Jun 282010
 

Just like we did for Bonnaroo, we’re rounding up the covers performed at this year’s Glastonbury. A strange mix to be sure. Florence and the Machine performs her “favorite song of all time” for what she claims will be a one-time-only cover; Stevie Wonder honors the anniversary of Michael Jackson‘s death; Shakira pays tribute to indie; Muse gets a little help from the Edge for “Where the Streets Have No Name.” The Pet Shop Boys singing “Viva La Vida” while wearing crowns may be the weirdest moment though.

Anyway, videos of all those and more below (all taken from the BBC broadcast). If you find any more Glasto 2010 covers, post a link in the comments!
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Jun 282010
 

Song of the Day posts one cool cover every morning. Catch up on past installments here.

Last week’s feature on Icelandic singer Ólöf Arnalds led me to delve deeper into Scandinavian singers. The lofi.tv Vimeo channel has a ton of great cover videos, including a bedroom version of Iron Maiden’s “The Trooper” that’s worth checking out. It was there I stumbled upon Ane Brun. She’s a Norwegian-born, Sweden-dwelling songwriter who – fun fact – is currently touring as one of Peter Gabriel‘s backup singers.

Alphaville had two hits. One of them, “Forever Young,” is enjoying a big resurgence as the basis for Jay-Z’s latest hit “Young Forever” (and by “basis,” I mean it’s like 3/4 of the song). The other is “Big in Japan,” not to be confused with the Tom Waits song of the same name. Alphaville’s debut single, the tune climbed to top of the charts in Switzerland, Germany, and Sweden. Oh, and on the super-prestigious Billboard Hot Dance Club Play list.
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Jun 252010
 

Song of the Day posts one cool cover every morning. Catch up on past installments here.

Michael Jackson died one year ago today. You probably already know this. Cover Me celebrates the anniversary today with a whole lot of MJ. Starting now.

Alex Goot’s YouTube covers have amassed over a million views collectively, his pro-grade takes on pop songs displaying unabashed enthusiasm. His “Beat It” video recalls Pomplamoose’s widely-viewed cover, but Goot has one thing over them: syncopated clapping. It offsets the slightly ominous piano nicely. Plus, it being YouTube, any artist that can actually produce a bearable-to-watch video gets mad props. Almost better than the original (just kidding).
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Jun 242010
 

Song of the Day posts one cool cover every morning. Catch up on past installments here.

If you’re reading this in Europe, I probably don’t need to tell you about Amy MacDonald. Her debut album This Is the Life sold three million copies, hitting number one on the European charts. Stateside though it couldn’t even manage 50,000 and peaked at #92. The Scottish songwriter with the gorgeous lilt can’t quite seem to break in America. Come on people; you accepted Susan Boyle!

Released in March, A Curious Thing is getting a similar reception. Perhaps if people knew about the hidden bonus track things would be different. After all, there’s no singer more American than Bruce Springsteen (ok, maybe Kid Rock). Maybe people haven’t yet recovered from his Born in the U.S.A.-era media explosion. Still, MacDonald’s cover of “Dancing in the Dark” overcomes the stigma even of that awful Courtney Cox video. It’s a live take, just her and an acoustic guitar. As with much of her work, the voice makes it.
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Jun 232010
 

In the Spotlight showcases some a cross-section of an artist’s cover work. Post suggestions for future installments in the comments!

Eels is technically a band, but it’s mostly just one guy: Mark Oliver Everett aka. E. His songwriting has been praised by everyone from Peter Buck of R.E.M. to Tom Waits, both of whom contributed to his 2003 album Blinking Lights and Other Revelations. He’s currently two albums into a concept trilogy about a romantic’s journey through desire, despair, and redemption. The third volume drops in August.

Alright, those are the basics. More importantly for our purposes, Eels performs a ton of covers. Their version of Missy Elliot’s “Get Ur Freak On” made the blog rounds a few years ago, despite being one of his least inspired performances. He does better interpreting classic songwriters than miming rap hits. In fact, his MySpace Transmissions version of Bob Dylan’s “Girl from the North Country” made our Best Cover Songs of 2009 list.
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Jun 232010
 

If you’re getting sick of the constant Peter Gabriel posts, I understand, and I apologize. Blame him. First he produces a fantastic covers album, then he solicits other people to cover him one by one (most recently, Elbow doing “Mercy Street”) and now we’re back to him again. Funny how the humble act of paying tribute to others can turn into a good bit of self-promotion if it’s done right.

Gabriel returns with another cover, recorded for the Voice Project. The Voice Project has produced a series of covers that, in addition to being excellent, aim to raise awareness of an underreported tragedy in Uganda: Mothers losing all contact with their sons when the boys join the militia. The women have learned to contact the boys through music, passing songs with encoded messages from mouth to mouth or over the radio. The Voice Project aims to reunite separated families through such music.
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