Like A Version by Triple J: the best of the best
Triple J is like the big, friendly grandparent of independent music. They have been banging around since 1974, tasting all the Australian and international underground tunes we have come to love, and now they even give a leg-up to emerging artists to help them get off the ground. They understands how hard it is to get out there in such a radically diverse and competitive industry, where commercial music gets the biggest pickings and leaves scraps for everyone else. They have been a powerhouse in giving Australian music a name, an international identity and fostering a community within the scene. They love to get their groove on and hate being stuck in traffic with nothing to listen to.
If that wasn’t enough, Triple J’s Like A Version has resulted in some of the best covers around. There’s nothing like the glorious mindfuck that is one artist adapting another’s track to make it something totally unique, yet instantly recognisable. Running for ten years now, Like A Version is one of the only places where artists can pay homage to their favourite musicians, honour each other and generally just have a good time – to our aural pleasure of course. From the totally bizarre to the heart-wrenchingly sincere, the range of artists and tunes is massive, and consistently inspiring. Just another way that Triple J has made a massive impact on the Australian music landscape.
Sadly, our lovely government has recently decided to slam the budget of the ABC (Triple J’s parent company), a sad turn in the long-term goal of filling holes in Australia’s budget. So, in musically-minded protest, I’ve compiled 10 of my favourite Like A Versions from Australian artists, that you may or may not have heard and that you will probably either love or hate, as seems to be the way with covers.
Here’s to you, Triple J.
1. Philadelphia Grand Jury – 99 Problems (Jay-Z)
Ok, so this one is vaguely ridiculous. Still, you have to hand it to PGJ for the sheer 180-flip of genre, as well as a pretty hilarious and catchy bridge (the la-la-la’s). It will get stuck in your head!
2. Bonjah – Royals (Lorde)
If you grew sick of Lorde’s mildly terrifying dance moves and ever-so-soupy vocals, here is a truly talent-filled cover by Bonjah which turns the pop-indie hit into a road-trip wonder – just brimming with blues and sex.
3. Remi – Since I Left You (The Avalanches)
I’ve raved about The Avalanches’s genius sample-filled album before, but I love how Remi took something great and made it different and equally as awesome.
4. Matt Corby – Lonely Boy (The Black Keys)
Matt Corby’s stunning vocals render me speechless once again – a really different way to do a rattling rock n’ roll song like this one.
5. RÜFÜS – My Number (Foals) & Charlotte (Booka Shade)
Once again, RÜFÜS makes electronica look effortless.
6. Abbe May – Pony (Ginuwine)
Abbe May’s deep, husky vocals lend a pick-up to this severely filthy song, turning it into a really catchy electro-rock tune. You’ll end up singing along and attracting the disgusted looks of passersby.
7. The Cat Empire – Hotel California (The Eagles)
If you’re looking to change up a classic, try switching languages. The Cat Empire not only added a delicious ska rhythm to this one, but also sang it in French. Sadly, the original Like A Version video is not available, but the cover was too good to miss, so here it is in audio.
8. Meg Mac – Bridges (Broods)
The power in Meg’s voice in this track is just amazing. It’s one of my favourites for pure firepower.
9. Yves Klein Blue – Walk On The Wild Side (Lou Reed)
This version turns a classic into a slightly island-y tune with rockstar vocals.
10. Husky – Need You Tonight (INXS)
Husky’s truly lovely voice turns this 80s pop into a really beautiful acoustic ballad.
There you have it. An ode to Triple J: keep representing Australian music with passion.