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The Late Movies: Daniel Johnston, Covered

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I wrote about Daniel Johnston in a Late Movies post two weeks ago, pointing to some of my favorite performances by him. One of the tricky things about Johnston is that his voice isn't the best, and it can be hard to get past that for many listeners. So in this post, let's listen to ten covers of his songs by other artists. A lot of these can be found on the album The Late Great Daniel Johnston: Discovered Covered (available on MP3 and remastered CD). Enjoy.

Beck - "True Love Will Find You in the End"

"Don't be sad; I know you will. Don't give up until true love finds you in the end."

M. Ward - "Story of an Artist"

"Some would try for fame and glory; others aren't so bold." By my hometown hero, M. Ward.

Bright Eyes - "Devil Town"

"All my friends were vampires. I didn't know they were vampires. Turns out I was a vampire myself, in the Devil Town." Stick around for the shredding.

Sparklehorse & Flaming Lips - "Go"

As the YouTube poster says: "I dare you to find a more beautiful song."

TV on the Radio - "Walking the Cow"

"I am walking the cow. Really don't know how I came here. Really don't know why I'm staying here."

Eels - "Livin' Life" (Live, 1997)

See also: the studio version.

Mercury Rev - "Blue Clouds"

Live in Rel Aviv.

Jad Fair & Teenage Fanclub - "My Life is Starting Over Again"

Okay, Jad Fair is an acquired taste, perhaps as much as Johnston. But I think this is pretty awesome -- plus there's a video.

Starlight Mints - "Dead Lover's Twisted Heart"

"Though the wind is blowing free, and the sun's shining happy, a million faces show no sympathy. But buried deep beneath the shopping mart, mmm, the dead lover's twisted heart!"

Yo La Tengo & Daniel Johnston - "Speeding Motorcycle"

Johnston calls up a radio program to sing lead over the phone. A bit awkward and wonderful. I love the very end. I love the record this comes from, Genius + Love = Yo La Tengo. "Speeding motorcycle, let's speed some more." (See also: the Yo La Tengo-only version from Fakebook.)

What Have I Left Out?

Post your favorite Johnston covers in the comments!

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Australian Charity Releases Album of Cat-Themed Ballads to Promote Feline Welfare
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An Australian animal charity is helping save the nation’s kitties one torch song at a time, releasing a feline-focused musical album that educates pet owners about how to properly care for their cats.

Around 35,000 cats end up in pounds, shelters, and rescue programs every year in the Australian state of New South Wales, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). Microchipping and fixing cats, along with keeping closer tabs on them, could help reduce this number. To get this message out, the RSPCA’s New South Wales chapter created Cat Ballads: Music To Improve The Lives Of Cats.

The five-track recording is campy and fur-filled, with titles like "Desex Me Before I Do Something Crazy" and "Meow Meow." But songs like “I Need You” might tug the heartstrings of ailurophiles with lyrics like “I guess that’s goodbye then/but you’ve done this before/the window's wide open/and so’s the back door/you might think I’m independent/but you’d be wrong.” There's also a special version of the song that's specifically designed for cats’ ears, featuring purring, bird tweets, and other feline-friendly noises.

Together, the tunes remind us how vulnerable our kitties really are, and provide a timely reminder for cat owners to be responsible parents to their furry friends.

“The Cat Ballads campaign coincides with kitten season, which is when our shelters receive a significantly higher number of unwanted kittens as the seasons change,” Dr. Jade Norris, a veterinary scientist with the RSPCA, tells Mental Floss. “Desexing cats is a critical strategy to reduce unwanted kittens.”

Listen to a song from Cat Ballads below, and visit the project’s website for the full rundown.

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AFP/Stringer/Getty Images
ABBA Is Going on Tour—As Holograms
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AFP/Stringer/Getty Images

Missed your chance to watch ABBA perform live at the peak of their popularity? You’re in luck: Fans will soon be able to see the group in concert in all their chart-topping, 1970s glory—or rather, they’ll be able to see their holograms. As Mashable reports, a virtual version of the Swedish pop band is getting ready to go on tour.

ABBA split up in 1982, and the band hasn't been on tour since. (Though they did get together for a surprise reunion performance in 2016.) All four members of ABBA are still alive, but apparently not up for reentering the concert circuit when they can earn money on a holographic tour from the comfort of their homes.

The musicians of ABBA have already had the necessary measurements taken to bring their digital selves to life. The final holograms will resemble the band in the late 1970s, with their images projected in front of physical performers. Part of the show will be played live, but the main vocals will be lifted from original ABBA records and recordings of their 1977 Australian tour.

ABBA won’t be the first musical act to perform via hologram. Tupac Shakur, Michael Jackson, and Dean Martin have all been revived using the technology, but this may be one of the first times computerized avatars are standing in for big-name performers who are still around. ABBA super-fans will find out if “SOS” still sounds as catchy from the mouths of holograms when the tour launches in 2019.

[h/t Mashable]


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