With the release of their 2009 album, Yeah So, Sheffield, England duo Slow Club (aka Charles Watson and Rebecca Taylor) took the folk world by storm with their lovely perspective on relationships encompassed in an inventive package. The band’s love songs, such as “When I Go” and “Let’s Fall Back in Love,” were made even more beautiful with the use of percussion like glass bottles and chairs, and through the band’s cute, but not too sugary songwriting. Now the duo is back with a new album, Paradise, which includes a really different (and funky) new track, “Two Cousins.”
What do you get when you combine Leslie Feist, Colin Greenwood of Radiohead, Air’s Nicholas Godin and a collection of early Velvet Underground songs? The answer is “Velvet Underground Revisited”. The group of musicians, also including the Hotrats (Nigel Godrich, Gaz Coombes and Danny Goffey of the band Supergrass) and Soap&Skin, played an all-day tribute to the influential band in Paris in early July. The concert covered all of the songs off of the band’s Nico-featuring 1967 debut album, frequently called the “Warhol album” or the “banana album” for the Warhol pop art on the cover.
Brooklyn’s indie rocker Frankie Rose is all over the place. As a member of indie garage rock acts Dum Dum Girls, Vivian Girls, Crystal Stilts, and her newest band Frankie Rose and the Outs, she has been a key part of developing the indie rock scene in Brooklyn, crafting dreamy noise rock songs for the last 8 years. Following her cover of the Strokes “Soma” earlier this summer, Frankie tackles a fellow dream pop favorite, Mazzy Star‘s 1990 track “Blue Flower.”
Peter, Bjorn and John’s 2006 hit “Young Folks” is one of the catchiest indie songs of the past five years. The whistle-happy story of girl meets boy seems like it’s appeared in every commercial, movie trailer, college student’s mix tape and grocery store playlist since it was first featured on the Swedish band’s breakthrough album Writer’s Block. It’s also been covered from everyone from British pop band The Kooks to British soft rock singer James Blunt.
We’ve already heard Foster the People‘s “Pumped Up Kicks” covered quite a few times this summer. The upbeat track by the California breakout band has been transformed into a melancholy song about tragedy (from Toronto singer Royal Wood), a dreamlike glockenspiel track (from Melbourne pop singer Owl Eyes) and a quiet ukulele song (from British ukulele player Sophie Madeleine). Now the smash song is given the covers treatment via a live version from California rock superstars Weezer, who transform the poppy track about how to “outrun my gun” into a stadium anthem.
Since 1996, Illinois punk outfit Alkaline Trio has been known for its aggressive, yet emotional brand of pop punk music, which has been cherished and loved by many. Recently, 39 different pop punk artists got together to show their appreciation and love for the band with the release of A Tribute to Alkaline Trio (out on Pacific Ridge Records on August 30). The roster of bands on the album includes San Diego pop band The Material, Ace Enders’ (of the Early November) side project I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody’s Business, Pennsylvania pop punk band Punchline, and many more.
Lady Gaga is a name known worldwide. Sir Noah Shark…well, not so much. However, the English/Canadian singer-songwriter and producer is back, after a recent cover of Gaga’s “Judas,” to make sure you learn it. This time around, he’s covering another Gaga hit, “Marry the Night,” her recent tale of club-banging and forgetting who you are.
Shark tries to weave Gaga’s tale of running off with the night into his very own. Reminiscent of Mike Posner (who most recently transformed Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”) but with a harder edge, Shark tries to keep the electro/club feeling that worked so well the first time and add guitars and his own signature pop rock voice. Though it doesn’t entirely work (the original is more sweeping and powerful), you can still picture the song being pumped in a club surrounding hundreds of others who are “marrying the night” themselves.
Michael Jackson covers are a dime a dozen. In the past few months, we’ve already had a cello cover of “Smooth Criminal” (and what could really beat a cello cover by two dueling cellists), a funky cover of “Human Nature” by Bad Rabbits, and an equally amazing country/folk cover of “Billie Jean” by rising duo The Civil Wars. But the world didn’t know what it was missing until California R&B singer Aloe Blacc released his live video cover of “Billie Jean” with a full string section. He manages to channel and capture the spirit of the late great King of Pop and make one of the best and most interesting (and soulful) MJ covers so far this year.