Jan 232017
 
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Banjo Guy Ollie is a multi-talented musician from Ireland.  He spends most of his time recording covers of video game music using acoustic instruments.  I first heard of him a couple of years ago when my friend, Dave, sent me the Double Dragon theme song.  (Dave and I spent most of our time in high school at the arcade trying to save Marian from the Black Warriors.)

Ollie admitted to me, though, that occasionally he likes to cover the odd rock/pop tune. His most recent in this category is Metallica’s “Wherever I May Roam.”  For the song, he uses a mandolin, an Irish bouzouki and a five-string tenor banjo.  (I love his creative drumming, as well.) Continue reading »

Jan 202017
 

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

gnr

One could make the argument that ’80s rock ‘n’ roll changed the moment W. Axl Rose stepped off a bus with a piece of hay between his teeth. That was the indelible image that opened the video for “Welcome to the Jungle,” a song that opened with a great “SundaySundaySUNDAYYYY!!” riff from Slash and took the listener on a ride – no, a careen through the worst that the big city had to offer. It opened the best-selling debut album of all time, 1987’s Appetite for Destruction, with as big a bang as one could ask for, and to this day it intimidates visiting teams at sporting events nationwide.
Continue reading »

Jan 192017
 

Download This scours the web’s dark corners for cool cover freebies. View past installments.

SummerofSheryl

Yesterday, a tweet from Rolling Stone writer Rob Sheffield caught our eye. It was a photo of Sheryl Crow holding up a nightmare-clown drawing of her own face. When we Googled to find out more, we stumbled upon an insane tribute album we’d missed, apparently meant to accompany the zine she’s holding up. The zine was forgotten as we burrowed deeper into the weird, weird world of the free Bandcamp tribute album Summer of Sheryl.

Crow’s hits are all high-gloss productions, and these 17 covers are anything but. Basic keyboard beats and cheap guitar sounds abound, with many tracks sounding like they were taped into a $10 cassette recorder. Summer of Sheryl also violates the cardinal rule of tribute albums – only one version of each song – by doubling up on hits “Every Day Is A Winding Road,” “Soak Up the Sun,” and “If It Makes You Happy.” There’s three separate covers of “Strong Enough,” plus a cover of the song Crow apparently wrote for a Katie Couric talk show. Continue reading »

Jan 182017
 
Justin Vernon

Last year, in preparing to release his experimental new album 22, A Million, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon held a one-time-only festival/art performance in Berlin. He brought a number of his favorite musicians to hang out and collaborate, performing new music in the round. The festival just posted videos of many of the performances, including a wonderful “Folk Circle” session that features Vernon trading folk songs with Damien Rice, Sam Amidon, Erlend Øye, O, and Ragnar Kjartansson.

Norwegian composer (and half of Kings of Convenience, who released our favorite cover of 2009) Erlend Øye covers The Moore Brothers’ 2004 song “New For You,” followed by our buddy Sam Amidon leading the crowd in a singalong of Appalachian folk song “Johanna The Row​-​di.” A French singer who goes simply by O sings a traditional French song, Damien Rice breaks the covers theme by playing his own “The Professor & La Fille Danse,” and then we get to the piece de resistance. Vernon plays a song from the man he calls “my favorite songwriter,” John Prine. Continue reading »

Jan 182017
 
JojoPinecones

NYC jazz quartet Joelle & The Pinehurst Trio have been making music for a couple years now. Their 2014 debut album Take Me There blended originals with jazzy covers of The Cars and Tears for Fears. For album number two, they’ve renamed themselves JoJo & The Pinecones. Why the rebrand? Well they’ve added a few members, but more importantly, that new album Night & Day is a family record suitable for children and parents alike. It blends original songs with kid-friendly jazz standards. But there’s one odd-boy-out on the tracklist.

Throwing a bone to the adults who may soon be listening to this record on repeat on drives to school, the band covers an alt-rock lullaby: the Smashing PumpkinsMellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness classic “Farewell and Goodnight.” True to their style, the band turns it into a lovely jazz ballad. If only all so-called “kids music” were this classy. Continue reading »

Jan 172017
 
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Toronto quartet BADBADNOTGOOD have been making waves in the jazz scene for quite some time now, but six years into their music career, they still like to blow their listeners away with new material and slick covers.

For their latest session on Triple J’s Like a Version, the band tackles The Beach Boys 1966 classic  – first giving it a beautiful prelude led by Leland Whitty on soprano sax, before the all-too-familiar “God Only Knows” bass line kicks in, with the rest of the band expertly weaving their way through the tune, giving a fantastic performance that leaves you craving for more. Continue reading »