In celebration of this first week of Rocktober, I'll be sharing a couple of my favorite cover songs. What's interesting about a well done cover is the new rendition's ability to make you re-listen, and thus reappraise, a once familiar song. Not just in musical terms, but in cultural ones. Today's Song of the Day: Manic Hispanic's version of "Before the Next Teardrop Falls."
Check it out...a Southern California Chicano band doing a Freddy Fender song in a punk rock style? And not only that, but referencing in the cover's structure and delivery the infamous Sid Vicious version of Frank Sinatra's "My Way," itself a subversive cover song? And layer on top of that the fact that Fender's 1974 song was a #1 hit on country radio and propelled the Secret Chicano -- Fender's real name was Baldemar Huerta and he hailed from San Benito, Texas -- to gringo country music stardom, selling over a million copies? Even more badass. YouTube link to the song here. Or click below to play it on your player. Happy Rocktober...
Really liking Las Robertas, a band straight outta Costa Rica. Yeah, that Costa Rica. The Central American country. Unsure exactly how the band crossed over to the States, avoiding not only the sometimes limiting and reductive rock and español label, but landing straight onto the pages of uber hip indie music blogs (Gorilla vs. Bear entry here), and ultra hip alt labels (go here).
But I'll save that inquiry for another day. All I know is I so wanna make a music video for them.
For now, enjoy the warm and fuzzy stylings of Las Robertas at their MySpace page. Their new LP comes out October 12 on Art Fag Recordings -- CD, vinyl, and, not surprisingly, in trendy "limited edition cassette." Hipster culture, it seems, knows no borders. Ni modo. Las Robertas are pretty badass. Facebook page here. And for an inside baseball, navel-gazing analysis of what the band means in contemporary hipsterdom go here.
Blue Means Go is a new fave band of mine. And not just because they are straight outta San Antonio.
Girl in a Coma fans will recognize singer Carly Garza from back in the day when she used to sing a duet with GIAC impersonating a French/German/or Polish foreign exchange student with appropriate fake accent.
Carly's always had an amazing voice but when the band's drummer recently quit and Garza stepped in to provide the beat AND keep up with the lead vocals, Blue Means Go became something special and way interesting.
Jim Caroll died. Here's a post I wrote on the very badass rocker last year:
Driving around L.A. listening to Indie 103.1, a local treasure if
there ever was one, and stumbled across a fave song I haven't heard to
in a long time, Jim Carroll's People Who Died, from his 1980 album
Catholic Boy. Carroll was the writer/punk rocker who wrote the
Basketball Diaries, an autobiography about growing up in New York in
the 60s and 70s as a High School basketball star and heroin addict. It
was later made into a movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio. As you can
guess, I recommend the book and not the film. From a Jim Carroll website:
Lynn Hirschberg, describing a Jim Carroll Band concert in 1980, before the release of Catholic Boy, reported overhearing a Oui
photographer remark,"You're watching the Dylan of the 80s, you know. .
. . Seeing Jim Carroll now . . . is like witnessing history.
Indeed, Jim Carroll expressed the Bomb-fear anticipation, the optimistic
nihilism and glittering darkness of the 1980s that we who were there
felt even if we couldn't communicate it ourselves. When JohnLennon was assassinated in front of the Dakota in December 1980, "People Who Died" was one of the most-requested songs on FM radio, just after Lennon's own "Imagine." Steven Spielberg chose "People Who Died" to play during the opening scene of E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial. "People Who Died" tapped a mainline. It was a hit even before it was released, and, as Newsweek's
Barbara Graustark noted, it "propelled [Carroll] from underground
status . . . to national attention as a contender for the title of
rock's new poet laureate."
I don't know about the "Dylan of the 80s" line, but the rest is
pretty accurate. To see the band play it live go here. Enjoy.