As sales of recorded music have plummeted – and streaming royalties failed to make up the difference – many professional musicians’ income streams come increasingly from so-called “syncs”: their music being licensed to commercials, movies, TV shows, etc. One popular sub-genre in the sync world is cover songs, often hit pop songs made slow and/or spooky for a trailer or show (see The New Yorker‘s recent article on the phenomenon). We’ve already posted two cover-song syncs just this week: Sharon Van Etten covering “Suspicious Minds” for a coconut water ad and the HBO show Big Little Lies licensing an old Fleetwood Mac cover by POP ETC.
While many such covers were recorded long before their money-making sync, some get recorded just for the purpose. For instance, while we’d love to hear a “Suspicious Minds” recording longer than the 60-second version in the coconut water commercial, it’s not clear one exists; Van Etten apparently arranged and recorded her cover specifically for that ad.
That’s presumably why slowcore vets Low’s very cool cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Bad Moon Rising” tops out at a minute and a half; that’s how long the ad would have been. The difference is, for whatever reason, it didn’t get used. Instead, it sat mostly unheard for several years before Snake Accident, the music supervision group that commissioned it, quietly uploaded it on Soundcloud a few months back. They wrote: “A few years back on a project for EA Games we had the pleasure of working with Low on a beautifully haunting cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s classic ‘Bad Moon Rising’. This has gone largely unheard, unless I played it for you at the shop or emailed it to you.”
It was worth the wait. Haunting and spooky, it undergirds Alan Sparhawk’s urgent baritone croon with ambient distortion and menacing hums. Someone else should license it.
Bonus tracks: Snake Accident also posted a couple other unused covers they commissioned, versions of The Carpenters’ “We’ve Only Just Begun” by Bonnie “Prince” Billy and Ariel Pink. TV on the Radio’s cover got picked. Hopefully these other two at least got paid. (Shoutout to Stereogum for first spotting these).