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Five people cover Somebody That I Used To Know on one guitar
January 6, 2012 11:51 PM   Subscribe


 
Never heard the original, and I don't want to now . This is pretty sweet. Is it me, or do both the guys sound a little like Peter Gabriel?
posted by timsteil at 12:09 AM on January 7, 2012


I like both the original and this. Thanks for posting.
posted by h00py at 12:13 AM on January 7, 2012


The original version, in case anyone was wondering.
posted by tim_in_oz at 12:15 AM on January 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


I prefer it to the original. The woman's voice adds another dimension somehow (to the second half, anyway). And I could watch the percussionist dude do his thing 'til the cows come home.

I'd love to know how they came up with the idea. Were they all sitting around, playing their separate bits on separate guitars and then someone said, "hey, why don't we all play it on one guitar?".
posted by malibustacey9999 at 12:59 AM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


LOVE! Thanks Fiasco. Are they Australians? I was soooo thinking the bearded guy was the equivalent of a triangle player. But he actually does stuff and sings too. If they were Australians I would pay to see them. Shame they can only afford one g-tar.
posted by taff at 1:04 AM on January 7, 2012


It's surprising how much the bearded guy could do with those short string sections on the headstock. I'd initially thought they'd pulled him in off a 1930s Newfoundland fishing boat just for his stoic staring skills.

I think I can say with some authority that this is a really great cover.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:14 AM on January 7, 2012 [12 favorites]


Gotye previously.

And Walk Off The Earth is becoming quite a YouTube phenom with imaginative cover versions (although not always as imaginative as that). Here's bandleader Gianni Luminati overdubbing himself on audio AND video for The Beatles' "Yesterday".
posted by oneswellfoop at 1:14 AM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is as great as the original. Thanks, Fiasco da Gama.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:49 AM on January 7, 2012


They're in Ontario, Canada, according to their Myspace (?!?) profile, Taff.

And Yesterday is spectacular! Great find, Fiasco, thanks.

Scuttles off to iTunes with fingers crossed that Aussies can buy their music...

posted by malibustacey9999 at 2:51 AM on January 7, 2012


This was a big hit last summer in the Netherlands. I like this version, but I prefer the original.

The woman's voice adds another dimension somehow (to the second half, anyway).

What do you mean ? In the original the third verse is also sung by a woman. Or do you prefer her voice over the original voice ?
posted by Pendragon at 2:53 AM on January 7, 2012


I prefer the Walk Off The Earth woman's voice, Pendragon. Kimbra just didn't do it for me on the original version.
posted by malibustacey9999 at 2:56 AM on January 7, 2012


The guitar makes for a great bit of stagecraft, but it is the vocals that make this such an amazing cover. Really flawless work.
posted by mek at 3:08 AM on January 7, 2012


Great song - thanks for posting.
posted by YAMWAK at 3:15 AM on January 7, 2012


Excellent. Great post!
posted by JtJ at 4:33 AM on January 7, 2012


"I prefer it to the original. The woman's voice adds another dimension somehow (to the second half, anyway)."

Yeah, I was going to say the same thing that Pendragon asked you above.

And, as a matter of fact, the original video led me to discover Kimbra just now, for which I'm grateful. Two of the three songs I've heard of hers are incredible, while one is way too pop for me. But...two out of three ain't bad.

If anyone is interested who isn't already familiar with her, the official video for Kimbra's "I want to Settle Down" is pretty cool; but it's worth watching the "live" version recorded in the studio. Similarly, there's a "live" version of "Plain Gold Ring", which is also pretty amazing. She's pretty amazing. I suppose that some would say that she's ostentatious as a singer, but I'm not sophisticated enough to dislike it.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 4:34 AM on January 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


I love that looping thing she does, accompanying herself with layers of her own voice, live. Very cool!
posted by h00py at 4:45 AM on January 7, 2012


This one is a lot of fun
posted by the noob at 4:48 AM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


I still prefer the original to this, but it is a very good cover.
posted by liquorice at 6:08 AM on January 7, 2012


The drive for "austerity" is just going too far now.

Mind you, when they said they were cutting back on orchestras, this isn't what I thought they meant.
posted by The River Ivel at 6:10 AM on January 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


The bearded guy playing the headstock reminded me of Noel Gallagher.
posted by Trurl at 6:16 AM on January 7, 2012


First thing that struck me was that I really don't think that that microphone, in that location, would be recording that guy's voice in the way that we're hearing it. So I know I sound like an incredibly miserable old fart for saying it, but I have a sense that this is not what it seems. This isn't being done live by five people.

It's still a nice concept; still a nice cover; still a nice song. But it would have been even more impressive if they'd actually done what they're making it seem like they're doing. (I might be wrong, and reserve the right to look like an idiot. But that vocal does not sound right).
posted by Hartham's Hugging Robots at 6:59 AM on January 7, 2012


I really think you're being overly cynical. We may not be seeing every mike but just look closely at the finger work and the lips. People really are this talented; it should be celebrated!
posted by h00py at 7:12 AM on January 7, 2012


Yeah, that mic placement jumped out at me too. It seems clear that they can do this live, it just really doesn't appear to have been recorded that way - at least not that vocal.
posted by scrowdid at 7:31 AM on January 7, 2012


I'm no expert, but this strikes me as a single-take video synced to studio-recorded audio. Not a criticism, though.
posted by hot soup girl at 7:40 AM on January 7, 2012


Yes, it should say "5 people lip syncing/mimicing to previously recorded song on a guitar. Who knows if they can do this live. "
posted by saucygit at 7:42 AM on January 7, 2012


OK, I've watched it again, and I'm going to stick my neck on the line and say I'm 100% certain we're not hearing what they're doing. All three vocals are at exactly the same level as each other - and at a constant smooth level throughout each vocal. In other words, they're recorded just as you would in the studio. (And very nice they sound too). I suppose they could have been compressed well (which is in any event what you'd do in the studio), but I notice the first guy quite often looks down whilst he's singing. You try asking someone in front of you to sing whilst looking up and down, and hear what it sounds like.

Contrary to h00py's point, whilst you only have my word for this, I'm not a cynical type of person at all. And h00py, I know there are a metric shit ton of talented folks - including, most probably, this lot.

But given the extraordinary feats people get up to for real and record in videos nowadays, this seems like slightly short change. Dare I say it's also a little cheeky of them to be working so hard to make it look like it's real when I reckon it's not.

Lest I seem like a real shit for spoiling on all the 'this is a lovely song', let me repeat I have no criticism of the song...
posted by Hartham's Hugging Robots at 7:45 AM on January 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


also, it occurs to me that I said "I suppose they could have been compressed well" - not with the huge amount of other sound also being picked up by the vocal mics (eg. the guitar, the hand percussion, etc.)
posted by Hartham's Hugging Robots at 7:54 AM on January 7, 2012


the official video for Kimbra's "I want to Settle Down" is pretty cool; but it's worth watching the "live" version recorded in the studio

I like how she dances like she's trying to choke the sound out of the air.
posted by Diablevert at 8:03 AM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is not live. It is still freakin awesome.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:25 AM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


The bearded guy playing the headstock reminded me of Noel Gallagher.

That could only be said by someone who's never seen a bearded Adam Buxton.
posted by howfar at 8:25 AM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Check the long haired dude in the middle's fingering on the ascending / descending line here. The note is sustained significantly past hit pull-off. Many other examples when you watch closely and compare fingering.

Still, this is a great cover. The vocals are killer!
posted by lazaruslong at 8:28 AM on January 7, 2012


Add quotes/italics as appropriate above, sorry.
posted by howfar at 8:28 AM on January 7, 2012


Also, Someone Like You.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:44 AM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


First thing I thought, how hard is each persons role on the guitar? then, holy crap these guys are good singers.
posted by jonclegg at 8:45 AM on January 7, 2012


hot soup girl: I'm no expert, but this strikes me as a single-take video synced to studio-recorded audio.
I'm also not an expert, but some of the other videos uploaded by Walk off the Earth make it really obvious that it is their habit to combine processed studio audio with video that implies (incorrectly) what you're hearing is a single-take live performance.
posted by Western Infidels at 9:02 AM on January 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


i've never heard this song before but this rendition just blew my mind. that was amazing. thanks!
posted by liza at 9:33 AM on January 7, 2012


Am I the only person who is disappointed it wasn't this Somebody that I used to know?
posted by Jazz.bot at 10:05 AM on January 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


That is really disappointing. The song is lovely, there's no need for them to present it in such a way that detracts from the song once you realize that the apparently live performance is just video fakery.
posted by winna at 10:22 AM on January 7, 2012


I live in the Netherlands, and when I listen to music on the radio, that is to say radio-with-a-dial radio, not podcasts, it's almost exclusively to our Radio 2 (work) and Belgium's Studio Brussel (play). Should you happen to be familiar with either of these stations you will correctly deduce that I have heard "Somebody That I Used To Know" 32,768 fucking times in 2011. (On the off chance that you have a familiarity with both stations, you might also have an acute understanding of how rare it is for a contemporary release to enjoy heavy rotation on both.)

There was a brief period around last fall — spanning listens 14,411 and 14,430, an astute observer will note — when I started getting sick of the track. Started. Because now I can't get enough of it. Maybe it's the cyclical nature of its composition: it builds and releases tension masterfully, for starters by teasing the chorus, a bit of a rarity in a pop climate with a minimal attention span. (1"33 to the first chorus is an eternity nowadays). But there are no key changes nor a big climax (although admittedly there's a "little climax" after Kimbra's verse), and the intro and outro are essentially bookends.

Or maybe it's the intricate arrangement, coy but not irritatingly so, which seems to consist entirely of little details, as opposed to a big rhythm track or a melodic theme acting as a foundation for whatever goes on top. This way there always seems to be room for something else without the whole thing getting cluttered, and there is always something else to discover: just today I finally actually noticed the rolling muffled snare pattern / staccato hollow-body electric guitar chords combo going on in the right channel starting after the first verse. Then there is the "Baa, Baa, Black Sheep" glockenspiel, the way Gotye closes that enormous mouth of his between syllables for some reason to form indiscriminate "M"s, the soaring Police backing vocals which, when they finally care to show up, sound completely different from line to line and are deliciously just enough too loud too bright in places. Did I mention a Mellotron?

Then it sort of peters out into that bookend outro and I just want to hear it again. I'm all for diversity and so on, but if "Somebody That I Used To Know" were to be the only song played, continuously, until the end of recorded time, I guess I would be content. I mean, in my brain that's already sort of what's going on anyway.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:23 AM on January 7, 2012 [25 favorites]


See also Ingrid Michaelson.
posted by IndigoJones at 10:58 AM on January 7, 2012


This is pleasant enough, but I think the original has such a masterful performance, arrangement, and production that it's sort of irrelevant. This song is maybe the only pop song of the whole year that, the first time I heard it, I sat up straight and thought "Wow, this is incredible!"
posted by threeants at 11:10 AM on January 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


You know, it's funny. This has been making the rounds on facebook, and it's neat - but pretty gimmicky. I actually haven't been able to watch it the whole way through yet. But then I watched the original, to see what the fuss is about. And actually, I found the original kind of captivating. It's very genuine and it drew me in. This one is an interesting cover, but it's pure polished performance, and it seems somewhat at odds with the original's appeal.
posted by molecicco at 11:27 AM on January 7, 2012


goodnewsfortheinsane, thank you for so eloquently deconstructing my utter obsession with this song.
posted by ukdanae at 12:50 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


it's neat - but pretty gimmicky

I mean, yeah, that's the point. This band is (at least in large part) a cover band. If they didn't do "gimmicky", there's not a chance in the world there would be a thread on metafilter about them, or that a video of them singing would be making the rounds like it has.
posted by inigo2 at 2:42 PM on January 7, 2012


The first time I heard the original song was while I waited in the car outside Coles for my boyfiend to pick up some milk. I picked one line to remember then recited it over and over in my head all the way home to google. I just love it and like goodnews, feel like the song ends before I've finished listening to it every single time. If this doesn't top the Hottest 100 list this year I will be very, very, very surprised. I couldn't watch the cover all the way through because, nice enough as it is, it just made me desperate to listen to he original.
posted by Wantok at 2:56 PM on January 7, 2012


Yeah, the original is really, really awesome.

Also, my guess is that they can and do perform this as they are presented doing in the video, except that there's going to be little errors and generally won't be and couldn't be as well-produced as what we hear in the video. I agree that it's a bit dishonest of them, but it's not as if anything we hear cannot have been performed by all five of them on the same guitar. They obviously went to a lot of trouble to compose a version that could be played this way and that's the version we hear.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:08 PM on January 7, 2012


How do you pronounce "Gotye" anyway? Give it to me in regular letters please as I don't read those funny symbols.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 6:06 PM on January 7, 2012


His real name is Wouter, a common name in the Netherlands and Flanders. The French form of this is "Gaultier", pronounced roughly "go-chay", hence the stage name.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 6:35 PM on January 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Just when I was thinking, "Somebody should wake the girl up", she started singing, and I shut my mouth.
posted by LordSludge at 9:31 PM on January 7, 2012


Over on reddit, one of the guys in the band says:
Because we sell the audio tracks for our covers on iTunes and CDBaby, we do a lot of post-production. The mics you see were used to create a scratch-track that initially accompanied the video, and we use that to overdub the parts that you hear in the final product. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 9:53 PM on January 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


ThatCanadianGirl, here's a handy Gotye pronounciation video.
posted by ukdanae at 6:11 AM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


You try asking someone in front of you to sing whilst looking up and down, and hear what it sounds like.

Don't, I've been there!
posted by quoquo at 8:57 AM on January 8, 2012 [1 favorite]


Just came here to post this and am pleased to see it is already here. While I'm also in the "hard if not impossible to top the original" camp, this version made my wife (who doesn't care for most of my music) perk up and say "wow, that's a great song."
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:04 PM on January 8, 2012


Related: I'm a fan of the four-hands Jerry's Breakdown, if only for the level of shameless mugging by the guy playing the bass part. This is also pretty great..
posted by hades at 5:48 PM on January 8, 2012


Their cover of Karma Police is also excellent. Watch for flying instruments!
posted by empatterson at 11:48 PM on January 9, 2012


Okay. It's been four days. Now how do I get this song out of my head?

somebody....
posted by ladygypsy at 9:30 AM on January 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


Okay. It's been four days. Now how do I get this song out of my head?


You don't. You're on day four of month one. Did you not read the youtube comments on the original? I was first exposed this summer over on Andrew Sullivan's blog, and it took about 6 weeks to work its way through my system. I still get relapses though. I'm whistling it right now.
posted by Diablevert at 4:07 PM on January 11, 2012 [1 favorite]


I believe I am now in the "Capgras delusion" phase of "Somebody That I Used To Know": it played on the radio today and I was convinced it couldn't possibly be Gotye singing. It was the exact same production.

Maybe they just played it pitched down a bit. It did seem a little slow.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:58 AM on January 13, 2012


Update, it seems Ellen Degeneres had them on her show this week and they performed it live.

Obviously comments above are correct and post-production at least is obvious in the YouTube video. This was more raw and imperfect but gotta admit, they pulled it off just fine..
posted by raider at 3:55 PM on January 27, 2012


Remarkably good live rendition, given the general awkwardness involved in having 5 people around a guitar. It's pretty clear that the 2nd male vocalist isn't quite up to the task (though it is admittedly the hardest part of the song), and the post-production involved quite a bit of tweaking there.
posted by mek at 4:24 PM on January 27, 2012


Local radio/podcaster guys did a spoof video of it, it's kinda cute.
posted by antifuse at 1:08 PM on January 31, 2012


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