Hope Silverman

Hope Silverman of NYC grew up actually wishing she could work in a real live Record Store. The wish was manifested beginning with a long stint at CBGB's Record Canteen where Johnny Thunders called her "sweetheart", and then carried on through many colorful years at HMV and Virgin. Her retail journey culminated in running Rough Trade Shop in NYC. She currently works her music muscle by both kicking out the occasional record on her tiny label 80N7 and flexing hard at her nerdy music blog showcasing the under-appreciated, underrated and undiscovered in the glorious pop universe. https://pickinguprocks.com

May 202020
 

Some covers are more equal than others. Good, Better, Best looks at three covers and decides who takes home the gold, the silver, and the bronze.

At Last I Am Free

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone mentions Chic? The pretty much guaranteed #1 answer is of course “Le Freak,” the 1978 stone cold classic anthem that has come to epitomize disco in its every manifestation; from the overall sound, to the sartorial style, to the era it happened in as a whole. There’s a good chance that the track following that on your mental turntable would be Chic’s other absolutely killer floor filler, the gorgeously soul stirring “I Want Your Love.” As it happens, both songs featured on Chic’s sophomore album C’est Chic, a ridiculously prescient piece of art that quickly established bandleaders Nile Rodgers and Bernard Edwards as indisputable musical masterminds as well as genius seers of production.

But underneath the pounding glamour and virtuosic Edwards bass-playing, Chic had a secret talent. While they could expertly turn out seminal late-night party anthems like nobody’s business, they were also capable of crafting the most incredible, evocative, lonely, 2 AM in the city ballads. Case in point: “At Last I Am Free,” from the aforementioned C’est Chic.
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May 132020
 

Under the Radar shines a light on lesser-known cover artists. If you’re not listening to these folks, you should. Catch up on past installments here.

Radka Toneff

Up until a few years ago, I had no idea who Radka Toneff was. I stumbled upon her only because I was doing what what all Cover Me nerds do in their spare moments: looking for cover versions of their favorite songs (in my own case it’s to add a little spice to my specific-song-themed-playlist situation because I’m a deluxe version nerd). Continue reading »

May 132020
 
mikey erg mother nature's son

When it comes to the sub-genre of acoustic Beatle ballads, Paul McCartney’s “Blackbird” from 1968’s White Album tends to get all the glory and attention. And while there’s no denying its greatness, the time has come to give long overdue props to another Macca ballad on the same album that’s equally fine. “Mother Nature’s Son” is sometimes perceived as a light bit of wistful, romantic fluff, especially when held next to to the weightier words of “Blackbird,” but when it comes to the actual melody, “Mother Nature’s Son,” with its descending guitar line and lush, swoon-inducing hook is a far superior animal. It features all the key demarcation points needed to shine in any style of cover. Continue reading »

May 122020
 
mary timony subdivisions

No Rush song speaks as directly to the tormented teenage soul as 1982’s “Subdivisions.” Its fat synthesizer lines and darkly perceptive lyrics about suburban teen alienation made it the perfect angst anthem to turn up to 11. Forget “How Soon Is Now”; “Subdivisions” is the song that truly understood what you were going through. The song’s release coincided with the launch of MTV, so its video  was a frequent part of their daily rotation. Continue reading »

May 042020
 
Laura Groves covers

One of the finest, maybe most underrated albums of 2009 was the self-titled debut album by Blue Roses aka Laura Groves. Released via XL, it was full of sophisticated and handsome folk-pop reminiscent of both early Kate Bush and Sandy Denny, regal, theatrical and ridiculously promising. Recorded when she was only 21 years old, the album was unleashed just as the sound of Lady Gaga was taking over the world and felt gloriously out of time. Continue reading »

Apr 302020
 
the killers petty cover

Brandon Flowers has always worn his love and fandom for the artists that have influenced him on his sleeve. He and The Killers have performed countless covers of his particular idols over the years, and his speech inducting The Cars into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2018 was genuinely moving. Flowers and bandmate Ronnie Vannucci Jr. played a short set on CBS This Morning’s Saturday Sessions last week and, in addition to performing two new tracks. threw in a cover of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers’ snarling, gloriously pent-up anthem “The Waiting.” Continue reading »