(Re)Bleed American

Similar to our re-recording of The Black Parade (as seen here and here) which, considering MCR are now planning something for the anniversary of it probably could have been better timed. For those of who didn’t read those this is simple: I pick an album and then pick the bands I’d like to cover each song. For this week I picked Bleed American (re-titled Jimmy Eat World after 9/11), which celebrated it’s fifteen year anniversary this week. So, here goes.

Bleed American – Fall Out Boy

Fast, raucous and the sound of a drunken house party. This song mainly needed to have the guitar strong at the front, and a strong enough vocal performance to carry this off. So I found FOB to be the perfect choice. On the downside I was going to pick Patrick Stump to do one of the later songs, had to go against that for this, and can’t have two Stumps, that way madness lies.

A Praise Chorus – Less Than Jake

One of the only songs I owned before I had the album (live version on a compilation) so will always have a special place in my heart. I was going to pick an acoustic band to cover this song as I feel that would make a good version and turn it into a kind of sweet piece of music, would add an extra level of emotion to it. Then I listened to it again and pictured someone singing it and doing that weird “jumping with your shoulders” thing at certain points of the song, then realised the jumpy dancy nature of it. As such I thought I should play up that aspect of it, and there’s only one way to do that: MORE HORNS!!! Then LTJ voices were in my head and it just meshed perfectly.

The Middle – Regina Spektor

Weird choice I know. This song is ridiculously peppy and brilliant, so you’d expect me to pick another pop-punk band for this, maybe Green Day, maybe Sum 41, maybe even go slightly ska and go with Reel Big Fish. But I feel that musically they would all sound too similar and would just be “lead vocalist” karaoke. This song is in my top 100 of all time, so if I hear it covered I want to hear something new done with it, I want to hear a completely different version. Maybe a female vocal version? Maybe a female vocal version done on a piano? Maybe Regina Spektor? Yeah, Regina Spektor. Her voice is haunting and beautiful, and to hear her sing this would add an entirely different layer to it and could end up being quite emotional.

Your House – Say Anything

Again, to add emotion. But not a “weepy weepy cry cry” emotion, Max Bemis voice is perfect for that bitter angry sarcastic misanthropic tone. So if anything this will do the opposite of what my previous choices have done, instead of adding emotion, this will change it, it will make the entire song seem angry instead of sweet, but also like he’s broken by the entire experience. Was also considering Saves The Day for this, as his voice would also be perfect for a Jimmy Eat World song.

Sweetness – Tegan And Sara

Mainly because this version would be danceable as hell. It would seem slightly less angry but it would be the perfect song to put a smile on your face and an extra skip in your step as go through your daily routine waiting for death.

Hear You Me – Amanda Palmer

Because I’m not letting you get through this album without crying your eyes out, and what better choice than this song? And what better way to do it than an empty voice at a piano just completely draining you of everything until you’re an empty husk of who you used to be.

If You Don’t Don’t – Desaparecidos

Hot damn I love Conor Oberst, his voice has a kind of shakey uneasy vibe to it, like he’s about one incident away from completely breaking down or going insane, you can’t tell which as it sounds like both at once. As such it would be perfect for this song, but I couldn’t go with Bright Eyes as musically that would be a terrible mix, so I went with his other band, Desaperecidos. Musically very different from Bright Eyes but equally amazing in parts, them covering this song would be the soundtrack to a thousand stroppy teenagers.

Get It Faster – Bright Eyes

I know, more Conor Oberst, I’ll go sit in the corner and think about what I’ve done. And now I’m back and here to tell you why you’re wrong to judge me. Because this would be amazing! Now for this I’m thinking of specific type of Bright Eyes, the kind of weird death-disco/digital-folk from Digital Ash In A Digital Urn. This song revolves around the slow build up and then the vocal release, and few people accomplished this as well as Oberst did on that album.

Cautioners – Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly

Because it’s practically a Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly song already, just written and performed entirely by someone else.

The Authority Song – Marina And The Diamonds

This is purely because I’m curious as to what it would sound like. It could be a complete disaster, it could be the best thing since sliced bread warmed up with cheese and Worcestershire sauce.

My Sundown – My Chemical Romance (With Full Orchestral Backing)

Now when I say My Chemical Romance I mean full-on Black Parade My Chem. When they were at there most bombastic, their most theatrical, and (some would argue) their best. Them doing this would be the perfect closing to this project, it would be big enough so that the compilation felt like it had a closer, a grand finale to the audio trip through the album. The orchestra? Well that will just make it better, will make it seem bigger, will make it seem more draining, you will listen to this and feel exhausted by the end of it, which this album needs, as the original is (dare say it) kind of a bland way to close it.

So that’s this over, what do you think ? Where did we go wrong? Where did we  go right? What would have been better?

5 reasons Watchmen is my favourite (and the best) superhero film

The year was 2009, the R-rated mega hit Deadpool was but a twinkle in Ryan Reynolds’ eye, and Zach Snyder released his best film to date, the screen adaption of the unfilmable deadpoolgraphic novel, Watchmen. And it was a bit mixed. People either loved it for its gritty, stylish, thought provoking take on the superhero genre, while others hated it for all those things. But you can guess which side of that I fall upon. Hell, I still think it’s the best superhero film ever made, yes, I like it more than any Dark Knight or Marvel film, and here’s why…

1) It’s a dark realistic take on superheroes that really tackles complex themes and ideas, while still being a straight-up superhero flick. Not a crime thriller with Batman, or a comedy with a guy in a suit, at its core it’s a superhero film and is about things only a superhero film could be about, ‘what if superheroes where real’, did change our worldrorschach_quote_2_wallpaper_by_tehgreyfawkz-d383cow, what would that world be like and who would those heroes be?
Of course this is all more thanks to Alan Moore’s seminal original text, but you can’t understate how hard Zach Snyder worked to bring the book to the screen as it’s whole self (it’s whole 215 minute run-time), and managing to make such a dense piece of literature so stylish and well-paced without losing a lot of meaning and depth.

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2) Snyder’s style is stunning (what the fucks happened); easily Snyder’s most confidently 345os5hdirected film, his key hyper-reality style that mixes CGI better than almost any film, works masterfully to bring the pages of the book to life, without losing the texture and grit. With the talent he showed here he could have easily gone on to be a blockbuster director like a quirkier James Camron, but instead he made Sucker Punch.

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3) The cast; the acting is top notch, with almost every actor born to play their character. Patrick Wilson bringing the likable dorkyness to Night Owl, Billy Crudup selling the tumblr_mkhjcoQy7V1rnqwsco1_250detached humanity of Dr Manhattan, Jackie Earle Haley embodying Rorschach’s grizzled insanity, and Jeffrey Dean Morgan embracing the assholeness of The Comedian, costume changes aside they walk right off the page.
Outside Heath Ledger’s Joker it’s one of the few superhero films with Oscar worthy performances…. all except Matthew Goode who was just too smarmy as Ozymandias, you could tell from the go he was evil so the reveal lost a lot of weight compared to the comic; he’s not bad just too evil. Now a young pre-Thor Chris Hemsworth would have been closer to the book, his more natural charisma and warmth making his dark motives a real shock.

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4) The music; Snyder’s use of iconic 80s tunes to invoke the era and themes of revolution 18m508t0woblxjpgis carefully implemented, from the iconic Bob Dylan opening credit sequence, the cheesy Leonard Cohen sex scene, and the sad Simon and Garfunkel funeral, Watchmen took seminal well known songs, and instead of being distracting fit them skilfully into the story as if they’ve always been there. Oh and the My Chemical Romance cover is badass, they really embrace the 80s punk vibe.

5) The ending. I am not to my surprise part of a small community that like the films tumblr_lg1pkquIZ31qej9fmo1_500ending better than the comic, even amongst people who have read the comic. The comic’s ending may work better from a plot stand point (some say), but the film’s use of Dr Manhattan in it’s climax comes from much more of a character and thematic place, and ties into Dr Manhattan’s dehumanizing arc so much tighter, and the ideas of nuclear war. It’s not just that I think the endings better than the book; it’s what that represents about the power of adaption through someone else’s vision, that making changes to original text doesn’t have to come from a hollow, money grubbing place, but from the texts itself…also the giant squid would of looked silly on screen.  But more so because it wasn’t Hollywoodised, it was complex and morally gray and left us with a message not many blockbusters have the balls to tell, that as people we will expect an easy lie over a hard truth.  We are compromised.watchmen11f-620x951

For a deeper look at the film and the comic, check out the Superhero Rewind on it which dives deep into analyzing the work.

Well not our most thorough post, but good enough for now, join us later this week and next week were we’ll…probably be talking about the Oscars.

Re-Recording The Black Parade (Take 2)

You know the drill, and you know why. So in the words of the Virgin Mary “let’s get on with it”

The End – The Mars Volta

When I read the previous one this one annoyed me because of how great the choice was; mainly because it would work similarly to Eulogy off England Keep My Bones. As such I had to try to take it in a different direction:

Instead of it being acoustic-ey and building up. I decided to go with a choice that would just be balls to the wall insane, and would probably end up being about 5 minutes long. Just a Spanish Jam sequence of insanity. If you haven’t heard of The Mars Volta and you’re too lazy to watch the video above I’ll try to describe them for you: the sound of an acid trip whilst driving through the dessert.

Dead – Horrorpops

For this I focused mainly on the slight twang underlying the song. So I went with these guys:

They have the twang, they have the right drummer for it, and admit it; it would be pretty cool to hear female vocals do this song wouldn’t it?

This Is How I Disappear – Peeping Tom

I should probably start with explaining who Peeping Tom are. It’s basically Mike Patton from Faith No More, being very cool. This is one of my favourite albums I own and has some truly amazing songs on it. I can see his version of this song being a bit slower, a bit darker, and a bit more (I shan’t mince my words here): f*ckable.

The Sharpest Lives – Less Than Jake

My first choice for this was Survival Guide (mainly because I’m still in mourning for Tsunami Bomb) but couldn’t find the song that would showcase it well enough. I then realised that that would mean WAAAAAY too much slow synth based stuff this early on. So changed my mind. Other ones that went through my head were Jimmy Eat World and Biffy Clyro. Then I just thought: TRUMPETS!

 

Welcome To The Black Parade – Cobra Starship

Now this is just mean. This song is so MCR that it would be almost blasphemy. So this can only really be covered two ways: 1) a slowed down cover like Ben Folds would too. 2) Someone just going all out and bombastic as possible. Now contrary to popular believe I prefer the second. You need someone to just attack this like a circus ring leader mixed with a serial killer. So who better than Cobra Starship? Now I know, i’ve put a lot of synth stuff in this, but this is different: it’s dance-synth

I Don’t Love You – Ben Folds

Mainly because I imagined it in my head and it made my brain cry

House Of Wolves – The Used

Ok, so file this under the “never going to happen” section. But admit it, it would be pretty cool wouldn’t it?

Cancer – Ke$ha

I know! I know! Calm down! Stop throwing things! Hey! Hey now! Which one of you threw a sink? That could have really hurt! Yes, I know this is controversial, probably the most so on this list. But believe me, she can f*cking do it. I have a Bob Dylan tribute album containing songs by Bad Religion, My Chemical Romance, Rise Against, The Gaslight Anthem etc. All very respectful bands. But my favourite song on it? F*cking Ke$ha. Makes me tear up every time.

Mama – Paul McCartney

Now I was tempted to go for Gogol Bordello for this. They would have matched the crazyness, and then some. I admit, I was also tempted to go with Dead Kennedys because it would have been intense as hell. So I just went awesome.

Sleep – Coheed And Cambria

Oh man I have to do this? But this song sucks. I don’t like sleep (which makes sense as I’m an insomniac). So yeah, erm, Coheed and Cambria I guess? At least then the guitars will come crashing down and wash upon you like a tsunami bomb.

Teenagers – Billy Talent

Intense guitars, a chorus made for shouting by a crowd of thousands, and a bitter sarcasm running through the entire thing. Who else could it be?

Disenchanted – Bright Eyes

Because it’s the only thing that could make this sound more emotional and brilliant

Famous Last Words – Fall Out Boy

Don’t know why, I just feel this would seem kind of cool and brilliant.

Blood – Helen Arney

Because ukuleles make everything better.

BONUS SONG

Because I really really really want My Chemical Romance to cover this.

Re-recording The Black Parade (take 1)

Similar to our Recasting blogs, in this new category we take a look at popular albums and dream up insane but also sometimes sensible choices for which acts we’d have cover each track…if for some reason the album was ever re-recorded or something. This week emo-poster child My Chemical Romance’s seminal album, the rock record that made people take them seriously and completely miss the point,  The Black Parade.

 

The End.Frank Turner

It’s already starts acoustic, so let’s get this record kicked off with Mr Acoustic punk himself, to toss some tables and add a true sense of honesty to it. Now this could go either way, one) it’s a slow moving purely acoustic track like Journey of the magi, that really feeds the heart. Or two) it’s a builder like Do you believe that starts acoustic then builds to a true foot-stomping, jaunty rocker.

Dead! Streetlight Manifesto

This is one of the safer choices on this list. The grandfathers of ska punk taking this fast fun rock tune and jigging it up with trumpets and rough vocals; simple but effective.

 

This Is How I DisappearBrandon Flowers

This isn’t The Killers I’m talking about. I’m talking about the right now Brandon Flowers’ solo career of glorious 80’s pop jams, and that’s what I want him to do to this. Slow it down, throw in the sexy synth and pulsating drum machines, swoon over it, and make it an 80s crooner you can dance to! Why? I don’t know. This is just the song I can see fitting that style better than any other, and because at its heart it’s still a love song.

 

The Sharpest LivesRed Hot Chili Peppers

Being one of MCR’s quickest lyrical songs, Anthony Kiedis’s rap style of singing would suit it to a tee, adding a wiry wit to the sharp lyrics of partying and drinking problems. Then throw in Flea funking up the bass, and suddenly this downer song will shine like a fun sunny day while still meditating on the dark issues of drinking ya self into an early grave. Sounds like a Chili’s song to me.

 

Welcome to the Black Parade – Andrew Jackson Jihad

The oddest choice I’d say on this list; but when it comes to a classic anthem like Welcome to the Black Parade, a song that’s such a staple of the band, there’s no point going for an act to try and match it. All you can do is give it to people who would completely change it; and that’s what this emotional and endearingly nasal, folk ska-ish band would do. Strip the grandness down to its black bones and give you the raw emotion behind the song, in an honest, cutting, but joyous fashion.

(give them a chance, they’re a grower)

I Don’t Love YouCounting Crows

One of MCR’s most swooning songs, about the realization that the love you once felt so strong has withered up and gone. So who better but the rambling beat poet-esque Adam Duritz and his roots rock group, to strip away the melodrama and bring it down to its meaning and words as he heart-wrenchingly rambles through them. It would be poetry to my ears….if only mine.

 

House of WolvesTouché Amore

This is a personal favorite of a lot of people who don’t even like My Chemical Romance. It’s a swaggering punk-rock jam; so let’s turn that up to eleven and let post-hardcore giants Touché Amore, shout it out at double volume and double the speed. It would be louder, it would be rawer, and it would pack twice the punch.

 

CancerRegina Spektor

It’s a sad song, but give it to the endlessly cheery Regina Spektor and…it would still be a sad song, but her natural quirkiness would add a new humor to contrast and emphasis the misery, and overall add new depth to this death lament.

 

MamaPoets of the fall

Poets of the fall have a lot of kinship with My Chemical Romance. They’re both theatrical rock bands with a flair for the overdramatic, though Fall’s style falls more in tune with a light operatic Rammstein. And if you’re wondering if you’ve heard them before, they did most of the soundtrack of Alan Wake. But yes, Mama; a bold, melancholy and jaunty tune that you could either strip down or build up, so let’s build this fucker up to the operatic hard rock epic this band would turn it into, till it wouldn’t sound out of place in Repo: the genetic opera.

 

SleepWhite Lies

After their seminal third album Big TV, these 80’s loving new wave rockers have become one of my most listened to on my iPod. So this song was less of a case of what band could play this song, and what song would suit White Lies synth laden ethereal style, and of cause Sleep fits perfectly. The slower, sombre tone is begging to be synth-ified and crooned out by Harry McVeigh’s baritone, which would add a dramatic, dark, danciness.

 

Teenagers Green Day

Because of course; some bands I picked because of how different they’d make the song, Green Day I picked because they could arguably do it better and punkier than MCR already did. It wouldn’t be very different but it would make it even funner, and add some needed levity to this pretty silly anthem.

 

Disenchanted Bruce Springsteen

I’m not talking about the Born to run, Born in the USA, Springsteen, I’m talking about the Youngstown, Devils and Dust, Springsteen, the stripped back folk Springsteen. That style combined with Springsteen’s world weary voice, would really bring a nuance and heartbreak to these lyrics, and turn it into an old country ballad in all the right ways.

 

Famous Last WordsRammstein

My Chemical Romance have had forays into metal once or twice, and the ender to this epic album is definitely on the side of hard rock, so who better to take it over the edge while maintaining the glory and finesse that comes with it, than the German metal gods that is Rammstein. Their fast heavy style combined with Till Lindemann’s grizzled bellow would just make this an orgastic and epic affair; the perfect way to end this bizarre genre hopping cover album.

So what do you think of this new Black Parade? Agree? Disagree? Couldn’t care less? Who would you want covering these songs? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page here.

OH SNAP! Bonus track!
BloodBob Dylan

Because it would be funny, because Dylan’s ramshackle voice and sweet melancholy could actually turn this silly little diddy into a genuine song of loss and lament. And that would be the best joke of all.

 

Come again Friday, when our other producer recounts his cast for his Black Parade!

Why We Love….London Calling

22nd December 2002 is possibly the most important day in my life from a music listening perspective. The day Joe Strummer died. Some of you may be aware that The Clash are one of my favourite bands, and I’m not alone in that respect, they were widely called The Only Band That Mattered and they’re good enough that that name doesn’t seem like hyperbole. Which makes me feel even more guilty about what I’m about to say, I didn’t know who The Clash were when Strummer died, in fact his death was what made me a fan of the band. Not in a hipster-ish “I only bands who were underground so I wait for members to die” kind of way, don’t worry. I was sitting at home one day flipping through the music channels when he died, I know this as London Calling played on Q (I think), and it was labeled “London Calling – The Clash. Joe Strummer R.I.P”. For some reason it was the first time I had paid much attention to that song, and something clicked in my head about how good it is. Then I went through to another channel and they played Should I Stay Or Should I Go? I was amazed. How can one band perform two songs that sounded so different? Then the triangle of triumph was complete when a channel played Rock The Casbah. It was at that point I knew I needed to find out more about this band, so, Boxing Day, 2002 I went to The Shop Formally Known As Sounds Perfect and brought what would turn out to be one of my favourite albums of all time: London Calling. To those of you who haven’t listened to this album: you’re less of a person and you should fix that immediately. Since then I’ve heard the other albums they’ve made, and whilst they’re all good, they’re no London Calling. I think part of that is because of the experimentation shown on this album. Very few albums have as many different genres on show here: almost every song sounds different from the next, with some punk, some ska, some lounge, some R&B, some reggae, some jazz etc. In terms of styles the album is just a hodgepodge of different styles and clashes that combine to form something truly wonderful, in much the same way as London (specifically, Camden). This album is, still today, the sound of London in much the same way that It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back is the sound of New York. It’s not just the music, it’s also the lyrics. The album is not just good (in my opinion, whilst Sum41 may have named their album as such, this album is the true All Killer, No Filler album), lyrically this album is a masterpiece, covering the issues that needed to be covered right now. From unemployment through to racial conflict, drug use and the responsibilities of adulthood. Guns Of Brixton (a.k.a: the song that launched a thousand basslines, seriously, this has to be the most punk song which you could use as the backdrop for a hip hop song) has one of the intense opening lines of a song:

When they kick at your front door
How you gonna come?
With your hands on your head
Or on the trigger of your gun

The fact that such brutal lyrics were laid against one of the best bass backdrops in music history opened the casual listeners minds up to the situation. The trouble with a lot of punk music is it’s preaching to the already converted. If the Sex Pistols were singing to people who were punks, it was The Clash that turned these people punk in the first place. The Clash are like Bob Dylan in that they have influenced outside of their genre. The best way to gauge a bands influence is via tribute albums. Yes, The Ramones tribute album does seem to have a wide variety of bands (Metallica, RHCP, Rob Zombie etc) the only true completely strange one to see is U2. The Clash, however, on Burning London have not only the expected ones (No Doubt, Rancid, Mighty Mighty Bosstones) they also have some you’d never have expected (Ice Cube, Moby). If a band can lay claim to have influenced bands as diverse as that, they must truly be something special.

Now onto my favourite part of this album, how it was released. Now, the band had had trouble with their record label prior to this. CBS had refused to release the bands debut album in the US, released singles the band didn’t want, and asked them to clean up their sound. The issues for this album came from the band wanting to release a double album, the record label refused because they were assholes. They did, however, allow them to release a free single with the album. So the band put a free single with the album, it was just a single that contained a lot of B-sides, in fact, almost an entire albums worth of B-sides. Since the deal was that the single would be free with the album, this meant that the (now) double album would be released at the same price as a normal album. The band won as they got to release the album as it was intended, the fans won as they didn’t have to pay more, and the record company lost, which is exactly how it should be.

So yeah, that’s why I love this band, and why this album is one of the most important pieces of music I’ve ever heard. And why it makes me feel even worse that it took the death of the singer to realise how amazingly talented this band is. People can keep their 1959 plane crash, for me, 22nd December 2002 is the real day the music died, and the day it was reborn, out of the fire like a phoenix, into my head, and into my heart.

Like if you enjoy

  • Rancid
  • Green Day
  • Arctic Monkeys
  • Rage Against The Machine

After this, check out

  • Chimes Of Freedom: The Songs Of Bob Dylan Honoring 50 Years Of Amnesty International. A 4 disc tribute album to Bob Dylan, only one song is featured more than once, and every song was recorded specifically for the album. Dylan is one of the select few artists you could do this with, especially with the amount of talent on show: This is the only album where MCR, The Gaslight Anthem, Rise Against and Bad Religion sit alongside Mick Hucknall, Miley Cyrus, Bryan Ferry, Natasha Bedingfield, Sting and Adele.
  • Heartattack. I knew I had to put a modern punk compilation on here. Was going to put one of the Punk-O-Rama albums on here but then realised I listen to the songs from here a lot more. Featuring a bonus disc of new songs to celebrate Burning Heart records, this album features some truly fantastic songs.