We still haven't gotten around to setting up our iTunes account on the new phone yet. Since we mostly listen to the NPR live stream in the car anyway it's not a big deal, but every once and a while we get a sudden urge for a certain tune. Usually YouTube solves the trick nicely, and it was during a search for Sisters of Mercy's "This Corrosion" that we came across this cover of the classic goth tune by a group called Lambchop.
Lambchop is an alternative country band out of Nashville, and they released "This Corrosion" on a bonus disc for their 2002 album Is a Woman. The tracks are stark, minimalistic tunes, and the Andrew Eldritch cover in particular is deeply sinister and haunting. Being the big fans of Southern Gothic and dark country that we are, we knew we just had to share this interpretation with our friends on the Gothic Council.
Joining us this week is DJ Martin Oldgoth, living historian Morrighanne Burns, author of the Encyclopedia Gothica Liisa Ladouceur, blogger at Night's Plutonian Shore Sarah Fanning, co-founder of the Age of Decay festival Alethea Carr, and fashion designer Batty.
Here's the video for Lambchop's interpretation. We thought it would be met with acclaim. We were wrong.
Martin Oldgoth: I'm not that impressed to be honest. I'm one of those people that believe that the Sisters should have stopped at First and Last and Always, and that there were far better bands than them to start with. Sorry! If it's covers of this track then I think the Diane Birch with The Phenomenal Handclap is the better one.
Morrighanne Burns: My favourite cover is In Extremo's version. Sometimes the cover can be really good in it's own right like XPQ21 and their cover of "Bela Lugosi." I have to say I'm not too keen on the Lambchop cover but they have made it into something completely different.
Liisa Ladouceur: Well, damn you, Jef, for bringing to my attention such a blasphemously boring version of one of my favourite songs of all time, and undoubtedly one of the Desert Island Goth rock classics. I was all set to hear something radically different (as opposed to cringe-worthy sub-par industrial cover, ala norm with Sisters tributes) but Lambchop has simply sucked all the life out of the song. Unplugged indeed -- like a life support switched off. Seriously, "This Corrosion" is an epic, melodramatic, symphonic bombast that starts big and only gets bigger, and even if stripped down needs to maintain its dynamics.
I decided to wade through other "This Corrosion" covers and found two I could stand to listen to until the end: A heavy rock version by Maryslim featuring Jyrki69 that would have fit in fine on Vision Thing and a solo, soulful piano number by Lisa Cuthbert.
I wish I could suggest any Sisters cover I actually love, but I've yet to hear one, although the Maryslim one comes the closest.
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The ironic thing about all the horrid Sisters covers out there (Alkaline Trio's "Lucretia?" Shudder!) to me is that Andrew has always been quite masterful at covering other people's material ("Jolene!" "Gimme Shelter!") and it's a shame his own excellent compositions haven't been selected by more talented vocalists/bands. I can only daydream of Johnny Cash doing "Black Planet" or "More."
Sarah Fanning: That was not my idea of fun! Sorry, Jef, that was just painful. I am truly not a fan of acoustic covers of my goth favorites. I find that unless the song was originally written for acoustic performance, that it really loses something. And I completely agree with Liisa, that there is really no good cover of any Sisters of Mercy song out there.
Alethea Carr: Give me the original of "This Corrosion" every time -- full length, please, not that godforsaken hacked four-minute version that went out on the radio. As I have only a few functioning cells left in my ageing brain, I have to spare them being taken over by further cover versions of that song -- those cells can be put to better use listening to Sisters of Mercy cover "Gimme Shelter" or Mephisto Walz doing "Paint it Black." Hmmmm, what is it about goth bands doing Rolling Stones songs so much better than Mick & Company?
Batty: That cover was painful. I'd rather hear the full "I'm too old to dance to this anymore" Sisters version of this song in all it's goth-club glory. Even if I do have to stop halfway through for a few breaths. The acoustic cover just sucks all the rock and roll out of it.