photo: allison michael orenstein

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Day N Nite - Kid Cuti with Jim Jones Cover


The music to this cover is the first song I ever wrote on the piano at around age ten or so. I spent untold amounts of time just playing those four chords over and over, especially at my grandmother's house when she would make me practice piano when what I would rather have been doing was lassoing bumble bees (totally possible and kind of awesome!) or wandering around in my grandfather's small corn field acting out Biblical scenes.

Kid Cudi is awesome by the way and you should endeavor to learn more about him.

Talk to you later.


CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: Day N Nite - Kid Cuti wJim Jones Cover by Neal Medlyn

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Friday, February 27, 2009

FLASHBACK FRIDAYS - Boys Don't Cry - The Cure Cover


This has always been one of my favorite songs. When I was in 5th grade I wrote a musical based on Wind And The Willows. I worked very hard on it. At the last minute one of my teachers, Mrs. Washington, pulled the plug. I broke down crying and she said "Well, I have never seen a 5th grade boy cry before!" What a bitch..


CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: Boys Don't Cry - The Cure Cover

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Right Round - Flo rida Cover by Neal Medlyn

Guest Post by Neal Medlyn!

Oh God did I spend a lot of my pre-teen years with the drum machine on my various Casio and Yamaha keyboards, teaching myself the ins and outs of hip hop conventions such as the clutch-unclutch triangle beat, the careful alternation of two kinds of snare and two kinds of bass drum, the occasional off-beat clave hit, the two tone cowbell pattern, the lazy 1/8 note swing.

Here, America, are the fruits of all that lonely pre-teen time: every single one of those conventions used in service of the Number One song in America right now: Flo Rida's "Right Round".


CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: Right Round - Flo Rida Cover by Neal Medlyn

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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Thinking Of You - Katy Perry Cover

     So second Katy Perry composition in two days.  As Lily Allen pointed out disdainfully, Katy Perry is working with Cathy Dennis so it is no surprise that most of her songs sound like hits.  Cathy Dennis was a minor 80s pop star who then went on to write such songs as I Can't Get You Out Of My Head, which though annoying as all get out, is a tightly constructed song.  So here we have Thinking Of You and it really is a classic pop ballad.  My piano part has a bit too much Bruce Hornsby for my taste, but well, there you have it. 


Correction:  Just looked up the composers of Thinking Of You and it is just Katy Perry.  Which is not to say that in this business other people didn't have their hands in the pot but....good for her!  And apologies...

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

I Do Not Hook Up - Kelly Clarkson Cover

  So Kelly Clarkson's new album is about to drop and she covers Katy Perry with I Do Not Hook Up.  She makes it all sound so exciting but if you really read the lyrics it is quite a depressing song.  

Oh, sweetheart,
put the bottle down
You've got too much talent
I see you through those bloodshot eyes
There's a cure, you've found it
Slow motion, sparks
You've caught that chill
Now don't deny it
But boys will be boys
Oh, yes, they will
They don't wanna define it
Just give up the game and get into me
If you're looking for thrills then get cold feet

Oh, no I do not hook up,
up I go slow
So if you want me,
I don't come cheap
Keep your thing in your pants,
your heart on your sleeve
Oh, no I do not hook up,
up I fall deep
Cause the more that you try,
the harder I'll fight

   Strange, right?  So I played it on harpsichord...

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Monday, February 23, 2009

MEDLEY MONDAYS - Cry and Something In Me Ugly - Rihanna/Suckdog Cover by Neal Medlyn


It's medley Monday and the other day, contemplating Rihanna's current situation, I imagined her song "Cry" combined with this creepy, sad song by Suckdog that I played exactly once because it freaked me the fuck out.

I had found Suckdog's album "Little Flowers Dying" in a second hand clothing store in Manhattan several years ago. I actually mentioned that album to Lisa Carver (a hero of mine and the person behind the band/opera troupe Suckdog) and she said something to the effect that she hated it. I love it. It's sing songy and weird and sad and awful and kinda glorious.

Anyway, here are the two together, at last, given the Radiohead treatment.

Get well soon, Rihanna.


CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: Cry/Something In Me Ugly - Rihanna/Suckdog Cover by Neal Medlyn

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Sunday, February 22, 2009

See You In My Nightmares - Kanye West Cover by Neal Medlyn

Hi there America!

Kanye West is the best.

I assume you have gathered that that is the going opinion around these parts, so I'll spare you my gushing feelings about him and how disappointing to me it is that it takes us all so long to catch up with popular culture.

Although, actually, I am going to go into that.

If I may, I would like to call out everyone who spent the entire 80s bemoaning the loss of "authentic" instruments and the advent of synthesizers. Then, at some point in the 90s, they dropped the whole thing and acted like they had seen the ascendancy of hip hop and sampled and synthesized music coming the whole time, never even bothering to justify themselves.

Well, you can't that one past me, America! I have a copy of Details magazine from the late 80s both crying over the loss of Dylan-style "authenticity" and declaring the death of hip hop.

This is what I would do with a time capsule, by the way. Go back in time, carrying 808s & Heartbreak, and rub it in.

Neal Medlyn

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: See You In My Nightmares - Kanye West Cover by Neal Medlyn

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Saturday, February 21, 2009

Poker Face - Lady Gaga Cover by Carmine Covelli

Guest post by Carmine Covelli

Oh Lady Ga Ga. Who are you? What are you? Where are you? Why aren't you with me dancing the night away? I know you have the moves cuz I've watched all your videos. I just wish the editor wouldn't cut around so fast. It's hard to make out exactly what you are doing...wait...why would they edit out your full dance moves.! You can't dance very well! Oh Lady Ga Ga, can it be true? You are the next Madonna. A Madonna that don't dance is Christina Aguilera. Or maybe I'm thinking of Katy Perry? I sound like I really know my stuff, don't I? Dropping pop star names like I'm dropping hot deuces! But I don't know. I'm out of touch. And on that note, I'm going to end this blog. Oh, but look at her full name: Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta !!! Pretty incredible, right? Anyway, hope you enjoy Poker Face.

Christopher Carmine Covelli

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: Poker Face - Lady Gaga Cover by Carmine Covelli

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Friday, February 20, 2009

FLASHBACK FRIDAYS - How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore? - Prince Cover by Julian Fleisher

      Today for Flashback Fridays we have Julian Fleisher's cover of How Come U Don't Call Me Anymore by the Purple Paisley God himself.  He's given it the full Big Band arrangement.  Also, he says that potentially if you hold up the beginning of the song to a phone, it might dial his ex-boyfriend.  

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Thursday, February 19, 2009

Let It Rock - Kevin Rudolf and Lil Wayne Cover by Molly Pope


"This song is multi-layered on a level with Hamlet. It's either about Jesus and Judas or Obama and Bush...well...except for the rap portion. That's your standard misogynistic proclamation of male sexual prowess. Given the two contrasting portions of the piece (lyric and rap), I think the song is really a dynamic representation of the psychological poles of the male psyche viewed through the lens of a Juedo-Christian-Capitalist-Patriarchal tradition. Or maybe I just went to NYU and learned how to string together impressive sounding phrases like that.

The real thinker with this one is, just what exactly are we supposed to let rock? God? Government? Bitches? Leave it to Lil Wayne to ask the big questions."


CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: Let It Rock -Kevin Rudolf and Lil Wayne Cover by Molly Pope

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Lovebug - Jonas Brothers Cover by Neal Medlyn


I can't seem to stay away from these Disney groups! I wonder how often people on the subway hear me listening loudly to Demi Lovato, Hannah Montana, or the subject of today's cover, the Jonas Brothers.

I wonder how the numbers compare to the number of strange looks I used to get for the loud noise music I used to listen on my portable tape player?

Not sure what Sonny Sharrock or Mats Gustafson would think of a line like "modesty is so hard to find" but there's some part of me that thinks that those wonderous noise-makers and the Jonas Brothers would be able to find some common ground and share a few chaste hugs.


CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: Lovebug - Jonas Bros Cover by Neal Medlyn

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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Fifteen - Taylor Swift Cover with Bridget Everett

Last night was the February Edition of Our Hit Parade live at Joe's Pub.  It was a smash edition!  Jenn Harris performed a spoken word version of Diva by Beyonce whilst asking people to give her their clothes.  David Neumann performed by Ludacris whilst bouncing on a yoga ball while he filmed himself live into tiles on his mac.  It was insane.  So many other great performances and Bridget killed it with a version of Fifteen that ended with her being covered in Karo Syrup by Jenn Harris in a prom dress.  Here is the full list of performers. 

Varsity Interpretive Dance Squad - American Boy
Billy Eichner - Thinking of You
Carmine Covelli and Adrienne Truscott - Poker Face
Adira Amram with Maresa D'amore Morrison and Jessi Erian - Single Ladies
Neal medlyn - Lovebug
Bridget - Fifteen
David Neumann - One More Drink
Jenn Harris- Diva
Molly Pope - Let It Rock
Lady Rizo and Novice Theory - Live You Life
Whole Cast - Crack A Bottle

As you can see, quite a night!

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Monday, February 16, 2009

MEDLEY MONDAYS! - Our Hit Parade Medley with Bridget Everett and Neal Medlyn

LISTEN to Our Hit Parade medley

     As we have a show this evening at Joe's Pub, we recorded our rehearsal of the opening medley.  Encompassing hits from the last 10 years of Number One songs, it is quite a bohemoth.  And in its first incarnation it was about 10 minutes longer!  One of these days I am going to put together an hour long medley.  Anyway, tonight's show looks like it is going to be quite amazing.  Lots of projectors and special effects!


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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Stay - Sugarland Cover

Listen to Stay - Sugarland Cover

       Yesterday, being Valentine's Day, we invited friends over and watched Blindness.   I think this was quite possibly the worst choice of movies for Valentine's Day.  Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo did a great job, but seriously?
        We also watched the first episode of a British show, Boys and Girls Alone.  Sort of like Kid Nation on Crack, the show puts boys in one village, girls in another...without a single adult!  (Well, there are adults filming who step in if something dangerous is about to happen, but it doesn't happen very often.) What I learned:  Kids are mean.  
       Stay is told from the point of view of a woman who is having an affair with a married man.  She just wants him to stay.  I've retold it from the point of view of a man who only sleeps with married men.  Like in Sondheim's Barcelona, he tiredly asks his partner to stay and then is appalled that he actually says yes!


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Saturday, February 14, 2009

Secret Valentine - We The Kings Cover

     It seemed to be a San Francisco queer tradition to give real pig's hearts for Valentine's Day.  Not exactly sure what was romantic about it, but there you go.   So a pig heart and a love song for Valentine's Day!  I know zero about this band but Neal mentioned them when we had coffee earlier.  He described as the kind of Green Day knock-off that over-emphasizes consonants.  Pretty spot on.  Also, every time I try to type We The Kings I type We Three Kings and I think of myrrh...


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Friday, February 13, 2009

FLASHBACK FRIDAYS - Call Me - Blondie Cover by Bridget Everett (LIVE)

FLASHBACK FRIDAYS - Call Me - Blondie Cover by Bridget Everett and Kenny Mellman

Okay another live track for flashback fridays.  It has been that kind of day and I, to be honest, was humbled by Mike Jackson's Paranoid from yesterday.  I didn't want to just throw something together for today but did not have time to really work on an arrangement so here is a cover from a Joe's Pub show from 2004 I believe.  I think it was a soundboard recording but it is a little hot so forgive that.  I think it is a darn good cover for just piano and vocal...

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Paranoid - Kanye West Cover by Mike Jackson


so i was a latecomer to the kanye train. but one perfect cover (fancey feast's "last call") and suzanne's testimonial from the MSG show ("kanye is bigger than disney") made me reconsider the man. and damn if he doesn't write a good song. so thanks, kanye west, for all the awesomeness. and thanks, ourhitparade, for asking me along. see all y'all soon. this track reminds me of my mom playing jose feliciano records on the hi-fi back at 314 front street, marion, massachusetts. good times. don't worry about the wrong things.


CLICK TO DOWNLOAD - Paranoid - Kanye West Cover by Mike Jackson

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Radar - Britney Spears Cover by Neal Medlyn

RADAR - Britney Spears Cover

Guest Post by Neal Medlyn!!!

I'd always been frustrated with Britney Spears music. She seemed interesting but those early songs: bleck.

Then Brendan Kennedy turned me on to the wonder that is Britney's last album "Blackout."

This song was on that album but was also included on her new album "Circus" given that her lackadaisical performance at the MTV VMAs in support of "Blackout" seemingly convinced people not to buy that album. Since no one heard it, why not put it on the next album?

I'm hard at work on a show using Britney Spears' songs and I can't quite articulate anything about her yet. I know that I'm not interested in the whole "wages of, I mean fame." I have no interest in "artistic" "commenting" on how fame destroys people.

I feel the same way about the TV show Cops. I'm not watching to laugh or to think how this or that case highlights failures in society, consumerism or any such silliness. If I wanted to get into all that I'd have become a policy maker.

She just reminds me of what it's like to be a teenage cutter or a damaged, formerly popular student or just a kid who occasionally breaks into the school bus to scream and punch the fake leather bus seats until his hands hurt for days.

Neal Medlyn

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Halo - Beyonce Cover

     Beyonce, Beyonce, Beyonce!!!  I wish I had been at Lucali's, the best pizza place in Carroll Gardens, the night that they kicked out people so Beyonce and Jay-Z could eat there.  I'm fascinated with Beyonce.  She is just such a powerhouse.   It is really beyond human that she can do what she does.  She is not even a guilty pleasure.  

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Monday, February 9, 2009

MEDLEY MONDAYS - We Dance/Chasing Pavements- Pavement Adele Cover

MEDLEY MONDAYS - We Dance/Chasing Pavements - Pavement/Adele Cover

      I thought Adele was adorable on the Grammy's last night.  To me she is the perfect pop star.  In honor of her I present to you this medley with Pavement's We Dance.  The songs go together surprisingly well.  Who knew?   


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Sunday, February 8, 2009

Crack A Bottle - Eminem Cover with Neal Medlyn

Crack A Bottle - Eminem Cover with Neal Medlyn

      I have been spoiled by Kanye West.  Spoiled I say!  Cause I was a huge Eminem fan and have been waiting for the grand return.  And then he puts this out and I'm like....?  Bored isn't the right word but it seems like if you're going to go away for so long you better bring it when you do release something.  Like with Kanye, we get Stronger and then less than a year later we get Heartless?  That is fascinating.  Crack  A Bottle just seems like a second rate Eminem song.  That said, the hook is great and the chorus is beyond catchy.  But as Neal pointed out as soon as the rapping starts, your mind shuts off.  All three of them. Eminem/Dr. Dre and 50 Cent.  I have hopes that when an album drops, he might still have surprises for us.  A fairly faithful cover with lounge drums.   And my favorite part is when Neal sings "I love LA"!

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Saturday, February 7, 2009

1,2,3,4 - Plain White T's Cover

1,2,3,4 - Plain White T's Cover

    Ugh, counting songs.  I don't think there is a single one I like.  This is no exception.  It sounds like a busker got bored and wrote this song on the Tube Platform.  He probably also is white and loves to cover Redemption Song by Bob Marley with the patois and all.  Ugh.  
     I promise to not cover songs I dislike very often.  It was an uninspired day.  So forgive me.  I think you can only do a good cover when you have affection for the song so I promise to dig deeper into the charts and work on my anger about counting songs.
      I Pet Shop Boy-ed it a bit.  Maybe Crystal Waters can do a club version and all the club kids can scream out the numbers in an e haze.  I mean, it only counts up to four so that shouldn't be that hard, right?  


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Friday, February 6, 2009

FLASHBACK FRIDAYS - Straight Up - Paula Abdul Cover by Carmine Covelli

Aww, man!! I think that Paula is dropping another album?!! At the time of me writing this blog post her website had a countdown of 18 hours until her new website and fan page careened onto the world wide web, plus it had a sneak preview of a song from…her new album, maybe? The song is called Boombox!!! "I've got a boombox. You've got batteries." She's definitely not fucking around anymore. She is claiming what is rightfully hers. Which is something that cannot be expressed in words, only through movement.

Oh wait, yep, says it right on the wikipedia page:
"Abdul has been working on a new album, and hopes to have the album out by the end of 2009. Abdul has a mezzo-soprano vocal range."

The information about her range is absolutely fascinating and makes perfect sense for it to be located right next to the info about her highly anticipated new album. Now, when I search for some pics of her I came up with that Skat Cat thing. I didn't remember this but that crazy cat appeared in the "Opposites Attract" video and then went on to release an entire album with songs about Paula, but she had nothing to do with it and didn't even sing on it. I think that's right. The album did horribly.


CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: Straight UP - Paula Abdul Cover by Carmine Covelli

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Thursday, February 5, 2009

Superstar Lady - T-Pain Cover by Neal Medlyn


I had forgotten this completely for a while, but my first public performance was for my 8th grade Speech class. To the best of my memory, I read the lyrics to Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy" aloud and then played the same song on my jambox while I did....what? I can't remember!

I think maybe just stood there?

Anyway, not sure what grade I got, but it led me into the theater department and to other song-related shenanigans like when I ran for Student Body President and my "speech" was just me playing the "Sanford & Son" theme over the PA in the school gym for the assembled students.

Oh, Bobby McFerrin.

So, for no particular reason than me wanting to do 6 tracks of 'oom's and 'beow's, today's Our Hit Parade cover is my Bobby McFerrin-ized version of "Superstar Lady" by the ubiquitous T-Pain!

Enjoy yourselves!

Neal Medlyn

CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: Superstar Lady - T- Pain Cover by Neal Medlyn

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Be The One - The Tings Tings Cover

I haven't jumped on the Ting Tings bandwagon, but I do think this song has a bit of the K Records, Olympia sound to it and I find that pleasing.  I think my problem with them is that all of their songs sound completely different; it's hard to figure out what they are trying to be...

 I once wore a home-made K Records shirt to a Hole concert.  After the show my friends are I were outside smoking and Courtney Love came out of her tour bus.   Immediately after seeing my shirt she starting shrieking at me "Get out of here with that shirt! How the fuck could you come to my show with that fucking shirt on?"  I wish i still had that shirt...

Kenny Mellman

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Hot N Cold - Katy Perry Cover

     Not much to say about this song.  Also not sure what I think about Katy Perry in general.  It all seems so manufactured, but I guess you have to give her props for working so hard.  

You're hot then you're cold,
You're yes then you're no
You're in then you're out
You're up then your down

Those lyrics, whilst awful, remind of  Dead or Alive.  Perhaps if Pete Burns were singing it I might enjoy it more.  But Pete is going through a lot of things including botched cosmetic surgery so unfortunately we won't be hearing that.  In the mean time here is my faster sleeker version.

Kenny Mellman

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Sunday, February 1, 2009

Don't Cha- Pussycat Dolls Cover by Carmine Covelli

Guest Post by Carmine Covelli!!!

I have nothing to say about this song so I will let Megadeth fan "Adam" from the review page speak his thoughts...

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful:
How the hell did they get a record deal?, August 25, 2005
By Megadeth fan "Adam" (Rochester, NY) -
"I know some people would base that on image, but its been done so many times before ever since that dumbf**k Pisstina Auguilera appeared. But this makes Christina look like Janis Jopplin. This is so Godawful I would take even Feminem over this (note that Feminem is #1 on my list of people who I want to die). I heard the song "Don't Cha" while flipping through the channels trying to get to Comedy Central (the only good basic cable channel) and I felt like sticking my head in a bear trap. Why? Because the sound of my own death would be much more enjoyable then listening to five seconds of this...this, I dont know. Anyone who calls this music needs to stop and actually realize what they're listening to. And Busta Rhymes? He was good when he was yelling "woohaw!" in the ninties, but now he's just a crappy has been. So seriously, how the hell did these people get a record deal? I have yet to find a halfway decent answer..."

Now, I don't share Megadeth fan "Adam"'s complete and utter disgust for this song, or I wouldn't have spent time recording it, but I thought it would interesting to include a random review from a huge online retail machine. Frankly, these ladies are hot, raunchy and so fun!


CLICK TO DOWNLOAD: Don't Cha - Pussycat Dolls Cover by Carmine Covelli

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