Tuesday, January 29, 2013

5 Velvet Underground Covers

I was just reading the liner notes to 'Kicking Against The Pricks', an album of covers by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds.  The most addictive track on the album is their rendition of 'All Tomorrow's Parties' by The Velvet Underground.  In the liner notes, they mention that they were actually apprehensive about recording that one at all, because tracks by the Velvets come from a very specific corner of space-time, and it's hopeless to try to duplicate the spontaneity that made them so unique.

I agree for starters.  Their songs, especially those from the first three albums, are largely the product of improv and impulse, and would have been completely different had they been recorded a moment sooner or a moment later.  However, I firmly believe that this makes them perfect candidates for covering.  Lou Reed is in the same camp as Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, in that he writes songs that are all but screaming to be covered.  And, since you'll never make them sound like the Velvets, you may as well make them sound like you.

On that note, here are 5 Velvet Underground covers that I think are pretty damn good:

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds: All Tomorrow's Parties

Cowboy Junkies: Sweet Jane

Chapterhouse: Lady Godiva's Operation

James: Sunday Morning

Christian Death: Venus in Furs

Sunday, January 27, 2013

More News From Nowhere

Been a while since I updated.  Sorry about that.  I was on the go for the better part of a month starting on December 18, spending the holiday season with my parents in Maryland, and a week with my grandparents in the Virgin Islands.  It was a good way to cap off 2012, and as I mentioned in my last post, 2013's already off to a good start.

At the beginning of December I wrote an article for the Cecil Whig about the hazards of holiday season travel, specifically the time I ended up stranded in the lobby of Heathrow for four days.  The article ran the day I got home.  There's nothing like coming home for the first time in a year and seeing yourself in the paper.

Perpetual Motion Machine, the publisher who recently bought one of my stories for an upcoming tribute to Kurt Vonnegut, recently announced plans for another tribute, this time for Charles Bukowski.  There was a story that had been knocking around my head for a few months that I thought would fit the theme, and this seemed liked the perfect excuse to get it down.  Since anything worth doing is worth doing right, I decided to employ some Bukowsian methods.  I picked up some cheap wine on the way home from work on a Saturday afternoon.  When I got home I poured the first glass, turned on the classical music, and started typing.  Seven hours later, the wine was gone and the rough draft was done.  I'm very happy with the end result.  It's short, direct, and dirty.  In true Bukowski fashion it's semi-autobiographical, and tells a story of which I'm not exactly proud.  Unfortunately I probably won't know until this time next year if it'll make the cut for the anthology.  

In the meantime, if you have any unpublished tales of booze and madness (or you feel like writing one), send it their way!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

New Year, New Story

Happy New Year, Planet Earth!

2013 got off to a rocky start for me.  I woke up on the morning of the 31st with an immobilizing case of chills and fever.  Trying to exercise some damage control, I spent New Year's Eve in bed at my parents' house in Maryland, medicating my sick ass, and watching Short Circuit, Beetlejuice, and Jurassic Park.  I wasn't even conscious when the clock struck midnight.

It must have been a twenty-four hour thing, because within a day I was feeling fine.  As I emerged from the woods, I checked my inbox, and received some VERY good news:

My short story 'The Truth' is set to appear in an upcoming anthology tribute to Kurt Vonnegut.  I wrote that one in the Spring of 2011.  It tells the story of a private detective brainwashed by a bizarre pseudoscience self-help book.  It's dedicated to the memory of the late Dr. Vonnegut, and its narration unabashedly riffs on his style, so I couldn't ask for a better home for this story.  The book will be released by Perpetual Motion Machine sometime this year.

2013, I think we're gonna be friends.