Jason Falkner: Both Sides Now
[out of print; purchase more Falkner here]
As if we needed more evidence that Joni's songbook translates far beyond the genre boundaries of her native compositions, here comes Jason Falkner with his mid-nineties full-on third-wave punk-'n-roll b-side cover of Joni's Both Sides Now. And though artists tend to go gentle on this summery paean to clouds and love, as we might have expected from indie genius Falkner, taking it on with the hard stuff works really, really well.
You may not have heard Falkner's name, but odds are good you've heard his work. A multi-instrumentalist and producer who has worked with everyone from Jon Brion and Aimee Mann to Air, Beck, Susanna Hoffs, Brendan Benson, and Paul McCartney, the man's Wikipedia page reads a bit like that of a musical Zelig: founder of several bands that lived on beyond his efforts, player of all the instruments on Daniel Johnston's most recent album, and, inevitably, big in Japan. A true-blue genre chameleon, his lovely, gentle just-for-baby instrumental album Bedtime With The Beatles was our first child's first sleep soundtrack, and comes highly recommended.