Aug 312011

The dog days of summer turned out to not be so sleepy after all. With festivals promoting one-off cover collabs and tribute albums honoring unexpected subjects (the Muppets!), there’s been a lot going on. Catch up on the 20 biggest can’t-miss cover stories from the past month as you squeeze in that one last beach day and get ready for the fall.

Willie Nelson teamed up with Chipotle for an unexpected cover of Coldplay’s “The Scientist” and a weird animated factory-farm video.

Jeff Mangum returned from the creative grave with intimate performances and a Roky Erickson cover.

The Decemberists covered Leonard Cohen and Fruit Bats in a new iTunes session. Amos Lee released his own session, tackling Neil Young and Ween (?!)

Festival season yielded tons of covers. First comes our Lollapalooza roundup. Also from that fest: The Mountain Goats covering Styx.

Fests also yielded lots of unexpected cover collaborations. We had My Morning Jacket and Neko Case covering Kenny Rogers, Jarvis Cocker joining the Strokes for a Cars cover, Mavis Staples and Win Butler doing “The Weight”, Guster and Jack’s Mannequin cover Peter, Bjorn and John, and Feist covering the Velvet Underground with lots of friends.

Ryan Adams popped up again, with a beautifully intimate Iron Maiden cover.

Taylor Swift tried for a similar intimacy on her Eminem cover, with less success.

Lots of great music videos this month. Check out entries from Mr. Little Jeans covering Arcade Fire, EMA covering Nirvana, Busdriver covering Animal Collective, Pollyn covering Portishead, Wilco covering Nick Lowe, Johanna and the Dusty Floor covering Kate Bush, Lavalette covering Cro-Mags, and Cœur de Pirate covering The Weeknd.

Weezer hearts Foster the People. Foster the People hearts Weezer.

Jimmy Cliff reclaimed his crown with a Clash cover.

The Amy Winehouse tributes kept rolling in. We heard covers by George Michael, Coldplay, Bruno Mars, and, maybe soon, Kanye.

We also lost Jerry Leiber. Also: The V-Roys released their own version of his “Smokey Joe’s Café.”

A.V. Undercover continued with entries from The Decemberists, Against Me!, Basia Bulat, and the Hold Steady.

Another favorite series, the Live Lounge, offered some choice cuts by Nero, Noah and the Whale, and the Vaccines.

Little Dragon dug up a forgotten club gem with “Gypsy Woman.”

True Blood randomly became a source of quality covers. We already heard Nick Cave and Neko Case, but now here’s Black Rebel Motorcycle Club covering the show’s theme song and L’Aventurra delivering a second “She’s Not There.”

The Muppets tribute album dropped. Read our review, then check out covers by Alkaline Trio and OK Go.

Sick of Buddy Holly covers? Too bad. Here are a few more from Patrick Stump and Brian Wilson, who also announced a Disney tribute album.

It was a strangely huge month for alt-country Bob Dylan covers. Here’s Jeff Bridges covering “The Man in Me,” Cabin Dogs covering “New Morning,” Tom Russell covering “A Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall” with Lucinda Williams and Calexico, The Waxwings covering “Abandoned Love,” and Heartless Bastards and the Moondoggies both releasing versions of “You Ain’t Going Nowhere.”

We celebrated the birthdays of Bruce Dickinson, Whitney Houston, Ben Gibbard, Jeff Tweedy, and Van Morrison.

Want more? Check out July’s Biggest Cover Stories.

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