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Hear the Crashing Steel, Feel the Steering Wheel
September 4, 2009 9:16 AM   Subscribe

Warm Leatherette as considered by several musical performance troupes. It all begins with The Normal [youtube] b/w TVOD [youtube]. See also Wikipedia. And then there's... Absolute Body Control [youtube] / Blizzfrizz Spielt [youtube] / Chicks on Speed [last.fm] / Grace Jones [youtube] / Duran Duran [youtube] / Dolce & Gabbana [youtube] / Gadgetto [mp3] / Grammal Seizure [link through] / Neon [youtube] / Nick Anthony [youtube] / Prayer Tower [youtube] / Sleepchamber [web] / Spafros [youtube] / Die Tödliche Doris [youtube] / Vitalic [yahoo music] / Zombie Zombie [youtube] / Trent Reznor, Jeordie White and Peter Murphy [youtube]. Previously on metafilter.
posted by eccnineten (26 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Grace Jones (audio with photo stills).

If you didn't venture into the Wiki article, here's the quick summary: it was one of 2 songs (T.V.O.D. being the other) by Mute Records founder Daniel Miller's solo work, and the first release on Mute (in 1978!). The lyrics of the song reference J.G. Ballard's controversial 1973 novel Crash (a story about car-crash sexual fetishism).
posted by filthy light thief at 9:23 AM on September 4, 2009


Addendum: Miller released a live album with Robert Rental (born Robert Donnachie). Miller also produced some work as Silicon Teens, played synthesizer as Dr. Death, produced a single as Larry Least, along with a much larger collection of works (producer and remixer) using his own name.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:31 AM on September 4, 2009


I don't like the original, but the Grace Jones cover is a total classic.
posted by dydecker at 9:31 AM on September 4, 2009


I heard this song on the radio a few days ago for the first time since I was a kid... the first time I heard the song was when I'd inadvertantly gone to a SLEƎP CHAMBER show. I like the song much better now than I did then.
posted by not_on_display at 9:36 AM on September 4, 2009


Ballard wrote a fictionalized autobiography, The Kindness of Women, which hints that Crash may have been closer to being autobiography than fiction. Regardless of how much of the story is fictionalized, his wife did die in a car crash, and he did party with artists who made art with cars that they intentionally wrecked.
posted by idiopath at 9:42 AM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Another song inspired by J.G. Ballard.
posted by dortmunder at 9:52 AM on September 4, 2009


This is one of my favourite pop songs in the whole world. Along with Tainted Love, which similarly has been generous about so many covers.

That last cover is hysterical. It sounds exactly like a NIN soundtrack with Bauhaus vocals. Which is what it is, of course, but a bit sad that the artists can't transcend their shtick.
posted by Nelson at 10:24 AM on September 4, 2009


aaaand the movie inspired by the book by J.G. Ballard
posted by weezy at 10:26 AM on September 4, 2009


Nice. Can't watch this at work, but I've always liked the song because of the minimal stylings, and Ballard is one of my favourite writers. Something to look forward to after work. Thanks!
posted by Zack_Replica at 10:37 AM on September 4, 2009


The Grace Jones link goes to a video showing a tiny pistol being loaded and fired, which is the most fascinating thing I've seen in a while. Thanks!
posted by otio at 10:40 AM on September 4, 2009


i've got the original vinyl 45 by the normal. for some reason i'm thinking it's dual axis (2holes drilled for the turntable spindle)... i'll have to dig through my singles and see if i am remembering right. or maybe it's got a locked groove... or maybe i'm just confusing it with a NON 7", hah. fun post, eccnineten - thanks!
posted by lapolla at 11:13 AM on September 4, 2009


Thanks for this. While I'm a pretty big Ballard fan, I've never actually read Crash (hangs head in shame), and I'd never made the Ballardian connection to this song.

And speaking of Grace Jones and motor vehicles, Pull Up to the Bumper, Baby!
posted by Bron at 11:13 AM on September 4, 2009


When I first heard this as a kid, I was certain, absolutely certain, that the song was called Warm Leather Rat.
posted by brain_drain at 11:21 AM on September 4, 2009


aaaand the movie inspired by the book by J.G. Ballard

The best thing about the schlocky Paul Haggis Oscar-bait of the same name is that, for decades to come, people will inadvertently rent the Cronenberg film and wonder how it ever won an Academy Award.
posted by Phlogiston at 11:37 AM on September 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


eating greasy ribs? you forgot your bib!
moist. towelette.
posted by sexyrobot at 12:12 PM on September 4, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wow, I've only ever known a handful of people to know this song, much less cover it. It's one of those I had trouble tracking down back in the day. Thanks for this!
posted by hypersloth at 12:26 PM on September 4, 2009


I'd inadvertantly gone to a SLEƎP CHAMBER show.

This sentence (fragment) is every kind of awesome.
posted by malocchio at 12:59 PM on September 4, 2009


@lapolia
You are confusing it with a NON 7". I have one of those as well. Great stuff.
posted by daq at 1:16 PM on September 4, 2009


I rented the schlocky Paul Haggis film and wondered how it ever won an Academy Award. I think that Cronenberg's Crash did win some of the minor technical awards, like the Award for Outstanding Use of Pubic Hair in, Like, Every Other Frame, and I know it won for Why the Fuck Would You Put Holly Hunter in That Role?
posted by Mister_A at 1:36 PM on September 4, 2009


This is my moment to say when I was 19 and naive I went to San Francisco and bought every Current 93 release I could find. And they were all stupidly expensive, like $25 or $30 a CD. I think I was singlehandedly paying for a day's supply of heroin for the band.
posted by Nelson at 2:16 PM on September 4, 2009


Wow. That Normal single was one of the first "new wave" records I ever bought.
posted by scratch at 2:34 PM on September 4, 2009


PANKOW of Wax Trax records fame put out a version that tried to sound menacing.
posted by Hammond Rye at 2:53 PM on September 4, 2009


The Reznor/Murphy cover is an instant favourite. Exactly what a cover should be, in my books.

I can't believe I haven't heard it until now.
posted by howling fantods at 8:37 PM on September 4, 2009


Wow. I still have the single by The Normal. It has TVOD on the flipside. Wonder if it's worth anything?
posted by Splunge at 8:15 AM on September 5, 2009


The vocals on the original are perfectly dispassionate; the vocals on the covers err in the direction of hamminess, and miss the point. Some songs should simply be loved and not covered.
posted by BriMaxx at 8:37 AM on September 5, 2009


Where's the guy-with-a-guitar acoustic cover? The internet has led me to expect this for every song.
posted by Eideteker at 3:38 AM on October 1, 2009


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