[Abby’s Road] Under Blankets


Covers. Cover songs, that is. I’ve talked about them before. Right. So I won’t go on and on over the bits I’ve mentioned then. Hopefully I don’t repeat myself very often. Here’s something new. I think.

I am big Shazamer. Wherever I am: car, shops, grocery…if I hear an unknown song and have my trusty iPhone, it’s happening. What a miracle, that Shazam. At any rate, post-identification, when I’m back in my bunker, an internet search follows. I want to hear the song again and anything else by said artist. This, of course, gets me sucked into a YouTube hole of monumental proportions. And I am not watching the nice stuff, that’s for damn certain.

I am a sucker for the “suggested” functions on ANYTHING. I mean, you never know. After watching and listening to what I was originally looking for I (nearly always) wander down the good ol’ “Related” road. This uncovers myriad do-it-yo-self videos. Here’s a little something to chew on: what is it that possesses a novice, fledgeling musician and drives them to put themselves and their rendition of WHATEVER onto the internet? Seriously. It’s rarely good. And my stars, it’s so hard to look away.

Why are these videos always so poorly lit? Turn on the goddamn lights. Unless you are in the bathroom with a backdrop of your ill-hanging shower curtain. This happens more often than I care to mention. Is it for acoustics?  Ultraviolet lighting (again, bad)? There are only a handful of reasons why you should be in the loo and I don’t want to see any of them. Like I said, I can’t look away. Somebody. Anybody. Please.help.me.

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It’s times like these that give cover songs a bad rap. There are some goodies out there, especially the ones an artist genre bends and spins into something quite unlike the original with only a lyrical suggestion that it’s the same tune. Most recently, my better half uncovered a lovely one by Canadian solo artist, soprano, opera singer, composer and ½ of Cat’s Eyes, Rachel Zeffira. It just so happens to be one of my favorite songs from Loveless, “To Here Knows When”, and her take on it is absolutely lovely. Her entire solo debut, The Deserters, is.

Laden with beautiful orchestration, heavy on piano and oboe (!), it is a record of originals (all but for the MBV cover) dripping with velvety female vocals, the pretty/cute kind, harkening to a snow-covered, fantasy planet of Trish Keenan/Hope Sandoval hybrids. Sigh. It isn’t an opera record, so you can cool your jets…not that there is anything wrong with opera. I’m not sure what I would categorize it as actually. It borders on the gothic/melancholic yet I feel pretty great after listening to it, rather than wanting to stab myself in the heart and retreat into a deep sleep I mean. The UK press has been all over it, the US not so much. Give it a spin. Preferably in the bedroom when having a lie down. Honest.

The Deserters has been available as an import in North America for a while and will be easier to come by domestically when it is finally released in the US on 12 March.

Happy weekend.

[Abby’s Road is a Knox Road feature published every other Friday. Also: Abby is now on Twitter. Yes, hell hath frozen over. Talk to her: @munichabby]

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