Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Elvis is Everywhere

Come worship here

For my 7th grade music class project, I prepared a report on Elvis Aaron Presley. I recall thinking at the time that it would be far cooler than writing something about Bach or Mozart. After all, wasn't Elvis "The King??" I rediscovered this artifact not ten days ago, over a quarter century later. As I leafed through the pages of handwritten scrawl and fading, photocopied photos, I was struck by how bloodless and factual it is. A mere narrative catalogue of the man's life, career, and death. Where's the throbbing, hot soul? Where's the rock? And the roll?

Truth is, Elvis was a hero to most but he never meant scat to me. Mention his name and what springs to mind is (in the following order): bloat, polyester jumpsuit, fried peanut-butter-and-banana sandwiches, velvet paintings, and expiring on the toilet. Yes, yes, intellectually I can appreciate his impact on music and "classic" songwriting. I can even empathize with how groundbreaking those shaking hips and thrumming rhythms were back in 1954. But the man himself maketh not my heart burn with sacred fire. Dearest Friends, does that make me a heretic?? Sigh.

Anyway, a looong preamble to introduce this week's Contrast Podcast episode, simply titled "Elvis." And it's brought to you this week by Dearest Marcy from Lost in your Inbox! Yaaaay! Now don't get me wrong: though Elvis himself leaves me cold, I find the cult surrounding him and it's iconography ticklingly absurd. So I am really looking forward to wrapping my ears around this selection of Presley-inspired tuneage. Uh-huh-huh. I'd urge you to do the same either by downloading it directly here or by slotting this here RSS feed into your blog aggregator: http://feeds.feedburner.com/ContrastPodcast. And do leave comments on the CP blog!!

One for the money, two for the show...

(00:00) Belle and Sebastian - A century of Elvis
Tim from The face of today

(04:50) Gillian Welch - Elvis Presley blues
Marcy from Lost in your inbox

(10:21) Rickie Lee Jones - Elvis cadillac
Linda from Speed of Dark

(15:39) Stiff Little Fingers - Who died and made you Elvis?
Crash from Pretending life is like a song

(19:50) Mojo Nixon & Skid Roper - Elvis is everywhere
FiL from Pogoagogo

(25:46) Jimmy LaFave - Elvis loved his momma
Natalie from Mini-Obs

(28:38) Wesley Willis - Elvis Presley
Ross from Just gimme indie rock

(31:50) Public Enemy - Fight the power
Ally from dustysevens

(36:24) Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Tupelo
ZB from So the wind won’t blow it all away

(41:24) The Pogues - Fiesta
Lyle from Mentok the Mindtaker

(47:07) R.E.M. - Man on the moon
James from Jamesisadork

(52:23) The Manic Street Preachers - Elvis impersonator
Alex from Totally True Tales from Texas

(56:33) Warren Zevon - Porcelain monkey
Tom from Better in the Dark

(01:00:52) Elvis Costello - Red shoes
Chris from Phosphorous.net

I found myself with a fair few ridiculous and sublime songs to choose between, but Mojo & Skid won out primarily for sentimental reasons. You see, the song was on heavy rotation at WGTB during my hoary old college DJ radio days, and it evokes the fondest of memories, despite it verging on novelty territory (generally speaking I do not like novelty records, not one bit). But here are a few others that shook my hip and twitched my lip:

Eilert Pilarm - Jailhouse Rock (buy here)
This is not novelty. This is a Swedish gentleman with an occasional grip on reality who produces stunning renditions of Elvis tunes sung in his own brand of semi-intelligible Swenglish. But he means it, maaan.

Gold Blade - Black Elvis (buy here or e-here)
Punky Mancunians invoke the spirit of 1977 and 1954. Maybe Public Enemy would approve. On second thought, they'd probably choose Kool Keith's Black Elvis over this one. Pity I don't have that kool track to share. Hey, who cares what Public Enemy thinks, anyway?? YEAH BOYYYY!!!

Death Ride 69 - Elvis Christ-The Resurrection (buy here or e-here)
Gotta love that Elvis-as-Saviour imagery. And I love me some dark industrial rawk. So lots to love here!

The Cramps - Elvis Fuckin' Christ (buy here or e-here)
Oh yes! Not the Cramps' finest moment, methinks, but they get full lyrical marks for "Chickin’ pluckin’, runamuckin’ Elvis Fucking Christ!"

Groovie Ghoulies - Graceland (buy here or e-here)
Who said Elvis is dead?? Zombies rule OK.

Chrisoula - O Elvis zi stis kardies (buy here or e-here, if you must)
Oh my. This is truly something. Easy world muzak listening belted out by a Greek-American songstress. Something about Elvis living in the hearts of everyone. Which shows how international Elvis is. Or something. Listener discretion is advised.

Wolfcry - Enola Gay (buy here)
Nothing to do with Elvis. But this is a kick-ass cover of the eighties OMD classic by valiant Greek power metallers Wolfcry. Because I wouldn't want you to think Chrisoula is the sole voice of Hellenic pop music.

Next week, Tim plans to take us back to 1967. So fix that date in yer mind and find yourself a song to submit! Here's how you do it.