5ingles

The songs we can't escape

THE GO! TEAM
"Bull in the Heather"

I can't endorse this: Sound collagist act tackles Sonic Youth subclassic about Kath Hanna with blah results. Musically, it's a formalist imitation, but when you have twentysomething women chanting "Tell me that you're famous for me" or "Tell me that you wanna bore me" and so on, absent Kim Gordon's weathered, enigmatic detachment, the song transforms from poppy art-rock into a labored cheerleader chant.

 

Country rockers paying tribute to Madge? Not feelin' it, mostly because no chances are being taken whatsoever—just guitar, drums, bass, and piano recreating what we're used to. The spine-tingling gospel-choir invasion of old is even staged halfway through—couldn't they have gone in a somewhat less expected direction?

 

SIGHTINGS
"The Electrician"

That this no-wave, noise MVP trio opted to put a Walkers Brothers song through their broken-gravel blender is insane; that they did it justice while keeping the mood nastily gnashing is unbelievable even now, months after I first listened to it.

 

STEREO TOTAL
"Relax Baby Be Cool"

Yup, yet another Serge Gainsbourg cover. This one, performed by Eurotrashed underground poppers Stereo Total, is beatnik fresh, frustratingly simple, and deftly adapted to the duo's single-minded style. Blasé repetitions of the title to Sesame Street bass-bouncing and electronic twitters eventually ditch the street for the Milky Way just before the track cuts out, surprisingly and disappointingly.

 

YEAH YEAH YEAHS
"The Diamond Sea"

Now, this is how touchstone-level Sonic Youth should be approached; singer Karen O taps into the sweet, sweet sadness lurking at the tune's core as drummer Brian Chase and guitarist Nick Zinner honor the original with a stark, spare sketch of itself, never kicking into the expected roiling kilometers of turgid feedback. This cover's the length of the radio edit, not the Washing Machine album version, and bless 'em for that.

 
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