Scarlett Johansson, Tom Waits, and TV on the Radio

Scarlett Johansson is releasing an album covering ten Tom Waits songs on May 20 called Anywhere I Lay My Head.

Here’s an excerpt from a Pitchfork interview with Waits, who is very zen about the concept of covers:

Pitchfork: I’m sure you know Scarlett Johannson [sic] is recording an album of your songs?
Tom Waits: Well no, I read about it in the paper.
Pitchfork: No one consulted you beforehand?
Tom Waits: No, no. But, you know, more power to her.
Pitchfork: Are you excited to hear it?
Tom Waits: I don’t know if I’m excited to hear it, but I’m curious. People make songs so that somebody else will hear them and want to do them. I guess it’s an indication that the songs aren’t so ultra-personal that they can’t possibly be interpreted by anyone else. I’ve seen her in movies. I don’t know what she’s going to do with the tunes. When you get a hold of somebody else’s song, you make it your own. That’s all you can do. And that usually requires a certain amount of tailoring. Cut the sleeves off, lay some buttons. Everybody does something different to a song, that’s the tradition.

I didn’t really care about this S-Jo release until I heard it was produced by TV on the Radio‘s Dave Sitek. So now I have a timely reason to blog about TVotR. Huzzah! Let me sketch an outline of this band for you.

First and foremost, they make exquisite night-driving music.

While hanging out with a new-ish friend this summer, we raided a jukebox and I asked him, “What kind of stuff do you listen to?” He could have said a genre or listed a few bands. But he brazenly slid the weird sounding band name “TV on the Radio” into the conversation, just as simple and easy as greasing the maitre’d with a discreetly folded hundred dollar bill. The reference was currency; I knew we’d get along just fine.

Watch a video on their MySpace of a performance of Dreams with Peter Murphy and Trent Reznor. PM can’t turn “it” off, and he most certainly shouldn’t! Even better, watch TVotR’s excellent weirdness in other live performances.

Laugh at this excerpt from an interview with band member Kyp Malone, as he responds to the question, “Are you aware of anyone of importance calling your band pretentious?” Kyp said, “I don’t know, but I think we are. If it’s pretentious and it falls short of what it’s striving for, then I’m sorry. But without pretension, no one would do anything creative and get on stage and record it on some tape. I’m an art fag, dude, give me a break.”

Read a quality review on Pitchfork of the stellar disc Return to Cookie Mountain.

Download a couple of tracks at Dead Indie Elephants.

Enjoy this cool music video for Staring at the Sun.

Grab the free and legal mp3 Dry Drunk Empire.

Support great music.

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2 Comments

Filed under Covers, Music Videos

2 responses to “Scarlett Johansson, Tom Waits, and TV on the Radio

  1. Alupa

    S-Jo as a triple threat? Really? No, but really?

    Really? Someone tell me that this is a hoax.

  2. Pingback: Favorite Albums of 2008 «

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