Written by Tom Breihan at http://pitchfork.com
Peter Gabriel fronted Genesis when they were astral prog travelers. He also did time as one of the weirdest, least likely pop stars of the 80s and early 90s, looking like a bank manager but cranking out hallucinatory art-funk videos like "Sledgehammer" and "Shock the Monkey". More recently, he teamed up with Hot Chip to cover Vampire Weekend's "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa"-- a song that namechecks Gabriel himself. Suffice to say, Gabriel's weirdo credentials are fully in place.
Early next year, he'll reemerge with an orchestral covers album that will include Gabriel's versions of songs by Radiohead, Arcade Fire, Bon Iver, and the Magnetic Fields, as NME reports.
According to The Guardian, Gabriel's Scratch My Back is part of a "song-swap project" in which Gabriel will cover other people's songs, and they'll cover his. That means there's at least an outside possibility that we could hear Bon Iver take on "Red Rain"-- which would be awesome. According to NME, Scratch My Back, due January 25, is the first release in a planned series, so maybe the other folks covering Gabriel will come later.
Composer John Metcalfe tells the BBC that the album will be recorded acoustically, and that Gabriel will stick with orchestral instruments rather than drums or guitars. Says Metcalfe: "The songs are not simply covers. They are major reinterpretations of some famous stuff. It's quite radical ..."
NME has confirmed the tracklist, and it'll be fascinating to hear what Gabriel does with these songs:
Scratch My Back:
01 Heroes (David Bowie cover)
02 The Boy in the Bubble (Paul Simon cover)
03 Mirrorball (Elbow cover)
04 Flume (Bon Iver cover)
05 Listening Wind (Talking Heads cover)
06 The Power of the Heart (Lou Reed cover)
07 My Body Is a Cage (Arcade Fire cover)
08 The Book of Love (Magnetic Fields cover)
09 I Think It's Going to Rain Today (Randy Newman cover)
10 Après Moi (Regina Spektor cover)
11 Philadelphia (Neil Young cover)
12 Street Spirit (Radiohead cover)