Tag Archives: Yeah Yeah Yeah

Blast From The Past: I Am Sam

Beatle Weekend, Part One.

Also known as How To Sell A Beatles Tribute Album With A Movie Tie-In. The premise of the relationship between this collection of Beatles covers (more specifically, Lennon-McCartney covers) and the Sean Penn film is Penn’s character’s affinity for Beatles music.

Fine by me. I imagine the reason that not too many of the artists strayed from the formula had more to do with “keeping it real” for the imagination of the Sam character (mentally challenged) than the participant’s unwillingness to experiment with established classics. Regardless, great songs are great songs, and several of the almost spot-on performances (Aimee Mann and Michael Penn on “Two Of Us” and Sheryl Crow’s “Mother Nature’s Son“) are enjoyable versions that could have been bonus tracks on those respective artists’ albums.

Video: “Two of Us“, “Blackbird“, “I’m Looking Through You

Some veer slightly off the path, like The Vines with “I’m Only Sleeping” (great finish), Stereophonics‘ soulful “Don’t Let Me Down” and Howie Day’s desperate reading of “Help“. I would have preferred that The Black Crowes tackle something raucous like “Birthday“, as their restrained performance of “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds” is missing a spark. The original “Across The Universe” succeeded largely because of the vocal; Rufus Wainwright’s interpretation grows tired very quickly. Paul Westerberg disappoints with a dull “Nowhere Man” but Ben Harper surprised me with his solid take on “Strawberry Fields Forever“.

Oddest moments: Not hearing “The Weight” immediately after “Golden Slumbers” (Ben Folds, natty) and Eddie Vedder making “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away” sound like a suicide note. Then again, most things Vedder sings could fit that description.

(This 2002 review originally ran in Yeah Yeah Yeah, Issue #21.)

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Under The Radar: The Lovelies

According to a promo blurb, The Lovelies formed in Austin, Texas in the 90’s, headed up by Liv Lovely (aka Liv Mueller). The band saw a few lineup changes and garnered a lot of attention following a move to Milwaukee. The group disbanded with the last lineup as Barb Enders on bass and Damain Stringes playing drums. You might come across a Euro band with the same name, but these Lovelies were a female fronted band.

I first caught up with them years ago with White Leather, their album on the Force MP label. In addition to the references below, if you’re into bands like The Eyeliners, The Gore Gore Girls or even 80s bands like The Photos, you’ll probably like a lot of this.

Here’s my review from Yeah Yeah Yeah in 2003:


Okay, so sue me; upon first look at Liv and Barb Lovely I thought “Blondie times two!” before I even slipped the cd into the player. (Bulletin to whomever designed the user-unfriendly digipak that almost caused me to snap the cd in half – what were you thinking?) But it turns out that I’m not so far off the mark – maybe Veruca Salt with better chops?

White Leather is a good balance of stripped-down alterna-pop and catchy three-chord rock and often captures the same juxtaposition of pouting sexuality and power pop chops that made Ms. Harry and company instantly accessible. Occasional clunkers (“Tommy”) aside, many strong cuts like “In Over My Head”, “Constellation” and “I Want Your Love” stick on first listen, and Liz Lovely’s pipes can sell just about anything. Nothing overtly commercial, good versatility and obvious conviction.

Maybe this is the record that Liz Phair fans thought they were going to get?

Listen for yourself at Amazon.

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Under The Radar: Mercury Boy

Revisiting a great glam EP that I reviewed in 2003 for Yeah Yeah Yeah

Mascarad, blue-haired, gun-toting Mercury Boy looks like he escaped from a screening of Blade Runner meets Velvet Goldmine, but if you shelve the goofy image for a moment you’ll find he’s laughing all the way to the program director’s office. Get It Goin’ is a tight, four-song EP of punchy glam pop that can’t help but whet your appetite for more.

With a crack trio (guitarist Andee Hinds, drummer John Clancy and bassist Hannah Head – love that name), Mercury Boy taps the ample vein of Ziggy Stardust, 70s rock and Lenny Kravitz (ironically, the killer track here is called “Bus Driver”). And whatever the motivation is behind the cartoonish persona, you’ve got to tip your hat to anyone who can hose out the shoegazers with a record of energetic, fun rock and roll. Give me more!

Listen at Amazon

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