The experimental, instrumental Athens, GA outfit Japancakes are putting out two albums this year, one of which tickles us as lovers of covers: Loveless, the band’s tribute to the seminal MBV LP everyone loves to namecheck on their all-time top five list. Pretty ambitious, JCakes! Also, may be worth adding a word or two to that album title, no? Whatever, their “Only Shallow” actually hits a sweet shoegazer spot, all without a lick of pedal fuzz. Yeah, the band saddled themselves with a few more rules in addition to the “all-instrumental” and “each player tracks separately” bit: No distortion, and only pedal steel or cello in place of the vox. The whale-song sirens and textural luster are in there alright, and though mostly reverent to a fault, it’s pretty impressive as an experiment in arrangement. Gauge the results:


The Athenians also have Giving Machines out this year (available now on iTunes, 10/9 in whatever record stores are still standing), comprising all originals and a cover of Cocteau Twins’ “Heaven Or Las Vegas.” The Japancakes version of Loveless is out this November on Darla.

Also, who’s got the updated odds on this My Bloody Valentine reuniting at Coachella story? Are there any new forum board posts about K. Shields encounters out there? ’Cause that’s all the first wave of “legit press” stories was based on, right? Right.

Comments (14)
  1. conserve  |   Posted on Sep 20th, 2007 0

    this song sucks and so does this site. closing tab now. later

  2. Dewb  |   Posted on Sep 20th, 2007 0

    Despite conserve’s detailed and well-reasoned argument to the contrary, I thought this was freaking awesome.

    Of course I may be in the minority. MBV and pedal steel each have their own small but dedicated audience, and I don’t expect the overlap is large.

  3. jonny5  |   Posted on Sep 20th, 2007 0

    why???
    this sounds terrible

  4. Sam  |   Posted on Sep 20th, 2007 0

    I appreciate the post. I had no idea about this cover album. I thought Japancakes had dissolved, so it is nice to learn they are coming out with another two albums.

    The cover sounds great, and I hope they do the rest of the album justice.

  5. I love japancakes, MBV, and pedal steel, so this is a-ok in my book

  6. stark mitz  |   Posted on Sep 20th, 2007 0

    i wouldnt comment, but anyone trying to cover MBV has another thing coming… loveless’s might cant be reproduced! this is so terrible …might as well be string quartet tribute to mbv

  7. Sam  |   Posted on Sep 21st, 2007 0

    No no you should hear the Antlers’ “When You Sleep” cover. Rad and very diff from the original.

  8. walkathon  |   Posted on Sep 21st, 2007 0

    Mildly disappointed to discover this is the same lo-fi, edited audio
    from off of Darla’s site.

    Regardless, anxious for this album to drop.

  9. Josef  |   Posted on Sep 21st, 2007 0

    saw Japancakes at SXSW in like 2001, and thought they were like a bourbon filled shoegaze thing, in that hot Austin club.

    This is HOT.

  10. Fucking Genius!
    John Neff is an amazing pedal steel player.

  11. Craig  |   Posted on Sep 21st, 2007 0

    I second the Antlers commment. The Antlers are amazing. It’s rare that someone can successfully cover MBV.

  12. Jhames  |   Posted on Sep 21st, 2007 0

    I actually like this cover, their sound is such a nice way to transition into autumn.

  13. Eric  |   Posted on Sep 24th, 2007 0

    Thanks for the thoughts. We didn’t try to make the original record better, but wanted to arrange a different version and showcase again how great the original songs are. Thanks.
    Eric, Japancakes

  14. jeffers  |   Posted on Sep 27th, 2007 0

    Sorry, you don’t cover MBV’s “Loveless” and expect to not incense some peeps. I’m one of them.

    “Only Shallow” is one of the best songs ever…that tattoo intro into the monsterous Sabbath on steriods riff, into the sweetest pop swoon…OMG, it’s perfect in any light. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

    I don’t doubt that japancakes are rabid MBV fans, and I applaud their efforts. Doesn’t mean I like it.

    It’s total crap, like MBV elevator muzak…surely a sign of the appocalypse.

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