Nov 062008
 

With one year of this blog behind me, I decided to take on my most ambitious full album post yet. My general rule of thumb with these has been the album has to be at least ten years old. I broke this once already, with Tom Wait’s Mule Variations, but it’s still nine years. Today I give you an album that’s one year old. For most albums that wouldn’t be enough time to amass one cover, much less all. But most albums are not In Rainbows. And so as the world celebrates the one-year anniversary of the disc with the news that Radiohead’s pioneering pay-what-you-want was a huge financial success (read about it here), here are the tunes reimagined. As you will see, I had to stretch the definition of “cover” several times to get ‘em all, but I hope you’ll agree the ambitious result was worth it.

David Porteous – 15 Step
The first song on the album I predicted would be the most challenging to find. How can you make a song so reliant on a wild drum machine pattern your own? Easily, Porteous shows us, miraculously pulling off the most unlikely of feats: a credible acoustic version. [Buy]

The Matches – Bodysnatchers
Another acoustic take here, this time a double-axe duel shows this Oakland punk duo recreating the basics of the original while giving the vocals and guitars room to breathe. You can finally understand the lyrics, but the wordless moaned harmonies are the true star here. [Buy]

James Houston – Nude
We’ve got the weirdest one of the bunch here, by a long shot. It was made with a series of vintage computer equipment and, though it takes a while to get recognizable, the incredibly bizarre sounds that emit from these machines are worth the wait. I wouldn’t say it’s altogether pleasant, but it’s damn interesting. Houston created it for a graduation project and, though he’s not a musician, soon got an offer from a record label in the frenzy it spawned. Read all the details here. [Buy]

J-OS – Weird Fishes
This drum-and-bass raver starts off just putting a staccato snare beat over a similar voice/guitar part, before veering completely away from the original, adding instruments and effects to a cacophony of funky house. [Buy]

Christopher O’Riley – All I Need
O’Riley has a series of instrumental piano Radiohead covers that are uniformly excellent, many available for free download. I strongly urge you to check them out here. [Buy]

Keith Petrower – Faust Arp
Keith mixes it up a nice amount here. It’s got a mesh of instruments that neither blend nor clash, keeping it lively as it pushes towards its quick conclusion. [Buy]

Gnarls Barkley – Reckoner
From “Gone Daddy Gone” to this, Cee-Lo and Danger Mouse clearly know their way around a well-chosen cover. The soaring melody seems tailor-made for Cee, who attacks it with relish while the band rocks out behind. [Buy]

Radiohead – House of Cards (Solarstone Remix)
That’s right, this is not technically a cover, but a remix. A trance remix though, so dramatically different than the original it might as well be a cover. Who knew Radiohead was so danceable? [Buy]

OK Rainbow Thief – Jigsaw Falling Into Place
This starts off sounding pretty similar to the original, except the vocals never come in. Though it never drastic departs the original mold, this obvious cover band (look at the name again) highlights a bass line I never noticed before and gives the tune a little flair of their own. [Buy]

AmpLive ft. Del That Funky Homosapien – Videotape
Another remix technically, this just serves to use those haunting piano chords as a background for Del to spit mad rhymes over. To this day I can’t hear the original without expecting him to come in. “Flashlights report the lies…” [Buy]

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