Phosphorescent – “Little Boxes”

As we cover rather closely, each week Showtime’s pot-selling-mom series Weeds’ theme song gets a different spin, by everyone from Regina Spektor and Jenny Lewis to Devendra and the Decemberists (and, well, Billy Bob Thornton). One take on the Malvina Reynolds-penned tune you haven’t heard, though, is the lovely, a.m. country turn by gothic-tinged Brooklyn-via-Georgia folkie Matthew Houck aka Phosphorescent. Houck submitted his version to the show, but it wasn’t used. We think this gorgeous, sighing transmission rules, so we wanted to make it available via the ‘Gum Drop: Even if you haven’t seen Weeds, the tune totally stands up. Here’s Houck on his “Little Boxes”:

How’d the Weeds project come about?
They sent out a request to our label if anyone wanted to do a cover of this song for consideration for their television show. I’ve known this song forever from the version sung by “The Serendipity Sisters” on the album The Best Of The Serendipity Singers.. My parents had that on tape. I’d never heard the original by Malvina.

As a songwriter, what’s it like covering another person’s song?
I love to do it. I’ve recorded a number of one-off covers for various compilations. It’s free and loose and takes some of the pressure off as compared to recording one’s own songs.

How did you go about deciding on your version?
I was working on our album Pride in a house in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn when I got the request. Like I said I’ve always known and liked the song “Little Boxes” so I was interested in doing it. I picked up the ukulele I had used for the song “Wolves” and it sounded pretty good. If you happen to notice, it’s the same notes and key as “Wolves.” So I took a break from the album and recorded this version that afternoon and sent it to ‘em.