The Replacements Made a Very Good Gordon Lightfoot Cover

Back in the fall of 2012, your favorite band that inspired the name of the high school in the movie Heathers began playing together again, (or, at least, founding members Paul Westerberg and Tommy Stinson have). After former Replacements guitarist Slim Dunlap suffered a stroke and was hospitalized and paralyzed, they launched the Songs for Slim project and auctioned off a limited-edition EP, which brought in more than $100,000 for Dunlap’s medical bills.

Now, to continue helping their bandmate, the band will release the EP digitally, including a surprisingly invigorating cover of Gordon Lightfoot’s “I’m Not Sayin’.” Maybe it’s playing with his former bandmate, or the passion that comes with doing something you love to help someone you care about, but the duo sound a couple decades younger, and it’s a fun listen. 

Songs For Slim will be released digitally on March 5th, with proceeds from downloads going to cover Dunlap’s medical bills. And, the lede that seems to keep getting buried here is that the EP closer is a cover of “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” from the musical Gypsy, which is just going to be swell/great. Wonder how Westerberg’s Ethel Merman impression is.

The Songs for Slim project will extend outside his former bandmates to include monthly auctions of 7” singles by an all-star roster of artists covering Dunlap’s songs, including Frank Black, members of R.E.M., Craig Finn of the Hold Steady, Deer Tick and Lucinda Williams. In the meantime, check the Replacements’ version of “I’m Not Sayin’” over at Pitchfork, and, for comparison, listen to Nico’s also excellent 1965 version, as well as the Gordon Lightfoot original, below.

Morning Links: Jennifer Lawrence Sees Hunger Games Everywhere, First Look At ‘Dark Shadows’

● As Jennifer Lawrence sees it, Kim Kardashian’s very public divorce is basically The Hunger Games already upon us. "That’s a tragedy for anyone, but they’re using it for entertainment, and we’re watching it," she explained to Parade. "The books hold up a terrible kind of mirror: This is what our society could be like if we became desensitized to trauma and to each other’s pain." May the odds be ever in your favor, BlackBook readers… [Page Six]

● Hot leading ladies Megan Fox and Zoe Saladana are teaming up for Paramount’s Swindle, a vehicle for the two women that will be developed by Moneyball producer Michael De Luca and developed by Enzo Mileti and Scott Wilson. [Deadline]

● Rihanna — incidentally, the only voice not yet heard on the subject — has finally come forward to defend her "Birthday Cake" duet with Chris Brown. "The hottest R&B artist out right now is Chris Brown. So I wanted him on the track," she explained on Ryan Seacrest’s radio show. "It’s music and it’s innocent." [RapFix]

● The watermelon smashing comedian Gallagher was rushed to the hospital after suffering a "mild to serious" heart attack. The prognosis is good, but he will remain in the hospital until he has recovered. [Us]

● Bar band meet bar: Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn is launching his very own microbrew named Full Hearts, after his recent Friday Night Light‘s riffing release, Clear Eyes Full Heart. [RS]

● At last, a trailer for the Tim Burton-directed and Johnny Depp-starring vampire comedy, Dark Shadows. [HuffPost]

Afternoon Links: Elton John and Husband Take On Madonna, Rihanna Kicks Back In Hawaii

● Elton John didn’t think Madonna had "a f-ing chance" of beating him in the best original song category at last night’s Golden Globes, but then she did, and John’s husband David Furnish joined the fight via Facebook. "Madonna winning Best Original Song truly shows how these awards have nothing to do with merit," he wrote in a vengeful post, adding also that "Her acceptance speech was embarrassing in its narcissism" and her recent criticisms of Lady Gaga "desperate." It’s on! [NYDN]

● Fleet Foxes-styled cover band, Fleet Foxes Sing, had bloggers all in in a tizzy this morning with their impeccabe Fleet Foxes cover of Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own." [PopDust]

● Russell Brand says he’s handling his divorce "quite well" thanks to one of his favorite American authors. "The brilliant American author Kurt Vonnegut, he’ll tell you that if you imagine reality as experienced simultaneously, events become redundant," he told the inquiring press, adding that "right now," he’s "happy." [People]

● Kush rolled, glass full, and leggings on, Rihanna seems to be enjoying a real relaxed Hawaiian holiday. [YBF]

Downton Abbey‘s Countess of Grantham and her daughter Lady Mary are recording an album together, set for release later this year. [Express]

● The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn has got a new Friday Night Lights’ saluting solo album called Clear Eyes Full Hearts, and it’s streaming for free on NPR. [NPR]

Craig Finn Makes Me Excited About Baseball Again

My beloved Red Sox sank like Lamar Odom in a pool this season, and now I’m forced to endure all the Yankee playoff love-taunting, so forgive me if I’ve been a little down on my hometown sport lately. But something has perked my ballpark spirits of late: The Baseball Project, a band featuring members of R.E.M. and Dream Syndicate, with Hold Steady singer Craig Finn on the first single, “Don’t Call Them Twinkies.”

I’ve been disappointed by Finn recently, too. The Hold Steady’s first three albums — Almost Killed Me, Separation Sunday, Boys and Girls in America — really did almost kill me with their flagrant awesomeness. But then Finn and the boys got a little older, a little wiser, and a little less rock and roll. Their last two full-lengths had some good tracks but were ultimately sub-par, and at times verged on self-parody. The band had lost sight of their bread and butter: songs about confused Catholic teenagers doing drugs in suburban Minnesota.

Well, if there’s one thing capable of brushing away the cobwebs of post-adolescent tedium from Craig Finn’s eyes, it’s baseball. He can often be seen onstage wearing Minnesota Twins jerseys and trash-talking out-of-state audiences. Which is why I was so pumped about “Don’t Call Them Twinkies,” especially since the Twins just clinched a playoff berth. The track, which you can stream here, certainly isn’t up there with Finn classics like, “Yr Little Hoodrat Friend” and “Party Pit,” but as far as novelty throw-away singles go, it’s pretty great. “These are grown men/these are heroes/please don’t call them twinkies!” If anything, it’s good to see Craig Finn excited about something again.