Thursday, April 1, 2010

Covers 4: Beck's Record Club: The King of Music Geeks?

photo by Scott Beale/Laughing Squid

As far as cover songs revealing an artist's true rock geekdom (see previous post), Beck's gotta be the king. His record club features him and whatever cool musician-type buddies are around (like Wilco, Feist, MGMT, Giovanni Ribisi [!], etc.) covering not just one song, but entire albums - three so far, recently started fourth. The recording is videotaped and posted to his site song by song. Here's the official explanation:

"Record Club is an informal meeting of various musicians to record an album in a day. The album chosen to be reinterpreted is used as a framework. Nothing is rehearsed or arranged ahead of time. A track is put up here once a week. The songs are rough renditions, often first takes that document what happened over the course of a day as opposed to a polished rendering. There is no intention to 'add to' the original work or attempt to recreate the power of the original recording. Only to play music and document what happens."

Beck covered Skip Spence's Halo of Gold previously on the tribute album More Oar, so obviously he's enamored of Spence's Oar, which is a rock nerd signpost. The Velvet Underground and Leonard Cohen fit the rock snob yardstick too, but go to the bottom of this post if you want to see how the club's tackling some records that don't necessarily have the most street cred or cool factor.

Beck Halo of Gold by scruffy the yak

Remember you don't necesarily have to watch the video - I don't, I just like to listen.

Record Club: Skip Spence "Little Hands" from Beck Hansen on Vimeo.

Record Club: Songs Of Leonard Cohen "Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye" from Beck Hansen on Vimeo.

Giovanni Ribisi alert!

Record Club: Velvet Underground & Nico "I'll Be Your Mirror" from Beck Hansen on Vimeo.

The newest album being covered is INXS's Kick. Interesting choice, but Beck says Ace of Base's The Sign had previously been kicked around as a possibility, so anything goes.

Record Club: INXS "Guns In The Sky" from Beck Hansen on Vimeo.

My favourite Beck cover has to be his version of Gram Parson's Sin City. I went to get it to share with you, but I found that I had already shared my disc with a friend and hadn't got it back. I'll post it soon, check back - it's worth waiting for, believe me.

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