Tuesday, May 29, 2007

I just read about a newish band who recently released their first album on Joan Jett's Blackheart label. The band is called Girl in a Coma, and they are really worth a listen.

I am always skeptical of bands that are touted as having Smiths-esque lyrics -- this one with a singer who is promoted as a "female version of Morrissey" t'boot. And I was especially skeptical when I read they were Mexican-Americans from Texas! (As any red-blooded Mexican will tell you, the Smiths and Morrissey are god, and what better marketing ploy but to namedrop the divine.)

But I am a sucker for girlpunk bands, and one listen to Girl in a Coma proved that they are not only catchy and punky and fun, but demonstrated that their 19-year old singer has one incredible voice. And while their arrangements definitely nod to 90s punk, the lyrics don't strike me as particularly Smiths-like. It's just good, honest, fun punk rock. I think I'm going to try to check them out at Fat City's Cockblock dance party on June 15. For 6 dollars, you can't go wrong.

Okay, and if you're like me, this video for Girl in a Coma's song 'Clumsy Sky' from their debut album Both Before I'm Gone will make you remember what it was like when you were 16 and didn't work in an office.


Have you heard the new Patti Smith cover album, Twelve?

Yeah, yeah, been out for a while, but I just got a listen. I felt it was kind of flat. At first I thought it was just because it's, you know, Patti Smith, and I was expecting something that was going to make me swoon. But then I realized it just really wasn't that good. One reason for that is that the covers are pretty true to the originals, the exception being her version of Nirvana's brilliant and iconic 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' which is reinvented as a banjo-infused porch-tapper and not only showcases her unmistakable voice but utilizes some of Patti's own words.

But otherwise, kinda ehhh. Even her cover of one of my favorite songs, The Decemberists' 'Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect' was bland bland. Even so, I am reminded of what the main man over at B(oo)tlog wrote about the whirlwind around Rock Plaza Central's cover of Justin Timberlake's 'SexyBack:'

No matter how seriously you take yourself and your music, figure out at least one song by someone else, make it your own - really put your own stamp on it - and play it in your set. Audiences (really, I am speaking for myself, but I think others feel the same way) love that.

Audiences DO love it. And that love is what makes the prospect of a full album of cover songs by an iconic singer exciting. But it is best done live, 'tis true. It is really really hard to transfer that energy and fire of a live cover into a studio album.

But, Patti's done it well in the past; take a listen to 'When Doves Cry.' Heh, but I think this started out as a cover she would do at shows.

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Blogger stardust savant said...

I am ashamed to say that I have not heard much Patti Smith in general. Just bits and pieces. That said, I suppose I should not let her cover album be my introduction to her work.

June 1, 2007 at 2:41:00 PM PDT  
Blogger saudade said...

Haha! No.

I think her first three albums, particularly Horses or Easter, are good places to start.

June 1, 2007 at 8:22:00 PM PDT  

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