29 December 2017

29 December 2017 - Transvision Vamp - Baby I Don't Care

Yesterday, readers of Totally Covered were witness to a cover by an artist most of them had never heard of, of a song most of them had never heard of. I can't fix that first part.  But I can fix the 2nd. 

Transvision Vamp are a band that was a relative reliable hitmaker for a few years in the UK. Their only US hit was not this song, but a cover of a Holly and the Italians song.  This song, their biggest UK hit, was the lead single and opening track off their 2nd album, Velveteen, one of my favorites of all time - strongly recommended.

The song itself is pretty standard pop.  However, the combination of a band that has serious chops and a deep pedigree, with ties to bands as diverse as X-Ray Spex and Bush, and a dynamic lead singer that was not only not fearful of the spotlight, but embraced it, makes the song memorable.

Wendy James went on to a semi-successful solo career after the band broke up in 1992.  This is one of their last performances.  Incidentally, I would love to start a campaign to get them to reform, like The Darling Buds  (for which we take far too much credit) and The Primitives (I discuss the unfair comparisons between TV and these two bands in that post) did.

28 December 2017

28 December 2017 - Sia - Cheap Thrills (with and without Sean Paul)

Do you remember that time that Sia was on American Bandstand?

That's because it never happened.  But this lyric video - which somehow became the de facto video for this song, even though there's an official video - did.  And it's a really good lyric video, that even mostly gets the lyrics right.  As a bonus, this video also features a version of this song - which was a hit - featuring Sean Paul...

....but the official video - which actually has Sia in it!!!!!!! - features a Maddie Ziegler-centered dance performance - and Sia!!!!!! Facing forward!!!!!!  - and deserves attention.  Since, you know, the song is about dancing. Without Sean Paul, it is, in my opinion, a better song, but either way, it's catchy.

27 December 2017

27 December 2017 - Kesha ft. The Dap-Kings - Woman

I know that we've been kind of slow posting things on here.  But this lateness is inexcusable - after hers was the best motherf***ing show I saw in 2016! - and I am going to fix that motherf***ing s**t right now.

Kesha's comeback this year was perhaps the best motherf***ing story in music in 2017.  Her 2nd single post-comeback - this empowerment anthem made more poignant by her motherf***ing legal troubles with Sony Music concerning the alleged sexual assault of her by Dr. Luke - is a hell of a "I'm back, you motherf***ing bitches" song.  At any rate, it's clear that she's not going to be f***ing pushed down.

What is missing from this song that was present in her earlier songs is Auto-Tune. Because the woman the pipes and doesn't need motherf***ing Auto-Tune. (Which, if you read Totally Covered, you already know).  Any doubt about that fact should be squashed by the fact that she's keeping up with The Motherf***ing Dap-Kings, who are better known for being the backing band for the late big-piped singers Sharon Motherf***ing Jones and Amy Motherf***ing Winehouse.

And this song has spirit.  Ignoring for the motherf***ing overuse of "motherf***er" in the song.  Kesha starts laughing at about 1:13 in this video.  The song is free and fun, intentionally.  In the artist's words:
"I wanted this song to capture that organic, raw, soulful sound and keep the imperfect moments in the recordings." (Source: Rolling Stone)
 I can say more about this great, fun, exciting song, but I'd rather you just listen to it yourself.  Enjoy.

15 December 2017

15 December 2017 - The Smithereens - Blood and Roses

On Tuesday of this week, the lead vocalist of the band the Smithereens, Pat DiNizio, died.  It was tragic, and he was gone far too soon. 

In tribute, I wanted to share one of my favorite songs by the Smithereens. If you've seen the movie Romy and Michelle's High School Reunion, you've heard this song, which was their first single from their first full-length album (Especially for You, from 1986, which I cannot recommend enough!).

I was hooked on the band from the opening bassline in this song. Lyrically, it's subtle but still heart-felt and poignant.  Overall, it's just a well-written and compelling song.

Perhaps one of the most striking things about this song is, although it was clearly written by DiNizio to be heavily bassline-focused, it translates well to an acoustic performance, such as this solo performance by him from 2009. 

It's songwriting like this that will be missed.  Farewell to a great songwriter, who left behind some great material.

09 August 2017

9 August 2017 - Glen Campbell - Galveston

As many of you know, I am a very big fan of Glen Campbell.  So I am sad about his passing.  He was a fine musician, a fine songwriter.

I know the man had his demons, especially his well-publicized drug-fueled romance with Tanya Tucker.  Since the mid-80s, when he married his wife, Kim, these (as well as the substance abuse) seem to have been behind him, thankfully.  By all accounts, he was a wonderful husband and father to his three children with Kim.

So why did I choose "Galveston", a song he didn't write, or even originally perform (Don Ho!) as the song to pay tribute?  It speaks to his strong, emotive voice,  and his creative storytelling.  Glen Campbell did make a lyrical change in the 2nd verse to make it his own.  It's a truly beautiful song, and a fitting tribute.

19 June 2017

19 June 2017 - Booker T. & the M.G.’s - Green Onions

I'm willing to bet you didn't know what this song was called.   I admit that I didn't.  I had to look it up.

Booker T. and the M.G.'s are members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  That's largely due to this song.  You might be surprised to learn that they were largely a backup band for just about every musical artist that came through Stax Records in Memphis.  MG, in fact, stands for Memphis Group.

I want you to soak in this Memphis soul sound.  It's a little jazzy, but also groovy.  

22 May 2017

22 May 2017 - Julee Cruise - Falling

You know the tune.

The theme from Twin Peaks.

You know Twin Peaks is now back, on Showtime.

You might know the song, and most of the rest of the haunting soundtrack, was written and performed by Angelo Badalamenti.

You might not know that the theme song has lyrics, and that Julee Cruise, Badalamenti's muse at the time, did the singing.  You might recognize her as the roadhouse singer on Twin Peaks (she will be reprising the role in the revival).

The song itself, with lyrics, is haunting and somewhat sad.  And Cruise delivers it flawlessly, with a tremendous vocal range.

Of course, when you sing such an iconic song, you have to sing it again....

....and again....

...and again.  Oops.  Sorry.  This is an appearance she made with the B-52s when she stood in for Cindy Wilson.

I know you didn't really recognize the song with vocals, so here is the instrumental version that serves as the theme from Twin Peaks.

05 May 2017

5 May 2017 - The Darling Buds - Evergreen

Darling Buds Day is on Saturday this year. So I'm observing it a day early, but it is taking a lot of restraint to wait THAT long.  With one pause, we've been doing Darling Buds Day on this blog every year.  It started accidentally. And, famously, I begged Andrea Lewis, their lead vocalist, to stay together last year after they did a few reunion shows.

My begging worked.


And, just like I said, they haven't lost their edge.  They're still excellent.

25 April 2017

25 April 2017 - Fleetwood Mac - Tusk

If you know me even a little bit, chances are I've tried to get you to watch the television show The Americans.  For those unaware of this show (currently in its fifth season, Tuesdays at 10pm on FX), it stars the long-underrated Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as a couple living in Northern Virginia who happen to be Soviet spies in the early 1980's.

Seriously, the best show on television.

19 April 2017

19 April 2017 - Kiesza - Hideaway

Visually, I am a fan of one-take videos, and this is one of them.  It's more impressive that Kiesza is doing all this dancing and moving and the manhandling she gets at 3:40... with a very recently broken rib. When she's hailing that cab at the end of the video, she is GENUINELY exhausted.

But this isn't strictly a video blog.  It's a blog about musical pleasure, and this song delivers.  It's a bright, emotional throwback to a sound not heard in 20 years - something not entirely out of place in a dance club in 1993.  A tribute to a simpler time, it doesn't have a letdown throughout.  Enjoy this treasure, because music like this isn't common anymore.


14 April 2017

14 April 2017 - Lone Justice - Ways To Be Wicked

This song popped up on a Spotify playlist of mine, and it had been a long, long time since I had heard it.

16 March 2017

16 March 2017 - Lush - De-Luxe

I wasn't sure how to handle this song.  It's damn near one of my favorite songs of all time.

So I thought I'd handle it in chronological order.

Lush released an EP called Mad Love in early 1990.  It was never released in the US, although this song was released to US radio, and it's UK video was released and shown on MTV.  Note that it is a very low-fi affair, and that's just charming.

Fast forward to late 1990, which is the difference between high school Tony and college Tony.  4AD Records got smart, compiled all those British EPs by Lush into a full album, and released them to the US and Japan.  Called Gala, it wasn't a huge hit, but was well-received.

And with it came a re-release of De-Luxe and a much higher fidelity video.  Because, let's face it, you get a much better look at Miki Berenyi in this video, and US labels sell the pretty girl a lot more.  Still, it's a visually interesting video.

03 March 2017

3 March 2017 - Lorde - Green Light


Lorde releases a new song!

Sorry.  I get a little excited about things like this.  I've literally been waiting for four years! But with such a thoughtful artist, who has also been hanging out with Taylor Swift (which, to be honest, shows in this video), doing music for the Hunger Games movies, and collaborating with many artists, it stands to reason that we'd be waiting.

And it's a thoughtful, emotional song - perhaps the most complex one of hers to date - co-written by her and Jack Antonoff (of fun.).  I'm not going to put any more glowing words around this.  Just listen and enjoy it.