Mark Ronson recruited Uptown Special collaborators Kevin Parker (Tame Impala) and Andrew Wyatt (Miike Snow) for a funky live cover of Queens of the Stone Age’s “I Sat By the Ocean,” filmed for Triple J’s “Like a Version” series (via Pitchfork). The duo both played electric guitar (along with Australian singer Kirin J. Callinan), while Wyatt channeled his inner Josh Homme behind the microphone.
Wyatt brings out the track’s soulful side, adding a little Stevie Wonder to love-lorn lyrics like, “Imagine I’d be your one and only / Instead I’m the lonely one,” as the band layers heavy clavinet and synth-bass. The cover ends with a psychedelic coda of ghost-note snares, harmonized guitar leads and wild falsetto belting.
Ronson also performs “Daffodils,” a Parker-assisted cut from Uptown Special. The sextet begin in jazzier territory than the studio version – think “Riders of the Storm”-era Doors – before transitioning into the track’s cosmic-funk riffs. Parker leads with his limber falsetto, and Callinan commands the stage, utilizing a battalion of effects pedals for a jagged guitar solo.
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Ronson also talks about his first encounter with Callinan, who was performing at a wedding. “He had the 19 pedals, and I was like, ‘Something tells me this guy’s not gonna play ‘Crazy in Love.'”
Earlier this year, Ronson spoke to Rolling Stone about his latest LP, emphasizing the organic human warmth of his recordings.
“In the past, people used technology to push music forward, like Nile Rodgers and Duran Duran messing around with vocal sampling, or Bowie and Eno using the first harmonizer to create strange sounds,” he said. “Now, people use technology to make records faster and easier, to cover up shitty performances. I still record stuff to tape, and take all this time to get performances, because I think that it makes a difference. There’s something in the subconscious brain that knows that’s a living, breathing thing.”