original compiler. Over the past few months I’ve tried in vain to track down the person who put this together in the first place but I’ve had no success. So, to whoever you are, thanks for your efforts.

Here is a collection of various live covers the Truckers have performed over time. Rumor has it there is a sequel to this comp being curated by another DBT Mailing List subscriber. If that comes to pass I hope to post it for y’all as well.

Enjoy.

Drive-By Truckers: Someone Elses Songs
(CD Covers)

  1. Country Jam
  2. Even The Losers (Tom Petty)
  3. Dock Of The Bay (Otis Redding)
  4. Fox On The Run (Osborne Brothers)
  5. Give My Love To Rose (Johnny Cash)
  6. Moonlight Mile (The Rolling Stones)
  7. Let Me Roll It (Wings)
  8. Keep On Smilin’ (Wet Willie)
  9. Play It All Night Long (Warren Zevon)
  10. Eighteen (Alice Cooper)
  11. Ain’t Talkin’ ‘Bout Love (Van Halen)
  12. Buttholeville/State Trooper (Bruce Springsteen)
  13. Rock Jam

JASON ISBELL – THE ASSASSIN

I was checking out the fantastic blog, HearYa this morning and they’ve started a new feature about cover songs that are better than the original and the most recent one features Jason covering Patterson’s song, The Assassin, from his solo album, Killers and Stars. Like HearYa, The Assassin, has always been my favorite track from the album and hearing Jason’s electric version of it makes it even better.

Maybe Jason will cover it on his next album…That! Would be awesome.

Patterson Hood – The Assassin

Jason Isbell: Live @ Mercy Lounge in Nashville, Tn:

HELLSONGS – HYMNS IN THE KEY OF 666

Sometimes, you just see a band name or an album name and you paint this picture in your mind of what their music is gonna be like. Such was the case with the group Hellsongs. I saw the name HellSongs and the album title Hymns in the Key of 666, and right there I decided this was gonna be some serious Doom Country, in the vein of Those Poor Bastards or Sons of Perdition. I really didn’t even spend enough time on the emusic page to notice the cover art or the “rock/pop” genre classification, hell, I didn’t even bother looking at the track listing. All it took to pique my interest was Hellsongs and Hymns in the Key of 666, and I just knew that it was going to be Doom Country. I was sure of it. Furthermore, not only was it Doom Country, but by the time it made it to my thumb drive and got plugged into my stereo, I had decided it was awesome Doom Country.

I could not have been more wrong.

Hellsongs fashion themselves as “LoungeMetal” and what they do is reinterpret metal classics as acoustic/electronic songs more fit for a coffee shop. Remember when Tori Amos released that cover album which featured a cover of Slayer’s “Raining Blood”? Yeah? Well, it’s exactly like that, except that Hellsongs actually pulls it off and manages to make the songs their own, ala Richard Cheese minus the Vegas lounge kitch. Over 10 tracks these Swedes manage to reinvent Metallica, Sabbath, Slayer, Iron Maiden and others, including a particularly interesting remake of Megadeth‘s “Symphony of Destruction”.

I’m not saying this is something you’ll put in heavy rotation, but it is a fun listen. It also makes for an entertaining album to put on when you have company and watch as they have an internal struggle trying to figure out just what it is they are listening to.

Hellsongs – Symphony of Destruction
Megadeth – Symphony of Destruction

Hellsongs – Paranoid
Black Sabbath – Paranoid

Success: Hellsongs – Seasons in the Abyss
Failure: Tori Amos – Raining Blood

Slayer – Seasons in the Abyss
Slayer – Raining Blood


Hellsongs Official Site, Hellsongs on myspace, Buy Hymns in the Key of 666

Sister Golden Hair



Original: America – Sister Golden Hair
Good Cover: Bobby Bare Jr. – Sister Golden Hair
Bad Cover: Spanic – Sister Golden Hair

I discovered Sister Golden Hair as a pre-teen kid going through his dads record collection. For some reason the song really struck a cord with me then and I love it to this day. A few weeks ago Aquarium Drunkard posted a Bobby Bare Jr. cover and here I am, reposting it.

REPOST: Learn something new everyday: A Dylan/Old Crow co-write?

————————————————————————————————–

I first posted this back in May. Since then there has not been a single week pass where someone has not emailed me looking for the songs again. So, I decided to make a repost and include a little more information:

The Old Crow Medicine Show version of this song is available on their Troubles Up and Down the Road EP (currently Out of Print). The Jason Webley/Rev. Peyton version is available on bonus disc of their Two Bottles of Wine album. The Dylan version can be found on the 5 disc collection Genuine Bootleg Series 1 and finally the Against Me! version can be found on the Fat Wreck Records compilation PROTECT.

There you go. Without further a do and by popular demand…I bring you the original (and unedited) Wagon Wheel post:

————————————————————————————————–

When I started typing this post I had no idea but today is Bob Dylan’s 66th Birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BOB.

This morning I was sitting here listening to the new cd, Two Bottles Of Wine by Jason Webley and Reverend Peyton. At the end of the cd is a cover song that I instantly recognized as Old Crow Medicine Show‘s, Wagon Wheel. Only, it’s labeled as Rock Me Mama (Bob Dylan Cover).

huh?

I am no Dylan expert but I thought if Wagon Wheel was actually a Dylan cover I would have known by now. This seemed like a job for Google. After a little looking I found this explination from OCMS’s Keith Secor:

“It’d be my pleasure to dispel the myth and rumor about the song Wagon Wheel, or “Rock Me Mama” as Bob Dylan himself called the song when he recorded it down in Mexico in 1972 for the soundtrack of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. This song was not released, and it was not finished either, this is a demo of a practice session of him, Rob Stoner, and a couple of gals doing the chorus over and over again while the bass player learns the bass line. That’s what I heard on a German bootleg about nine years ago in high school. And I wrote the lyrics to the song because I loved the chorus so much and I sung it in my head for maybe a year straight, and then just penned what I penned, which is something of an autobiographical story about just wanting to get outta town, gettin outta school, and just wanting to go play music. It’s sort of autobiographical like that. But yeah, it’s sort of a Bob Dylan co-write with about 25 years inbetween.”

Well there you go. As the late great Chris Thomas used to say, “That’s why you get up in the mornings. You never know what you might learn.”

Does anyone have a copy of that Dylan bootleg? I would really love to hear it. If you do please contact me.

Old Crow Medicine Show – Wagon Wheel
Jason Webley w/Reverend Peyton – Rock Me Mama

edit: Thanks to the overwhelming response from the folks over on Expecting Rain we can now hear the Dylan bootleg.

Bob Dylan – Rock Me Mama

Finally. Here is another cover I found by the band Against Me!:
Against Me! – Wagon Wheel

awesome covers: Ryan Adams/Alice in Chains edition…

Okay. This thing has been on the internets for over a month. Admittedly, I am really slow on all things Ryan Adams and generally when another blog makes mention of Ryan I just scan down to the next entry. However, I heard about an awesome cover of Alice in Chains, Down in a Hole floating around and decided to check it out. In my opinion Down in a Hole was the best song Alice in Chains ever did.

I found an entry about it on You Ain’t No Picasso but it’s link was not working for me so I followed that to An Aquarium Drunkard’s post from a month ago about it. Again, dead link. I was beginning to give up but Aquarium Drunkard had a link to Who’s Driving the Bus and I finally got to hear it.

Autopsy Report: Fucking wonderful. Make’s me wonder if I should rethink my whole Ryan Adam’s indifference.

Here is the back story per Who’s Driving the Bus:

“Ryan Adams played a few shows last week to promote the upcoming release of his new album, “Easy Tiger”. These shows saw Ryan confined to playing only the piano and singing after suffering from an undisclosed injury….”

The cover was the show’s encore. You can check out the whole show over at the Ryan Adams Archive.

Ryan Adams – Down in a Hole
Alice In Chains – Down in a Hole (from the album Dirt)
Alice In Chains – Down in a Hole (from MTV Unplugged)

Learn something new everyday: A Dylan/Old Crow co-write?

When I started typing this post I had no idea but today is Bob Dylan’s 66th Birthday. HAPPY BIRTHDAY BOB.

This morning I was sitting here listening to the new cd, Two Bottles Of Wine by Jason Webley and Reverend Peyton. At the end of the cd is a cover song that I instantly recognized as Old Crow Medicine Show‘s, Wagon Wheel. Only, it’s labeled as Rock Me Mama (Bob Dylan Cover).

huh?

I am no Dylan expert but I thought if Wagon Wheel was actually a Dylan cover I would have known by now. This seemed like a job for Google. After a little looking I found this explination from OCMS’s Keith Secor:

“It’d be my pleasure to dispel the myth and rumor about the song Wagon Wheel, or “Rock Me Mama” as Bob Dylan himself called the song when he recorded it down in Mexico in 1972 for the soundtrack of Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid. This song was not released, and it was not finished either, this is a demo of a practice session of him, Rob Stoner, and a couple of gals doing the chorus over and over again while the bass player learns the bass line. That’s what I heard on a German bootleg about nine years ago in high school. And I wrote the lyrics to the song because I loved the chorus so much and I sung it in my head for maybe a year straight, and then just penned what I penned, which is something of an autobiographical story about just wanting to get outta town, gettin outta school, and just wanting to go play music. It’s sort of autobiographical like that. But yeah, it’s sort of a Bob Dylan co-write with about 25 years inbetween.”

Well there you go. As the late great Chris Thomas used to say, “That’s why you get up in the mornings. You never know what you might learn.”

Does anyone have a copy of that Dylan bootleg? I would really love to hear it. If you do please contact me.

Old Crow Medicine Show – Wagon Wheel
Jason Webley w/Reverend Peyton – Rock Me Mama

edit: Thanks to the overwhelming response from the folks over on Expecting Rain we can now hear the Dylan bootleg.

Bob Dylan – Rock Me Mama 

Finally. Here is another cover I found by the band Against Me!:
Against Me! – Wagon Wheel

Alex, I'll take hip-hop covers for 1000:


If a person is going to dis hip-hop, inevitably they will mention sampling. “Fucker’s can not even write their own songs! Take someone else’s music and talk over it….where is the talent in that?” blah blah blah…. While there are a multitude of angles from which to attack this argument, I am not here to convince people of the legitimacy of hip-hop as an art. If you can not recognize it on your own then you are probably an asshole. The other day I was listening to the new Swollen Members cd, Black Magic, while I ran some errands on my lunch break. Something in the song Torture reminded me of a long-ago cover of Natural Born Killaz by the band Christ Analogue. The cover was from a 1996 release titled Operation Beatbox put out on the now defunct Re-Constriction Records. Operation Beatbox was a compilation of industrial bands covering hip-hop songs. While it was largely forgettable it did contain some real gems such as the Christ Analogue cover. This chain of thought quickly lead to how much I like The Gourds version of Gin and Juice. Somewhere amidst my stack of cds I have a Drive-by Trucker bootleg where they do a quick cover of Outkast’s song Roses in the middle of one of their shows. I guess that as the high-school and college kids of today grow and their bands start to gain recognition you’ll see a lot more covers of hip-hop jams. They were raised with hip-hop and see it for what it is. See, Puffy is to hip-hop as Hinder is to metal. Lloyd Banks is to hip-hop as Kenny Chesney is to country. What I am saying is none of those mentioned artists are really representing their claimed genre. They are just pop music in the correct and carefully selected/marketed uniform. That, at the core, is the most annoying aspect of trying to defend hip-hop to people who do not care for the genre. They only see hip-hop as MTV. All of this bled over into the afternoon where I sat in my cubicle downloading hip-hop covers I suddenly wanted to hear. I figured I would share some of them with you today. I am gonna post the cover and the original. See who did it better.

Original: Natual Born Killaz – Dr. Dre and Ice Cube
Cover: Natual Born Killaz – Christ Analogue

Original: Gangstas Paradise – Coolio
Cover: Gangstas Paradise – Battery

Original: Gin and Juice – Snoop Doggy Dog
Cover: Gin and Juice – The Gourds

Original: Renegades of Funk – Afrikka Bambatta
Cover: Renegades of Funk – Rage Against the Machine

I made mention of these covers on a message board I frequent and a friend of mine sent me a link to a cover of Natural Born Killaz that his band rec|use did. Personally, I think they did a phenomenal job. Check it out:

rec|use – Natual Born Killaz

While I was doing all of this I ran across an ooooolldddd school hip-hop jam that I loved back in the day and since I have no idea if or where I would be able to post it again I am gonna drop it on y’all now:

Man Parrish – Boogie Down Bronx