Jeff Mangum Covers Chris Knox (Stereogum Premiere)

Jeff Mangum Covers Chris Knox (Stereogum Premiere)

When I was a teenager I was deeply into hardcore and then SST-related bands, noise, and anything I could find that was slightly off-kilter in those old Ajax catalogs (Sun City Girls, Thinking Fellers, early Pavement, etc). I think Ajax is how I got into the overlapping New Zealand experimental and home-recorded pop scenes: Dead C, Terminals, Wreck Small Speakers On Expensive Stereos, Alastair Galbraith, Cakekitchen (and This Kind Of Punishment), the Peter Jefferies solo albums, etc. I tended toward the darker and moodier material, but as far as pop goes, I really loved (and love) Flying Nun mainstays Tall Dwarfs, the duo of Chris Knox and Alec Bathgate. Knox’s solo work, too. He wrote such seemingly effortless smart pop gems: I sorta viewed him as the NZ Robert Pollard or something, albeit a tad sunnier (and wearing running shorts and muscle shirts for his live shows). Unfortunately, in June of last year Knox suffered a “life altering” stroke. To help with his rehabilitation costs 33 bands have donated Knox-related covers to the double CD collection Stroke – Songs For Chris Knox. The tracklist includes Yo La Teno, Lou Barlow, Jay Reatard (RIP), David Kilgour, Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, Stephin Merritt, Bill Callahan, the Mountain Goats, the Chills, the Verlaines, Tall Dwarfs themselves, etc. Jeff Mangum offers a deeply felt take on “Sign The Dotted Line.”

Check out the Weeville original at It’s reported Knox is working on a new Tall Dwarfs album that includes singing but no words. The guy’s inspired. I suggest you dig deeper into this work.

Stroke is out 2/23 via Merge, where you can preview and purchase the album. The tracklist’s below. The songs are arranged chronologically.

Disc 1
01 Jay Reatard – “Pull Down The Shades”
02 The Checks – “Rebel”
03 The Bleeding Allstars – “Ain’t It Nice”
04 Peter Gutteridge – “Don’t Catch Fire”
05 The Chills – “Luck Or Loveliness”
06 David Kilgour – “Nothing’s Going To Happen”
07 The Crying Wolfs – “All My Hollowness To You”
08 Stephin Merritt – “Beauty”
09 Portastatic – “Nostalgia’s No Excuse”
10 The Mint Chicks – “Crush”
11 Jay & Sam Clarkson – “I’ve Left Memories Behind”
12 Sky Green Leopards – “Burning Blue”
13 Shayne Carter – “The Slide”
14 Pumice – “Grand Mal”
15 Hamish Kilgour – “Knoxed Out”

Disc 2:
01 Boh Runga – “Not Given Lightly”
02 Red & Zeke (Feat. Bill Doss and Neil Cleary) – “Bodies”
03 Jeff Mangum – “Sign The Dotted Line”
04 Bill Callahan – “Lapse”
05 Genghis Smith – “Growth Spurt”
06 Yo La Tengo – “Coloured”
07 AC Newman – “Dunno Much About Life But I Know How To Breathe”
08 Alec Bathgate – “Glide”
09 Don McGlashan – “Inside Story”
10 Sean Donnelly – “The Outer Skin”
11 Lambchop – “What Goes Up”
12 The Mountain Goats – “Brave”
13 The Tokey Tones (and friends) – “Round These Walls”
14 The Bats – “Just Do It”
15 Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – “My Only Friend”
16 The Finn Family – “It’s Love”
17 Jordan Luck – “Becoming Something Other”
18 The Verlaines – “Driftwood”
19 Lou Barlow – “Song Of The Tall Poppy”
20 The Nothing – “Napping In Lapland”
21 Tall Dwarfs – “Sunday Son”

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