Oct 312016
 
LarkinPoe

Elvis Costello’s recent Detour run (detour… de tour… get it?) was billed as a solo gig, but for half of the show I caught, he wasn’t up there alone. Flanking him was his opening band, the duo Larkin Poe. For instance, here’s the trio on one of Costello’s classics, “Blame It On Cain”:

You can see why Costello has come to depend on them so much at these “solo” dates; he even turned over lead vocals on an unreleased new song, “Burn the Paper Down to Ash.” Larkin Poe’s opening set was every bit as impressive – the fact that they still had energy left to join Costello after it, even more so. Atlanta sisters Megan and Rebecca Lovell stormed the stage, making a mandolin and steel guitar howl and holler with a blues-rock fever. They’ve earned themselves the tagline “the little sisters of the Allman Brothers,” and for good reason. Continue reading »

Aug 242016
 

Welcome to Cover Me Q&A, where we take your questions about cover songs and answer them to the best of our ability.

Here at Cover Me Q&A, we’ll be taking questions about cover songs and giving as many different answers as we can. This will give us a chance to hold forth on covers we might not otherwise get to talk about, to give Cover Me readers a chance to learn more about individual staffers’ tastes and writing styles, and to provide an opportunity for some back-and-forth, as we’ll be taking requests (learn how to do so at feature’s end).

Today’s question, from Cover Me staffer Jordan Becker: What’s your favorite foreign-language cover song?
Continue reading »

Aug 082016
 
Eaux-Claires

Last July, I drove three hours to meet my brother in Eau Claire, Wisconsin for the inaugural Eaux Claires festival. Justin Vernon, Aaron Dessner, and Michael Brown — the festival’s co-creators — were explicit about their desire to challenge the festival format, one typically designed to gather bands like vendors hawking wares at a marketplace in such a way that explicitly and implicitly pits them against one another, reinforcing genre differences and emphasizing the consumption of music more than its creation and enjoyment.

To those ends, Eaux Claires creators and designers set out to dissolve some of the barriers that typically separate the people who make art from the people who witness it. Festival goers were encouraged to engage with art installations, to experience performance in three interactive and innovative domes, and to journal about their experiences in field guides that were distributed upon admission. Likewise, performers were encouraged to jettison the sorts of festival behaviors expected of rock stars, to collaborate, to take risks, and to be fans of each other. Given my pet theory that covers are such a specific musical pleasure precisely because they become sonic artifacts that merge the roles of making and enjoying art, I expected the creators’ interest in similar mergers to create a fertile ground for covers and collaborations that changed songs in some of the same way covers do.

Continue reading »

Sep 082011
 

Let’s rip the band-aid off right up front: “Fleet Foxes Sing” is not actually Fleet Foxes. This needs explaining, because when the first cover popped up on Tumblr last month, plenty of folks bought it. “Fleet Foxes Covered Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’,” announced Yahoo. “Fleet Foxes Cover Whitney Houston, Prove They Can Turn Anything into a Campfire Singalong,” crowed The L Magazine. Only problem? The real band’s response. “We didn’t do that Whitney Houston cover,” they tweeted. “Funny though!” Continue reading »

Apr 122011
 

Though they’d already been active in the Los Angeles music scene for nearly a decade previous, indie/alt-country duo the Watson Twins made a big splash in the music world in 2006 with a pair of major releases. Alongside their debut EP Southern Manners, the Twins provided magnificent backing vocals on Rilo Kiley frontwoman Jenny Lewis‘ first solo record, Rabbit Fur Coat. A high-profile project like that surely warrants some serious attention, and since ’06 the Twins have continued to bestow records on a loving fanbase, knocking out the full-length Fire Songs and Talking to You, Talking to Me in the next four years.

Cover Me’s discussed the Watson Twins before (check out this write-up of their beautiful rendition of “Just Like Heaven” from Fire Songs), but their latest release has them on our radar big-time. On April 18, they’ll self-distribute a six-song covers EP, appropriately titled Night Covers, that sees them interpreting artists from the Black Keys to Sade (we premiere the full tracklist below). Leigh and Chandra Watson graciously took the time to chat with us via Skype about their impending release. Continue reading »

Oct 182010
 

It’s an especially hot fall weekend in Chicago, and scads of punk bands have migrated to a few of the city’s top venues for weekend residencies. The reason? Riot Fest. Now in its sixth year, this midwest mainstay has assembled perhaps its biggest lineup yet. The weekend will see performances from keystones of the punk rock world like Bad Religion, the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Jello Biafra, and dozens more. Among those taking the stage: Less Than Jake, whose performance coincides with the release of their latest album, a cover record of songs from the boob tube called TV/EP (read my review).

I sat down with band front-man and guitarist Chris Demakes on the afternoon of  Less Than Jake’s Riot Fest performance, at which they would debut several tracks off TV/EP. We took shelter in the ultra-swanky Red Bull Scenic Cruiser parked in front of the historic Congress Theater, which the band would later rock. Chris  took a few minutes post-sound check to talk with me about commercials, Grease, Cheap Trick, and standing tall on the wings of one’s dreams. Continue reading »