As hump day approaches (and I await an inspection from my landlord, which means cleaning the house — props to my partner for mowing our shaggy lawn), I thought I’d kick out some jams. Or rather, highlight some ladies who’ve kicked out other people’s jams, making them their own in the process. I have selected the following covers, all performed in concert by female-only bands, to simulate a rock block on the classics station.
Let’s start it out all tart and British. Here we have The Raincoats covering “Lola” in a concert they performed last month. Originally by The Kinks, the song tells the story about a man being seduced by a transvestite. In their famous revision, however, the pursued is a proper English lady singing as man, adding at least two more levels of queerness.
Next up is Rasputina’s cover of Heart’s “Barracuda,” reminding all of us that cellos can rock just as hard as electric guitars.
Finally, we close with Sleater-Kinney, a band whose sound was heavily indebted to rock legends like Led Zeppelin and The Who. But they also came of age during new wave’s brief but delicious reign, which is why I wanted to include their cover of The B-52s’ “Rock Lobster.”
And if I had anything to do with programming a classic rock station, early B-52s would totally be on our playlists because a) Ricky Wilson was an awesome guitarist and b) it don’t get more classic than Farfisas, bee-hives, and bikini whales. Bonus points for getting K Records impresario/Beat Happening frontman Calvin Johnson, who is famous for his monotone, to fill in for the considerably less monotone Fred Schneider. Plus, like Heart and The Raincoats, The B-52s are a veteran act who can still dance this mess around, as several ACL festival goers can attest. If given the chance, I have no doubt that S-K still can too.