Categories
Vinyl

Vinyl love: Big Red Machine “How long do you think it’s gonna last?”

(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: Big Red Machine
Album Title: How long do you think it’s gonna last?
Year released: 2021
Details: Limited edition, double LP, red opaque

The skinny: This sophomore release by the collaborative effort between Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and The National’s Aaron Dessner marks the final instalment in this ‘Vinyl Love’ sub-series featuring my favourite albums of 2021. To be honest, I wasn’t bowled over by Big Red Machine’s 2018 self-titled debut, so I was a bit skeptical and didn’t rush to check out “How long do you think it’s gonna last”. When I finally did, though, mostly at the urging of a couple of my vinyl-loving friends, I was quite pleasantly surprised by the twitchy and anxious painting of this strange world that we are more and more finding ourselves in. Much is made of all the great guest contributions, and they certainly are great, but I think the most compelling moments are when Dessner steps out of his comfort zone and into the spotlight. This limited edition double red LP pressing was purchased from Pop Music Toronto’s online webstore, bundled with the 30th anniversary pressing of “Trompe Le Monde” to save on Canada Post shipping costs. And with all the time it has spent on my turntable, it’s not a purchase I regret in the least.

Standout track: “Magnolia”

 

Categories
Tunes

100 best covers: #60 Gnarls Barkley “Gone daddy gone”

<< #61    |    #59 >>

I’m sure that all of you recall a little ditty called “Crazy” by Gnarls Barkley. I distinctly remember seeing the video for it for the first time late one Friday night in 2006 on The Wedge and being drawn in and mesmerized by the Rorschach style ink blots that formed and re-formed images of the performers and such. And man, was that song catchy. I immediately went on the hunt for the album on which it appeared, “St. Elsewhere”, and learned that Gnarls Barkley was the duo of R&B wonder vocalist CeeLo Green and Midas touch uberproducer Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse). Of course, “Crazy” went ubiquitous and intergalactic as a hit but the rest of the album was quite excellent too – a compelling collection of genre-bending and genre-defying tracks – and produced two more singles, the last being the double A-side release of “Who cares?” and this very song, a cover of Violent Femmes’ “Gone daddy gone”*

Now, to close these posts, I typically give my opinion (and solicit your own) on whether I prefer the original or the cover but I am going to get this out of the way right now. Though the cover is quite excellent, I am going with the original here. It appears as track nine on the iconic self-titled debut album by the Milwaukee based trio. It is just over three minutes of punk and folk mashup and with a jazz-type song structure, including not one but two xylophone solos performed by bassist Brian Ritchie. In fact, I love how each performer takes their turn in the solo spotlight in such a short barn-burner and no one misses a beat.

It is amazing though and a testament to the range of music influences that surged through “St. Elsewhere” that CeeLo and Brian chose to cover a lesser known Violent Femmes tune from over thirty years prior and did so, faithfully. The cover is thirty seconds shorter and using digital sounds rather than organic instruments, managed to even speed it up some. It introduced a whole new audience to a great track and like many successful covers, the new audience fell for it, not necessarily even aware of its origins. And man, does that CeeLo have a voice!

Thoughts?

Cover:

The original:

*Interestingly, Violent Femmes’ original is also a cover of sorts, including a complete lyrical verse of Willie Dixon‘s “I just want to make love to you”. Hence, the shared writing credit.

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

Categories
Vinyl

Vinyl love: Better Oblivion Community Center “Better Oblivion Community Center”

(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: Better Oblivion Community Center
Album Title: Better Oblivion Community Center
Year released: 2019
Details: standard black

The skinny: I’m finishing off the re-visit of my five favourite albums of 2019 with this, my number one album of the year: the self-titled debut by the collaborative project, Better Oblivion Community Center. (If you’ve been paying attention, you’ll notice that I skipped over my number two album. And that’s because The National’s “I am easy to find” received the ‘Vinyl love’ treatment shortly after it hit the shelves back in May of last year.) Released as a bit of a surprise to both of their sets of fans, this album brings together Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst, two indie artists of varying success, age, and experience. As I said back in December: “Better Oblivion Community Center is more than two like-minded indie folk singer/songwriters working together. Despite their differences in backgrounds, experiences, and age, their work on this album suggests they are bringing the best out in each other, stretching each out of their collective comfort zones.” I missed out on the initial limited edition, coloured vinyl release but managed to find this one for my collection a few months later. This pressing is the standard, bare bones release but for some reason, my copy has the B-side label affixed to both sides of the disc. Does anyone else have this or was it just my luck?

Standout track: “Dylan Thomas”