Covers of Note: The Curly Wolf, Thirteen

Hey, kids. I know it’s been kind of quiet around here. Promise I’m not dead. Nor is the blog. Only sleeping, babies, only sleeping.

Today I have a video for you, from The Curly Wolf; it’s their rendition of Danzig’s Thirteen.

Not going to lie, before I read the whole email I thought they had covered Big Star’s Thirteen instead, which, well, that would be a whole different adventure – one which I’d be willing to go on, for the record – but I’m also always in favor of flipping metal songs inside out and goosing the tempo. In this particular instance the result is probably best classified as “dark folk punk” or perhaps “but what if Willie Nelson and Lemmy had both taken a wrong turn at Bakersfield and started a band??”

Anyway. It’s good. You should listen to it.

The Curly Wolf – Thirteen (Danzig Cover)The Curly Wolf - Thirteen (Danzig Cover)
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Video: Grandma Got Runover by a Reindeer, Justin Kennedy

Everyone has their Christmas traditions. Some people can’t get in the spirit without hot cider and gingerbread. Others genuinely enjoy ugly Christmas sweater season. As for me, well, it isn’t really Christmas until someone starts singing Grandma Got Runover by a Reindeer.

(Admittedly this year that would mean Advent started in August on Fire Island, when someone in a hen party next to launched into the tune, but – DETAILS, people, DETAILS.)

This version of the Elmo and Patsy classic is by Justin Kennedy of Army Navy. It’s at about 3/4 speed and therefore feels like experiencing the holiday in a haze of . . . whatever makes you feel hazy. Really brings the pathos out, too, actually. Never occurred to me before how much of the childish glee of this song depends on being able to slalom through it.

Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer – Justin Kennedy from Justin Kennedy on Vimeo.

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Eskimo Brothers, Two

Two, the second record from Eskimo Brothers, is one of life’s small, uncomplicated pleasures.

A rockabilly pleasure, specifically, songs about hard drinkin’ and hard lovin’ shot through with the steady thrum of the upright bass and hip-shaker guitars.

For example: Sweethearts and Bars, which, well, it’s exactly what it says on the tin:

Another one I like: A Lie Called Love, for all the cynical romantics out there:

And then finally there’s the occasional cross-genre reinterpretation of a classic, by which I mean their version of Fat Bottom Girls filled me with rude glee:

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Covers of Note: I Walk The Line, Scott McFarnon

I Walk the Line is Scott McFarnon‘s interpretation of Johnny Cash’s classic tune and it is, in all seriousness, breathtaking – in a good way. He’s stripped it down and rebuilt into something quiet and melancholy; the eyes that are wide open all the time gaze upon the line in a state of mournful, almost wistful introspection rather than paranoid, hypervigilant bravado.

In the video below, McFarnon uses London’s newest park/art experiment, also called The Line, to illustrate his vibe, and it is beautiful.

'I Walk The Line' – Scott McFarnon'I Walk The Line' – Scott McFarnon
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Covers of Note: Militia Vox, BAIT

Normally I use this feature for one song at a time, but I’m making an exception today, because Militia Vox has made a whole EP of covers, entitled Bait, and all of them are great.

I’m particularly fond of her take on Ozzy Osbourne’s No More Tears:

And her interpretation of Waiting for the Night by Depeche Mode is awesome:

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Covers of Note: Strangers, Stay

So here is a story I have to tell you about Stay by Shakespeare’s Sister: The first time I heard it I was in the Arizona desert with my youth group, about three-fourths of the way through a week-long mission trip. We were out driving around looking at rocks, or something, I don’t remember, but it had been a long week. Tempers were fraying. Teeth were being firmly clenched. Required daily notes of affirmation to each other (yes, really) were becoming more difficult to compose.

But we had the radio on, a) because it was 1992 and b) I think choosing one tape or CD to listen to might have been the last straw for all of us, and – this song came on:

Shakespeare's Sister – Stay Wth Me (Official Music Video)Shakespeare's Sister - Stay Wth Me (Official Music Video)
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It was like someone had kicked down the door to a sex dungeon and it was full of fresh air. I didn’t quite understand what all was going on in there, but it surely was better than a car full of my seething peers.

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Covers of Note: The Rebel Light, Be My Baby

The Rebel Light, of Los Angeles, California took a shot at The Ronettes classic – always a bold move – and in their case a successful one. They retain the massiveness of the original sound but add some of their own summery shine and the final result is warm, expansive and delightful.

Bonus facts: they recorded the vocals in their bathroom and the drums in a shed.

And for any of you who might be thinking hey sound a little bit like the Beach Boys, well, you are not wrong, however, when the actual Beach Boys covered this song in 2000, Brian Wilson sang it like he had an anchor attached to his ankle and was being dragged out to sea. I also found an Mike Love version from 1981 which is slightly perkier but yet still doesn’t sound quite right – too much wobble-fuzzy synthesizer, maybe.

Meanwhile, here is what The Rebel Light sound like left to their own devices:

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Covers of Note: The Emperors of Wyoming, Rebirth of the Cool

Today in country covers of rock songs: Rebirth of the Cool by the Afghan Whigs as re-imagined by The Emperors of Wyoming (Phil Davis: lead vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, Pete Anderson: bass, 12 string guitar, guitars, vocals, Butch Vig: drums, electric guitars, keyboards, vocals and FL Anderson: lead Guitar, pedal steel, lap steel, accordion, banjo).

They give it that classic high-lonesome sound:

And this is what they sound like left to their own devices:

Avalanche Girl by The Emperors of WyomingAvalanche Girl by The Emperors of Wyoming
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