The first time you hear Courtney Barnett taking on the Velvet Underground’s “I’ll Be Your Mirror,” what you get is an electrifying shock of recognition: you know that distinctive voice, you know that timeless melody, but what you’re hearing is completely new. I must add that there’s a VU tribute album every few years, and even the worst of them can be decent, supported by the strength of the songs, but this one (also titled I’ll Be Your Mirror) is exceptionally good.
It’s a celebration of Pat Fish, also known as The Jazz Butcher, who passed away unexpectedly last week, on October 5. We kick things off with another one of my favorites, the Asylum Street Spankers, taking on his “D.R.I.N.K.” to glorious heights, followed by a couple of sets drawing from his 20th century material.
Tonight started out with an hour of the sickest music around, which is to say songs about illness, medication, and other health-related issues. The following two hours were the usual incomprehensible mixture of genres and bad attitudes.
Some bands are obscure, others are sporadic, but The Mabuses are downright enigmatic. Their music is hard to describe, and while the word “psychedelic” has become a commonplace and devalued label to put on something these days, in this case it would apply as a feeling of existing in a disjointed but entirely fascinating musical reality rather than a genre.
Uwe Schmidt has had an extensive career, recording under many names as electronic musicians do, but it’s his work as Señor Coconut (and now as Atom™), where he deconstructs familiar songs into something Kraftwerk would play if hired to play a quinceañera, that brings me this very particular weird glee.
The original “Crimson and Clover” was Tommy James and the Shondells’ biggest hit, but it was also one of the first songs to be recorded on 16 track equipment, and is a textbook example on the use (or overuse) of rhythmic tremolo. Pom Pom Squad does a good job of channeling the song’s sweet yet feral vibe.
Australian Ben Lee broke through as the singer for the teen outfit Noise Addict, but has since made quite a solo career for himself. He kicks off this edition of Version Control — all covers, all night long.
If you are of a certain age and exposure to the MTV, you would think that people in Tijuana eat barbecued iguana, but that was just Stan Ridgway and Wall of Voodoo reaching for a cheap rhyme. Polvo takes the song’s nervous energy and turns it up a few notches.
You know I have a weakness for pitch-perfect harmonies and razor-sharp hooks, and The Rare Occasions deliver both in voluminous quantities. Also noteworthy tonight is back to back tracks from The Who Sell Out, only one of which is performed by The Who!