Buried Treasure: Copeland – Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden cover)


Buried Treasure is a semi-regular feature that explores some hidden musical gems – the rare and forgotten B-sides, covers, hidden tracks, live versions and alternative takes that deserve some recognition.

There are a few thematic changes that mark the start of the winter season here in Montana for me.  First and foremost, snow.  This morning I awoke to the first snow of the year here in the northern hemisphere.  And for reasons I cannot explain, the first smattering of snowfall triggers my brain to start playing my collection of Copeland albums.  Snow and Copeland.  Makes sense right?  Nothing screams snow more than a band from Lakeland, Florida.  All confusing correlations aside, the colder and snowier it gets here in Montana, the more and more Copeland finds it’s way into my music listening rotation.

Curiously enough, along with the morning snow, I was asked by Joseph James to write an entry for the Buried Treasure segment.  I have made it a point to be more in tune to the signs and synchronicities in life and knew that I absolutely needed to write an entry and it absolutely needed to be on Copeland.  Thankfully, Copeland’s long musical career is full of forgotten B-sides, covers, and hidden tracks which made selecting a subject for this entry easy.

For those who may not know, Copeland is an American rock band with a uniquely beautiful quality.  This beauty can most likely be attributed to the voice of their frontman Aaron Marsh.  As a person who tends to lean toward sadder, more angsty styles of music, Copeland tends to be out of place in my record collection as the majority of their work is fairly uplifting and for lack of a better word, nice.

Perhaps it is this “niceness” that caused me to stop and look twice when I first heard the all too familiar lyrics of “Black Hole Sun” being sung by none other than Aaron Marsh.  Granted, I was listening to Copeland’s 2007 release “Dressed Up & In Line” at the time and should’ve known that it was of course Aaron Marsh singing the lyrics of Chris Cornell and Soundgarden’s 1994 hit “Black Hole Sun”.  But nonetheless, the stark contrast between Aaron Marsh’s voice and the gloomy vibe of “Black Hole Sun” was a quick head turner.

It’s always impressive when an uplifting artist like Copeland can take on a sad, dark medium like “Black Hole Sun”, which some say is slang for a particular way of preparing heroin, and turn it into something that listeners, like myself, actually prefer over the original version.  Taking on a cover with as much notoriety as “Black Hole Sun” takes a tremendous amount of courage, especially when it comes from an entirely separate genre of music.

Check out Copeland’s “Black Hole Sun” cover:

And now, with all seriousness set aside, whether or not you like Copeland’s cover of “Black Hole Sun” one must at least take the time to listen to their alternate, hidden-track version of their cover.  This “Bonus Track” was tucked roughly fifteen minutes into the sixteenth track of “Dressed Up & In Line”.  I have absolutely no clue who is singing this version (possibly their drummer Jon Bucklew?), but it’s definitely not Aaron Marsh.  However, this individuals ability to power through the entire song without losing their composure is absolutely commendable.  I challenge you to listen to the entire song without laughing.
Here’s Copeland’s alternate cover of “Black Hole Sun”:
C.J. Blessum

Buried Treasure: How To Destroy Angels – Is Your Love strong Enough?


Buried Treasure is a semi-regular feature that explores some hidden musical gems – the rare and forgotten B-sides, covers, hidden tracks, live versions and alternative takes that deserve some recognition.

I met Trent Reznor last year.

It was the day after the Nine Inch Nails/Queens of the Stoneage double bill. I was sitting in the departure lounge at Christchurch Airport waiting for my flight back to Wellington. A child in the same room was making a weird noise that sounded like a whistle crossed with a scream. Of course I looked up to see what the strange sound was.

And then I saw who the kid’s dad was. It was Trent Reznor. There was no way I could mistake it – his face was on all the Nine Inch Nails posters I’d had on my bedroom room as a teenager.

I nervously approached him.

“Uh. Excuse me”.

Trent looked up at me with a steely stare. “Yeah?”

“Are.. are you Trent Reznor?”



He didn’t roll his eyes, but he really should have.

I tried to save myself from looking like too much of a dick. “I was at the show last night. It was awesome.”

Trent looked a bit pissed off. “Thanks. Hey, I’m going to spend some time with my family, OK?” He shook my hand and walked off.

Maybe I shouldn’t have interrupted his family time, but I think I would have regretted it if I had thrown away the chance to meet one of my musical heroes.

Trent Reznor is the gothic poster boy for industrial music. He didn’t start it, but he was responsible for bringing it into the mainstream. Name any angsty alternative-metal from the 90’s onwards and Reznor is likely to be an influence.

In 2009 Reznor announced that NIN were finishing up. He started working on other projects. How To Destroy Angels was one project, fronted by his wife, Mariqueen Maandig. And following up from his acclaimed soundtrack to the video game Quake, Reznor co-wrote the scores to some David Fincher films along with Atticus Ross: The Social Network, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and Gone Girl.

The Buried Treasure track I’m writing about today is ‘Is Your Love Strong Enough?’ by How To Destroy Angels, from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo soundtrack.

I’ve never even watched TGWTDT – I didn’t expect the English speaking remake to be any better than the original. But I did buy the soundtrack, because I liked the work Reznor did on The Social Network. The music is eerie and unsettling – suiting the mood of a David Finch film. It’s not something I listen to often – it’s three albums worth of creepy background music – except for two songs. One is a cover of Led Zepplin’s ‘Immigrant Song’, featuring Karen O from The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the other is a Bryan Ferry cover by HTDA.

The cover is ethereal like the original, but with less of a 80’s power ballad feel. This automatically makes the cover an improvement. Maandig’s vocals are the highlight of the song – strong and haunting. Reznor also adds some backing vocals to the mix. Both have powerful voices and they contrast nicely. The song is brooding and builds up slowly. The glitchy electronic sounds are inevitable when you consider the artists’ industrial backgrounds, and the blips and beeps add colour to otherwise stark reverberating keyboards.

I read that Maandig came and sang some HTDA songs during the NIN set in Auckland on the same tour I went to. I wish that she’d done the same in Christchurch.

Joseph James

Buried Treasure: Biffy Clyro – ’57’ (live at Wembley)

Biffy Clyro 57
Buried Treasure is a semi-regular feature that explores some hidden musical gems – the rare and forgotten B-sides, covers, hidden tracks, live versions and alternative takes that deserve some recognition.

Biffy Clyro – ’57’ Live at Wembley

Biffy Clyro are my favourite band. Most of my friends are probably sick of how much I rave about them.

If I had to pick my favourite release of theirs it would have to be the Revolutions // Live at Wembley CD/DVD set. They have a lot of strong albums to pick from, but Revolutions collects most of their best material, and some of the live versions are better than the studio versions. I’ve used that DVD to convert many of my mates into Biffy believers.

BiffyClyroRevolutionsLiveAtWembleyBox '57'

The limited edition tin box set that I own is excessive. It came half full with confetti from the concert, along with a piece of wood from a smashed guitar, stickers, a poster, a copy of a diary from the tour manager, and the all important CD/DVD. It cost me an arm and a leg – paying the currency conversion fees and international postage – but I don’t regret it in the slightest.

The DVD includes 25 of Biffy Clyro’s best songs that they’d released at that point. Hard hitting rock anthems, emotional acoustic songs, sing-along ballads, and weird indescribable early eclectic stuff. Material from their most recent studio album, Only Revolutions, hadn’t changed much while transitioning from studio to live setting, but it was clear that some songs from their early days had evolved over time.

The best of these was the ’57’, from Biffy Clyro’s début album Blackened Sky.

’57’ is a companion piece to ’27’, another single from the album. It’s written in a typically Biffy unusual style, showcasing their penchant for mathy riffs with odd time signatures. For a three-piece band to work well, every member needs to be pretty capable on their instruments. This more than applies to Biffy Clyro, whose three members are all phenomenally gifted. They even split vocal duties in this song. ’57’ features aggressive grungy loud/soft dynamics, such as the quiet “do, do ,do” prechorus that leads into the explosive chorus.

BiffyClyroBlackenedSkyPurpleLP '57'

The debut album Blackened Sky, in lilac purple. This pressing also features nine B-sides on a second LP.

’57’ is a highlight of Blackened Sky, but the live version was so much more exciting and energetic, somehow rejuvenated. Maybe it’s because it was one of the first songs that the band recorded, giving them about 10 years to hone and improve it before they filmed it at Wembley. The infectious “HEY”s in the chorus work so much better with everyone in the crowd shouting it.

Needless to say, I was over the moon when they played it at their first ever New Zealand show. It was certainly a highlight from an already outstanding set.

Usually studio recordings are better quality than live versions, because songs can be edited and touched up during production. Revolutions is a rare exception to that rule, with ’57’ being the most standout example. You can find live versions of songs that Biffy have written since Revolutions on Opposites: Live at Glasgow, but sadly the audio quality for the latter isn’t nearly as good.


Joseph James

Buried Treasure: Probot – I am the Warlock (hidden track)

Probot Album Cover Warlock
Buried Treasure is a semi-regular feature that explores some hidden musical gems – the rare and forgotten B-sides, covers, hidden tracks, live versions and alternative takes that deserve some recognition.

Probot – I Am The Warlock

The big single from the Probot album was the track ‘Shake Your Blood’, featuring Lemmy from Motorhead. The first time I’d ever heard the track was when Lemmy came onstage to guest on the song on the Foo Fighters Hyde Park DVD. I hadn’t heard of Probot at the time so I was confused about why I couldn’t recognise the song. I had every Foo Fighters album, so why didn’t I know this song?

After some further research I learnt about the Probot album, one of Dave Grohl’s  many, many side projects. The basic premise behind the album is that Grohl had written a bunch of material that was too heavy for Foo Fighters, so he decided to make a dedicated heavy album featuring frontmen from some of his favourite metal and hardcore bands.  Because if you’re rich and famous and bored, why not make a metal album of with the most influential singers of your childhood?

In many ways, this paved the path for later Foo Fighters releases like Sound City and Sonic Highways, both of which featured guest musicians heavily.

The Buried Treasure from this album is the hidden track ‘I am the Warlock’, featuring Jack Black. It’s the last song on the album, playing after four minutes of silence after the final listed track ‘Sweet Dreams’. It’s funny because even though I know that the song is coming, it always gives me a fright when it starts.

Black and Grohl are long time collaborators. Grohl drummed on Tenacious D’s studio albums, and Grohl and Black have featured extensively in each other’s music videos. Tenacious D also opened for Foo Fighters when they set off earthquakes in 2012 at Western Springs.

‘I Am The Warlock’ is predictably juvenile, like almost anything that Black touches, but hey, it’s metal, so not worth taking too seriously anyway. If you can get past the crass content, the sludgy metal is pretty cool.

During the bridge you can hear weird whispers that remind me of something you’d hear in a horror movie (maybe something like Deathgasm?).Grohl has done this another time. The bridge in ‘Everlong’ by the Foo Fighters features three unidentifiable recordings played over each other.

It’s no secret that Black has musical skills. School of Rock was brilliant, and having seen him front Tenacious D in both rock and acoustic settings, I can confirm that he’s very talented. It seems a shame that he chooses to make such a joke out of the music he creates, but at least it’s fun.

Joseph James

Buried Treasure: Foo Fighters – A320

Godzilla Soundtrack

Buried Treasure is a semi-regular feature that explores some hidden musical gems – the rare and forgotten B-sides, covers, hidden tracks, live versions and alternative takes that deserve some recognition.

The Godzilla film that came out in 1998 was crap. The soundtrack that came with it was also fairly weak.

It starts off badly. First we have Bob Dylan’s son stripping David Bowie’s song ‘Heroes’ of any appeal. This is followed by P. Diddy posturing and say “uh” a lot over the top of Led Zepplin’s ‘Kashmir’.

With the exception of a few OK tracks, this album must be a collection of the lamest songs that existed in the  90’s “alternative” scene. Even the Rage Against The Machine song “No Shelter” ironically critiques the film it was commissioned to be written for. The best song would have to be a remix of Green Day’s ‘Brain Stew’, although I find it humourous that the remixing consists of a drum pattern played on the bell of a ride cymbal and Godzilla roars and growls scattered throughout the song.

Why did I bother to buy the CD then? Two reasons:

1) it only cost me $1

2) it features a rare Foo Fighters song called ‘A320’.

‘A320’ is a long song (almost six minutes long). It is also quite unlike anything else the Foo Fighters had released, at least until Dave Grohl decided to double the size of his band in 2006 for the Skin and Bones tour. The main things that sets this song apart is the inclusion of a string section. It’s soft and slow building, almost like a lullaby. To be honest the song is pretty unexciting until it hits the breakdown. This is when the going gets good. During the breakdown the Foos grunge it up with a filthy distorted riff, sloshy cymbals and squealing guitars. This follows on from then on. The grungy rock band actually sounds pretty good coupled with the orchestral string section.

Foo Fighters fans should find ‘A320’ fairly interesting, seeing as how it’s a departure from their usual sound. It’s not the most exciting song that they’ve ever written, but it sounds pretty epic by the time it comes to an end.

Joseph James