Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Song of the Day: "Cortez the Killer" by Bradford Cox, Randy Randall, and Jim Jarmusch

Yes, this post will contain a pun about the film "Stranger Than Paradise." Man, this pairing is stranger than paradise. There it is. Got it out of the way fast.

But, let's not kid ourselves. This is a very strange trio. Deerhunter frontman Bradford Cox, No Age guitarist Randy Randall, and indie film auteur Jim Jarmusch? Only one festival could have brought together such an unlikely conglomerate (ATP New York). And only one video site would have had the foresight to capture it ( So, this meeting of minds in a hotel room exists. And we are all the richer for it.

Jarmusch and Cox share vocal duties for the Neil Young standard, with Cox doing triple duties with acoustic guitar and harmonica and Randall making very liberal use of his effects pedals. Randall is what makes this recording such a special confluence. Gone are the big guitar solos of Young's version. Obviously, the drums are gone as well, and with those two elements the drive is taken away as well. So, something else needs to fill the void in order to hold attention for the song's nine plus minute long running time. Randall fills that void, but with ethereal effects that lend an overall sense of mystery that befits the song, which tells about mythical Spanish Coquistador Cortez (what a killer). Jarmusch's vocals are surprisingly strong and Cox is solid as usual. This is what a good cover should be; recognizable, but allows for the opportuity for those involved to put their own spin on the song. All three definitely add their own musical personalities to the song and the results find those personalities surprisingly (and impressively) compatable. (video! click for it!)

Courtesy if those dudes at

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