Cover versions are a somewhat divisive prospect. They can generally go two ways: either an artist can reinterpret an existing song with passion and respect, or they can utterly destroy it, not so much burning bridges with musical aficionados as nuking the toll booth from orbit.
There is a third category, however – one that exists outside the traditional realm of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ and more in the realm of ‘just plain unbelievable’. Here, then, are 5 of the most downright bizarre cover versions you’ll ever hear. You may love them or hate them, but you certainly can’t deny their uniqueness …
5. William Shatner – ‘Common People’
The original: generation-defining Britpop tune from Jarvis Cocker and company, mixing in deadpan social commentary with chiming guitars and irresistible melody:
The revamp: William Shatner adds his unique ‘bewildered old man in post office’ slant to proceedings:
To any younger readers out there wondering what a ‘tape’ is, or how indeed it could be ‘blank’, treat yourself to a quick google search. Seriously – we’ll still be here when you get back. Plus, you might also learn some exciting trivia about ‘video recorders’ and ’8-track cartridges’. It’s a whole new world!
The rest of you, however, can treat yourself to something much better: an exclusive BAMM performance from low-fi SF natives The Blank Tapes, whose Pavement-tinged hooks and riffs are always a joy. Take a look at the video above? Did that float your boat? Weeeeellll, if you’re lucky enough to be based in San Francisco, you can catch ‘em live at Cafe Du Nord (in association with Loving Cup) tonight at eight! Go on – inject a little mayhem into your Monday.
Religious Girls don’t have the most accurate name for a band – their membership is comprised of three guys, and the fact that they lie about being girls means they’ve ignored one of those ten commandment things. We shouldn’t let such semantics get in the way of the fact that they’re an awesome, awesome group, however. If you’re a fan of the fractured, unconventional and wild musical stylings of Animal Collective and Battles, this Oakland three-piece may well become your latest obsession.
Check out this killer (and needless to say, exclusive) performance of ‘OG’, taken from last year’s Phono del Sol festival (brought to you by our good buddies at The Bay Bridged and Tiny Telephone).
Oh – and while we’re on the subject, how would you like ‘I Want To Believe’, the brand new album from the band, entirely free? It’s a one-day-only offer, so you’d better hurry over here and grab it …
Capeman are the kind of rock outfit who really wear their cocky, boyish charm well. It’s a trait often associated with Amsterdam natives. Britpop enthusiasts might remember it from their 90′s icons, or perhaps modern-day acolytes Kasabian. Whatever you might call it, singer-guitarist Darko Tadic and his motley crue have plenty of it.
It’s what makes them a particularly exciting live act, even though they’ve definitely dialed things down from their earlier exploits as The Darko. Their previous entity was all energy; Capeman employ a different, more dynamic approach to songwriting and also boast the added bonus of a fourth member, guitarist/soundscapist Ymer Marinus. With plenty of stage time under their belts and harboring a new musical direction, they’re as confident as ever, a fact bolstered by the aptly titled debut album Stand Out Cause Trouble.
Of course, the first question is: how does all this on-stage energy translate to their studio efforts? Well, the pumping rhythm section of Martin Von Lier and Sin Banovic definitely holds it own on record, driving the band’s staccato grooves home to great effect. Oddly enough, it’s not the muscular cuts that hit home the hardest. Aggressive riffs like those in Mass Destructo or Shed Some Light feel transitional, as if there’s a residue of The Darko they can’t seem to shake off. A shame, as such pumped up rock songs can’t help but feel … well … dated. We Got Glue is a notable exception, thanks to it’s Bloc Party-esque guitars shreds and it’s haunting synthpads.
Thankfully, the majority of the album leaves the band with more room to breath. As it turns out, Capeman have found their comfort zone in spacious mid-tempo songs with plenty of influences, ranging from new wave to electro. Here the slick production works to their advantage, pushing tracks Mongolian Oil and single Science to above average performances. But the absolute standout here must be Televisions. It’s by far the best composition, beautifully arranged and produced, with plenty of room for Tadic’s vocals to take the limelight. Combine that with the excellent hook in the chorus, and you could be mistaken for thinking it’s the next big single from Foster The People.
Overall, Stand Out Cause Trouble is much friendlier than the title might suggest. It’s rock tendencies feel more like leftovers from a bygone age, while their more indie/electro inspired tunes have all the potential to take alternative radio stations by storm. If they exercise a little more restraint, and keep playing to their strengths (as well as awesome live shows), Capeman could well become a strong contender for festival slots and greater exposure in the Benelux and beyond. A promising debut, all in all. Look out for Capeman’s session on BAMM.tv in the next few weeks, as we’ll be releasing the sessions recorded by BAMM.tv at Desmet Studio’s in Amsterdam last January.
Eclectic Belgian pop/rock outfitAbsynthe Minded are a household name in the Benelux area with plenty of experience abroad. They’re on the verge of releasing their fifth studio album in eight years … no small feat! In the run-up to their album they’ve released a new single, Space, which you can listen to below.
In order to get radio airplay outside their specialist sphere of influence, they’ve come up with a particularly devious plan – they’ve launched something called The Most Exclusive Video Ever for their new single. How does it work? Well, as they explain in the short vid on the website dedicated to this phenomenon, they’re monitoring radio stations across Europe searching for their single to be played. For every time they pick up on airplay for their single, the video will be played once. So, as they say, the only way to see the video is to request the single at your local radio station.
So far, only 174 people out of some 1300 visitors have seen the video. We’re not sure whether this will actually benefit Absynthe Minded’s self-proclaimed “plans for world domination”, but with almost 50.000 Facebook fans aching to see their latest video, we wouldn’t be surprised if the band will be whipping up a storm of requests at local radio stations across Europe. If you’re lucky enough to catch the video, please let us know what you think! Oh, and if you’re stuck without anything to do in the meantime, you can also check out this acoustic version of Envoi, taken from their previous self-titled album.
Hey: we’ve got some exciting news. Pretty soon there’ll be yet another new way of accessing your favorite BAMM.tv content—and quite a special one at that. You may have heard about our friends at Mozilla deploying HTML5 web apps on Mozilla Marketplace. Soon, it will be yet another platform where you can get your BAMM.tv fix.
We’ve already nailed down lots of great outlets for BAMM.tv. We’ve recently announced a great new deal with Flingo, allowing you to watch our hi-def vids on your hi-def home entertainment system, and you can also find our videos on Samsung Apps for Android and our songs on Samsung Apps for Bada. We’re working night and day on crafting something really incredible for the iPad. Oh, and did we mention that we have a new website coming along soon?
We’re lucky to work with talented developers, and we always listen up when you tell us what you want. (“When’s your iPhone app coming out?” “Soon!”) But here’s the thing: developing specific products for specific devices and markets takes a lot of time. It’s worth it, sure, because it lets you adapt to the strengths of each device. Yet… How cool would it be if someone could simply make something for the web, and have it work on any device?
Well, that’s exactly what tech pioneers Mozilla are introducing at the Mobile World Conference in Barcelona. It’s a huge trade show, and they’re unveiling something genuinely new for their company. The Mozilla Marketplace has a unique twist: an HTML5 app can be released on any internet-connected platform with zero need for re-coding or re-development.
This is all part of Mozilla’s quest to build a better internet, along with their dedication to keeping it free, open and accessible to all. It will make for a revolutionary multi-platform experience. So, expect an upcoming whirlwind of awesome, innovative new apps…
…including ours. Soon, your internet-connected device will never be more than a tap away from the world of BAMM.tv. Through Mozilla Apps, if your device is online, your device can play BAMM.tv, simple as that. We’re recording new stuff all the time, and we want it to be available to everyone—any time, any place. We’re hugely excited to be joining Mozilla in this great new venture, and we hope you’re excited too!
Today’s the day that the new album by Geographer – ‘Myth’ – is released (you may remember we flagged this up a few days back when we linked to a streaming feed of the whole thing in advance). As luck would have it, this year is also a leap year, which means that you can bookmark tomorrow’s extra day for staying at home, chilling out and listening to ‘Myth’ over and over. Hey – it’s not as if your boss can do anything. It doesn’t even count as a real day anyway (warning – this may not be accurate workplace advice, and BAMM holds no responsibility for any angry phone calls incurred).
Before you fire up ‘Myth’, however, why not get inside the heads of the creative busybodies behind the album itself – check out our exclusive interview with the Geographer lads by clicking on the video above.
Harbours talks shop in between songs during their recording.
“We’re not a solo band,” Miguel Zelaya says. Although Zelaya, songwriter and frontman of Harbours was referring to the lack of guitar solos on the band’s upcoming album, Parlors & Electrics, the sentiment works in a more general sense for both the album and the band. Lucky for BAMM.tv, we were able to witness exactly what he’s talking about last Thursday when the band stopped in for a filmed performance. It’s refreshing to be so impressed by subtlety.
There’s a clarity to these new songs that points to both Zelaya’s sharpness as a songwriter and the band’s ability to find cohesion in a short amount of time together. As is the case for many bands, the Harbours lineup has gone through quite a bit of change recently (Zelaya does a nice job summing it up here). Perhaps needless to say, but band transitions can be unsettling, especially when the former lineup had already begun tracking an album.
What’s cool about the Harbours’ story is that the new members (Peter Weldon on guitar, Heather Marie Ellison on keys and backing vocals, and bassist Braden Towne) have not merely helped finish an album, but they’ve affected a new direction, so much so that Zelaya decided to start over on the new album.
“I’ve always been most excited when you’re writing a song and working with people and they bring something that you wouldn’t have even thought of,” Zelaya says. “There’s something particular about it (the new lineup) where everyone really does bring a huge part.”
Harbours will continue recording in the coming months. In the meantime, check out studio versions of the set from Thursday here.
Our Global Scene series continues its in-depth look at London’s music scene with an episode focusing on the culture of the city itself – how exactly does the ‘character’ of a city filter through into the wide variety of sounds it produces? We chat to an amazing selection of artists and producers from across the genre spectrum, gathering their thoughts on this city-specific phenomenon. Keep your eyes peeled for upcoming episodes!
We’ve been highlighting all sorts of innovative music apps in our regular Appwatch feature these past few months, and can confidently say that we’ve formed an overall picture of the music app ‘scene.’ It’s crazy to think that many of these technological marvels would have been impressive on a home computer as recently as five years ago, never mind the tiny device you slip into your pocket before your morning commute.
In general, there are a few tried-and-tested ‘genres’ which have been carved out; the evolution of the app format meaning that this brave new world is finding its feet. First up, there’s simple, good old fashioned music appreciation – the act of listening to music brought kicking and screaming into a digital realm. Artists like Bjork and The Polyphonic Spree have made sure their new releases incorporate app functions, while existing record collections can happily be filtered through Planetary and Hitlantis.
Then there’s the prosumer revolution – the apps that allow even those without a musical bone in their body to enjoy the magic of music creation. Sound Cells, LaDiDa and Tabletop have all joined this particular party.
Finally, there’s the social element: the ability to make music part of your online connection sphere. Facebook Vibes, Straight Spittin and AudioVroom are prime examples of music meeting social media in exciting new ways.
So: why are we indulging in this quick little round-up? Simply to highlight the fact that all these elements – music curation, prosumer involvement and social interaction – are all part of a ‘new music industry’; one which BAMM is dedicated to cultivating further.
We’ve shown you lots and lots of great apps over the past few months, but now it’s time to pave the way for the only one you’ll really need: our very own BAMM app, coming soon (and incorporating all the fun and frolics of the digital music revolution into a stylish and innovative portable BAMM gateway). Take a look at the preview vid below, and keep ‘em peeled for more information very soon.