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Giant Drag's "Unicorns" Gets Wicked

Kicking and screaming, pop duo given new life with "Wicked Game" cover

March 31, 2006 12:00 AM ET

Los Angeles' hypnotic indie-pop duo Giant Drag are ready to garner new fans with the re-release of their 2005 debut, Hearts and Unicorns, this week. But don't think the band is happy about it. According to frontwoman Annie Hardy, it was their label, Kickball, that decided to repackage the effort -- now with an extra cut: Giant Drag's fan-favorite cover of Chris Isaak's smoky love song, "Wicked Game."

"Obviously," says Hardy, "the cover wasn't on the original version of the album because we didn't fucking want it there." The singer is quick to dismiss the recording, laid down in February for the U.K. release, as "not even ironic."

What is ironic, however, is how pleased longtime fans of the three-year-old duo are likely to be by the addition. For their first gigs, Hardy and drummer Micah Calabrese would pad out their short sets with the Isaak tune -- to an enthusiastic reception. "It was a song that I had been playing before, and it's only three chords," says Hardy. "Little did we know."

Now that it's committed to tape, the track is picking up steam on modern rock radio. This just may give some of the album's standout original cuts -- including the shoegazing pop number "Kevin Is Gay" and the Strokes-influenced "This Isn't It" -- a fighting chance.

"I guess either they're buttering my balls, or it's the truth: It's hard to get female-fronted bands on bigger radio stations," says Hardy. "So this could be a foot in the door, or it could be the kiss of death and we'll be the next Alien Ant Farm. Wait and see!"

In the meantime, Giant Drag will head to the U.K. for two weeks, before returning to the States on April 27th to launch their biggest tour to date, a trek with Pretty Girls Makes Graves. So can they finally ditch the passenger van for a proper tour bus?

"No way -- not unless 'Wicked Game' changes everything," says Hardy. "And I assume if it does, we won't even be on that tour. We'll be flying in a jet and going to fucking somewhere -- straight up to heaven."

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Song Stories

“Bird on a Wire”

Leonard Cohen | 1969

While living on the Greek island of Hydra, Cohen was battling a lingering depression when his girlfriend handed him a guitar and suggested he play something. After spotting a bird on a telephone wire, Cohen wrote this prayer-like song of guilt. First recorded by Judy Collins, it would be performed numerous times by artists incuding Johnny Cash, Joe Cocker and Rita Coolidge. "I'm always knocked out when I hear my songs covered or used in some situation," Cohen told Rolling Stone. "I've never gotten over the fact that people out there like my music."

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