No, that’s not the latest all-Beatles tribute band coming to a casino revue near you in the video above. That’s local hipsters Solid Gold -- with new drummer Drew Christopherson, also of Polica -- talking up “Minnesota Beatle Project, Vol. 3.” The annual, all-local Fab Four tribute arrives in stores today benefitting Vega Productions, the nonprofit that has already donated $60,000 to public-school music programs around the state off the first two albums.
Solid Gold’s wigged-out, synthed-up version of George Harrison’s “Revolver” nugget “Love You To” is one of the more inventive – or, should I say, “reinventive” – of the 15 tracks on “Vol. 3.” You can see the final video for the song here. As before, those are the recordings that really make the “Beatle Project” fly. Other cleverly remade contributions include: Cloud Cult’s more symphonic and bombastic rethinking of “Help,” which kicks off the album; Charlie Parr’s foot-stomping reading of “Rocky Racoon” with Nicholas Mrozinski; Me & My Arrow’s boisterous, psychedelicized take on “Don’t Let Me Down;” Dark Dark Dark’s choral-like version of “Long, Long, Long,” and then the truly choral remakes of “Got to Get You Into My Life” and “A Hard Day’s Night” by Cantus and the Anoka Middle School for the Arts. Yep, the school was one of the recipients of past "Project" funds.
The wildest and most charming of all the “Vol. 3” remakes, however, is “I’ve Got A Feeling” by the so-called Fiddle Heirs, featuring MVP four-string sidemen Ryan Young (Trampled by Turtles), Nate Sipe (Pert Near Sandstone) and Jake Hyer (Pocahontas County). Here they have Gabriel Douglas on vocals, but even Gabe takes a backseat to the maniacally flailing fiddles.
Douglas’ own group, the 4onthefloor, delivers a hard-throttling version of “Why Don’t We Do It in the Road?” That’s one of several cuts that make this the heaviest/hardest-rocking of the “Projects.” Other ful-tilt rockers include the wicked tears through “Helter Skelter,” “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)” and “Hey Bulldog” by Red Pens, Tapes N’ Tapes and White Light Riot, respectively, all of which are more about the energy than they are the reinvention. A few other tracks on this year’s disc also stay surprisingly close to the originals, including the Honeydogs’ “Dear Prudence,” the Arms Akimbo’s “You Won’t See Me” and especially Motion City Soundtrack’s “Here Comes the Sun” – which does nothing new to that particular classic, but it might make you rethink Motion City.
Not just the kind of thing you can find in a couple indie stores in Minneapolis, “Minnesota Beatle Project, Vol. 3” can be found at all Electric Fetus locations, Minnesota-area Target stores as well as at Target.com, CD Baby, Amazon, Rhapsody, Spotify, iTunes or directly from the Vega Productions site. I can say from experience: They make great gifts.