I’m one of those vinyl nerds that subscribes to Single-of-the-Month clubs from some of the record labels I really dig. Each month, a new limited edition 7″ single appears in my mailbox.
One of my favourite single series subscriptions over the past few years has been Polyvinyl’s 4-Track Singles Series. Basically, Polyvinyl sent out a Tascam 4-track cassette recorder to an artist. They’d record two songs on the cassette, and then send it’s way to the next artist (x12). Artists included John Vanderslice, Of Montreal, Telekinesis, The Dodos, Kishi Bashi, Cloud Nothings, and so many more.
When I first put on the David Bazan’s instalment of the 4-Track Series I couldn’t quite figure out what I was listening to. The song was so familiar. I knew most of the words, but I couldn’t place it. Soon I was resetting the needle on the 7″ for a second and third listen while furiously typing the lyrics into Google. I really should have known it was The Killers.
Bazan’s moody and clunking sounding synth sounds are reminiscent of late nights messing around with a cheap Casio keyboard bought at a thrift store. Shortly before the chorus, the song is layered with fills of backing tracks, harmonies, and a drum machine. This is a much different David Bazan than the singer-songwriter I’d become familiar with years prior, what with the many house concert videos floating around in my circle of friends and the acoustic concert I caught in Seattle.
While Bazan’s cover of Read My Mind is similar to The Killers’, it feels grown up, as though David Bazan’s voice adds a maturity that was lacking when Brandon Flowers originally recorded it. Somehow, the words didn’t change, but the meaning did. Much like when Johnny Cash when he covered Nine Inch Nails.
This cover isn’t a reinvention of the wheel, but more of an improvement, giving it extra spokes and thicker tires to keep the wheel turning for years to come. The original was pretty damn good, but this version is just a little bit better.