Kid J – Jay Z & Radiohead

8 09 2008

This might be the last post for a long time, or ever if I don’t get back to it. It’s been a lot of fun, but lately I haven’t gotten down to work on new covers. My new album Identity Theft is coming out via Lujo Records on Oct. 23rd. It’s going to be an all digital download release. That means it will be available on iTunes and all other major download sites on the internet.

What that also means is that it’s time to write and record new songs for the next album. It takes a long time to finish an album, so I’m getting to it right away. Not to mention that there is a new Baby Teeth album that is almost entirely done and will be mixed and mastered in the next couple months. That release will probably not be out until early 2009.

So, here’s the offering I have this week: mash-ups of Jay Z songs and Radiohead songs. I nicknamed it “Kid J.” It’s a play on Radiohead’s Kid A album from which two of these remixes cull. The Jay Z raps come from the classic Black Album. The other Radiohead sample comes from a B-side cut called “Talk Show Host” that appeared originally on the “Romeo and Juliet” soundtrack. Yes, the one starring Leo Dicaprio and Claire Danes. Enjoy!

Click the song titles to play:

Change Clothes/Kid A

Dirt Off Your Shoulder/Optimistic

Moment Of Clarity/Talk Show Host

Best, Peter – ACA


Fashion – David Bowie

18 08 2008

Here’s another post of a song from the seventies (actually 1980 here, but hey what’s the diff) about the glamour of rock and roll. Fashion by David Bowie is from his critically acclaimed Scary Monsters album. Some call it Bowie’s “last great album” but they’re completely wrong. I had a huge Bowie-centric year a few years back and bought a lot of his catalog since the 80’s only to find that there are few missteps. Heathen and Reality, his two most recent albums from 2002 and 2003 respectively, are great even with a few skippable tracks each.

Anyway, I digress. This song was recently found in the ACA vaults. I did a Bowie tribute concert many years ago now and used “Fashion” as one of my songs. I thought the recordings were lost, but I found a box of old CD-Rs and re-imported the audio. The lead vocal is new, but everything else is the way I did it a few years back. I’ve gotten a lot better at home recording since then, so this isn’t the greatest sounding thing I’ve ever done, but it’s damn close to the original. I spent a long time with this recording trying to ape the sounds of the guitars and get the nuances of each part. The lead guitar solo on the original recording is super blazing and played by none other than King Crimson’s Robert Fripp. I admit to having a pinky sized guitar ability next to this bloke, but hey I’m not too scared to throw my hat into the ring.

I saw David Bowie in 2005 with my brother Phillip on the Reality tour and it blew me away. He prowled the stage like a cat and sang his ass off. Sounding half like a punked out Brit and half like a torch singer of old, he paraded through his entire discography and even played “All The Young Dudes” which he penned for Mott The Hoople and “Under Pressure” which he co-wrote with the amazing Freddie Mercury of Queen. I will be truly sad when this hero of mine finally passes away, but for now I hope he tours again so I can shed some more tears during “Life On Mars.”

Best, Peter – ACA

Do You Love Me? – Kiss

7 08 2008

I think my first introduction to this song “Do You Love Me?” was a Kiss covers compilation that featured a lot of early 90’s grunge bands including Nirvana. I was a freak about Kurt Cobain in high school and I also liked the Melvins. The Melvins covered “Snowblind” and Nirvana covered “Do You Love Me?”

The Nirvana version is an almost total piss-take, because the song is about rock and roll extravagance and pretty much everything that the Seatlle grunge movement was trying not to be. I thought it was hillarious and the song pretty much sucks and does most everything Kiss put out, but still it has a catchy bridge and is fun in a doing-a-kegstand sort of way.

For me it was a chance to do some big guitar recording and try out an arena-esque drum sound. The lyrics don’t mean anything to me, mostly because I don’t live in L.A. and drive limos when I go to Taco Bell at 3am. Hope it’s fun for you to listen to. Oh, and check this out too!

Best, Peter – ACA

Sunny Sunday – Joni Mitchell

30 07 2008

This week’s entry is another female penned and sung song “Sunny Sunday” by Joni Mitchell. I’ve always loved this song and a handful of others from her mid-90’s album Turbulent Indigo. Some of the songs on that album suffer under the crushing weight of “adult-contempo” production techniques, but the ones that don’t soar above with great lyrics, rhythm guitar, and tasty playing by Wayne Shorter, among others.

Initially with this version I thought I’d go with a very, very stripped down interpretation. The final mix which appears here still only has about 5 tracks (usually with ACA songs I’m using 16-24!) But the vocal line is complex and with only the bass line in the mix, the singing is difficult. I ended up adding acoustic guitar and a quiet keyboard part to outline the chords. Joni has fretless bass, drums, synth, and tenor sax, in addition to her guitar on the original. I decided to come up with my own rhythm tracks and ended up with a drum pattern featuring some Timbaland sounds that I programmed with my MPC. The snare sounds especially I used because it reminds me of a great Timbaland produced Jay-Z song called “Hey Papi.

How does that relate you ask? I don’t know, but in the world of All City Affairs I’ve created I like messing around and pulling influences from all over the place. The lyrics to this song are impressionistic in a way I find very hard to write myself. It’s a scene of a woman and her strange behavior. Most of the time when I’m sitting down to write lyrics to a melody I’ve created I feel like I have to sum up a big issue over the course of my lines. But when I get blown away by a song like this it’s because there’s a tide of emotive energy coming from the performances and the vocals nuances that makes what seems initially like a “smaller” idea feel like so much more. It’s a way of writing about the atom that is the building block to the rest of the world.

Best, Peter – ACA

The Playboy Mansion – U2

23 07 2008

This week’s post “The Playboy Mansion” comes from U2’s polarizing mid-90’s album Pop. This was the tour that Bono wore the tight glittery shirts, the fake muscles and the stage was meant to look like a giant shopping mall or McDonald’s. Although it’s not their most solid album it does have some gems on it and some of the more experimental sides of the band that are absent on the more popular albums.

Upon just hearing the title of this song my friend Abraham said it sounded like it was a good All City Affairs type song. There seems to be some kind of message in here about the shallow nature of our times, but I’m not going to try that hard and figure it out. Bono references “Michael Jackson,” “Coke”, “O,J.” and other 90’s pop-culture staples that definitely date the song. The whole Pop album seems to be taking the piss out of mainstream culture, while also embracing it reluctantly and ultimately ending up a little sore but more or less happy. Finally it comes down to spirituality and finding the one common thread through all people, which I guess is pretty much what most U2 songs are about in a nutshell.

Best, Peter – ACA

Life’s What You Make It – Talk Talk

16 07 2008

So, it’s been two weeks since I posted here. Sorry for the delay, but I had lots of stuff going on. I was mastering my new album “Identity Theft” which will be out soon via all the glorious digital distributors and later on in the fall as a physical compact disc. Plus, my band Baby Teeth went to Benton Harbor, MI to record at Key Club recording studio. We’re working on our 3rd full length album which will be awesome when it’s done.

This week’s cover comes from Talk Talk’s album The Colour Of Spring from 1986. It’s called “Life’s What You Make It.” I downloaded this song from a blog about a year and a half ago and listened to it incessantly for a long time. I liked the repeating piano part a lot, but since I don’t have a piano at home I just made it into the bass line and substituted some of the piano playing on guitar. I went for a pretty close re-creation of the original, although nobody can imitate Mark Hollis’ voice too well. He’s got so much personality in his phrasing.

The whole Talk Talk catalog is really interesting if you have time to check it out. They range from very pop oriented 80’s dance music to mellow, sparse jazz arrangements with vocals. If you want to hear where Radiohead might have gotten some of their inspiration to step out of the box, check out the Talk Talk album Laughing Stock from 1991.

Best, Peter – ACA

Some Weird Sin – Iggy Pop

25 06 2008

I wasn’t sure what cover song I was going to record this week and post here, because honestly it’s hard to find a song a week unless I go through a lot of my record collection or happen upon something randomly that feels right. Then it hit me like a ton of bricks. “Some Weird Sin” is from the Iggy Pop album called Lust For Life.

I have had this album in my collection for a long while, but always preferred Iggy’s album The Idiot. That album has “Nightclubbing”, “China Girl”, “Sister Midnight” and a bunch of other great songs. It’s also a little bit more slick on the production end of things. Lust For Life is pretty raw and you get the feeling it was made really fast and on the fly.

That’s why “Some Weird Sin” made such an obvious choice for this week’s song, because most of what I’ve done here and literally everything I’ve released officially under the name All City Affairs has been pored over for long amounts of time to get all the details in place. I’m a big Bowie fan and he helped Iggy record and write both The Idiot and Lust For Life in 1977. He sings back up on the original version of “Some Weird Sin.”

I started the recording process of this song by sampling the intro to the song “Lust For Life”, the classic drum beat. I slowed it down a bit to match the tempo of “Some Weird Sin” because the drum parts are almost identical. Then I just laid down a bunch of dirty guitars and did some one take vocals. I was shooting for a more off the cuff cover this week and had a ball doing it.

Cheers, Peter – ACA