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Posts Tagged ‘Tori Amos’

Hello and happy (if slightly damp) Monday evening to you all.

I’ve been a busy temping bee this week, in week 4 of 7 of my contract as a data herder. These periodic lapses of sanity are necessary for my fiscal well-being, but as you know, I haven’t had time to actualise as many of my musical projects as I’d like and instead I have been making lists of things I’ll do when I have time again…

As the title of this weeks post has probably indicated, I want to talk about covers today. I’ve been slowly learning more, I now have a grand total of four confident covers learned that I can whip out at a moment’s notice (yes, yes, stop sniggering in the cheap seats…). Currently I’m competent to a reasonable degree at:

Braille  – Regina Spector

Exit Ghost – Faderhead

Merry Happy – Kate Nash

Someone Like You – Adele

I’m also halfway to competent at Hallelujah – Leonard Cohen, but that’s still only five songs, and I am feeling the need for a bigger repertoire. Not because I can’t write, but because pub gigs come more easily to people who can entertain the masses on a Saturday night. That said, perhaps these covers that I’d like to do would be too obscure..who knows. Anyway, here are the originals of the 5 covers I would currently most like to learn:

Raspberry Swirl – Tori Amos

The original of this is a full band, gritty, swirly, stompy dream of a track that I’ve danced along to, numerous times. I adore it. I also love the idea of turning it into a mellow, breathy, floaty piano and vocal track.

 

Enjoy the Silence – Depeche Mode

Speaking of the dream king’s girl, I know Tori covered this, and I’d never do as good a job, but I still want to. This has long been one of my favourite tracks ever, and I’d love to see what I could do with it.

 

Iris – The Goo Goo Dolls

I’ve been working on this one for years. I can’t get a decent replication on the piano of the jangly sound of the guitars in the original, so I always give up after trying fruitlessly for a bit to get something reasonable out of it. I think I need courage to do this one. It’s a song that means a lot to me, and I think that makes me afraid to take risks with it, but I will, one day, I will do it.

 

Crucify – Tori Amos

Yes, I know, another Tori song… it’s so deceptive though and it lures me in. Time and time again, I play up until the first chorus and then, then I can’t quite figure out how the rest of it should go. I lack Tori’s technical precision and decades of classical training and experience, so the best I can do is muddle something together that sounds vaguely competent. When I manage that much, I’ll let you know!

 

Bleed It Out – Linkin Park

I’m a sucker for taking a loud, stompy track and giving it a completely different interpretation. This is one track that I think would be incredible done with just piano and vocals. The lyrics are so vivid, it would be interesting to bring them forward more. I haven’t yet worked out the practicality of doing it, but I’m working on it. Shotgun opera, lock and load….

 

And there you have it.

In other news, EP mixing continues, song 6 is nearly actually a song, and everything else is pretty much together now. I’m very excited 🙂 I also played at the Rook and Gaskill in York last Wednesday, as part of Vinnie’s Live In Session, and had the great pleasure of meeting longtime fellow blogger and online friend Lucretia, who was in York for the evening, so this is a shoutout to her 🙂 Vinnie does this night on the last Wednesday of every month and it’s a superb chance to hear four great acts, I highly recommend it (although I highly recommend that you bagsy seats near the performance area at the back of the pub, as the pub does get crowed and hence noisy, early on in the night)

I’m going to sign off now, have a great week, see you next Monday!

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Ah, Thursday again. As I understand it, a very squelchy Thursday for much of the country, I hope wherever you are you are warm, dry and happy. FAWM is progressing slowly for me at this end, I have another demo up, of new song Leave a Light On – enjoy!

I had a very happy walk to work the other day, as I’d downloaded an album that I hadn’t listened to in ages – Erasure’s Wild. This album came out when I had just turned 14, and I remember buying one of the singles, “Star” on vinyl. So I lost myself in nostalgia as I wandered through York, and I pondered which other albums had had an influence on me during my formative years.

The first album I ever bought was The Stranger, by Billy Joel. I saved my allowance for this one, at 50 cents a week (I was in the US at the time). It came out in 1977, when I was two, and I doubt very much, given my young age, that I bought it at the time of it’s release. But I do remember, vividly, going into our local record store with my parents, and handing over a grubby pile of half dollars, and going home with the vinyl LP, which I loved, and played on repeat for many years after it’s acquisition. The net result of an early love of this album was an early love of the piano, and I was determined to learn to play. However, my parents could not afford a full size piano, and instead got me a small electronic keyboard. This was enough to start me on my long journey as a songwriter! (The other, more unfortunate side effect of this album was a determination to marry Billy Joel… in hindsight I’m rather glad I got over that one!)

Billy Joel – Scenes From An Italian Restaurant – Live at the Tokyo Dome 2006

Next up, although these aren’t in chronological order, Wild, by Erasure. I’d already heard and loved “The Innocents” , but “Wild” was the first Erasure album I bought, this time on cassette. At this time in my life, I was 14/15, and I was obsessed with this synth driven joy I was hearing. It’s hard not to feel happy when listening to Erasure, even with the occasional sadder song, and while the Pet Shop Boys had never quite managed to suck me in, Erasure managed to completely convert me to the cause of synthpop. My favourite song off the album is “Star”, although honourable mentions go also to “Blue Savannah” (that piano!) and “You Surround Me”. Several of Erasure’s B-sides are also superb from this album, “Dreamlike State” being the B-side for “Star”. I miss B-sides…

Erasure – Star

The next one isn’t an album, but it’s important for understanding my burgeoning synth obsession. Future Sound of London’s  Cascade, an EP, or mini-album. I was in 6th form when a school friend introduced me to this and I loved it. I’ve long since lost my cassette copy of it, and for a long time was unable to track down the whole thing. The power of the internet returned it to me recently however:

iTunes: “Would you like to download Cascade?”

Me: “Shut up and take my money, why isn’t it here already??!”

Here’s the first track, Cascade part 1.

A run down of albums that shaped me would not be complete without Tori Amos, and her fantastic album, Little Earthquakes.  I remember, one damp, long summer at my dad’s house in Lancashire, lying on the floor listening to “Crucify” and feeling like no-one could possibly understand how I felt, except maybe this woman, with her piano, her crazy lyrics and cracked, heartfelt vocals. She solidified my need to write, although it took another decade or two before I found the courage.

Tori Amos – Crucify (Live at Montreux, 1991)

Last but not least, the album that contains my favourite song of all time, Hounds of Love, by Kate Bush. My parents had this album in their music collection, and I remember hearing it repeatedly growing up. It wasn’t until I became an older teenager that I really rediscovered it, and learned to love it myself, I suspect I was a bit too young before. Something about the anthemic “Cloudbusting” always stayed with me, and it occupies the rare position of being my absolutely favourite song, it has never faded or become too familiar, and punches me in the gut every time I hear it. In a good way.

Kate Bush – Cloudbusting

That’s some of the music that has had an influence on me. It’s not exhaustive, but it’s a pretty good starting point. Thanks for reading/listening and I hope you enjoyed this journey through my past!

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