Vinyl love: Elastica “Elastica”

(Vinyl Love is a series of posts that quite simply lists, describes, and displays the pieces in my growing vinyl collection. You can bet that each record was given a spin during the drafting of each corresponding post.)

Artist: Elastica
Album Title: Elastica
Year released: 1995
Year reissued: 2014
Details: Unofficial RSD release, red translucent vinyl

The skinny: Elastica was formed after Justine Frischmann broke up with Suede frontman Brett Anderson and left that group. Elastica only ever released two albums before breaking up in 2001 but the only one of these ever worth discussing is the debut. There were rumours that boyfriend at the time, Damon Albarn, wrote most of the material and there were those that slagged it for sounding too much like Wire but I really loved this album for what it was. Sixteen tracks of Britpop bliss.

Standout track: “Connection”

100 best covers: #85 Siouxsie and the Banshees “The passenger”

<< #86    |    #84 >>

In 1983, noted post-punk, gothic rock band, Siouxsie and the Banshees released a cover of The Beatles’ “Dear Prudence” that featured The Cure frontman, Robert Smith on guitar. It was a massive success for the band, giving them their biggest hit single to date and garnering them plenty of kudos for the rendition. This one cover, in turn, inspired the group to record a whole album of covers, much like David Bowie did with “Pin ups” in the early 70s. They finally got around to launching this project four years later. The resulting album was “Through the looking glass”, its title a nod to the work of Lewis Carroll, and it included covers of a bunch of songs recorded before their inception, by bands (like Roxy Music, John Cale, and The Doors) who had inspired the Banshees and their music.

As you could’ve easily guessed by now, my favourite of the bunch was their version of Iggy Pop’s “The passenger”. The original recording of the song appeared on Pop’s second studio album, “Lust for life”, included contributions by David Bowie on backing vocals, and was co-written by lead guitarist Ricky Gardiner, who came up with that iconic and instantly recognizable, rollicking guitar riff. Iggy Pop’s original is dark and foreboding because of its austere sounding production and the deep and chilling vocals, whereas Siouxsie Sioux and her Banshees’ version is gothic because her and who she is.

Siouxsie’s version is also more symphonic, including a horn flourish that has a melody not heard in the original. It is a bit peppier, seemingly sped up some but that is probably just an illusion of sound. Siouxsie as always is dramatic and glamorous, her flamboyant vocals changing the tone and mood. And like many of the other songs on this covers album, the original artist, in this case Iggy, has praised and Siouxsie and the Banshees for their version, with Pop pointing out her vocal work as bringing something new to the song that he only wish he’d thought of.

For my part, “The passenger” is another case where I enjoy the original and cover with equal fervour, despite them being quite different. Indeed, I have no issue singing “la, la, la, la, la, la, la” loudly along with either one. Enjoy.

The cover:

The original:

For the rest of the 100 best covers list, click here.

Live music galleries: Ride [2015]

(I got the idea for this series while sifting through the ‘piles’ of digital photos on my laptop. It occurred to me to share some of these great pics from some of my favourite concert sets from time to time. Like my ‘Vinyl love’ series, these posts will be more photos than words but that doesn’t mean I won’t welcome your thoughts and comments. And of course, until I get around to the next one, I invite you to peruse my ever-growing list of concerts of page.)

Ride performing in Toronto, 2015

Artist: Ride
When: June 2nd, 2015
Where: Danforth Music Hall, Toronto
Context: As soon as I heard that Ride were reforming, I notified my friend Tim that if their tour brought them to Toronto to get me ticket, no matter what day it was, I would figure out the logistics later. As it turned out, their show was mid-week so I flew in and out in a twenty-four hour period, crashing after the show at my friend’s place. I remember the excitement beforehand amongst our friends because this was one band that none of us had gotten a chance to see during their original run in the early nineties. And the shoegaze legends did not disappoint, performing pretty much everything we would’ve wished to hear, starting with the song below, roaring through classics like “Taste”, “Vapour trail”, and “Chelsea girl”, and finishing with an Iggy Pop cover: “I wanna be your dog”. Awesome.
Point of reference song:
Leave them all behind

Mark Gardener of Ride
Laurence ‘Loz’ Colbert of Ride
Andy Bell of Ride
Mark and Andy rocking out.
Steve Queralt of Ride
Andy Bell of Ride
Mark Gardener of Ride