SpyderPop Records releases a compilation paying tribute to the words and music of the incomparable Elvis Costello. Costello is truly one of the worlds greatest modern songwriters, so I was stunned that a tribute disc took this long to come together. Liz Phair put it best “Elvis Costello writes novels in three minutes. He gets inside your head, and doesn’t let go… His songs about women and girls are devastating, like arrows to the heart. He’s a poet with a punk’s heart.” This collection gathers just about every power pop artist I can think of interpreting his massive songbook.
It’s hard to highlight standouts, but I’ll focus on a few of my favorites. Starting with disc 1, you have Chris Richards and The Subtractions doing a crunchy but faithful version of “No Action,” Gail George makes the “Deep Dark Truthful Mirror” her own. “New Amsterdam” by Parallax Project is another gem of an arrangement with its unique rhythmic texture. Jaime Hoover & Steve Stoeckel do an amazing a Capella version of “Blame It On Cain.” Of course Kurt Baker’s synth version of “High Fidelity” is another highlight.
Disc 2 boasts a stripped down version of “Alison” by Matthew Sweet and a truly beautiful arrangement of “Riot Act” by Brandon Schott. Another fave is Hans Rotenberry’s “Tear Off Your Own Head (It’s A Doll Revolution)” and Paul Myers tragic “So Like Candy.” Disc 3 continues with the high energy “Strict Time” by The Anderson Council and the always amazing Lannie Flowers doing “Radio Sweetheart.” With the huge amount of songs I was a little surprised no one took on the fan favorite “Oliver’s Army.” Many of the artists do a great job with the songs, so ultimately its worth the wait.
Co-produced by longtime Costello fans Olivia Frain and John M. Borack, with all proceeds from the release benefiting the Mr. Holland’s Opus Foundation, a non-profit organization that donates musical instruments to under-funded school music programs. Highly Recommended.