When we thought about celebrating the life and works of David Bowie for a whole month it was initially inspired by his dramatic comeback after ten years ‘Where are We Now?’ his new (now chart topping) album The Next Day, the reissue of Aladdin Sane and the VA exhibition in London. But really it is the wealth and breadth of Bowie’s influence that tipped it for us, as we’ve discussed he is one of the most influential artists still living and when we threw open the question to artists and bands whether they would be interested in reinterpreting some of his seminal works, the answer was a resounding “yes”. Indeed what we present to you here is the combined works of 22 artists.
Over half of the songs here were recorded specifically for this compilation, up front we have storming stompers from London’s White Witches with their brilliant version of ‘Boys Keep Swinging’ and Dangerously Close’s take on ‘Moonage Daydream’, an astoundingly etheral version of ‘The Man Who Sold the World’ by rising Brighton outfit Great Pagans. A measured version of ‘Sound & Vision’ by Cardiff’s Fjords, a rollicking art rock version of ‘Hallo Spaceboy’ by Totem Terrors, Ben Sommer’s skittishly fabulous ‘Andy Warhol’, Francesca’s Word Salad’s delightful ‘Rubber Band’ and Phil The Tremolo King’s bizarre yet affecting take on ‘It’s No Game’.
Plus we include four upcoming or current releases, JC Carroll scored a recent youtube hit with his contemplative version of Bowie’s comeback single ‘Where are we Now?’ complete with accordion, Berlin/London songwriter James Cook presents his string laden version of the title track ‘Ashes to Ashes’ as our center piece, Metamono’s electronic rework of ‘Warszawa’ is fascinatingly complex, while Raf and O present to us their prog-electro-acoustic journey with their unique version of ‘Lady Grinning Soul.’
We have also scoured the web for affectionate Bowie covers and a smattering of those are included here including a marvelous acoustic live version of ‘Golden Years’ by Steve Wynn, a flamboyant ‘Look Back in Anger’ by American’s Lifestyle, Swedish electro-pop sweeps of Simian Ghosts take on ‘Be My Wife.’ A rollicking live folk-rock version of ‘Absolute Beginners’ provided by Scott Lucas and his Married Men, a ghostly reassembling of ‘Modern Love’ by House of Wolves and rounding the whole compilation off is Grant Lee Philips’ affectionate acoustic version of ‘Ashes to Ashes’. All of these artist have gathered together to show their appreciation for the Dame who is 66 this year and is still as vital, surprising and relevant as ever! Thank you to all of the artists involved and you can now exclusively stream all 22 tracks of ‘Ashes To Ashes: A Compilation of David Bowie Covers by Various Artists’ below, enjoy!
1. White Witches – Boys Keep Swinging
White Witches are purveyors of white noise and black magic, practicing their dark arts in London and Paris, the cities in which they live. Guitarist Jeremy moonlights as a cinema usherette while Rory is a secret member of Slovakian art collective URWIN and paints in the trompe l’oeil style, confounding his critics with clever hand/eye trickery. They have an album out this year.
Bass, drums and backing vocals by David Barnett and Renu Hossain. Recorded by Jason Buckle at the Video Caves.
2. Dangerously Close feat Chris H – Moonage Daydream
DangerouslyClose is the side project of Murray Fenton, the guitarist from seminal Sheffield post-punkers Artery. A mini-album of collaborations with featuring a variety of vocalists and artists is planned for release later in the year.
3. Great Pagans – The Man Who sold the World
‘Great Pagans are part of the Anti-Ghost Moon Ray collective/DIY label alongside Gazelle Twin, Acquaintance and Bernholz. They released their ambitious debut EP late last year and are now recording their debut album in a variety of churches across Brighton. 2013 has been good to the band so far after they were named Huw Stephens’ ‘Discovery of the Week’ on Radio 1, recorded a BBC Introducing Session and performed at the AGMR-curated show for the Rising Festival at Camden Roundhouse.’
http://greatpagans.bandcamp.com/ Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/great-pagans Twitter: https://twitter.com/GreatPagans
4. Shiny Tiger – Five Years
Joel Dear has been making rickety pop music under the Shiny Tiger banner since he was in sixth form. His shabby, shouty style has been compared to artists like Bright Eyes, Hefner, and Jonathan Richman, and recent live shows (executed with the help of some like-minded musical friends) have been very well-received. Shiny Tiger’s debut release, Two Shiny Songs, is available to download from http//www.shinytiger.bandcamp.com
5. JC Carroll – Where Are We Now?
From JC Carroll: This my version of “Where are we Now?” Let me Briefly Explain why it is special to me. I Played in Berlin in 1978 before the Wall Came Down when My Group The Members were the first English Punk band to Play there. I Sat in the Dschungel with my Girlfriend it was very evocative for me when I first heard the track. There is also a side story of Finding my Uncles Name on a Monument to dead fliers… that’s in the Video… at the End.Please give credit to Davis M Allen My producer and Collaborator and a link to where people can buy the track (iTunes) https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/where-are-we-now-single/id604127091
This is where METAMONO have tuned into for their latest transmission from the electro-etheric beyond, for a cover of Warszawa, Bowie’s tragic requiem from 1977’s Low (a Manchester band used it as their name, of course, before relaunching as Joy Division). David has, of course, recently broken a decade’s recording silence; could even he have imagined a recreation like this? Within, the original’s somber majesty is replaced by something more feverish and nervy, accelerating into a kind of Ballardian Proto-House that marries reason and nightmare, and forces us to reevaluate our shared sonic memories – did Warszawa, really, always sound like this? Over on side AA, there are more strange recollections of the pre-digital future, and startling predictions of an erased past. Glimpsed from across mud flats with concrete cooling towers on the horizon, Shafty surfs on sine waves into the jacking zone with the utmost, hypnotic inscrutability.
This limited-run 7” single is the third release on METAMONO’s label INSTRUMENTARIUM, and follows the admirably unique Parcel Post EP and the Bambino Lives Cassette. It represents another chapter in a story of innovating backwards. A disciplined trio, METAMONO do things the hard way, welcoming accident, embracing restriction and letting circuit boards fall where they may. Not for them the spirit-sapping ease of digital production, and its disastrous effect on creativity (see their online manifesto of NO OVERDUBS/ALL ANALOGUE/NO SAMPLING for more).Come to their March 23 launch do at Bambino in Crystal Palace, where you can feast your unbelieving eyes on those synths and that old radio set, and maybe even give it a twiddle, while your other hand toys with a Theremin.cThere’s an album scheduled for September as well.
7. Lifestyle – Look Back In Anger
Re-emerging from a 3 year hiatus, Lifestyle is back. Boston veteran musician/songwriters Sean Drinkwater (vocals) of Freezepop and Ad Frank (guitar) of Ad Frank and the FEW deliver a sophisticated dance rock tour de force combining New Wave and contemporary influences. Known for energetic live sets, the band’s new EP ‘Artificial’ is out now .
‘twisting the unexpected into beautifully weird gems’ – GOD IS IN THE TV
‘His breathtaking creativity never shies away from the limelight’ – SUBBA CULTHA
“Exciting new sound’ – Mark Chadwick, The Levellers
“uber-fresh….” – Frank Turner
“..offbeat acoustic experimentalists…” – The Fly
‘BITE’ will be Ben Sommers’ third solo album, following the 2011 release of his debut, ‘Avocado Chip’ and the 2013 online release of ‘Piglets’. Ben also front the band Mozzy Green.
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Ben-Sommers/214781678666420
Twitter – @avocadochip
9. Queen Elvis – Quicksand
Queen Elvis was put together by songwriters Caroline and Colin Stanley who originally performed in Irish trad/reggae folk group Big Bag of Sticks. In 2009 they were asked to perform at Electric Picnic and put together a full band with Geoff Ward, Tom Cody and Walter Feichter. They have performed at many different festivals in Ireland and also performed at Beautiful Days in England and Mugello Festival in Italy. They released the ‘Little World’ EP in 2010 and have received airplay all over the world, also being played by Tom Robinson on his BBC introducing show. They have also played support for Justin Sullivan (New Model Army) and Mark Chadwick (The Levellers) when they toured in Ireland. They are currently recording their debut album and hoping to release it later this year. ‘Quicksand’ was chosen by the band “as it is one of Colin’s favourite tracks from his teen years, plus it is also a favourite of Caroline’s from the album. It is a song with great lyrics, melody and chords…”
Winners of Best Band in the Unsigned Music Awards 2013, Best of British Unsigned. FJORDS have already shared billing with Niki & The Dove, Kill It Kid, The Kabeedies and The Phantom Band. Fjords’ first EP “Dead Diamonds” was released in September 2012. They’ve been back into the Manics’ studio to record some new material, which will be out in May 2013.
Recently tipped in The South Wales Echo “Sounds for South Wales 2013″, in “Rising Talent” in Plugged in Magazine and Best of British Unsigned Podcast “Bands to watch out for in 2013″. “The words ‘next big thing’ are frequently thrown around in the music industry though more often than not they are largely inaccurate. However, listening to Fjords, a five piece electro/indie outfit from Cardiff, it’s hard not to get excited and predict just that.” The AMP
“It’s not often that something entirely fresh and eclectically invigorating bursts onto the Cardiff scene” http://themmp.tv/features/interview-fjords/
“The word FJORDS conjures up picturesque ice-scapes, epic tranquility, space and natural beauty. So it’s apt then that the band FJORDS produce exactly what it says on the tin within their rock fuelled expedition. The Cardiff based alt-electro quintet is, quite simply, stunning. Formed in 2010 by former members of Broken Sleep, The Days and Don’t Tread on Spiders, FJORDS have come together to create something rather special. Rock tones with driving guitars are sculpted and shaped with escapist vibes and soaring soundscapes.” Plugged In Magazine
11. Totem Terrors – Hallo Spaceboy
Formerly two thirds of the spam-unfriendly Joy Of Sex, Totem Terrors have a ‘different name, same quality’ thing going on, namely writing minimalist post-punk songs that are cool, sleek and brainy. Spare drum machine thumps, splinters of guitar and rubbery basslines propel their spindly two-minute call and response vignettes like an unselfconscious, fun version of the early 90s bands who gleefully borrowed early Fall and bent it out of shape.
*Our debut album is coming out in the first week of April, by the way!
12.James Cook – Ashes to Ashes
Singer/Songwriter/Producer James Cook made 3 albums between 2004 and 2008 with pioneering London electro guitar band Nemo. He then moved to Berlin and made 2009’s’ The Dollhouse’, a baroque pop album written with violinist and string arranger Anne Marie Kirby.
In 2010 he recorded his debut solo album proper ‘Arts and Sciences’. An instant pop song featuring strings, synths and guitars and James unique voice and songwriting. In 2013, he releases two new albums the covers album ‘Reverse Engineering, Vol One’ and his second solo album ‘AUSLAND’. Check www.jamescookmusic.com for all his content.
13. Phil the Tremolo King – It’s No Game
Phil ‘the Tremolo King’ Vanderyken was born and raised in Belgium. He moved to New York City as a youngster to follow his musical and artistic dreams, where he lived in the infamous 13th Street squats in the Lower East Side. He writes, records and plays music in his own Snoball Studio, filled with obscure gear and instruments. He has self-released two full-length CDs and two EPs on his Planet B label. He has played shows in Belgium, Berlin, New York City, Austin, New Orleans, Los Angeles, Del Rio (TX), Alpine (TX) and Lafayette (LA). He has been a recycler, bookseller, house painter, street musician, illustrator and gallery guard. He toured by train from New Orleans to Los Angeles in April ’11, an adventure dubbed the Tremolo Train tour about which a documentary is in the making. His latest CD ’11’ got airplay and positive reviews in the US, UK and Spain. He lives and works in New Orleans with his wife Victoria and dog Winky in a lovingly restored old shotgun house. He believes deep down in his soul that greed sucks.
14. Steve Wynn feat Robyn Hitchcock – Golden Years(Live)
Robyn Hichcock and Steve Wynn met only a few hours prior to the concert in Grand Kjelleren, Egersund, Norway in 2010 and still managed to play a full set of covers of songs by The Who, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, The Beatles, John Cale, Syd Barrett, Rufus Thomas, The Kinks, Lou Reed, and what we have here is their live version of ‘Golden Years’.
Thursday evening the duo gave it as “bar musicians” in front of a very talkative crowd. Steve and Robyn ignored the disturbance and gave the listeners a great set of old standards. Here and there you can hear the lack of rehearsal, but it just gave the performance more spirit.
Download here: http://archive.org/download/stevewynn2010-07-01.flac16/SteveWynn2010-07-01track10.mp3
15. Raf and O – Lady Grinning Soul (Live)
In anticipation of their second full-length album release Raf and O AKA Raf Mantelli and Richard Smith are celebrating with the launch of a new double A side single ‘Lady Grinning Soul/ The Fog’. Raf and O released their first 10” back in 2008, followed by their debut album ʻA Giant In the Snowʼ in collaboration with Graham Dids Gagarin (Nico, Pere Ubu) to widespread acclaim in UK and Europe. Live, they have supported, Alabama 3, Nedry, Rothko and legendary Faust.
Early 2012 onwards, saw the compact group from South East London airing a completely new set of original material; the exciting live shows highlighted their magnetic performances and unique soundworld, fusing electro/acoustic drums, self made triggers, samplers, vocals, synths and acoustic guitar. Their unique interpretation of David Bowie’s (a long-standing influence in Raf Mantelliʼs songwriting) ʻLady Grinning Soulʼ, the exquisite closure for his seminal 1973 album ‘Aladdin Sane’, capped off the shows, appreciated by audiences around some of Londonʼs most creative live spaces.
On this release Raf and Oʼs studio version of ʻLady Grinning Soulʼ sits alongside the haunting pulse of ʻThe Fogʼ, with a splendid remix by Nedry. Nedry are a trio from London, Osaka and Reigate, fusing post dubstep, trip hop and post rock elements – hailed by the British press, theyʼve released two albums and theyʼve performed at Sonar and SXSW. The live video of ʻLady Grinning Soulʼ from the same show, has already received praise by Mike Garson, David Bowieʼs pianist and creative collaborator since 1972.
Watch the video here http://youtu.be/HDcGe_GMpI0?rel=0
Raf and O launch the single at Cafe Oto, April 1st – on the bill: Larsen feat. legendary dub diva Little Annie Bandez, presented by Kaparte Promotions.
16. Simian Ghost – By My Wife
Heist Or Hit’s Swedish indie-pop group Simian Ghost had a fantastic 2013, which finished with them recording a cover of David Bowie’s “Be My Wife” last year for a compilation that sadly never happened.
The band have released the following statement:
“A while ago Mojo Magazine asked us to do a cover of David Bowies “Be My Wife” for a tribute album they were putting together. Unfortunately that project was never fully realised. We really like how it turned out though, so we’d like to share it with you now!
Download the track at this link:
The Bordellos are a three piece from St Helens , originally formed in 2004 and released two lps on brutarian records songs for swinging stalkers and met the bordellos , they then released there 3rd the cdr only lofi experimental lp debt sounds on welshcake records , and had tracks featured on two split eps the gift of sunshine on www.burningemptiness.com and the annual on fruits de mer records www.fruitsdemer.com
Their latest release is a attack on the blandness of the current music scene the JAMC inspired ep bring me the head of Justin Bieber released through www.smallbearrecords.com
They are currently recording the follow up ep another attack on the music industry again to be released on small bear records
called will.i.am you really are nothing , and also have a new lpto be released on cd on daddy tank records http://www.daddytank.co.uk/
in the late summer called ronco revival sounds.
the bordellos are
brian shea — vocals guitar ,bass ,
dan shea — vocals , guitar, bass, keyboards, drums
ant shea — vocals , percusion , harmonica,
18. Heavy Petting Zoo – John, I’m Only Dancing
“Swansea’s most malicious” Heavy Petting Zoo have enjoyed a great year of radio play from their various demo tracks as well as a number of impressive gigs, ranging from support slots with Cardiff’s Strange News from Another Star to festival appearances including a headline slot on the BBC Introducing Stage at Whychwood Festival. The “post-punk-garage-rock wet dream” track ‘Deathproof’ appeared on Sweeping The Nations’ ‘Doesn’t Your Balloon Ever Land?’ compilation in 2012 and they hope to releases something themselves in the near future.
If you’re seeking excitement or tales that are gory
Or perhaps you seek out the undead in a story?
If you’d like these set down in a song or a ballad
I’d get yourself down to Francesca’s Word Salad…
Francesca’s Word Salad is a solitary show-woman who tells lamentful tales through macabre ballads coloured by brass, melodica, guitar, and cavaquinho, whilst artfully exhibiting unique bonnet building techniques.
Rubber Band, played by Francesca’s Word Salad, (2013), written and recorded by David Bowie, taken from the album David Bowie (1966).
Featuring Francesca Dimech (Vocals, Trumpet, Melodica, Saucepan, Saucepan Lids, Bass Guitar), Jonathan Day (Guitar), Matt O’Keefe (Sousaphone), recorded and produced by Simon M. Read.)
20. House of Wolves – Modern Love
House of Wolves is the solo project of Rey Villalobos, the band name’s origin coming from the translation of Villa-lobos from Spanish to English. A Los Angeles native, Villalobos’s family originates from two different sides of the globe – Cananea Sonora México and Francavilla al Mare on the Italian Adriatic Coast. Rey grew up a classically trained pianist, citing Chopin as his first and main musical influence.
House of Wolves debut album Fold In The Wind presents a warm, ethereal, and poetic collection. While beautifully eerie in acoustic form, the songs are filled with “colorful symphonic sustain that decorates spacious arrangements” blended with Villalobos’s haunting melodies and tender voice they call to mind Elliott Smith, Sufjan Stevens, and Beach House.
There’s a free download of Modern Love by House of Wolves w/ guest vocals by Steffaloo here:
21. Scott Lucas and the Married Men – Absolute Beginners(Live)
Scott Lucas is best known as the singer/guitarist for the two-man, Chicago rock band Local H. But recently, he has broadened his musical scope and greatly expanded his lineup, pulling together a collective of musicians — the Married Men — that currently numbers seven and includes violin, accordion and organ. The result is quite different than Local H and a perfect fit for Lucas’ more personal, introspective songs. Reviewers have compared the band to American Music Club, the Waterboys and Lambchop. Lucas calls the group’s evolving sound “country-ish, alt-rock for people who like metal.” In 2010, Scott Lucas and his married Men released the Absolute Beginners Ep named for the David Bowie track that he covers, the 4-song EP also features re-workings of two songs that appeared on his solo debut, George Lassos the Moon, as well as a cover of Local Hs Hey, Rita.
Download track here: http://www.archive.org/download/slmm2010-02-12.live2cd.flac16/slmm2010-02-12t09_vbr.mp3
22. Grant Lee Philips – Ashes to Ashes(Live)
With Phillips at the helm, Grant Lee Buffalo released four recordings on Slash/Warners Bros. in addition to various soundtracks, live releases, and a box set retrospective. The endorsement of some of music’s biggest bands, REM, Pearl Jam and The Smashing Pumpkins (all of whom the group toured with) helped to fuel the band’s popularity. Some of the modern-rock radio hits penned by Phillips both from his days in Grant Lee Buffalo and as a solo artist are: Mockingbirds, Fuzzy, Honey Don’t Think, Testimony, Lonestar Song, Happiness, Jupiter and Teardrop, The Shining Hour, Bethlehem Steel, Homespun, Truly, Truly,Heavenly, Humankind, Love’s A Mystery, Spring Released, Calamity Jane, Lily-A-Passion, Same Blue Devils, Raise The Spirit, and Soft Asylum. All of these songs contributed to a devoted following both in the states and abroad. The trio disbanded in 1998 when Grant Lee Phillips struck out on his own. A new generation of fans continue to discover the timeless songs of Grant-Lee Phillips and the music of Grant Lee Buffalo. Walking in the Green Corn is the newest album by Grant-Lee Phillips. Its 10 songs are drawn from Phillips’ intensive investigations into his native lineage.His live version of Bowie’s classic 1980 single ‘Ashes to Ashes’ was recorded in Berlin in 2002.