Bradley’s Almanac

[Nac Blogiversary] 14 Live Covers for 14 Long Years

Posted on February 15, 2014 at 8:18 pm | No Comments

squirrel party!While the exact born-on-date of the Almanac is a nebulous one – Is it when I first started sharing songs? Or using an actual blogging platform? Or writing mostly about music? – I decided long ago to settle on the most solid one of record: February 15th, 2000 – the day I registered this URL and began uploading content. Whatever this place was back then is a distant cry from whatever it is today, and even from what it was in 2003, when I began frequent music-centric updates. Lately, it’s the “frequent” part that’s changed the most.

But I’m still around, still sharing songs and news from bands I love, still plugging away. Sure, it’s become more quick-shots on Facebook and Twitter than longer posts here, but I’ve resisted the occasional temptation to shutter this place completely. “The blog is dead, long live the blog“, they say. This post-Chromewaves world is a lonely place, but I’m hanging on.

For kicks, here’s the ‘Nac by the numbers…

Number of years gone by: 14
Number of published posts: 1,117
Number of current draft posts in progress: 42
Number of stale, out-of-date draft posts I’ve deleted: &infin
Number of live sets I’ve shared: ~ 300
Number of live sets I’ve recorded but not had time to share: 312
Number of Tweets: 5,225
Number of Twitter followers: 3,149
Number of Twitter followers that are probably bots: 50%
Number of Facebook followers: 1,046
Number of the Almanac on the Hype Machine‘s blog tracker: 31
Number of those 31 original blogs the Hype Machine is still tracking: 7
Number of band/promo emails I get every day on average: over 60
Number of those emails that include the word “remix”: at least 50%
Number of daily promo emails that are relevant or of interest to me: maybe 5?

It’s those last three stats that have been slowly draining the life outta me. More than a decade of doing this means the Almanac has ended up on every music-related mailing in existence – it’s a constant deluge that has worn me down and drawn me ever closer to closing up shop. They come faster than I can send unsubscribe requests, and more importantly, I can’t possibly listen to all the songs that come my way. I’ve had to master a jaded zen-like state when going through my inbox, and keep my fingers crossed that I don’t miss something truly great.

But I’m not here to whine, I’m here to celebrate. Or at least acknowledge this slightly notable passage of time. So I’ve thrown together 14 covers from live sets I haven’t had time to share over the past few years, along with a photo from each show, and a few words. Dig in, there are some special songs below…

[Download] All 14 live covers in one .zip file


[MP3] Tommy Stinson – “Nighttime” (live acoustic Big Star cover)

From an acoustic set for Record Store Day, April 21st, 2012 at Newbury Comics in Norwood, MA. He was joined by his wife Emily Roberts on backing vocals and (her uncle?) Sippy Roberts on slide guitar.

Stinson’s reunited Replacements have announced a few more festival appearances this year, but I’ve still got my hopes up for an eventual Boston show. ICYMI, grab my recording of their first reunion appearance at last year’s Riot Fest Toronto.


[MP3] Death Cab For Cutie – “I’ll Be Your Mirror
(live acoustic Velvet Underground cover)

It’s been awhile since Death Cab For Cutie hit the road, in fact I think this series of special shows backed by the Magik*Magik Orchestra in Spring 2012 was the last proper tour (they played the Wang in Boston with Low on 4/21/12). This cover was a nice surprise during the stripped down part of their set, and was well before Lou Reed passed and sparked a rash of VU covers.

The DCFC machine is gearing back up after helping Barsuk Records celebrate their 15th birthday a few months back, and they’ll return to town for the Boston Calling fest in May. I’m assuming we’ll get some new album news before too long.


[MP3] Ben Gibbard – “My Drug Buddy” (Lemonheads cover)

During that Death Cab break, but before the Postal Service reunited in 2013, Ben Gibbard did some solo shows in support of his “Former Lives” LP, including a stop at the Somerville Theatre on Sunday, November 4th, 2012. Not sure if he pulled out a geographically-specific cover at every show, but this classic Lemonheads cut was a nice nod to Boston.


[MP3] John Roderick (of the Long Winters)
The King of Carrot Flowers, Pt. 1
(live Neutral Milk Hotel cover)

Another high point of the Barsuk celebration in Seattle last November was John Roderick and his Long Winters reuniting to perform the “When I Pretend To Fall” album in its entirety. It was glorious, and made me even more hungry for a proper new LW record, as if that was possible. Roderick’s been performing solo sporadically since their previous LP (in 2006!), and this Neutral Milk Hotel cover was played at the Paradise in Boston on Friday, June 1st, 2012.


[MP3] Tanya Donelly & Buffalo Tom – “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around
(live Tom Petty/Steve Nicks cover)

This show was something really special – a small room full of friends and fans gathered together for Chris Toppin’s (Fuzzy) birthday party at the Midway in Jamaica Plain on Nov. 9th, 2012. So many great moments on the stage that night, including this team up of Tanya Donelly (Throwing Muses/Belly) and Buffalo Tom to serve up some Heartbreaking.

Tanya has been releasing a string of excellent digital EPs called the Swan Song Series, and she’ll be hitting the stage opening for her old band Throwing Muses for a few shows next month. Buffalo Tom is hibernating, but Bill Janovitz has been offering up some great new solo songs since the year started. Here’s hoping they keep coming.


[MP3] Ted Leo – “Freeway” (live Aimee Mann cover)
[MP3] Ted Leo – “Hybrid Moments / Me & Mia” (live Misfits cover & TL original)

This show was a ridiculous amount of fun. Just after Boston cops started cracking down hard on local house shows, Ted Leo played this one in a Brighton living room on Monday, November 26, 2012. It was crammed, and incident free (unless you count overly-drunk-local-band-guy or overly-intrusive-photographer), and an absolute blast. Ted pulled out a few covers, as he is wont to do, including a song by his then-tourmate/now-bandmate (in The Both) Aimee Mann. The kids didn’t know what hit ’em, but I ate it up. He whipped out a Misfits cut to rile us up (it did – singalong!), segueing straight into TL/Rx classic “Me & Mia”, when the show hit a crushing crescendo. Bent Shapes opened up. It ruled.

Ted & Aimee will release their self-titled debut album as The Both in mid-April, and will hit the road in support, including a stop at the Paradise in Boston on April 25th.


[MP3] J Mascis – “The Boy With The Thorn In His Side” (live Smiths cover)

Well, this was an odd one. J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. in a shoe store on Boston’s Newbury Street. With (bad) free beer and chips. He probably got paid in purple Doc Martens. This strange scene was on 12/6/2012.


[MP3] Sleepyhead – “Like A Girl Jesus” (live Game Theory cover)

This was a bittersweet moment, but mostly sweet, during Sleepyhead’s set at the Sinclair in Cambridge on May 10th, 2013, just a few weeks after Game Theory’s Scott Miller passed away. Not sure how many in the crowd got the gesture, but I damn well did. This cover was actually the b-side of one of the great indie singles of all time, Sleepyhead’s 1992 (!) “Punk Rock City USA” 7-inch.

Sleepyhead’s long-in-the-making next LP will be out in April on Carrot Top Records. Can’t wait.


[MP3] Telekinesis – “Don’t Change” (live INXS cover)

After seeing that Sleepyhead set, and most of Buffalo Tom’s, at the Sinclair, I raced across the river to try and catch some of Telekinesis at Brighton Music Hall in Allston. Made it in time to see a handful of songs, including this ace cover of one of my favorite INXS tracks. Wish I’d been able to see the whole show, but even a little Telekinesis goes a long way.


[MP3] Quasi – “(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love, & Understanding
(live Elvis Costello cover)

Oh, Quasi, how I love thee. Two people who project more joyful noise and energy from the stage than most quintets ever could. This Elvis Costello cover came near the end of their fantastic set at Great Scott in Allston on Thursday, October 17th of last year. Their latest LP is last year’s “Mole City”, and you should own it.


[MP3] Neko Case & her band – “Crazy On You” (live Heart cover)

Not only did we get a Heart cover during Neko Case’s set at the Orpheum on November 1st, but we got two, back to back. First Kelly Hogan handled lead vocals on an amazing “Barracuda” (that riff!), then Neko stepped up to tackle this one. The crowd was rightly, happily surprised when the second song started up, but the band may have been smiling more than we were. And that’s saying a lot.


[MP3] Minor Alps – “Airscape” (live Robyn Hitchcock cover)

When I was out at that Barsuk anniversary bash in Seattle back in November, new duo Minor Alps (Matthew Caws of Nada Surf and Juliana Hatfield) remarked that their set was the first time they’d ever played in front of people. It kicked off a cross-country trip that brought them to the Sinclair in Cambridge two weeks later (11/23/13) for the final show of their inaugural tour. Grateful I was able to see the first and last stops, especially glad that they learned and played one of my favorite Robyn Hitchcock tracks, the gorgeous “Airscape“.


[MP3] Chris Brokaw – “Crooked” (live Wussy cover)

As much as I love Chris Brokaw’s original songs, and as many times as I’ve seen him, I will never tire of hearing him run through Wussy’s wonderful “Crooked”. This particular rendition was by request, played at an uber-intimate house show in Watertown, MA last month (1/4/14). If you’re wondering why we were so quiet in our appreciation at the end, well, there was a baby asleep upstairs. There’s no better reason for repressed enthusiasm.


[Download] All 14 live covers in one .zip file

As always, thanks for following along, especially those of you who have been stopping by for years. Without getting too sentimental or self-deprecating, I’ll admit that it still surprises me that anyone still reads my ramblings, and every lingering eye and ear is appreciated. Cheers.

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  • Handy links

  • BOSTON-AREA LIVE SHOW ACTION
    Thursday, February 2nd
    Jennifer O'Connor
    Chris Brokaw
    @ Atwood's Tavern

    Thursday, February 2nd
    Ride
    The Charlatans
    @ Big Night Live

    Friday, February 3rd
    Patty Griffin
    Raul Malo
    @ the Wilbur

    Saturday, February 4th
    Dyr Faser
    Tequila Sirens
    Van Chamberlain
    Audrey/Karina
    @ the Loft, Somerville

    Saturday, February 4th
    Black Helicopter
    Cortez
    Z/28
    Mollusk
    @ the Midway Cafe

    Sunday, February 5th
    Major Stars
    Soft Fangs
    Nighttime
    @ O'Brien's
    Saturday, February 11th
    Kiwi Jr.
    @ the Lilypad

    Saturday, February 11th
    Maggie Rogers
    Del Water Gap
    @ Roadrunner

    Tuesday, February 14th
    Bush
    Candlebox
    @ MGM Music Hall
    Tuesday, February 21st
    The EARFULL Series
    with authors
    Douglas Bauer & Laura Zigman
    and musicians
    Colleen Green & Positively Daves
    (featuring the Daves from 0 Positive)
    @ the Burren

    Friday, February 24th
    Waiver Wire
    Early Exit
    Paper Tigers
    Indoor Friends
    @ the Jungle

    Friday, February 24th
    Walter Schreifels
    (Of Quicksand, Rival Schools, etc)
    Kevin Rheault
    DJ Dookie
    @ Zuzu

    Friday, February 24th
    The City Gates
    Iceblynk
    The Spearmint Sea
    @ O'Brien's

    Friday, February 24th
    Elle King
    Red Clay Strays
    @ Roadrunner

    Saturday, February 25th
    Topsy (Hannah from "And the Kids")
    Children of the Flaming Wheel
    Audrey/Karina
    @ the Loft, Somerville

    Saturday, February 25th
    Gramercy Arms
    (featuring Dave Derby
    of the Dambuilders)
    @ the Midway Cafe

    Sunday, February 26th
    Future Teens
    Macseal
    Shallow Pools
    @ the Sinclair

    Sunday, February 26th
    Kula Shaker
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Monday & Tuesday
    February 27th & 28th
    The Beths
    Sidney Gish
    Hans Pucket
    @ the Sinclair

    Friday, March 3rd
    Pile (LP release)
    @ the Somerville Armory

    Friday, March 3rd
    Arctic Monkeys
    Fontaines DC
    @ the Garden

    Friday, March 3rd
    The "Remain In Light" Tour
    with Jerry Harrison
    & Adrian Belew
    @ House of Blues

    Saturday, March 4th
    Puppy Problems
    @ O'Brien's

    Saturday, March 4th
    Constant Smiles
    @ the Lilypad

    Sunday, March 5th
    Weyes Blood
    @ the Royale

    Tuesday, March 7th
    Clan of Xymox
    @ Crystal Ballroom

    Tuesday, March 7th
    Runnner
    Waveform
    @ The Rockwell

    Tuesday, March 7th
    Elvis Costello &
    the Imposters
    @ the Cabot, Beverly

    Friday, March 10th
    The Sheila Divine
    Tugboat Annie
    Vic Firecracker
    @ the Paradise

    Sunday, March 12th
    Blushing
    Pale Dīan
    Husbands
    Storax Sedan
    @ O'Brien's

    Tuesday, March 14th
    Quasi
    Bat Fangs
    @ the Sinclair

    Thursday, March 16th
    Bruce McCullouch
    of the Kids in the Hall
    @ the Wilbur

    Friday, March 17th
    Dawes
    @ Roadrunner

    Saturday, March 18th
    Hallelujah the Hills
    Eyelids
    @ Atwood's

    Sunday, March 19th
    White Reaper
    Mamalarky
    @ the Royale

    Monday, March 20th
    Bruce Springsteen
    & the E Street Band
    @ TD Garden

    Saturday, March 25th
    Bird Streets (duo show)
    @ the Village Social Club
    inside Garrison House, Brookline

    Tuesday, March 28th
    Sunset Rubdown
    @ the Crystal Ballroom

    Tuesday, March 28th
    The Residents
    @ the Sinclair

    Thursday, March 30th
    The Murder Capital
    @ the Sinclair

    Friday, March 31st
    The Church
    @ the Sinclair

    Friday, March 31st
    Jukebox The Ghost
    @ the Royale

    Sunday, April 2nd
    Robyn Hitchcock
    Kelley Stoltz
    @ City Winery

    Monday, April 3rd
    Tennis
    Kate Bollinger
    @ the House of Blues

    Thursday, April 6th
    Rick Berlin w/Orchestra Luna,
    Berlin Airlift, & Nickel & Dime Band,
    with guests The Sheila Divine,
    Hallelujah the Hills, & Nervous Eaters
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Thursday, April 6th
    Caroline Rose
    @ the Sinclair

    Saturday, April 8th
    Sleaford Mods
    @ the Paradise

    Saturday, April 8th
    Emma Ruth Rundle
    @ Crystal Ballroom

    Sunday, April 9th
    Bikini Kill
    @ Roadrunner

    Thursday, April 13th
    Andrew Bird
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Friday, April 14th
    U.S. Girls
    Jane Inc.
    @ the Sinclair

    Friday, April 14th
    Widowspeak
    Duster
    @ the Paradise

    Friday, April 15th
    Harris
    Sidewalk Driver
    Stars Like Ours
    Aaron and the Lord
    @ Crystal Ballroom

    Sunday, April 16th
    Peter Case
    Ben de la Cour
    @ Atwood's Tavern

    Sunday, April 16th
    Dead Can Dance
    @ the Wang

    Wednesday, April 19th
    Sloan
    @ Brighton Music Hall

    Thursday, April 20th
    Black Flag
    @ the Middle East Downstairs

    Friday, April 21st
    The Feelies
    @ the Sinclair

    Friday, April 21st
    Fruit Bats
    @ the Royale

    Saturday, April 22nd
    Joywave
    Elliot Lee
    @ the Royale

    Saturday, April 22nd
    Unknown Mortal Orchestra
    @ Roadrunner

    Sunday, April 23rd
    M83
    @ Roadrunner

    Tuesday & Wednesday
    April 25th & 26th
    Built to Spill
    @ the Sinclair

    Wednesday, April 26th
    Andy Shauf
    @ the Royale
    Friday & Saturday
    April 28th & 29th
    The Town & the City Festival
    with so many artists, including...
    Buffalo Tom, Ted Leo, John Doe Trio,
    Vapors of Morphine, Rhett Miller,
    Pile, Dave Herlihy (O Positive),
    Robin Lane, Justine & the Unclean,
    and many, many more
    @ lots of walkable Lowell, MA venues

    Saturday, April 29th
    Lucius
    @ Roadrunner

    Sunday, April 30th
    Placebo
    Deap Vally
    @ Roadrunner

    Monday, May 1st
    Pedro The Lion
    performing
    "It's Hard To Find A Friend"
    and "Control" in full
    @ the Sinclair

    Friday, May 5th
    Fever Ray
    @ Roadrunner

    Saturday, May 6th
    Muna
    Nova Twins
    @ Roadrunner

    Saturday, May 6th
    David Cross
    Sean Patton
    @ the Wilbur

    Sunday, May 7th
    Goth Babe
    flipturn
    Yoke Lore
    @ Roadrunner

    Wednesday, May 10th
    Natalie Merchant
    @ the Emerson Colonial

    Thursday, May 11th
    Chisel
    @ the Sinclair

    Thursday, May 11th
    Graham Nash
    @ the Cabot, Beverly

    Monday, May 15th
    The New Pornographers
    Wild Pink
    @ the Royale

    Thursday, May 18th
    The Pernice Brothers
    perform "Overcome By Happiness"
    (with a string section!)
    @ the Crystal Ballroom

    Friday, Saturday, & Sunday
    May 19th, 20th, & 21st
    Taylor Swift
    Phoebe Bridgers
    Gayle
    @ Gillette Stadium

    Sunday, May 21st
    Blink 182
    Turnstile
    @ the Garden

    Tuesday, May 30th
    Crowded House
    @ the Wang

    Wednesday, May 31th
    Fenne Lily
    Christian Lee Hutson
    @ the Sinclair

    Friday, June 2nd
    Bruce Cockburn
    @ the Cabot, Beverly

    Thursday, June 8th
    Pixies
    Franz Ferdinand
    Bully
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Saturday, June 10th
    Bryan Adams
    Joan Jett & the Blackhearts
    @ TD Garden

    Friday, June 16th
    Steve Lacy
    James Blake
    Toro y Moi
    Fousheé
    @ the Stage @ Suffolk Downs

    Saturday, June 17th
    LCD Soundsystem
    Jamie xx
    Idles
    L'Rain
    @ the Stage @ Suffolk Downs

    Sunday, June 18th
    boygenius
    Clairo
    Dijon
    Bartees Strange
    @ the Stage @ Suffolk Downs

    Wednesday, June 21st
    Wednesday
    Tenci
    @ the Sinclair

    Saturday, July 1st
    Sparks
    @ the Wilbur

    Sunday, July 16th
    First Aid Kit
    The Weather Station
    @ Roadrunner

    Monday & Tuesday
    July 24th & 25th
    Le Tigre
    @ the Royale

    Saturday, August 5th
    Foreigner
    Loverboy
    @ Xfinity Center
    Friday, August 11th
    Glen Hansard &
    Marketa Irglova
    (of the Swell Season)
    @ the Wang

    Saturday & Sunday
    August 19th & 20th
    In Between Days Festival
    with
    Modest Mouse, Lord Huron, Metric,
    Trampled By Turtles, Sunny Day Real
    Estate, Cautious Clay, Yoke Lore,
    Blitzen Trapper, Allison Ponthier,
    Illiterate Light, Slothrust,
    Miko Marks, Weakened Friends,
    shallow pools, Kat Wright,
    Fantastic Cat, Dwight & Nicole,
    Paper Tigers, Dutch Tulips,
    Carissa Johnson, Mint Green,
    Gypsy Moths, & Sweet Petunia
    @ Veterans Memorial Stadium, Quincy

    Tuesday, September 5th
    Beck
    Phoenix
    Weyes Blood
    Sir Chloe
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Tuesday & Wednesday September 12th & 13th
    Death Cab For Cutie
    The Postal Service
    @ MGM Music Hall

    Wednesday, September 20th
    OSEES
    @ the Royale

    Wednesday, September 20th
    Death Grips
    @ House of Blues

    Wednesday, October 11th
    The Mission UK
    The Chamelons
    @ Brighton Music Hall