Tuesday 15 May 2012

Clandestine Classic XXVI - Where Is My Mind? (cover)

Where is my mind?The 26th post in an occasional series that is intended to highlight songs that you might not have heard that I think are excellent - clandestine classics, if you will. Maybe they'll be by bands you've never heard of. Maybe they'll be by more familiar artists, but tracks that were squirelled away on b-sides, unpopular albums, radio sessions or music magazine cover-mounted CDs. Time will, undoubtedly, tell.

I bloody love the Pixies. If you don't too, you should. Maybe you saw the title of this post and thought they were getting a run out here. Well, no, sorry to disappoint, for today's clandestine classic is a cover version. The original comes from what is probably my favourite Pixies album, 1988's Surfer Rosa, but the cover featured here today is a much more recent affair. Does this mean I'm getting down with the kids?

Well, not really, unless bluegrass is trending on Twitter or being pimped by Cowell et al. But I digress - let's stick to the facts. Last October, Minnesota acoustic 5-piece Trampled By Turtles (about whom I know nothing) released a bluegrass (about which I know next to nothing) cover of Where is My Mind for the WhyHunger charity. Then they released a crowd-sourced video of the song, recruiting fans via Facebook. They asked fans to submit photos of themselves creatively holding a sign with one word from the song on it - these were stitched together in a montage, interspersed with live concert footage from a show in Louisville.

The good thing about this is I don't have to know anything about Trampled By Turtles or bluegrass - all I know is that their version of this song ticks all the "what makes a good cover" boxes. It doesn't just try to forensically ape the original. It brings something new to the party. And it can be enjoyed without making you hanker after the original. Having said all that, I think the real trick to the success of this track, apart from the slightly sinister (to this listener, at least) air bestowed by the slow banjo plucking, is the substitution of a mournful violin where once Kim Deal's backing vocals were. It works. It really works.

I'm not going to link to a dodgy download today, because any legit download still contributes to the charity, so here's the track on iTunes. Go and buy it. Then sit back and enjoy this video which, as I've already said, is really pretty good.