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Various - Smoking Popes Tribute (Cover Artwork)

Various

Various: Smoking Popes TributeSmoking Popes Tribute (2003)
Smoking Popes

Reviewer Rating: 3
User Rating:


Contributed by: greg0rbgreg0rb
(others by this writer | submit your own)

This salute to Chicago's legendary Smoking Popes isn't half bad for a tribute album. However, there are some weird things about it. Duvall (the new religious version of the Smoking Popes) contributes a track, which is like them covering themselves, which I guess wouldn't really be a cover after al.
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This salute to Chicago's legendary Smoking Popes isn't half bad for a tribute album. However, there are some weird things about it. Duvall (the new religious version of the Smoking Popes) contributes a track, which is like them covering themselves, which I guess wouldn't really be a cover after all. Mike Felumlee does a track as well, and he was the Popes' drummer. And when I really analyze this, 9 of the 15 songs are by bands that were involved someway with Double Zero Records, meaning they are on the label or at least released something with them. Getting past those quirks of the album, let's examine the tracks.

1. Bad Astronaut - Megan: This original rules and this band rules, making for a great starting track. Joey Cape does a great job with the vocals, and Bad Astronaut's signature piano quite nicely replaces the opening guitar and continues throughout the track. The choruses are rockin' with some great drumming, and the cool little effects thrown in top off what I consider the best track on the album.

2. Retro Morning - Need You Around: Just a sped up version of the song with some vocal effects and a pretty sweet synth solo replacing the guitar solo of the original. Decent cover, nothing too out there, but it sounds good.

3. Death on Wednesday - Let Them Die: Another cover not far off from the original. They did add some vocal harmonies to the chorus, which work nicely, and the singer almost has that soft Kermit-esque (I say it lovingly) aspect to his voice that Josh does.

4. Blue Shade Witness - Mrs. You and Me: This track is a bit weak. They make this song, which is already a ballad of sorts, sound way to clean and alternative, like something the Goo Goo Dolls would play.

5. Notaword - Off My Mind: Adding some hardcore-ish breakdowns and their own little flair, these guys pull off a decent cover of this one.

6. Duvall - Do Something: I just can't get over this. Ok, I like Duvall, but they just don't change this song much, not any more than a band might change their songs slightly for a live show. There are a couple little things in the music, and he say some different things at the end ("You make me wanna _____"), plus he adds some God lyrics in the last verse. Not a bad track, but that's because this is the Popes.

7. Tom Daily - Waiting Around: A bit slower than the original and with a different take on the intro. Some extras like and background keyboard and horns for texture make this one of the better tracks on the album.

8. Grade - Days Just Wave Goodbye: I was never big into Grade, but I dig this track. The screaming somehow works, especially on the "Gone"s, and the added metal guitar licks and octave chords work well. Also, the drum beat in the chorus, with its super-quick 16th notes between the ride and high hat, just plain rules.

9. Saturday Supercade - I Love You Paul: Almost ska in the intro (and I mean weak ska, I'm not against good ska), this cover just doesn't do this song justice. And the chorus is straight from the original, nothing new or exciting.

10. The Red Hot Valentines - Rubella: Just what I'd expect from these guys. Moog joins the guitar on the intro melody, and some added vocal harmonies make this one of my favs. Nevertheless, if you don't like RHV, you won't like this track.

11. Junction 18 - End of Your Time: They took out all the cool intricacies of the original, like the rhythmic guitar riff and the shaker, and played this straight up pop punk. Coupled with the fact that they didn't even try to do it any faster or harder than the original makes this a crummy cover.

12. Mike Felumlee - Don't be Afraid: This one's a little easier to take than the Duvall track, because it doesn't sound exactly like the Popes. However, Felumlee has made this song pretty damn square, with Strokes style drumming (I don't think it's him drumming, but I don't know who…hell, this could be a drum machine). Not a bad track though, but I'm probably saying this just because I like this song so much.

13. The Ataris - Pretty Pathetic: In my opinion, the original of this is one of the greatest breakup songs ever, and this cover does not do it justice. This isn't even the Ataris really, this is Kris Roe singing over a (most certainly hired) pianist and cellist (maybe two?). That's it, no guitar, bass or drums. In theory, this isn't a bad thing. If Ben Folds had covered this song, I'm sure it would rule. The pianist they use, while obviously skilled, just doesn't play with the power necessary for this tune. This song also lacks something without the drums driving it, and Kris' voice does not sound good this exposed.

14. (secret track) Tom Daily - First Time: Where the Ataris failed, Daily succeeds with his stripped-down version of this great tune. Acoustic guitar, played almost classically at times and strummed chords at others, uses silence well in the first and last verse, taking frequent pauses. Later, a simple keyboard part, almost accordian sounding, comes in and adds to the texture. Daily's heartfelt singing really works well with this, another great Popes breakup song.

15. (secret track) Chad Ashley from Notaword - I Gotta Know Right Now: Another acoustic cover, but this one lacks isn't too interesting. Plus, Ashley opts not to sing the high note/scream on "I gotta know RIGHT now" from the original, which bugs me since that's a key element in the vocal melody.

Sure, it's not half bad, but it's not spectacular. Not many big name bands on here, and I had not even heard of a bunch of them before this. Most of the rest I had heard of most likely merely because I'm from the Chicago area, where most of these bands reside. Perhaps Double Zero just didn't look hard enough for entries on this compilation. I'd like to think that with how great the Smoking Popes were, they would have influenced more bands outside of Chicago and more of their bigger name peers, and that Double Zero simply didn't find them.

There are mostly mediocre covers here, with a few standouts like Bad Astronaut, Tom Daily and Grade. If you haven't heard much of the Popes, you should get almost anything else, such as "Born to Quit," "1991-1998" or "Destination Failure." If you are a huge Popes fan, you may want to consider getting this, it makes for a good listen now and again.

 


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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
Anonymous (November 22, 2003)

oi oi oi

greg0rb (March 27, 2003)

thanks for your support...
-Greg

lieutenant (March 27, 2003)

What a beautiful sight (site).

All one print.

Though now I just have to filter through all the crap to get to the Scott reviews...

Anonymous (March 27, 2003)

Holy crap, mold, poser to the mother fucking people? That's got to be one of the funnier typos to come along in a while.

moldy (March 27, 2003)

the protests worked the bold reviews are gone poser to the mother fucking people

Anonymous (March 27, 2003)

"i guess we should call him BOLDy then ehh!!!! right? hardy har"

gold!

Anonymous (March 26, 2003)

Oh yeah, fuck you new guy.

Anonymous (March 26, 2003)

It's funny how the new guys' post is both biased and has misspellings.

Anonymous (March 26, 2003)

"Fuck you moldy, your reviews are bold too."

i guess we should call him BOLDy then ehh!!!! right? hardy har.

does kyle sing on the grade track? sounds like a stupid question, but i was just wondering due to the breakup and all.

-sk8punx4evr

lieutenant (March 26, 2003)

ATTN sickboi,

You have been challenged.
Accept?

(It's just for fun.)

lieutenant (March 26, 2003)

Comrades, if you are with us, sign the petition! We are already a decade long in signatures, and want YOUR help! I am the author of this petition and I want your patriotic help; do it for the punk rock scene in your country, and let us unite together.

Additionally, this isn't funny or earth-shattering without you (as if it ever would be...).

Anonymous (March 26, 2003)

i already dont like the new guy

Anonymous (March 26, 2003)

Fuck you moldy, your reviews are bold too.

moldy (March 26, 2003)

i really dont care about the bold reviews but maybe we could reinstate the poll and have everyone vote on them. Because right now the bold reviews have been forced upon us by a oppressive dictorial editor without the consent of the readership of punknews.org. This reeks of facisism and will not be tolerated by me nor should it be by anyone who visits this site.

Anonymous (March 26, 2003)

I, as a longtime contributor, do not like the bold reviews either. Despite what the new kid on the block says, it does promote elitism, and an "us/them" mentality. This is one of the few sites I visit anymore, mainly because of the lack of elitism. I feel this new idea contrasts with my opinions of the site.
Just my 2 cents.

-sickboi

ommaddon (March 26, 2003)

To: Punknews.org community and staff

We, the people, promote the abolishment of the use of bold print with review listings in the online community of Punknews.org. This movement believes not in creating barriers between fans of punk rock music, but in achieving solidarity as a group of one, where no man or woman ranks above the other in their active participation towards building a greater, international and equal online punk rock scene.

Well. I'm a new staff member, and though I have not conferred with my fellow staff, I am more than happy to comment on this from my point of view. It is my understanding that the bold reviews are not to create segregation among the online community here, but to identify which reviews are, in fact, written by actual staff members of this website, in which we have many patrons. I believe it has always been the policy of Punknews.org to accept user submitted reviews. The editors of this site have done so, and though the user reviews are frequently littered with misspellings, inaccuracies, and leaning biases, Punknews allows a forum for your voice.

As staff editors and contributing writers, we receive promotional music packages from a variety of record labels for the purpose of reviewing that product.--standard practice. A bold review, in that sense, does not function for purposes of segregation, but to signify to patrons which review is coming directly from us--the staff, who undertake the task of reviewing a great number of records in accordance with our partnership with the labels. Hopefully you will find our staff reviews factually accurate, even if you not agree with our subjective review. I find it only fair to the music industry which we all support that Punknews would strive to its fullest ability to maintain quality news and reviews, and by having staff writers, I see this as an attempt to do that. Many sites do not support user reviewership at all, and Punknews has built its structure around this freedom. Now, with qualified staff writers and our great editors, you can expect a high caliber of reviews when you see that bold title. It's for the benefit of everyone: the industry who supports us, the musicians who deserve a well written and informed review, and the fans, to whom I, as a reviewer, strive to provide the best and most informative review as I can.

I don't see that bold reviews are meant, in any way, to demean or connote elitism, or to break the solidarity of the punk rock scene. Nor do I see it as an issue of ranking. Please understand that staff writers and editors that maintain the Punknews site put in massive amounts of time and energy to keep this community going. This is our work. This is what we are doing for the scene and for the music. But, to me, a bolded review is simply meant to convey our work as staff. My opinions and reviews may not be any better or more qualified than one submitted by a patron, and I encourage everyone to read both staff and user reviews. I have been provided a forum and a means for my voice to be heard as a staff member of this site, where I put extensive time and energy into reviewing music weekly. I am committed to keeping this site running, and Iím exited to be here.

- Jonathan

Anonymous (March 26, 2003)

Someone needs to rate at least a couple Smoking Popes albums.

Anonymous (March 26, 2003)

Ataris still suck ass.

Anonymous (March 25, 2003)

Just for everyone info, Kris does in fact play the piano on 'pretty pathetic.'

Anonymous (March 25, 2003)

13. The Ataris Ė Pretty Pathetic: In my opinion, the original of this is one of the greatest breakup songs ever, and this cover does not do it justice. This isnít even the Ataris really, this is Kris Roe singing over a (most certainly hired) pianist and cellist (maybe two?). Thatís it, no guitar, bass or drums. In theory, this isnít a bad thing. If Ben Folds had covered this song, Iím sure it would rule. The pianist they use, while obviously skilled, just doesnít play with the power necessary for this tune. This song also lacks something without the drums driving it, and Krisí voice does not sound good this exposed.

Just goes to show you that the Ataris suck ass.

But the Popes rule.

bruceless (March 25, 2003)

AATTN: Punknews.org readers:

Sign this petition here regarding the new bold print review listing system.
Keep in mind, this aims for a real goal but has been created in with a sense of humor and the awareness of the actual (lack of) urgency of this situation. Though for the record, I mean every notion this petition suggests. Thank you.

greg0rb (March 25, 2003)

hahaha, scott you ass! I would have gotten it done, but you gave me reason to think it would not have been posted, which ended up being true. Why don't you give me 6 more cds to review for friday while you're at it?

-Greg
PS Scott needed my help to make a flier for a show. :)

Anonymous (March 25, 2003)

yea, joey cape is a genious/god

maverick (March 25, 2003)

Greg-
That's a load of shit. The reason your review for "The Party's Over" isn't up today is because YOU HAVEN'T WRITTEN IT YET, COCKASS.

Dang, what did you think? I wouldn't punk you out?

-Scott

greg0rb (March 25, 2003)

Jim,

my review of The Party's Over will be up on Friday. The only reason it wasn't up today was because so much stuff came out on tuesday they couldnt fit it all on here. I do agree with you in that it is more worth buying than this tribute, but I do like to listen to this now and again.
-Greg

tenderbransonx (March 25, 2003)

I hate tributes. When bands are great just listen to the original fucking band... whats been stuck in my head for weeks is: "Turn the fucking Radio off..."

Anonymous (March 25, 2003)

Yeah, the new alkaline trio is pretty good....I can't get that damn Dan song out of my head...."no one can tell even if i fell 100 stories straight down....down....DOWN!" ARGH! GET IT OUT!

But still, this is the weakest tribute ever....the Popes deserve better then this weak piece of crap. JTB was supposed to cover "You Spoke To Me," which woulda been the only reason to get this....

everyone should buy the new Popes cd "The Party's Over" instead. They're also all cover songs, but it's the Popes covering them, so they rock and sound NOTHING like the originals...

I don't know whether to be sad because it's the last thing they'll ever put out, or happy because it is just as great as I hoped and then some....

Someone review "The Party's Over," and then we can call it a day...

Jim

Anonymous (March 25, 2003)

Save your money for the new Black Flag tribute, its bomb.

-sickboi

alkalinetrio55 (March 25, 2003)

i wish matt and dan covered not that kind of girlfriend........
new trio CD kicks ass.....
only 2 weird songs that might become good over time......

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