(our 200th post!) Bird Call’s Covers EP Other Creatures

4 08 2011

I’ve been sitting on Bird Call‘s Covers EP, Other Creatures for a month or so now trying to figure out what I think of it. Quirky female vocalists can go both ways with me: LOVE: Kate Bush, Bjork, or Missing Persons; NOT FOND OF: Macy Gray, The Knife or JoAnna Newsom (devil’s spawn).

If you start off with Chiara Angelicola’s (Bird Calls main woman) Doo Right you may get turned off by her vocal aerobatics which lean toward Nina Hagen and Newsome territory distracting you from the music. But if you start off with any other track like her Nick Cave cover Into My Arms or the heartbreaking single Beck’s Lost Cause, you hear past the trickery into genuine emotion. She really makes you forget their covers with her original voice and take on these tracks.

With all her unique qualities, there are surprisingly straightforward moments as well. Her covers of Fleetwood Mac’s cheesytastic later hit Little Lies gleams as bright as the original, and her take on Kate Bush’s The Man With The Child In His Eyes is a loving tribute to a woman she’s obviously listened to a time or two. She uses some of Kate’s same inflections, minus some of the vulnerabilty but much more emotion than Tina Arena’s white bread version from a few years back.  She also keeps Kate’s Piano arrangement while adding the best part, a lovely hammer dulcimer accompaniment which adds a bit more warmth than Kate’s.

Take a listen and let us know who what you think and what original female voices drive you crazy or take you to heaven.

Free download link to this track included: 

Matt Alber’s Cover of Missing is Missing Nothing

18 07 2011

Most songs come and go in and out of your life and your ears, but some linger, some become legendary in your heart. When I moved away from St. Louis to Chicago in the 90’s leaving my friends and family, this became not only legendary, but my all time favorite song.

Everything But the Girl originally recorded Missing for their Amplified Heart CD, a transitional album away from their “Sunday Brunch” sound of the late 80’s, early 90’s to a more contemporary but still soft sound. It debuted to little fanfare but to their die hard fans like me who’d bought their 8 previous albums and loved every one. From the Smiths-like sound of the first 2, to the Swing Out Sister vibe of the middle period, to their minor hit, Driving, a VH-1/soft jazz staple I’d love every one of their eras. Now it seams they were trying to get a bit serious without trying to seem to young. It didn’t work. Until Todd Terry remixed the single for Missing.

After the remix hit the club, it hit the radio and hit the world. Going #1 in Germany and #2 in the US it would be their biggest hit and be remixed and remade many times over the years (most recently by Fedde LeGrand). EBTG went on to embrace this sound with the heavily electronic two following CDs, and Ben Watt and Tracey Thorn’s solo careers which have been primarily house and electronic respectively.

Forward 15 years and DJ Saul Ruiz meets classically trained vocalist Matt Alber. Alber, hot on the heals of hit album, Hide Nothing, due to the single End Of The World was riding high and prepping for his new CD when Ruiz walked in with an idea to cover Missing, followed by a proposed EP of other covers in the dance vein. Unlike Ben and Tracey’s version, Saul’s version is recorded as a dance track, forcing Matt to record it as such unlike EBTG’s which was remixed later. And the result is no less beautiful. Saul’s version, which takes the Todd Terry approach of less is more and sexy is best, caresses Matt’s silky vocals never overtaking. Matt’s appoach is not trying to be Tracey Thorn but to be Matt in his signature seductive manner, without ever sounding too morose for the dancefloor. That is until his otherworldly wail before and after the bridge like a ghost in the night. Nice touch.

The EP, out now (click on the graphic) contains 4 remixes. The best of which is Hector Fonseca’s soaring and epic remix and Saul’s own Peak Hour Mix. Saul told me earlier today he and Matt are working currently on doing a few more covers for a planned EP. Next on the list, Fleetwood Mac’s legendary dreams. Are they stalking my Best Of All Time playlist or what?!

P.S. You can preorder Matt’s long desired second album here for a short time www.mattalber.com/preorder.

Saul Ruiz feat. Matt Alber’s Missing (Original Mix)

A Rare Repost: Saturday Love

14 07 2011

I’m not one for reposting, but Hurrah! to The New Gay for posting a free MP3 of Tor0 y Moi’s cover of Alexander O’Neal & Cherelle’s classic Saturday Love, one of the best and most timeless tracks to come out of late 80’s MPLS sound (Janet, The Time, Prince, etc). My pal Toban hipped me to them last year and I’ve been digging their soft yacht rock sounds since.


The orginal


11 05 2011

(that's us but we're not married)

Just a decade ago, gay weddings seemed to be nothing more than an ordained lesbian friend officiating a spiritual ceremony for a few friends and your dog. Now, with many states legalizing and Illinois making baby steps, the fancy invites are rolling in and weekends are getting booked with gay weddings rivaling the spectacle of their hetero counterparts. Now I, at one time DJed weddings back in college, some bad, some good, some country, and I always stuck with a few rules and songs I refused to play out of principle. Flash forward 20ish years and it may be time to update that list.

No Play Zone:

  • Celebration by Kool & The Gang (replace with Madonna’s Celebrate). Nothing is more embarrassing than 15 African American men with no funk (also see later Commodores). This turd of a song was cute for a hot minute with it’s “Wa-Hoo!” chorus, but years and Cubs games have passed and its more cringe worthy than dance worthy.
  • Love Shack by B-52’s: Just have the DJ sample “Tin Roof, Rusted!” a 100 times. That’s all they’re waiting for anyway.  Or try the equally campy Groove Is In the Heart by Deeelite.  Diiig!!
  • Electric Slide or Cha Cha Slide (replace with any party rap track like Soulja Boy): Two great examples of bad funk for dumb white people.  Don’t do it, you’ll embarrass yourself. While Soulja Boy’s Crank Dat is equally terrible, at least its current. We’ll add it to the list in 10 more years.
  • We Are Family by Sister Sledge (replace with Family Affair by MJ Blige). No reason, Mary J just says Crunk like 100 times. Mix into her version of 50 Cent’s In Da Club.
  • The mother of all cliché’s YMCA by the Village People. These queens couldn’t be out at the time so straight folks, of course, loved them.  Replace with anything fun by OUT artists: Junior Senior, Elton, Ru, Jonny McGovern, or the late great Sylvester!  Do U Wanna Funk? Yes, but let’s do it right!  It’s OUR turn to create wedding cliché’s. Bring on the Gaga!


11 05 2011

From this week’s DAA Column in Nightspots — With music from Fox’s Glee beating out The Beatles and Elvis for most Top 100 singles and American Idol ravaging through the American songbook weekly, you’d think that cover versions where at some sort of new trending peak, but covers have been big for years, in one way or another, and I’ve always been a bit obsessed. From my childhood listening to my parent’s recordings of Easy Listening version of 60’s pop hits by the likes of Peggy Lee, Perry Como and 101 Strings, to my 90’s fascination of finding the best super-cool  B-sides to European singles and back to my love for finding campy old vinyl of the worst 60’s covers, as well as my 00’s obsession for blog nuggets of cool cover versions, I’ve always had a soft spot.

Recently I had to compile a double CD for a club I’m a part of and chose “The Best Covers Ever”  as my theme. Sifting through a 700+ song collection and paring it down to 2.5 hours was a joyous task which left me “Sophie’s Choicing” allot of great tunes for a few simple rules when it comes to good and bad remakes:

Is it giving you good memories? Nothing is hotter than a good track from your childhood remade by a current hero (The Gossip/Careless Whisper, Under the Milky Way/Sia). Not only is it fun to hear your oldies updated to relevancy, but you then form a little bond with that artists that you may have been kindred souls if you’d only met years ago.

Is it funny, yet good? A Norwegian Death metal version of Take On Me may be funny the first time you post it on Facebook, but does it warrant further listening, no. But My Morning Jacket doing West End Girls, or Death Cab doing Thriller are unexpected gems that are tongue in check and hot too.

Is it BETTER than the original? Something I’ve harped on here before about Idol: if you can’t do it better, don’t try to imitate. If Glee’s taught us nothing, it’s that sometimes a crappy song by Bon Jovi, Ke$ha or Wheatus can be turned to gold if you have good production, inventive arrangements and auto-tune!

Come hear some killer 80’s remakes as Moose hosts Do-Over Prom at Hydrate on May 13th

Bronski Beat Gets a Makeover By Chicago’s Brilliant Pebbles

4 11 2010

The newly electro-fied Brilliant Pebbles have 4 great new mp3’s from their recent recording sessions for their new CD over at their Soundcloud page including their cover of Bronski Beat’s classic Why? http://soundcloud.com/brilliantpebbles

Reason #1 Robyn SHOULD BE the Biggest Pop Star on the Planet…

30 08 2010

This Woman is being watched by Bjork.

We here at DAA have a affinity for all things Robyn. The Swedish pop sprite is one of our favs. But over the weekend at the Polar Music Prize in Stockholm homegirl did the unthinkable. She covered the classic Bjork tune “Hyperballad”- WITH BJORK sitting right in front of her. Wow. That takes balls. But of course our girl knocked it out of the park. Can she do no wrong?

So in her honor we are starting a recurring “Reason #— Robyn SHOULD BE the Biggest Pop Star on the Planet…” posts.

I reckon we will be up to #4593 sometime next week the way she is going……

It starts going OFF @ the 3 min mark.