Painting Tasters Done Good

Ever since Timely Persuasion came out back in 2008 I’ve always wanted to do some sort of tie-in soundtrack type thing featuring covers of the Local Boy songs, but various attempts to get a project like that off the ground always stalled for one reason or another.  Until now…

Lounge Act by Ken Gordon

Back in the summer of 2009 I heard a cover of Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart” by a band called the Painting Tasters (aka Ken Gordon) on an indie hodgepodge episode of Coverville.  It was a great version in a Local Boy-esque kind of way, but my interest was really piqued when Brian Ibbott said there were also covers of “Drain You” and “Smells Like Teen Spirit” on the band’s website.

I especially dug those covers and the way they were billed as “how I imagine Dylan or Tom Petty would play it,” so I sent Ken Gordon an email. We chatted back and forth about Nirvana and cover songs for a few days, he generously offered to take a stab at “Lounge Act” from TP, and eventually the conversation tapered off as we both got busy with real life.  I had more or less forgotten about the whole thing until he found me on Facebook in late December 2010 with a link to a huge cache of “Nirvana Country” covers he’d been working on!

Ken has put together a great batch of songs, somewhat reminiscent of the “Local Boy Does Nirvana” set I’ve envisioned previously but with different songs and so much better since he’s actually recorded them with his own unique spin and voice while still staying true to Kurt’s original lyrics.  The things he does with some of the heavier songs really blow me away.

Check out the full set along with some non-Nirvana songs on Ken Gordon’s Facebook, and get a bonus preview below of his rendition of Tourette’s — my favorite of the bunch since it’s almost unrecognizable going in and probably should have made my Local Boy short list:

Tourette’s by Ken Gordon

Thanks, Ken!

Of The Year – 2010

Year end music recap time.  2010 was weird.  Felt so-so for new music, but was probably the best concert year of recent memory due to a heavy dose of nostalgia.


1. The Flood — Mason Jennings

A new album of old songs is an odd choice for the top slot, but like I said it was a weird year.  Mason delivered some gems on The Flood, and “Dakota” narrowly edged out Cee Lo’s feel good hit of the summer as the most singable track of the year for me.

2. Plastic Beach — Gorillaz

Most anticipated record and concert going into the year, and both exceeded expectations.

3. Broken Bells — Broken Bells pegs this as my 6th most listened to album of the last 12 months, essentially one listen behind Plastic Beach. (And if you take away my wife’s obsession with Monsters of Folk / Conor Oberst / The Felice Brothers it rises to #3 on my list…) Didn’t really know what to expect going in, but Danger Mouse brings the Rick Rubin magic to everything he produces.  I really want to hear a Danger Mouse / Wilco collaboration someday.

4. As I Call You Down — Fistful of Mercy

Another year, another supergroup on the year end list.  Fun, folky set of songs here.  “Things Go ‘Round” makes my shortlist for song of the year.

5. Volume Two — She & Him

A crowd pleaser of a record I keep drifting back to.  Volume One would have been #1 on my 2008 list had I made one at the time.  Can’t go wrong with most things M. Ward.


1.  James @ the Music Box – October 13

Laid (the album more than the song) has always held a special place in my collection, but somewhat shamefully I’d never really dug deeper into the James catalogue for whatever reason.  Could’ve/should’ve had my interest piqued a few years ago when the whole crowd was singing along to “Sit Down” before Carter USM’s first Brixton Academy reunion show, but I just paid $.99 for the single and that was that.  So when I learned James was coming around it was very much a “should I stay or should I go” dilemma.  We did go, and then they went and put on the best performance I’ve seen from anyone in recent memory.

2.  Benji Hughes Residency @ Largo – July 8, 15, 22, 29

After a number of near misses, I finally got to see Benji Hughes this year — every Thursday for a whole month.  I could cheat and rank each of these individually, but that would make for a boring top list.  As I said at the time, I wish I could see Benji Hughes every Thursday for the rest of my life.

3.  Rage Against the Machine @ Hollywood Palladium – July 23

My wife dragged me to this reluctantly because Conor Oberst was opening, but I figured Rage would be worth it.  Were they ever.  Rocked it like they never broke up and blew the doors off the Palladium.  I was hoarse the next day from the scream-a-longs.

4.  Pavement @ The Fox Theatre – April 15

Comeback tours are weird, hit and miss affairs.  Pre-Coachella warm-up shows are weird, hit and miss affairs.  Seeing Pavement live used to be a weird, hit and miss affair.  Pavement absolutely nailed it in the first US show of their comeback tour with one hell of a setlist.

5.  Gorillaz @ Coachella – April 18

Damon Albarn knows how to pull out all the stops for a multi-media spectacular.  And I still swear I saw acrobats!