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Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before

Rough Trade

es, the ones with The Smiths. And The Strokes. And all your other favourite dance acts. Rough Trade came into being, like Ashton Kutcher, in 1978, and, like Ashton Kutcher, is just dire really when you think about. So, instead of celebrating their 25th birthday by getting drunk and hiring a hooker, they’ve decided to invite some crazy members of their roster to do some crazy cover versions of songs by former Rough Trade acts. DO. YOU. SEE? Like when Battle of the Bands contests insist that each act does a Madonna cover: ie, absolutely fucking pointless and irritating. Anyway, so thrilled am I at the idea of The Tyde covering Galaxie 500 I’ve decided to review this thing track by track. To make you suffer as much as me.

1. Eastern Lane are tipped by the NME to be the NEXT BIG THING. Despite having been already for at least two years already, and having had as much impact on the public as me writing for Stylus. Here, they cover “Fe Ca La” by The Feelies. Imagine if the White Stripes hired a bassist whose favourite band was Sham 69. Insert your own joke about a band that the NME claimed were going to big but failed to be here. I suggest Crashland.

2. Adam Green’s growth out of “Antifolk knob-gag merchant” continues unabated here, with a cover of that Young Marble Giants song that isn’t “Final Day”. You know the one. Like Jeffrey Lewis before he went shit.

3. I only know Aztec Camera as the band that did songs about boxing gloves and babies being born to the overkill. They were also on Rough Trade, apparently, and a band with the, quite frankly, idiotic name of Mystic Chords of Memory have decided to reinterpret one of their songs as Mercury Rev made entirely out of kettle steam. Awful.

4. “Jazz Is The Teacher, Funk Is The Preacher” is a stupid fucking name for a song. James Blood Ulmer is a stupid fucking name for a man. Oneida is a stupid fucking name for a band. Add the three together, and you have a stupid fucking song. Can we have some more Adam Green, please?

5. Or we could have Elizabeth Fraser. She’s sophisticated, because her name is spelt in full now, see? Anyway, she covers Robert Wyatt, who I think is that dude in the wheelchair. Her cover of “At Last I Am Free” sounds exactly like its being done by Marzipan from Homestar Runner. Makes you want to put whoever put this album out in a wheelchair, really.

6. The Hidden Cameras aren’t some kind of TV prank show, but rather a band who cover “Dunes” by The Clean, and I can’t remember what this song sounds like WHILE I’M ACTUALLY LISTENING TO IT. Jeez.

7. Is this the Polyphonic Spree? Oh, no, wait, they don’t have a record label BECAUSE THEY GOT DROPPED. It’s The Tyde. Is this some sort of Wirral-psychadelia shit? All very chimey and floaty, lead singer could well have some sort of beard, ends with a Britpop style guitar solo. Hmmm.

8. Royal City cover The Strokes who are an important Rough Trade band of importance. I fucking hate The Strokes, and for lots of kneejerk reactions that music critics should admit to more often: they’re famous, rich, and good looking. Pleasant enough cover though, could soundtrack an attempted suicide scene in some low budget indie film.

9. Ivor Cutler “Had A Little Boat”. Alasdair Roberts likes this song, presumably, so he covered it. As a direct result, the quality of life on this planet has lessened. Cheers Ally.

10. The funniest thing about the film Blackball is that a gig by The Delays is treated as some kind of major, Robbie at Knebworth style event. When, in real life, it would be attended by approximately 250 fans, 50 people who were “in the area”, and 100 media scummers. And if they were very unlucky, they’d play their Mazzy Star cover live as well.

11. The funniest thing anyone’s said to me recently about music was my musically naïve friend, who commented that she “really loved Sigur Ros, they remind me of Enya”. Nothing to do with The Veils covering Scritti Politti’s “Lions After Slumber”, obviously, but nobody’s still reading this are they?

12. Jeffrey Lewis used to be good, but his last album sounded amazingly like a shark being jumped. His version of “Part-Time Punks” sounds like a muppet (in the derogatory sense) singing a song written by a Muppet (in the puppet wackiness sense).

13. British Sea Power come from a long chain of minor British indie acts wearing stupid clothes. Galaxie 500… they were some 80s kinda electro-poppy-indie hilarity weren’t they? This could contain the line “I just want to be a Korfball captain”, but I’m not going to listen to this damn record a third time to find out. Three tracks left.

14. Johnny Knoxville wanted The Detroit Cobras, the 14th contributors to this shortening of my life expectancy, to do the soundtrack for Jackass: The Movie. MTV instead chose Andrew WK. eMTpyV SUXX. Their cover of “Last Nite” is as good as Brandon DiCamillo during the “Office Chairs” stunt.

15. The Fiery Furnaces have a rubbish name. The Fall weren’t really that good now, were they? This is just a load of fucking noise, really. Someone’s just bought themselves a copy of Dance 2000, sampled a load of crap “atmospheric” rock bands, and then let a blind man having an epileptic fit on the mouse.

16. Belle and Sebastian “Final Day” (Originally by Young Marble Giants). Hey, Stuart. Stuart. Come over here for a second. You know how nobody likes “Electronic Renaissance”? What? You didn’t? Oh, that explains it then. This sounds like for Lightning Seeds, for God’s sake.

So, 2 good songs from 16. Here’s to another 25 years, huh?

Reviewed by: Dom Passantino

Reviewed on: 2003-11-13

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