Nov 302010
 

They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s special day with other people singing his or her songs. Let others do the work for a while. Happy birthday!

It’s hard to imagine the 1980s music scene without Billy Idol. Just as MTV gained a foothold in the collective consciousness, along came a punk-rock James Dean, all bleach-blonde spikes and hundred-mile snarl. Sure, he’d gained some renown in Generation X and, briefly, Siouxsie and the Banshees, but it wasn’t ‘til “White Wedding” hit television screens in 1982 that Idol catapulted to superstar status. The black latex, gothic cathedral, and weird doctor/necromancer enraptured kids and enraged their parents. No one unwraps a headscarf quite like Billy Idol.

His star may have sunk a little – that holiday album didn’t help – but for a full decade no one bettered Billy Idol. For an artist so tied to his time, though, the songs have aged surprisingly well. So today we celebrate Billy’s 55th with five covers of his hits: Continue reading »

Nov 302010
 

We told you it was coming! Now it’s here. The AV Club’s Undercover series jolts back to life with a seasonal program. Ten bands entered the studio to cover a holiday song of their choosing. First up: The Walkmen. As you may recall, last time they rocked some R.E.M. This time around, they dragged a chestnut out of the attic (hmm, mixing Christmas metaphors there). It’s Lindsey Buckingham’s “Holiday Road,” a song best known for its use in National Lampoon’s Vacation.

The Walkmen keep the peppy bounce, but thankfully do away with some of the dated ‘80s production. My only gripe is: no one has any right to look that good in a Santa hat. Watch the video and download the MP3 below. The new Holiday Undercover series runs every Tuesday and Thursday until Christmas, so be sure to check back! Continue reading »

Nov 302010
 

As we pointed out last week, the season of Christmas covers is heavily upon us. So far, the standout entries come from modern-day girl groups (sorry, Susan Boyle). Girl in a Coma, The Puppini Sisters, and Sea of Bees have all delivered beautiful Christmas covers, sounding like indie updates on Andrews Sisters harmonies. Check ‘em out below.

Joan Jett-signees Girl in a Coma bring some Texas punk swagger to Elvis’ “Blue Christmas,” sounding not particularly distraught about their man leaving. It comes off the Blackheart Christmas compilation. The Puppini Sisters’ version of Wham!’s “Last Christmas” swings along more traditionally, with grand pop production that would sound dated in less capable hands. If you like that trio sound, check out Christmas with the Puppini Sisters. Sea of Bees is actually only one girl – Julie Ann Bee – but she layers her vocals plenty thick on “Feliz Navidad.” Proceeds from the single (which you can buy on iTunes) go to The Trevor Project, a suicide prevention group for LGBTQ youth. Continue reading »

Nov 292010
 

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


Bonnaroo Music Festival has worked hard to build up its reputation as a haven for experimentation of all types. Many attendees would consider it a disappointment to travel all the way to Manchester, TN on a hot June weekend and not experience something totally weird and trippy. Musically, this philosophy finds its realization in the yearly tradition of the Bonnaroo SuperJam, which brings together odd pairings of artists just for the hell of it.

For lovers of covers, the 2008 SuperJam is especially noteworthy. New York City Gypsy-punk band Gogol Bordello joined Primus bass-master Les Claypool for a set consisting entirely of songs by the peerless Tom Waits. But wait, there’s more! Metal-head Kirk Hammett of Metallica fame joined this already-crazy pairing for three songs. Continue reading »

Nov 292010
 

You all submit so many great covers it’s hard to keep up. When we fall behind, we gather the best and brightest in a Submission Roundup.

Thanksgiving may be over, but today we want to thank all the artists who submit their music. You guys send too many covers to keep up with, so we like to round up some of our favorites before the tunes fall by the wayside. Download all the great November covers we didn’t get a chance to post about earlier!

Do you have something to submit? Send it along here! Continue reading »

Nov 292010
 

We’ve heard plenty of Taio Cruz’s “Dynamite” this year. First a pair of schoolteachers sassed it up. Then Alex Goot shoved a little extra electropop in. McFly stripped the production back for an acoustic radio rendition. Most recently (and most absurdly), Matt Lauer and Al Roker took a stab at the song a cappella!

After all that, what’s the point of posting another “Dynamite”? While all those were fun, this one may be the first that’s legitimately “good.” Minneapolis songwriter Sarah Winters layers the harmonies over some stately piano chords. A dumb ode to partying becomes a celebration of life itself. Download it below. Continue reading »