Since our last edition of the Battle of the Nearly Forgotten Retro/Punk Bands feature was so popular, I couldn't wait to bring it back in 2006. This time we concentrate on great covers. We have four contestants - three actual 80's bands and another band that wishes they were an 80's band.
As before, please vote for your favorite in the comments section.
1. Urge Overkill - "Lineman" - Glen Campbell originally covered this Johnny Webb song as a treacly, prime-time TV show friendly version replete with annoying syrupy strings. Urge Overkill strip off the gloss, replace it with bombast via sustaining guitar noise and near-feedback. Doing so reclaims the sad blue collar weariness of the original composition and rescues this song from Jukebox Hell. This came out during the prime period of this bands' (artistic) career arc - and was part of a great run of 7" cover releases by Touch and Go.
A legal 128 DRM version is available on iTunes. Urge Overkill's official website.
2. The Original Sins - "Sugar Sugar" - You may remember "Sugar Sugar" as originally performed by The Archies - but did you remember that it was the number 1 song of 1969 in many radio markets? Pretty funny considering how sacrosanct 1969 is to the Rolling Stone generation. Ironically, the song that included the lyrics "Pour a little sugar on it baby" was also made available as a flexi-disc on the back of cereal boxes. Ha ha. Anyone else kicking themselves for throwing that flexi-disc away when you "grew up"? Anyway...as a backing cut to one of the most blatant odes to pedophilia ("Just 14") ever written, the song seems part of Original Sins singer/writer J. Terlesky's plan to seduce the little Color Guard girl who lives across the street. "Pour a little sugar on me baby" takes on its more sinister second meaning. The Original Sins were all about sinister, though. If only they were more popular, they would have garnered the attention of the PMRC and become, like, REAL big. Don't worry, J.T. got the permission of the girl who appears on the cover photo.
This was one of the first releases from the venerable Bar/None Records. Here's a little history of The Original Sins... Terlesky performs mostly as Brother J.T. but website announces new Sins shows in Eastern Pennsylvania this month.
3. Poison Idea - "Kick Out The Jams" - Poison Idea won the last contest, so its fitting that they be measured up for a rematch. Here they respectfully take on and conquer MC5's most recognizable song. This song has something for everyone - solid drumming, Jerry A's powerful singing and a Tom Pig guitar break at 1:30. The picture disc has this on one side and a picture of Jerry A"Just to Get Away" on the flipside.
This song also appears on the Pajama Party LP.
4. Sons and Daughters - "Nice 'n' Sleazy" - They're not an 80's band, but they sure sound like one. The question is which one? X? Split Enz? Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds? Oingo Bongo?!? How about The Stranglers? Or better yet, how about a cover of one of my favorite Strangler's songs? Anyone ever notice that the verse - which reads like an Irish epic poem - seems to have nothing to do with the bar-band chorus? Too bad as I'd nominate this for the theme song of the current administration and their friends - feel free to rewrite the verse to fit.
Sons and Daughters website. Buy this single (which appears to be sold-out)... Their first album Repulsion Box is uneven but has some great tracks ("Medicine", "Monster", "Dance Me In" and "Regally Used"), though I admit the other songs have been growing on me over time. Unfortunately, it doesn't include "Nice 'n' Sleazy" either.
VOTING IS NOW OPEN (in comments section)
Announcing a new blog: Teenage Gluesniffer - it will discuss and reprint (under fair use guidelines) classic out-of-print fanzines and out-of-print underground comix. The first post features the fanzine Damp and reprints a Byron Coley interview. I'm going to try to do weekly updates - it's meant to be a TEAM BLOG, so if you got stuff buried in a drawer or in the back of your closet that's just itching to be scanned in and displayed for all the world to see, drop me a line in the comments section with your blogger ID. Everyone who participates gets a link on the top of the blogroll, of course (and can suggest / change the blogroll and template).