Tag Archive | Song Covers

Pink Thing of The Day: Saving for a Custom Van, a Tribute to Adam Schlesinger

saving for a custom van

Adam Schlesinger, best known to most music fans as a member of the power pop band, Fountains of Wayne lost his life on April 1st of this year at the age of 52.  One of the first musicians taken from us by the Corona Virus pandemic, Adam’s death is an immeasurable loss. In addition to founding Fountains of Wayne with Chris Collingwood, Schlesinger was a gifted and prolific songwriter, producer and multi-instrumentalist who also recorded with electro-pop trio Ivy and ‘supergroup’ Tinted Windows (with Bun E. Carlos, James Iha and Taylor Hanson). Offstage, he had an impressive career writing music for film and television. I first met Adam in 1995, when I interviewed Fountains of Wayne during the press cycle for its debut album, and over the years I would see him occasionally at parties and industry events. He was a nice guy and an unbelievable talent. Everybody loved Adam.

It is in Adam Schlesinger’s memory that wide array of artists touched by his life pay tribute to the many musical projects of which he was a part via a Bandcamp-exclusive benefit compilation, Saving for a Custom Van. The 31-song collection features collaborators, tourmates, friends, and fans putting their own spin on songs spanning his entire career. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend co-creator, executive producer and star Rachel Bloom turns Fountains of Wayne’s “Stacy’s Mom” into a jazzy cabaret moodpiece, while Schlesinger’s Fountains of Wayne bandmate Jody Porter contributes a melancholy, shimmering take on Ivy’s “Four in the Morning.” Sarah Silverman — who teamed up with Schlesinger on the upcoming musical The Bedwetter — joins with songwriter Ben Lee for a gorgeous, folk-leaning take on “Way Back Into Love,” a Schlesinger song central to the 2007 film Music and Lyrics.

Other musicians on the compilation tackle Fountains of Wayne songs (Letters to Cleo’s Kay Hanley, “Radiation Vibe” —  listen at This Link.; Motion City Soundtrack, “Dip in the Ocean”; Nada Surf, “Sick Day”; Vivian Girls/Upset member Ali Koehler, “Hackensack”), while Ivy songs are also well-represented (Belly members Tanya Donelly and Gail Greenwood, “Undertow”; Ted Leo, “Everyday”; HUNNY, “Tess Don’t Tell”).

Saving for a Custom Van, which takes its title from a lyric in Fountains of Wayne’s “Utopia Parkway,” is co-curated and co-released by Father/Daughter Records and Wax Nine, the label/journal run by Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupuis (who also contributes a FoW cover under her Sad13 moniker). One-hundred percent of proceeds will be donated to MusiCares’ COVID-19 Relief Fund, which is dedicated to helping music industry and community members affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Download the full album for just $10 at Bandcamp via This Link

Read The Full Track Listing After The Jump!

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Video Clip of The Week: Omnesia Covers Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walking”

I rarely post cover tunes in this column, but this interpretation of Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots Are Made For Walking” — courtesy of Oakland, California-based cross-genre rockers Omnesia — is just too much of a good time to pass up. Calling themselves a Synth Dance Pop Rock Duo, Omnesia creates a lush, organic soundscape based around the significant talents of vocalist Medella Kingston and guitarist Matthias Miller (M2), and it is pretty mind-blowing.

Aurally, Omnesia’s arrangement of this sixties’ classic harnesses the menacing, dirge-y rythmic aspects of the original while revealing an engaging knack for experimentation with otherworldly horn accents. Visually, “Boots” is the perfect blend of artsy and amateurish: with vintage stills of Sinatra and her go-go booted dance posse, live performance clips of the duo onstage, and silly vignettes of Kingston and Miller demonstrating what has come to be known as The Madness Dance, as popularized in that band’s video for the song “One Step Beyond” — a hat tip to Omnesia’s deep-rooted and eclectic musical influences, perhaps. You can tell they had a blast making this video as well, and that makes it even more fun to watch.

“Boots” can be found on Omnesia’s upcoming 14-track release, World On Fire, due out shortly. In the meantime, why not check out their debut album, Painkiller, at This Link! Enjoy!

Omnesia Band

Oh Yeah Baby! Def Leppard Rocks Your Lame Ass.

YEAH-Def_Leppard

Album of The Year, 2006

I think David Bowie started it all in 1973 with Pin Ups, an album on which he performs some of his favorite songs by mid ’60s British groups. Since then, the name-act-pays-tribute-to-its-influences album has been done well by Duran Duran (Thank You) and less well by A Prefect Circle (eMOTIVe). But now I think Def Leppard has recorded possibly the best and most exciting album of covers ever with Yeah!, which was released last Tuesday. The most amazing thing about this record is not only how it makes painfully obvious how much most modern bands completely suck, but also how vibrant and authentic Def Leppard’s versions of these songs sound. I had no idea that Joe Elliott was such a vocal chameleon. I can, with no trace of irony, say that Yeah! is my favorite album of the year so far.

The track listing for YEAH! is as follows:

“20th Century Boy” (T. Rex, 1973)
“Rock On” (David Essex, 1973)
“Hanging On The Telephone” (originally recorded by The Nerves in 1977, and Blondie in 1978)
“Waterloo Sunset” (The Kinks, 1967)
“Hell Raiser” (Sweet, 1973: Listen to the opening guitar riff and tell me Nikki Sixx didn’t conveniently “borrow” that for “Kick Start My Heart”)
“10538 Overture” ( Electric Light Orchestra, 1972)
“Street Life” (Roxy Music, 1973: My favorite Roxy Music song ever)
“Drive-In Saturday” (David Bowie, 1973)
“Little Bit Of Love” (Free, 1972)
“The Golden Age Of Rock & Roll” (Mott the Hoople, 1974)
“No Matter What” (Badfinger, 1970)
“He’s Gonna Step On You Again” (originally recorded by John Kongos in 1971 but probably better known by the Happy Mondays’ version, “Step On,” released in 1990)
“Don’t Believe A Word (Thin Lizzy, 1976)
“Stay With Me” (Faces, 1971)

Regardless of how you feel about Def Leppard — who have been one of my favorite bands forever — if you love and miss the glory days of ’70s rock, Yeah! is absolutely essential listening. Great job guys!