Mates of State Covers Tom Waits

Probably because they rhyme. And isn’t that as good a reason as any? The adorable parents of Magnolia and June are touring with John Panos and my personal guitar hero Kenji Shinagawa this summer, and they played the First Unitarian Church in Philly last night. I know I would see more bands I’ve been enjoying on my iPod for years if they would only hire Kenji to play with them. What an awesome, exuberant show. And that’s a completely unbiased, disinterested remark.

Of course I didn’t know this Tom Waits track before I heard the Mates’ version (from their new cover album, Crushes), but I was pretty sure it would sound completely different, in a good way. Sure enough! One’s a party, the other’s a good-night kiss: two sides of the same shiny coin.

Tom Waits, “Long Way Home”
Mates of State, “Long Way Home”

This entry was posted in Noise Variations and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Mates of State Covers Tom Waits

  1. Matt K says:

    In the history of music, is there a more unassailable artist than Tom Waits? It’s cool, in plenty of places, to shit on the Beatles, but who will say something against old Tom? Well, I’m not going to start the fire, but I will say that if there’s a cover of a Waits song, there’s a good chance I’ll end up liking it better than the original (unless they’re sung by Scarlett Johansson). Don’t love the over-exuberant(?) “Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!s” here but on the whole I’ll take the Mates… and yes, that show was great fun.

  2. David G says:

    There is no artist more unassailable, Matt, and you’re assailing is bullshit. I feel the opposite way: although there may be a few covers of Waits songs that are better than the original, and many covers that are good (because the source material is so strong), but in general Waits is a hard act to follow. Sure, some don’t like his voice, but well, some people deserve a punch in the kidneys.

    I like the Mates of State cover, although I agree with Matt that I’d like it more without the reminder of the Flaming Lips’ dreadful “The Yeah Yeah Yeah Song.” But for me, the Waits is just about perfect; I haven’t even listened to the album this came off, Brawlers, Brawlers, and Bastards, which thanks to you, Katherine, I’ll need to correct post-haste. Bad, Tom Waits fan, bad.

    And Matt, if you like covers of Waits so much, I suggest you listen to the Norah Jones version of this song [via Cover Lay Down]. You deserve that pain.

    So, in conclusion: I now like a Mates of State song. Even without hearing Kenji play it.

  3. Katherine says:

    Wait, Dave, if you want to listen to an actual Mates of State song, check out “The Re-Arranger.” I have to work very hard not to sing this one out loud with my headphones.

  4. Josh K. says:

    Found your internet music nest.

Comments are closed.