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Categories: Hear This

Nouvelle Vague Excels in The Art of Crafting Covers

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Back in college, I used to download music from other students through a shared library that some clever classmate had created a few years earlier. My iTunes library doubled in size as I hoarded albums, most of which I picked at random, judging them based off their titles or the bands’ names.

This is how Nouvelle Vague’s “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” landed there. I had never heard the song before but knew it had some cultural significance because I had a mild interest in vampires. The shadowy, cavernous track quickly became a favorite, and I enjoyed singing along with the vocalist as she apathetically drawled, “The bats have left the bell tower.”

As the years passed, I felt cool whenever the song came up in conversation, because I felt in-the-know even despite not being a goth fan. Little did I know, though, that the whole time I was listening to a cover.

Known for their inventive twists, the French trio Nouvelle Vague has been churning out strange takes on old classics, like a boss nova rendition of “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” since 2003. And even though Bauhaus’ version of “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” is more lively and chord-filled, I’ve got to admit I’m still partial to Nouvelle Vague’s languid, moody version.

Nouvelle Vague
At 9 p.m., Friday, March 31, at Bimbo’s 365 Club. $35-$40; bimbos365club.com

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Jessie Schiewe @j_schiewe

Jessie Schiewe was the Music Editor for SF Weekly from Fall 2015 to Summer 2017. She is now the editor and publisher of OK Whatever (www.okwhatever.org), an online publication dedicated to all things weird and strange. You can send her mail at jessie@okwhatever.org.

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