Peter Gabriel’s website has always offered great peeks behind the scenes and previews into whatever he’s up to for many years now. Right now, his website is gradually releasing a series of podcasts where Gabriel talks about the tracks he chose for new project called Scratch My Back, a covers album due out Feb. 15 (so far, only on UK import).
First off, here are the tracks with links to the relevant artists’ pages, from his website:
1. “Heroes” (David Bowie)
2. The Boy in the Bubble (Paul Simon)
3. Mirrorball (Elbow)
4. Flume (Bon Iver)
5. Listening Wind (Talking Heads)
6. The Power of the Heart (Lou Reed)
7. My Body is a Cage (Arcade Fire)
8. The Book of Love (The Magnetic Fields)
9. I Think it’s Going to Rain Today (Randy Newman)
10. Après Moi (Regina Spektor)
11. Philadelphia (Neil Young)
12. Street Spirit (Fade Out) (Radiohead)
I was delighted by the choices, as I’m quite a die-hard fan of lots of these bands and musicians.
Somewhere on that site I also found Episode 2 of the podcast. I can’t remember where, somewhere in the forums, but here it is for download.
Finally, here is Episode 3.
I have yet to hear the album in its entirety, though I plan to review it for “Goldmine” near its time of release. The podcasts are lengthy and offer decent insight into the song choice (the first episode is just under 14 minutes long, while the second is nearly 20 minutes). All feature snippets of the songs (four tracks per podcast).
A close collaborator on the project is John Metcalfe, who composed the string arrangements with Gabriel. Metcalfe, a former member of Durutti Column, an experimental group of musicians to come out of Manchester during the heyday of the post punk movement, deserves much credit for his work, and Gabriel does not forget that in these podcasts where Gabriel also shares his personal relationship with these songs.
The concept for this album is that all the artists he covers will record one of his songs for a proposed I’ll Scratch Yours album, and news on his website suggests that work on this album has supposedly already begun, with the mixes of some of the Gabriel covers already arriving in the man’s hands.
The idea is that the other artists’ covers will be offered as “double A-sides” on iTunes, for now. It remains unclear whether they will be collected and released as an official tribute album of sorts. But you know what would be really cool? A box set of the album in 7-inch format with each track from the album backed by the PG cover by the band he has covered. Speaking of vinyl, the news piece on petergabriel.com also hints that a vinyl release of the album is in the works, though it has yet to be officially announced.