Bree Sharp and Don DiLego, the longtime musical collaborators known together as Beautiful Small Machines, have spent the last decade crafting a series of techno-tinged pop EPs. On their latest track, a cover of M.I.A.‘s 2008 hit “Paper Planes,” they take a more laid back approach. In their entry to the ever-popular folk cover genre, they trade the electronic blips of their original work for a banjo, transforming M.I.A.’s politicized Worldbeat into a woozy ballad.
Australian folk songstress Julia Stone has appeared on our radar before as one half of folk-blues duo Angus and Julia Stone alongside her brother. The pair has achieved substantial success in their native country, and Julia has also released two solo albums, including her brand new disc By the Horns. The album includes a cover of The National‘s “Bloodbuzz Ohio.”
The National’s original track is an expansive centerpiece to their 2010 album High Violet, carried by Matt Berninger’s powerful voice. Stone’s cover dials back the emotion that The National brings to their performance, favoring high, wavering vocals and gentler instrumentals. When the two are compared, Stone’s cover feels polished and in keeping with her musical style, but somewhat insubstantial in the shadow of its source material.
In a strange coincidence, both The Killers and Surfer Blood released a cover of the Raspberries’ 1972 single “Go All the Way.” The Killers’ version comes from the soundtrack to Dark Shadows, the latest film from director Tim Burton, who previously teamed up with the band for their “Bones” video. Surfer Blood simply tweeted out their track last week, accompanied with the announcement “Here is a cover we did for your parents.”
This winter, British indie rockers Arctic Monkeys went country with frontman Alex Turner’s cover of the Patsy Cline classic “Strange.” Now they’re getting a country makeover of their own, courtesy of Nashville artist Caitlin Rose. Rose released her covers of the Monkeys’ “Piledriver Waltz” and “Love Is a Laserquest” on limited edition vinyl for this years’ Record Store Day, and recently uploaded a quirky video to accompany “Piledriver.”
Lana Del Ray has been a divisive subject in the music community since her “Video Games” became the buzziest single of 2011. Quite a few artists seem to agree, however, that it’s a great track to cover. The latest to take on “Video Games” is John Mayer, who made a brief return this week from his self-imposed hiatus with a solo guitar version of the track.
Iceland’s Lily and Fox first popped up on our radar last December, when she released her airy cover of “Nightcall,” the opening music for the film Drive. Now the songstress, real name Hildur Kristín, is back with a similarly floaty take on Interpol’s “Obstacle 1.” Kristín shows the influence of her current home, Japan, on her minimalist cover of the Turn on the Bright Lights track.