singer or the song? ...THE SEQUEL... Originals vs Covers vol. 2

almost a year has past since the first edition, so i'm back with Vol. 2 in the Originals vs Covers _ronitape mixtape series! a 90 minute vinyl mix str8 from my collecsch

*download or stream the mix here & play it while you read the post for the true immersive experience* 

peace & love my internet friends! if you know me, follow me on IG or check this website periodically, you already know the deal with my _ronitapes, my other main way of expressing myself besides through visual art. since i'm an obsessive music fan constantly buying vinyl whether i'm broke or flu$h, i like to exercise my record collecsch and rep the creators who inspire me by making 90-minute vinyl-to-cassette (actual, physical) mixtapes which i then upload to my Soundcloud page where they are available to all for free to stream or download. they are uploaded as 2 continuous 45-minute Side A & B tracks so it's not like i'm just giving away other peoples' music for free, instead showcasing it as part of a continuous mix of varying styles so as to only cater to an open-minded demographic. these _ronitapes are typically made while i create art, filled with tracks or artists who influence me to some degree, so in an abstract way i see them as an extension of my art while also a passion project aimed at spreading music i dig and appreciate. 

_ronitapes are usually a skitzomix of styles somewhat haphazardly arranged together, casually made when i get the urge to add a track i'm especially feeling at the moment onto whatever tape i'm working on; both a documentation of my interests and moods of the moment. i'll ride sonic and aesthetic waves and rhythms but like with my visual art, never really plan anything out, just start and see where it leads to. however it's super fun to challenge myself and switch up the paradigm with more focused conceptual or genre-focused mixes here and there which involve more planning. about a year ago i hit you with one such mix, called Singer or the Song? Originals vs Covers Vol. 1. since then i've casually compiled a list of other pairs of original songs versus cover versions of which i own both on vinyl. i noticed said list was getting pretty long so last weekend i used it to freestyle each side in pretty continuous sessions. psyched to present you with Singer or the Song...THE SEQUEL... aka Originals vs Covers Vol. 2! i think it came out dope and is a great excuse to make a blog post and play with a bunch of my records, something any vinyl fiend lives for, and can't truly be understood by those who don't cherish physical music. we bond with our records... but sitting there just listening can be a passive experience, whereas making a mix like this gets me to interact with my collection in a deeper manor which i really enjoy. the mixes in this series aren't about which version is better to me, but about the cyclical flows of inspiration. 

-side A-

the Stooges vs Sonic Youth: I Wanna Be Your Dog

'I Wanna Be Your Dog' is pretty much the essence of punk attitude eternally... taken from proto-punk prophets The Stooges' 1969 self titled debut LP produced by John Cale of The Velvet Underground, another trailblazing band in the creation of that sound. Iggy Pop is a national treasure and we're lucky to still have him around living life to the fullest and continuing to spread inspiration. Since I started Vol. 1 of this series with Iggy covering Betty Davis, the symmetry only felt right to start this mix out with him, however being covered this time around instead.  And how better than with another of my favorite humans whomst I gain much inspiration from, Kim Gordon?! Cover version was recorded live at The Pier in Raleigh, NC and was released on Sonic Youth's debut LP Confusion Is Sex in 1983, the year of my birth. SY's cover is ferocious AF from the yung punx who would also go on to inspire countless bands after them, as Iggy & The Stooges inspired them, and the cycle continues. Both versions are from the respective bands debuts; they would each greatly improve with subsequent albums, but the raw power of their crazier youthful energy in the early stuff is undeniable...

The Vaselines vs Nirvana: Son of a Gun

While on the majority of the pairings on this mix I became familiar with the original track first, it's definitely flipped with this duo for myself and most others. Nirvana undeniably pushed The Vaselines more obscure name out to the world when the more popular 'grunge' pioneers covered 3 Vaselines songs after the 2 groups played a show or two together and Kurt Cobain became a huge fan. The Vaselines-Nirvana pairing on Vol. 1 was 'Molly's Lips' and we continue that tradition here using 'Son of a Gun'. Any time I pop a Vaselines track on a mix its from Sub Pop's definitive 3LP collection of their short lived but very awesome existence called Enter The Vaselines. In this case the Nirvana track is from Incesticide, an album who's influence on my young mind and creative development is paramount, both from the musical & lyrical content plus album artwork by Kurt. I consider myself a #KobainKid for life, though I was only 11 when he died in 1994 I had been obsessed with him & Nirvana for years prior and his passing deeply affected my young self as more importantly did his music, words, art and character. Besides for 'Son of a Gun' & 'Molly's Lips', of which I also have demo and/or live versions of each, Nirvana also did a version of 'Jesus Don't Want Me For a Sunbeam' on Unplugged, which wasn't written by the Vaselines either, but they had previously done a version of on their second EP, Dying For It, so there will absolutely be another Nirvaseline pairing on Vol. 3, whenever that happens!

Funkadelic vs Hanni El Khatib: I Got a Thing, You Got a Thing, Everybody's Got a Thing

Though most people know who George Clinton is and some P-Funk tracks, it used to feel to me like his original band Funkadelic was largely unknown besides in name and greatly underappreciated. I myself didn't get hip to them until just about 20 years ago now, in the summer of 1998 when I spent a month in Israel on a trip with 50 other kids of varying ages from across the US on our expedition. It was the summer before freshman yr of high school, I had just started blazing the ganja about 6 months prior and was already familiar with many of the great albums to get stoned to, from older classics like Pink Floyd and Hendrix to contemporary bangers like Cypress Hill and Redman... but in conversation with an older cat from Chicago in our group, my CT homie and my card was pulled for not knowing or appreciating the trippy glory of seventies Funkadelic. "Wait... you guys don't get high and listen to Maggot Brain?" he balked incredulously in disbelief, as if we said we'd never heard of Dark Side of the Moon. I would go on to remedy that embarrassing ignorance, submerging myself in the Funkadelic catalog. While the P-Funk stuff I had heard previously wasn't my thing at that point, Funkadelic was dark, psychedelic, weird and subversive aka right up my alley, especially the Eddie Hazel years, and is as much rock-n-roll as it is funk. In the past decade or so the label 4 Men With Beards have reissued most of the Funkadelic albums on vinyl which has undoubtably given that classic music much deserved rejuvenated interest. Aaanyway, sativa-induced ramblings aside, Funkadelic rules, and this track 'I Got a Thing...' comes from their self-titled 1970 debut. It's covered by Hanni El Khatib, one of my favorite contemporary rockers who I've already repped in detail on this here blog! He covered the track as a bonus cut for his 2011 debut Will The Guns Come Out on Innovative Leisure and it seemed to play a big part his quick ascent in much deserved popularity.

Public Enemy vs Tricky: Black Steel In The Hour Of Chaos

This is another reverse-pairing for me, though in this case I'm probably more in the minority, but I didn't grow up listening to much Public Enemy to be honest. When I got heavy into hip hop in junior high after mostly punk & alternative music before that besides ATCQ and a few others, it was the late nineties so PE's era had already past. Though I always respected them and knew most of my favorite hip hoppers were inspired by them, I still haven't backtracked to explore their catalog enough yet, though I have their iconic and subversive 1988 hit 2LP It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back, from which this unique cover pairing begins. I knew the words to 'Black Steel...' years before even hearing the original version thanks to Adrian Thaws aka Tricky, a life-long inspiration to my weird abstract sense of aesthetic. After seeing the Portishead 'Sour Times' video on MTV in the mid-nineties I became infatuated with the dark seductive sound then being called 'trip hop' which led me to one of the other creators of that sound, Tricky (though he abhors that genre term). On the first few Tricky albums, the majority of the vocals are handled by Martina Topley-Bird, whose contributions to the greatness of those albums cannot be downplayed, as evidenced in her absolutely badass, cold-as-ice vocal performance on this here cover, taken from Tricky's masterful 1995 debut LP Maxinquaye, still hailed by critics as his best album, though I vehemently disagree, the follow-up Pre-Millenium Tension is far superior to me, though we'll flush that out later in a proper, extended Tricky post. I have a good selection of his vinyl but am missing a few of his best currently, so that'll have to wait until I track those out-of-print fuckers down at a reasonable price, inshallah.  Tricky has always flipped some fire covers, there's his take of a Cure classic on Vol. 1 in this series and I'm sure I'll wrangle one up for the next edition too!

Wire vs R.E.M.: Strange

My priority in my musical listenings throughout most of my life have focused on the contemporary, of my time, though I would also up going down stylistic wormholes which inevitably led me to music that preceded me. However in these recent several years I've started delving much deeper into music of the past, exploring the chains of influences and inspirations and the lineages of the archetypical aesthetics and ideas which all of my favorite music has in common to some degree. This has definitely coincided with my passion for vinyl records - I only transferred to that format from CDs close to 10 years ago; I wouldn't be surprised if something about the 'retro' format of spinning wax is almost conducive or inherent to an interest in looking back. 'Post Punk' is such a broad category it could mean almost anything and would take its own blog post for me to try and 'define' so one day I'll take a stab at that, perhaps with an accompanying _ronitape. Suffice for now its one of my favorite genres or what-have-you and I'm typically a sucker for anything labelled as post punk or art punk, both of which U.K. band Wire are noted pioneers of, but whom I only just finally got into in the past year. This pairing starts with their original track 'Strange' from their highly-influential 1977 debut LP Pink Flag. It wasn't until randomly reading a blurb about Wire on Wikipedia did I discover I had a cover pairing lined up of them in my collection already, by a band I wouldn't have expected, R.E.M.! While R.E.M. was a band more contemporary to my life, it was more during their poppier era in the mid nineties. Since I was so obsessed with Kurt Cobain, I always respected Michael Stipe & R.E.M. because Kurt was such a fan, though I didn't dig most of their music then; it wasn't dark or aggressive enough for my tastes at the time. As the years passed, I learned how important they were in the development of the sound now known as 'indie rock' though it was called 'college rock' back in the early eighties when R.E.M. started out. Eventually it was getting on a big Butthole Surfers vinyl kick and reading about how they B.S.'s were so obsessed with R.E.M. in the eighties that they moved across the country to stalk them, that I realized I had to actually go back and give their music a chance, and I've been exploring their earlier stuff since - there is some fire in that catalog, fuck it I'm a fan! Cover version is taken from R.E.M.'s 1987 album Document.

Willie Williams vs The Clash: Armagideon Time

I grew up on reggae music of all sorts being played at home by my pops from roots, rocksteady and dancehall to UB40, so it's always been a part of my soul though I've never been much of an expert on the genre. While my record collecsch is majority hip hop, punk & rock, I've been making a slow but steady effort to stylistically diversify my crates which has included up building up my reggae section. I'm more interested in roots reggae and earlier stuff from the 60s-70s currently so my reggae section is largely made up of the superior quality vinyl compilations frequently put out by Soul Jazz Records, namely a ton of great Studio One material. All of which leads us to this pairing, the timeless Willie Williams 1977 Studio One rocker 'Armagideon Time' taken from the SJR compilation 100% Dynamite, which is full of scorchers. Cover is by The Clash in 1979 and taken from a 10" compilation of their reggae covers called Black Market Clash - shout out to Christopher Talken for blessing me with that record! My Clash and early wave British punk collection can both use plenty work as well, but slowly I'll flush it out. I always dug the interplay between punk and reggae and ska in this early era, of which this cover pairing is a great example. 

Beth Gibbons & Rustin Man vs Gonjasufi: Show

I already mentioned Beth Gibbons peripherally in the PE/Tricky pairing; her band Portishead is eternally beloved by many kindred spirits, both their debut Dummy & the self titled album opened my mind to a whole new sound and aesthetic after catching their music video on MTV at a young age, becoming forever favorites for me. Her 2002 album Out Of Season with Rustin Man (formerly of Talk Talk) had less of a major impact personally, but is a beauteous, melancholy work of art regardless, and one that I've been recently revisiting periodically. Its a no-brainer that Gonjasufi would be inspired by Beth & Portishead, as he inhibits a similarly dark but heartfelt experimental realm hovering between hip hop & electronic styles. Gonjasufi's cover version of 'Show' was taken from the Mandela Effect LP, a 2017 remixes & rarities companion to his last moody masterwork, Callus. Sufi is one of my biggest contemporary influences so we'll have to get to a full blog post on him here sometime for sure.

-side B-

MC5 vs Rage Against the Machine: Kick Out the Jams

Since we started the A-Side off with an influential Detroit proto-punk anthem, why not do the same with the B? Kick out the jams... motherfucker! The Motor City Five inspired countless bands to follow with this badass rock-n-roll anthem back in 1969, helping birth the punk movement.  The legendary, then-controversial 'motherfucker' line is censored on the studio version, but is included here uncensored via a live performance in Detroit on Halloween 1968, taken from the ROIR MC5 compilation Babes In Arms originally released in 1983. I have to beef up my MC5 collection but the official band of the White Panther Party sure are interesting and made some kick-ass rock-n-roll, so I'll be sure to do so eventually. I do have all albums by the band to cover them here however, Rage Against the Machine, another one of those iconic groups to shatter my world at a young age... we saw the 'Freedom' b&w music video on MTV and became immediately obsessed, headbanging while playing air guitar and screaming all the lyrics to the debut album on repeat in my attic with a neighborhood friend for years back in our elementary school days when it dropped. Back in the day the self-titled album and Evil Empire were the only two RATM albums that really mattered, but I now appreciate the 3rd & 4th LPs, lastly being Renegades, their album of cover versions which is of course perfect for these mixes! Rage's version is kickass, and a dope move, exposing their fanbase to this somewhat overlooked but vital track in the progression of rock music.

Pixies vs Ladies Who Lunch: Gigantic

I love the Pixies, and Frank Black is a badass vocalist, however I must admit I always wished Kim Deal got to sing more songs... which is why I was always more of a Breeders fan to be honest. I've been going slowly back to the Pixies catalog and its full of dopeness, I scored a cool Euro bootleg of their older demos recently that I've been loving. This track, however, is one of their most well-known and catchiest Kim tracks, 'Gigantic' from their 1988 LP Surfer Rosa, backed with the B-side of this random little gem I came across on Discogs and used on the previous volume, Ladies Who Lunch! LWL was one-off 7" collaboration between Jill Schellenbach (drummer of Luscious Jackson & original drummer of early Beastie Boys way back) and Josephine Wiggs (bassist of The Breeders, responsible for the indelible 'Cannonball' bassline) on Grand Royal in 1995 called Kims We Love, with a Kim Gordon cover on the other side (featured on Vol. 1 in this series). 

David Bowie vs Hermanos Calatrava: Space Oddity

Infinite respect to David Bowie, who returned to the essence only a year ago now... plenty better than I have written enough on Bowie, suffice to say he influenced the vast majority of music to follow him, and his presence will continue to be felt despite leaving the physical. There's so much Bowie material out there, its intimidating to delve all the way in, but for now I have the 5 LPs from the Ziggy Stardust era, such classic stuff there that my Bowie needs are satiated for now. I've got a few other covers applicable for this series but this weird version definitely spices up the mix - 'Space Oddity' from the 1969 self-titled Bowie LP, backed with a bizarre 1974 version on Belter by Hermanos Calatrava, who were a campy Spanish TV comedy-duo. The cover version is taken from Absolute Belter: Mid-Med-Mod-Rock & Spanish Psychsploitation From the 'Cradle of Spanish Pop', a compilation by the always reliably oddball folks at Finders Keepers Records, who drop a lot of strange, obscure compilations like this which are like candy for eclectic music fiends. 

the Cure vs deftones: If Only Tonight We Could Sleep

I grew up on plenty of The Cure and other related eighties gold being played in my house, plenty of my parents' 'songs' were Cure tracks from Disintegration and Kiss Me Kiss Me Kiss Me, their 1987 2LP from which this track "If Only Tonight We Could Sleep" was taken. Since it was the soundtrack coming from my folks I took The Cure for granted until growing up some and coming to appreciate a lot of that stuff at an older age. I've been on a big Cure kick the past few years, I especially favor their earliest stuff in the late seventies, earlier eighties and also their mid-to-late eighties albums like this one. Cover version is by deftones, taken from their killer 2005 compilation B-Sides & Rarities which features at least one other cover version to use on the next volume in this series. Though I've gone back to a lot of the music from my youth as an adult and still thoroughly like much of it, perhaps even more than I did then, of course theres plenty I've skipped because it didn't hold up or is embarrassing, as is the case with Korn, lol. But I will I admit I did love their first 2 albums when they dropped, and remembered when deftones' debut Adrenaline came out in 1995 I ate it up especially because I thought they 'sounded like Korn' hahaha. Luckily the deftones shedded the lame nu-metal handle initially attached to them, and have had a great long-spanning career. I only went back to their music recently, copping the first 3 albums, but intend to peep the more contemporary stuff eventually. Chino Moreno is a such a great vocalist, he did Robert Smith well on this version. Thanks to my brother for blessing me with this deftones comp, its fire!

the Doors vs Siouxsie & the Banshees: You're Lost Little Girl

The Doors are another group of my childhood, a favorite of pa dukes who saw them a few times live in their heyday. Though I'm far from an expert on them, the music of Jim Morrison and The Doors is deep somewhere in my subconscious and I intend to actively explore their catalog one day. Until then, I just have some pretty battered copies of their vinyl salvaged from my folks' basement that don't play that great, including their 1967 LP Strange Days, from where I pulled this track 'You're Lost Little Girl' after realizing I had a Siouxsie cover of it. Siouxsie & The Banshees were one of those many bands on my list of known dopeness to one day explore, I didn't hear them much growing up but finally delved into their catalog a few years back, as evidenced by the many Siouxsie Sioux tracks on the _ronitapes made since. I most dig the earlier S&TB stuff when they were on more of a post punk than new wave tip, but it's all good. This rendition is from their 1987 covers LP, Through The Looking Glass

the Jimi Hendrix Experience vs Red Hot Chili Peppers: Fire

Another weathered gem salvaged from my folks' basement, Are You Experienced still sounds scorchingly slammin' over 50 years after its release in 1967. I have the main Jimi Hendrix Experience albums all from that beat-up musty stash, I look forward to updating them to crisp remastered reissues one day though I cherish these original copies which my parents vibed to as a new release. However the genius of Jimi deserves to be heard properly! The Experience heater 'Fire' is covered here quite amply by Red Hot Chili Peppers who were of course heavily influenced by Hendrix. I'm the guy who worked for a company called '' for years, known for my obscure taste in music so I'm almost embarrassed about my love of the Chi Pepps... it veers on guilty pleasure, but fuggit I'll own it, I love them dewds. As the original UGHH was going out of business and I knew I'd be losing my capability to load up on vinyl at wholesale prices, I went hard with the RHCP catalog and grabbed most of their albums that I dig. My favorite LPs of theirs seem to be the ones with both John Frusciante on guitar and with Rick Rubin on production. I do still vibe to the even earlier 'funk-metal' era of the Pepps, makes me nostalgic for birthday parties at Pizza Hut in the nineties though haha. Their cover of 'Fire' is taken from the 1989 LP Mother's Milk, which was the first to feature Chad Smith on drums and Frusciante on guitar, definitely one of their strongest albums and a breakthrough one for them. I still have my OG copy of the cassette version of this album somewhere!

Buzzcocks vs Tijuana Panthers: Everybody's Happy Nowadays

Though I still had a decent amount of potential cover pairs to choose from for the final track, this one felt perfect to end the mix with its dreamy vibe. Buzzcocks are one of those early wave Brit punx bands I need to explore more, but I have this one excellent compilation of theirs called Singles Going Steady via 4 Men With Beards that I thoroughly dig and from which 'Everybody's Happy Nowadays' was taken. Cover version is by Tijuana Panthers, one of my fave contemporary garage-y surfy rock bands for some years now. All four of their Innovative Leisure LPs are worth copping, TJPs are on a crazy steady streak; this version is from their 2014 album Wayne Interest, easing the mix to a close in its bed of reverb. 


... and there you have it, Originals vs. Covers Vol. 2! a post like this takes much time & effort, so if you dig it, tell a friend! infinite gratitude for peeping. if you have any suggestions for a cool conceptual type mix, drop it in the comments perhaps i mightcould make it happen. support yr local record store... peace & love!