Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cover Girl

One of my Dad's favorite maxims was "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Generally, I agree, but when it comes to music, I think there are many opportunities to "fix" said unbroken things, or rather to cover an already great song. My one condition is that the cover is a fresh new take on an old favorite. I recently heard a cover of Beyonce's "Single Ladies" that knocked my socks off and it inspired me to compile a list of favorite covers.

1. "Single Ladies"
OG Artist: Beyonce
Cover Artist: Pomplamoose

This cover is so inventive! I love the clapping and harmonies. It's a darker take on it, and just wait for the bridge, it's priceless.
(If you like this check out their other songs. "Beat the Horse" and "Expiration Date" are really solid tunes.)

2."Too Little Too Late"
OG: Jojo
Cover: Grizzly Bear

This song is almost unrecognizable. It's such a departure from the original, in a good way. Jojo delivers a guilty pleasure caliber pop song, and the Grizzly guys turn it into a moody indie jam.

3. "Cry Me A River"
OG: Justin Timberlake
Cover: Glenn Hansard

I will forever love the original version of this song, but Hansards version is grittier and I almost always prefer acoustic to a highly produced track.

4."Be My Baby"
OG: The Ronnettes

Cover: Travis

This song is especially important to me because it was written by the late legend, and close family friend, Ellie Greenwich. Travis slowed it down, but it's original message is still very clear. I think Aunt Ellie, of all people, would appreciate the contemporary spin her beloved oldie. And you gotta love the wah peddle action.

5. "Boyz In Da Hood"
OG: Eazy-E
Cover: The Dynamite Hack

OK, so maybe I don't love the original, but the cover is just hysterical. It's a mellow acoustic cover of a very violent rap song. It might not be a song I listen to all the time, but it's fun every now and then to blast this in the car with the windows down... or on second thought, maybe those windows ought to stay rolled up. 

6. "Toxic"
OG: Britney Spears
Cover: Yael Naim

I totally loved this song when it first came out. It's fun to dance or work out to, but Yael Naim (a French-Israeli singer/songwriter most famously known in the US for her sweet song "New Soul") gives this an edgy, sultry flare. I didn't think a cover of this song could be that good, but this one is.

7."Naive Melody" (This Must Be The Place)
OG: Talking Heads
Cover: Arcade Fire

This is a perfect example of how a cover can not only be a reinvention of a great song, but an homage to the original artists. Bands like the Talking Heads helped pave the way for bands like Arcade Fire, and there is no better way to say thanks than this.

8. "I'm on Fire"
OG: Bruce Springsteen
Cover: Bat For Lashes

Talk about different ends of the musical spectrum! Both versions are fantastic and so different, as are the artist who sing them.

9. "Inside and Out"
OG: The Bee Gees

Cover: Feist

I love both of these, but my undying love for all things Feist might make me a little biased on this one. Instead of throwing away the 70s disco vibe of this song entirely, she makes it her own without losing the integrity of the original version.

10. "Crazy"
OG: Gnarls Barkley

Cover: Ray Lamontagne

I was obsessed with this song when it first came out. Then I heard Lamontagne's cover and immediately learned how to play it on the guitar, and proceeded to play it nonstop.

"Don't Stop Believing"
OG: Journey
Cover Artists: The cast of "Glee"
If you aren't on the "Glee" bandwagon yet, hop the f on. Like now. It's so fun and all of the episodes can be found here. This cover is awesome. End of story.

Hope you enjoy!! Until next time...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

This is a "what up-date" !!!

I know, I know. I owe you some sort of explanation for my extended blog-absence. It's a combination of being really busy, and uninspired when it comes to this little endeavor. It's a shame too, because this last month has surely had some blog worthy experiences. To make up for my sporadic blogging I'm going to do a top ten favorite moments of SF summer '09.

10. True Blood
Apart from sunshine and sleeping in, True Blood was the summer perk I was most looking forward to. This season was such a fantastic follow-up to last year, and I was never disappointed, no matter how crazy it got.  I think they even did a great job setting up the conflicts for next season! (Fangers 2010!!)
9. movies, music, books, TV
This summer has given me a chance to really sink my teeth into some great stuff. Music-wise I got really into Fiona Apple, Grizzly Bear, Department of Eagles and MGMT. As for TV it was all about Weeds, Party Down, and Arrested Development. Books: 1/2 of Omnivore's Dilemma (I'm working on it!) and I re-read Me Talk Pretty One Day and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim. And last but CERTAINLY not least are movies!! Since my recent passion has been for film, I made a real effort to watch tons of movies this summer. (What a chore, right?) So between my ever-growing netflix queue and the many great movies that came out this summer, I am making a mini list within this list of fave movies of the season. Here they are in no particular order:
  • Inglorious Basterds
  • (500) Days of Summer
  • Food, Inc.
  • Moon
  • Annie Hall
  • You Can Count on Me
  • Ghost World
  • Punch Drunk Love
  • Raising Victor Vargas
  • High Fidelity
  • When Harry Met Sally
  • Deliver Us From Evil
  • Barton Fink
  • The Informant!
  • Funny People
8. Exploring the city
I have been able to see so much of the city this summer. From the mission (my absolute fav neighborhood) to the Castro, North Beach, Lower Haight, the Inner Sunset, the Fillmore and SOMA. I must say though, the ultimate spot on a nice day is Dolores Park. You can stop at Bi-Rite market and get picnic food, or grab a burrito and some cervezas and camp out on the giant lawn with the other hip kids. There are always people playing music and throwing a frisbee around with their dogs. To top it all off there is a killer view of downtown. Aces all around.

7. Gay Pride
What a weekend that was! Between Pink Saturday (The no holds barred street party at Castro) to the parade itself (Dowtown from the Embarcadero to Civic Center along Market street) it was nonstop fun. Although, I must say that it was not just a crazy party, it was a salute to an amazing community that is so loved in this city.  It was a wonderful celebration, fun at times, and truly moving at others.

6. Coffee
You might be thinking, why is coffee, of all things, on this list? Well, not only has coffee been a welcome addition to my life since high school, but it has been crucial to my ability to function in college. Over the summer however, I was able to gain a new appreciation for coffee. I was introduced to some of the city's best (albeit a little snobby) coffee, and I am in the process of learning how to make it really well. I can make a foam heart about 12% of the time. (I'm looking to get that number wayyy up.) And, just for the record, I call cappuccinos "caps" now. It's an industry term...

5. Vegetarianism
For the last few years I've gone back and forth with vegetarianism. I did vegan for a few days, and said "no" to red meat for a couple of months. I love vegetables and tofu, and I always thought I could do it, but always fell off the wagon. Until I saw Food, Inc. that is. So here is my veggie mantra:

"I maintain that meat is delicious. I love fried chicken, lamb gyros, pork chops, carne asada, and while I've never had duck l'orange, I'm sure it's great too. That being said, the meat industry in the US is totally f*cked up. In every way. Until that changes, I'll pass on ass (more commonly known as rump roast) and start chopping brocco-li... I'm chopping broccoli... chopping... uhh...broccoli."

4. writing
I have been (rather sporadically I admit) blogging, moleskin journal-ing during my commute, and have made a hefty dent in a screenplay I'm working on with a friend of mine. We're about 50 pages in. It's very promising. If we ever finish it, that is... I really like writing. I don't know what exactly I want to do with my life in regards to a career, but I sure hope writing is a part of it. It's too fun and fulfilling not to pursue somehow.
3. Employment!!
I have loved working this summer. I've been able to put away some cash and met some really great people. I've learned a lot about what I can do when I really push myself and commit, and I've gained so much experience wise. I am also very aware of how tough it is to get a job in this market. I count my lucky stars that things worked out so serendipitously for me.
2. new friends
The toughest lesson of last semester was that it isn't easy to make friends. I was so spoiled in high school. It was so small. We were all so alike. It was beyond easy to connect a with people. But in a big city, at a big new school, it just wasn't like that. This summer was different. I made friends at work, and rekindled old friendships and luckily my new roommates turned out to be awesome friends as well. I feel like I really have a solid group of friends up here now. And that is such a relief. And a guess a blessing. But not in a God way. Just in an "I'm pretty damn lucky" way.

One sunny afternoon, I was just getting off work in the Financial District when I noticed a missed call from an unfamiliar number and a new voicemail. It was from a boy I had gone to high school with but hadn't heard from in over a year. He said he'd be spending the summer in SF and heard I was up here as well. I called him back, and we met in the Castro all of twenty minutes later. He ended up needing a place to stay and crashed at our place for a month or so. We got coffee together, ate fancy cheese, watched movies, listened to music, drank wine, made bagels from scratch (!!!), had late night strolls through North Beach, celebrated Gay Pride, watched "Pretty in Pink" in Dolores park, muni-ed, and so much more. He opened me up to the city, and I owe so much of my happiness this summer to him. Moze Jagger Halperin, I miss you so much. We will listen to Bjork together someday in the near future, and when you come back to SF (which you WILL) there will be a CocoaMocha with your name on it.

FYI to my readers (siblings) While that last bit might sound like a love letter to him, Moze and I are not an item. He is better friends with Dorothy than I, in that regard.

This summer was easily the best yet. I've learned so much about who I am and what I want. I'm sad it's over, but I'm also optimistic about this Fall. I'll be turning 20, so it can't be all that bad, right? ;)

Until next time,

Special shout out to my girl Kit!!! Thanks for your support :)