Recently in my ears
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It strikes me as a bit odd that I have yet to post anything from Dolapdere Big Gang. Their whole deal is doing western pop music, but with traditional Turkish influences and instrumentation (including the law) - fairly appropriate considering what a cultural keystone the region is.
Here they are doing the "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood," which was written by Bennie Benjamin, Gloria Caldwell and Sol Marcus for Nina Simone but you are probably more familiar with The Animals version.
This almost never happens when I ride the bus.
Since I've kept Dolapdere Big Gang to myself for so long, I'll make up for it by including a second song. Here's their version of Deep Purple's "Smoke On The Water."
It's on their first album, Local Strangers, the songs for which were chosen by their label.
The songs on their third album, Art-İst, were chosen by the band. I'm looking forward to their next release, since word is that it will be at least primarily original compositions.
The Apples are a (mostly) funk act out of Tel Aviv. They depart from expectations all over the place. Though they are a mostly funk act, they venture easily into turntablism, swing, and have even played with some Appalachian sounds.
In this take on Rage Against "The Machine's Killing In The Name Of," you can hear bits of their Israeli roots, along with some Abe-Most-style clarinet-trills cleverly standing in for Tom Morello's magic. They manage to swing this thing while keeping Rage's militancy.
You can find this on The Apples' album Buzzin' About, where they just call it "Killing."
It sounds like it ought to be the soundtrack for something, but what?
I couldn't tell you why, but for a handful of days I've been obsessing over the Was (Not Was) song "Zaz Turned Blue" from the 1983 album Born to Laugh at Tornadoes; though not over the song itself, but the absurdity of it.
It tells the classic story of some kids fooling around in a park, and one puts the another in what turns out to be a quite effective sleeper hold - that old chestnut.
What really makes this for me is that Don Was got Mel Torme to be guest vocalist, and that dude could emote the fuck out of a song, even one this silly, without a wink and a nod.
The only thing I can think of that comes close is "MacArthur Park," but that's obviously a metaphor for... something ...so it might get a pass.
So, is there a more absurd pop song? I'm not talking about novelty songs or ones that are intentionally "quirky" (so no Yankovic, Devo or They Might Be Giants) but ones that are true and earnest in their performance.
...because calling it "duelling cellos" doesn't seem quite right.
Whatever you think of Michael Jackson, I'd lay odds that you'll dig this suave version of his song.
So it's not quite a cover. It is, however, the most wonderful version of Old MacDonald you will ever hear (or at least it would be is the recording were better).
Songs From A Zulu Farm comes out February 1, 2011.