Monday, February 28, 2011

Weekly Cover Shootout II

So it hasn't been a week since my last cover post but since it's monday i guess i'm allowed right?
I should turn this into a daily thing. Then again i would probably not post every day.

This is Johnny Cash covering Nine Inch Nails' "Hurt". This cover is so good Trent Reznor himself admitted that he like Johnny's version better. How about being humble.
I got the chance to see NIN's version live and i loved it but there is just something with this version that makes it so real.
Cash' haunting voice is really what carries this song. Knowing a bit about his biography this cover really makes sense.

Check it out!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Weekly cover shootout

So we were lying in bed when my babe put this song on. I was captured straight away by this song. I foolishly thought this was his song until she said that it is actually a Beatles song.
After putting on the Beatles version i came to the conclusion that i prefer the Stevie Wonder cover.
Which got me thinking that there are many songs where i prefer covers of the song.
Which is why i'm gonna be doing this weekly.

I know that the cover couldn't be made if it weren't for the original and that you can try and polish a turd...
Still i give props to people who can make someone else's song their own.

To kick this thing off Stevie Wonder doing "We can work it out" originally by the Beatles.
The Stevie Wonder version just has that extra kick to it. Fuzzy guitars and his soulful voice make this my favorite version. And that's that! Feel free to disagree. I will now go and hide myself from all the Beatles fans that catch wind of this.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead

The Queen Is Dead, bought in Antwerp at Vinyl Records. I would advice anyone to go there. 
The album came out in 1986, about two years before i was born.
We have the colored vinyl edition which is a green see-thru version of the original.

As soon as i let the needle slide in, the record starts off with some female voice.
Seconds later The Queen is Dead is blaring through the speakers.
A melancholic start to what ends up being an amazing record.
The record was engineered by the same people as 'Meat is Murder' and that is definitely not a bad thing.
After the opener we are greeted by Frankly Mr. Shankly. A typical Morrissey song line accompanied by not so typical instrumentals. A bit quirky but hey, it was the eighties.
The record reaches it's highpoint at track number six, Bigmouth Strikes again, which is also the lead single on the album. I had preferred it to be There Is A Light, as i have more of a personal bond with that song. Then again i don't really care if it was lead single or not, it remains my favorite song on the album.
I gave this album to my girl since she is a big Morrissey fan, hence the personal bond.

This record is definitely a good motivation for more Smiths records.
This bring me to another thing, i haven't picked the February LP yet, nor did we find a book.
Financially i guess it will be a double edition in march or a second hand record on the quick.
Looking for a sweet blues record. Any suggestions?

Sunday, February 20, 2011


This saturday we left for Bruges, finally using a gift certificate we got last Christmas.
One night at a bed & breakfast in Bruges with a bottle of champagne included.
We were located on the edge of the historic centre in a art nouveau-ish building.
We felt at home straight away thanks to a warm welcome and the homelike decoration.

We started of straight away by wandering through the magnificent streets of Bruges.
This place is like a medieval playground. We also did some shopping and got our dog an awesome toy.
I got a cool magnet as a souvenir to stick on our fridge. It's about soap and cats. Thanks babe!
We went to get a pint of cold cider in an irish pub. I got a snake bite, which is an awesome name for a drink and also very tasty. The drink is made with cider, lager and blackcurrent.
My girl went for a large cider.
After our long walks and cold drinks we decided we deserved a hot meal.
What better place to go than an all you can eat ribs joint! This place is called "De Hobbit" and is as big as Bilbo Baggins' house. You pick your food out of a newspaper called the Daily Hobbit.
I was sold already! The ribs were delicious and of unlimited quantity!

What better way to flush down some ribs then another beer?
We ended up in "De Kleine Nachtmuziek", a small and dark bar where empty whiskey bottles are the main decoration. The owner is a cool cat who puts on nothing but good music going from early blues to the rolling stones to rock and roll classics. You wouldn't say so from the outside but this bar has such a huge selection of special beers and about any kind of whiskey ever made. They even serve Almdudler, a drink i hadn't seen since ages! The bar is mainly candle lit and aside from the whiskey bottles is filled with music related items and other curiosities. The kind of place where you can spend whole days just sitting at your table enjoying a fine beer and good music.

When we finally decided to get some rest we were greeted with a bottle of cold champagne and two glasses in our room. Sweet. Need i say more about what happened later...

Slightly hungover and love-drunk we woke up to a rain free Bruges and started the day with a five star breakfast. We spent the rest of our day wandering through the city and visited some super interesting museums. Bruges is really our kind of place. Chill by day and awesome bars by night.
We had ice cream, ate fast-food walked around, kissed on beautiful places, got lost, saw marilyn monroe and ended up in yet another irish pub. This place is so cool. It is called "The Druid's Cellar" and is hidden in a basement/cave under a restaurant. They are pretty serious about their image as they even have a leprechaun entry. Not kidding! This place is awesome. Low ceiling, candle light only, big wooden tables, medieval chairs and irish flags. In the back room there is a pool table, which we used, and bunch of old instruments. My girl seems to have some kind of cider addiction since she took a big cider and i went for a big Guinness. We kind of lost track of time in there so when we got out it was time for dinner.

We had our goodbye dinner in "De Bretoen", a place where they specialize in crêpes bretons.
I had a banana chocolate one. As tradition wants it, the drink served with these is cider. Again.
This was Bruges for us and i loved it!

Friday, February 18, 2011

My muse

Is sitting in the room next to me trying to understand Statistics.
The picture is one i took of her last night while she was trying on a dress.
This was taken in between two shots and i really think i captured the essence of her being.
No way i can ever capture her beauty on film but this gets pretty close.
I'm sitting at my desk/sanctuary surrounded by things that remind me of her.
A bottle of Japanese whisky she gave me for Christmas is lurking at me.

Tonight we are preparing for a weekend in Bruges.
I can't wait to go.
I love her more than anything i could ever imagine.

Headmaster Ritual

This is a song from The Smiths, covered by Radiohead. Headmaster Ritual is a song that sums up most of my high school years. The kind of song you wish you had written yourself.
Lyrics :

"Belligerent ghouls 
Run Manchester schools

Spineless swines
Cemented minds

Sir leads the troops
Jealous of youth
Same old suit since 1962

He does the military two-step
Down the nape of my neck

I wanna go home
I don't wanna stay
Give up education
As a bad mistake

Mid-week on the playing fields
Sir thwacks you on the knees

Knees you in the groin
Elbow in the face
Bruises bigger than dinner plates

I wanna go home
I don't wanna stay

Belligerent ghouls
Run Manchester schools

Spineless bastards all ...

Sir leads the troops
Jealous of youth
Same old jokes since 1902

He does the military two-step
Down the nape of my neck

I wanna go home
I don't want to stay
Give up life
As a bad mistake

Please excuse me from gym
I've got this terrible cold coming on
He grabs and devours
He kicks me in the showers
Kicks me in the showers
And he grabs and devours

I did not attend any Manchester school and i am way younger than The Smiths, even though some teachers probably did still have the same suit since 1962. I went to a technical high school, the ones where you learn a craft or become an electrician and what not.
I made that choice myself, being quite the handymen i thought it was a place for me.
Little did i know i would end up regretting that decision.
I guess in the end any other high school would have been the same but the people who surrounded me where just to much. I wanted to be an aircraft technician. 

Around my fourth year studying industrial sciences, where i enjoyed 8 hours of math a week, i wanted to downsize on the math and chemistry and go for something more specific.
I spent my fifth and sixth year studying electricity and mechanics.
Those two years were awful. As the courses started getting more technical and more advanced, i started drifting away from what i had imagined my future life and career to be.
I wanted to be creative and have courses like literature and philosophy. The more books i read the more i was cutting myself of from the environment where i spent most of my time.
I had some buddies in class but none with whom i could share my newfound passion for the creative world.

As for the teachers, few of them appreciated my drifting away from their courses.
There were rare cases of teachers actually stimulating me and making me want to drift away even further.
There was my electronics teacher who owns a recording studio, my english teacher in first and second grade who saw my interest in languages and literature and my history teachers who inspired my to look further then what is offered at first.

In the end i'm glad to have had a practical formation that allowed me to see certain things clearly. It also helped me see what i DIDN'T want to do.
Spineless swines are those who reigned the school system and forced all of us into the same mold. I am the residu that fell out of the mold and made it through anyhow.

This life is no bad mistake. I am now doing studies that motivate me. 

Thanks to the Smiths for this great song.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Februari 14th is a day that most people know as Valentine's Day. So do i.
This does not mean that i am stocked about an occasion and i think it's a shame that to so many it's such a big thing where they are obligated to buy each other fancy gifts and such. I'm not big on the commercial side of it. However i don't understand that haters that are about ready to yell at you for doing something romantic that day. I see at as just another day to celebrate the love i share with my girlfriend.

Here's what we did. As for so many it was just another weekday, which means going to work, school and what not. I started out by dropping my girlfriend of at school and then went to do the groceries.
By the time she was inside it had started raining and she was out "sans parapluie".
I had already told her i was taking her on a date the day before so she had straightened her hair, the works. Rain is the worst enemy for a girl with straightened hair. I knew that and i wanted to be all gentlemanly and surprise her after her class with the umbrella and a single red rose.
Yes red roses are not very original but common, what girl in her right mind doesn't love to get flowers.
She was thrilled with my unexpected gesture and when i saw that happy smile, my day was made already.

After that we both had class and met up for a lunch date. I had made us healthy wraps and she offered me the best juice ever and I got a banana-chocolate muffin as a dessert!

In the evening, we went to our favorite chinese restaurant and instead of eating inside with 20 other couples i decided to take-away and we ate our meal in the most beautiful restaurant in Brussels.
We were setting on the edge of the Palais de Justice looking out over the rest of the city. The picture above gives an idea of where we were.
Stars were shining, kisses were shared and we even had ourselves a Lady and the Tramp moment while sharing noodles. They never tasted so good. Afterwards we slowed in the Court House's ballroom to songs we sang ourselves.

Now that's how you celebrate Valentine's!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Sleigh Bells Live

This saturday we went to see Sleigh Bells perform at the Ancienne Belgique.
The band is formed by Derek Miller on guitar and songwriting and Alexis Krauss on vocals.
Miller ,formerly known as the guitarist for Poison the Well, picked Krauss up in a Brazilian restaurant where she was having dine with her mom.
They were playing in the club, wich is kind of like an oversized bar, thus creating a for more intimate concert.
The Brooklyn duo had Deathcrush opening for them. Due to an overload of cider and salt sticks we missed them. They did not really spark my interest anyway. We arrived just in time for a cold beer and a quick shit before the gig started.

It was sold out so the club was pretty packed, still having enough room to dance though.
And dance we did! On stage was a wall of Marshall stacks ready to blow our eardrums.
These are the basics: they are loud, fast, dirty and get you dancing!
They have a backingtrack playing all there lungcompressing beats while they sing and play heavily distorted guitar over them.
As always the AB crowd only warms up when the last song starts. We and a bunch of other people started dancing straight away, not wasting a second of their high velocity set.
Krauss' high pitched voice comes screaming through the noise with a big layer of reverd and echo's over it.
This concert was fucking awesome and i would advise anyone to go see this band live if they come to your town. This is on big party beginning to end! I nearly pooped myself when straight A's came on.
Afterwards we went for late night sliders and cruised down to Liège for a sunday in the woods.

On to the next. Thanks Sleigh Bells!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Just Kids - Patti Smith

This will be my first and brief book review. I'm not about to dismantle the whole book.
I got this book from my ever so lovely girlfriend before we went on our annual island retreat. I will write a little something on this trip once i have uploaded the pictures. I have just finished it yesterday and wanted to share my opinion with those willing to read it.
This book is a tale of two people who share a kind of love that few of us ever get to experience.
I consider myself one of the lucky individuals who met their soulmate and have someone to share that kind of love with. Muse, lover, best friend and motivation, she is all that to me!
The story, which is autobiographical, is set in a 1960's 1970's New York, where anything seems possible. A time where you could walk into a bar and see Jimi Hendrix sitting at a table. 

If you are yourself even the least bit of a creative soul, this book is highly contagious and i warn you that it will make you want to drop whatever it is you are doing to go live like they did.
I realize that a story like Smith's is not the standard and that besides her there were thousands of youths trying to accomplish the same thing she did. As much as i can romanticize this lifestyle, i know that it is also a harsh existence and that nowadays is even more difficult.

The book is a portrait of here relationship with Robert Mapplethorpe and their struggle to make it as an artist. Smith gives us a true and tender sketch of New York in that period and opens up about how she underwent the transition between the flower-power utopia and the brutal reality that got thrown in their faces as they see how many of their heroes die around them.

The work is honest and in it's honesty reveals so many secret and methods of how she works as an artist.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is even the slightest bit interested in art,music,poetry and life in general. As i was reading it i often contemplated how i would write out my own life.
I came to the conclusion that to make such a story readable and interesting is not an easy thing to do.
Props to Smith for doing it in such a pleasant way!

Monday, February 7, 2011

MXR El Grande Bass Fuzz Review


Last year's birthday present, i got to chose anything i liked in the music shop. I felt like Pretty Woman.
My baby is the best and i damn well know how lucky i am!

I tested a voodoo labs superfuzz, a bass big muff,the El Grande and the Mxr classic fuzz.

Out of those the El Grande was the big winner for me.
It hasn't been tested in a band setting yet but i'm pretty sure it'll come through.

- First off, the pedal is super light. Almost scary light because of it's small size and allu case. It seems to be pretty rugged though, the button feels solid and all the knobs are really smooth. Not loose and wobbly like on my behringer pedal. It takes 9V and has 3 knobs + a switch on it. Volume,Tone,Fuzz and a Deep switch.

- This is where the fun starts. You really have to watch out with the volume on this pedal. I never even make it past 3 because it would destroy anything in a 5 mile radius.
Even though i'm playing it through a solid state amp i love the break up of this fuzz. It's perfect for that low growling tone.
The tone know is like somewhat of a frequency filter. No tone =maximum bass and tone full on loses some of that bass. This way you can also get those high pitched lead sounds.
The Deep switch acts like a bass booster, not like this pedal needed that because it retains tons of low end.
What i think is positive about this pedal is that when the fuzz level is at zero there is no fuzz at all. This is not always the case.

I'll let the clips do the rest of the talking.
I'm using a Harley Benton HB1975 Jazz still with the stock strings straight into the sound card.
I'll go through some different settings so you can see what the pedal is capable of.