Sunday, January 9, 2011

Cover jam of the day: "Transmission"

Artist: Girl In A Coma (covering Joy Division)
Song: "Transmisison"

This is a great song. It is uniquely Joy Division and no one else can sound like this: the pounding, piston-pumping drums, the heavy, throbbing bass, the fancy but unassuming guitar solos and, of course, Ian Curtis' unmistakable voice (and dance moves, here). That's why a cover represents dangerous territory (try to mimic their style and you'll likely fail) and also why this version succeeds. In no way does it sound like the original (save for the chords and lyrics, of course) but it siphons all of the raw power and emotion from the original through this reworking of the sound. Singer Jenn Alva's voice starts out with a mere whisper, but by the time of the climactic verse in the middle (corresponding with Curtis' wild dance in the video below) she has to press her hand to her forehead and squeeze her eyes shut to keep from, presumably, becoming overwhelmed. (Or maybe she sang so loud that she gave hereself a headache. I don't know.) Meanwhile, the tambourine, finger-snaps and xylophone give the song a really neat personal touch. This is what a cover song should do.

Watch the band perform it live here:

and here's the original, filmed live on the BBC:

On a related note, I'll recommend the fantastic biopic of Ian Curtis, entitled Control. It's tasteful and artful, all b&w and with fantastic casting and acting. Sam Riley does an outstanding job portraying Curtis' inner turmoil and epilepsy. Really well-done, seriously. (And imdb tells me he's playing Jack Kerouac's persona, Sal Paradise, in the upcoming film version of On The Road!?! Gotta see that.)

1 comment:

  1. i love girl in a coma.. and that is an amzing version of it. the recording on their adventures in coverland is so powerful. i think they captured the power that was Ian Curtis.