Thursday, June 21, 2012

Wonderful - Angel

Of the new songs on release at the moment that I've been listening to recently Wonderful by the London based singer Angel is one that stands out. I like the mix of music styles that he uses in Wonderful a lot. He looks great too. 

His website is here and his Twitter page is @ThisIsAngel

100 Cover Versions #47: Pretenders cover 'I Go To Sleep' by The Kinks

On listening to the various cover versions on this list through Youtube I found the cover of I Go To Sleep by Sia. It has over the past few years become one of her signature songs but I had never heard it until yesterday. I always find the comment threads on a Youtube video interesting. Many younger music fans just think of I Go To Sleep as a song by her and that it is the only version. 
My own personal version is by Pretenders. When I was a teenager in the 1980s I never knew that  I Go To Sleep was originally recorded by The Kinks. For me the Pretenders version was the only version so I think that songs and versions of them become a generational thing. The more I listen to Sia's version the more I like it. While her 2011-2012 hits Titanium and Wild Ones are great pop songs that represent now I hope Sia's own voice and her own kind of music becomes in time what she is most well known for.

So here first is  Pretenders and I Go To Sleep which is not only one of most favourite cover versions but is also one of my all time favourite songs. It has a hypnotic quality, music that always makes me think of winter and Russia.

and here also is the original video for I Go To Sleep.

Here is Sia and her live in concert version.

and here is the very beautiful original version by The Kinks which was first recorded in 1965. Older than me!

100 Cover Versions #46: Tori Amos covers 'Angie' by The Rolling Stones

Tori Amos has covered so many songs throughout her wonderful music career over the past few decades. One of the delights of seeing her in concert is that she may sing a surprise cover or even a cover that she may only sing on one particular tour. 
Here is her cover version of Angie by The Rolling Stones which featured on the Crucify EP back in 1992. When I moved to Dublin she was one of the first music artists I saw in concert when she was promoting her Little Earthquakes album and played at the midnight at the Olympia show. 

My favourite Rolling Stones song is Gimme Shelter with Angie a very close second. It was an American Billboard Hot 100 number one hit in October 1973.

Here is Tori's quietly perfect version of Angie. I always loved as well that Tori is a singer who doesn't feel she needs to change the gender of the person in the song.

100 Cover Versions #45: Etta James covers 'Purple Rain' by Prince & The Revolution

In 2006 Etta James released her album All The Way. It featured cover versions of songs made famous by other music artists. The songs she sang on that album included her versions of Imagine by John Lennon, I Believe I Can Fly by R Kelly, What's Going On by Marvin Gaye and Holding Back The Years by Simply Red. One song that I was intrigued to hear was her version of Purple Rain by Prince & The Revolution. It is a song that has been almost a standard on TV talent shows but is always something to hear it sung by the most famous singers in music. Her version is a real blues version. Etta James was 66 when she recorded her version of Purple Rain in 2005 and her last studio album was The Dreamer in November 2011.

The Tony Wonder Born & Bread in the USA Playset

For the past few months my brother Mike has been working on some of his most inventive and creative work for a series of exhibitions for Gallery 1988 Melrose in Los Angeles. In each of the exhibitions a group of artists and designers were given a specific theme relating to popular culture and the artworks are the results of their different creative ideas. 
The theme of the first exhibition earlier this year was on internet memes and for that show Mike made two pieces. One was a Nyan Cat spaceship which you can see and read about on his website here

Mike's second piece for the Internet Meme's show was on the Old Spice commercial which featured Isaiah Mustafa which you can read about here.

A tribute show to the comic, writer and acting legend that is Steve Martin was the next themed show and for that show Mike used the Planes, Trains and Automobiles film as his inspiration. It also paid tribute to the late John Candy which was one aspect that I also loved. All the details of that piece are here.

It is such a buzz for me to see what Mike does next. Ever since he was a child he has had a wonderful imagination. Mike draws on the past of his own memories of childhood, all of the movies and TV shows that he grew up with and also his own birthday toys and Christmas presents and he makes those images new. My only advice to him on anything he does is to put his heart into what he does and I always see it when the end result is made. A friend of mine recently said that Mike has found his niche recently and I think that's definitely true as he has recently been working more with wood in his work and he has his own recognisable sense of colour. But I know that the art that he will be working on even in a few weeks time will be different again and that's what always makes his work so great. These days we live in a world of the single image, the first impression and that's what my brother celebrates.

The theme of the latest group exhibition in Gallery 1988 Melrose is the TV show Arrested Development. I adored that show and what is fabulous about it is that because of the diverse characters and story lines there is an entire world of ideas that could be used in an art show like Gallery 1988. 
The other day Mike tweeted a picture of part of what he had created for his contribution to the new Gallery 1988 show. That photo is above and the piece is called The Tony Wonder Born & Bread in the USA Playset

I was going to post images of the rest of the piece but what works best is to click on this link and it will bring you onto's Mike's website where he writes about the inspiration for the piece and then shows the completed piece itself. What I love about when he posts is that you read his words first and then follow the sequence of images done along one by one and it all becomes part of how his imagination works. 

On the Old Spice Guy piece, the Steve Martin and the Arrested Development pieces Mike has also collaborated with his friend Paddy Dunne whose imagination is as brilliant as Mike's and they are a great team. Paddy helped design the boxes and packaging on all three of those pieces and for the newest piece has made and designed other key pieces of the work as well. Mike has often worked with other artists here in Dublin and beyond and continues to do so. 

The There's Always Money in the Banana Stand: A Tribute to Arrested Development exhibition opens on June 29th in Gallery 1988 Melrose, 7020 Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles and runs until July 21st. Their website is here.