In April we premiered a cover of the Outfield’s “Your Love” by Land of Leland, the project of multi-instrumentalist Justin Keller. We asked you to vote on the next song he should cover, and with less than five votes separating the top choices, “Everywhere” by Fleetwood Mac squeaked by as the winner. Now we’re excited to premiere that cover.
[Begin snobbish rant] Music for the average American consumer goes something like this: turn on radio; listen to “Top 40” station; download a 30 second ringtone of a song designed to be catchy to the point of brainwashing. Yes, I know, this is a huge generalization. But, the point is that the amount of great music currently being made is staggering, with unprecedented access to it thanks to the internet, and yet so many people are content with whatever is spoon-fed over the airways (current readers excepted, of course). If you take the time to explore the music you like, you never know what you might find. [End snobbish rant]
Back in July we introduced you to the Peptides. First we presented three of their best cover videos (with commentary) in an Under the Radar feature. You liked that so much we quickly signed them on for a Cover Commission. They selected ten disco tunes, you voted, and Thelma Houston’s “Don’t Leave Me This Way” edged out Anita Ward’s “Ring My Bell” for the win.
Avast, ye cover-lovin’ landlubbers, and cast yer deadlights this way, because I’m takin’ over this blog and there ain’t nothin’ to be done about it! As for the whereabouts of Ray, yer usual host, well, let’s just say he’s a little tied up, gagged, blindfolded and locked in a chest at the moment. Instead you get me, Black Dog Nate of Pirates For Sail, remindin’ you that September 19th is International Talk Like a Pirate Day and welcomin’ you to this all-pirate installment of Cover Commissions!
What’s left to say about The Peptides? A couple weeks ago we introduced these Canadians to you in a popular Under the Radar feature. Frontman Claude Marquis told us about their covers of “Don’t Fear the Reaper,” “Fallen Leaves,” “Silver Dagger,” and “Jealous Guy.” A pretty wide spectrum there, from traditional folk to pop-punk, but they haven’t done any disco. Until now. In the Cover Commissions tradition, they will cover one of ten disco hits, as determined by you, the reader.
Before we get there though, let’s present a little more background. The band has two covers we held back from the previous feature. One is a harmony-happy version of Peter Schilling’s “Major Tom (Coming Home),” the sequel he wrote to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity.” The other is a mandolin-and-strings “Mary’s Prayer,” the sole hit by British band Danny Wilson (which included no one name Danny or Wilson). Both come accompanied by typically vintage videos from old films. Can you name them?
Corey TuT first crossed our radar with his Lady Gaga covers, so it seems fitting that you all picked Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know” as the song for him to tackle in last month’s Cover Commissions. The man’s got a talent for off-kilter female songwriters. And off-kilter it is, as TuT took Morissette’s megahit into Nine Inch Nails territory. And you thought the original was angry!
This is definitely one of my favorite songs of the ’90s and I knew I could really squeeze the hell out of the angst in this song, but I wanted to do something a bit different. I secretly was hoping the Nine Inch Nails song [“Something I Can Never Have”] would win, because it is so spare and dark, yet very powerful. When the Alanis song won, I thought, well, what if Trent Reznor was doing it? That was my initial inspiration. I slowed it way down and started playing around with different piano lines. I love a looping, melodic, hypnotic instrumental line, and I really wanted to bring a mix of electronic and organic instruments.
Cover Commissions is a monthly series in which a featured artist covers a reader-selected song for this blog. Any artists interested in participating, contact us.
June’s Commissions artist Corey TuT has been rocking his way around New York City for the past ten years, playing legendary venues like Joe’s Pub and CBGB. His poppy punk is what you imagine modern rock radio should sound like (as opposed to the Nickelback garbage they actually play). It’s like Social Distortion if Social Distortion had tried to write hit singles.
Corey’s latest album is Everything and we’ve a track from it below. “So What?” has been featured everywhere from the CW show Life Unexpected to a Totino’s Pizza Roll commercial (so if it makes you hungry, you know why).
Cover Commissions is a monthly series in which a featured artist covers a reader-selected song for this blog. Any artists interested in participating, email me.
Christina Cone comes to us by way of Brooklyn, where she’s steadily developing a following. The whole girl-on-piano thing inevitably leads to Norah Jones comparisons, but if you’ve got to go there Regina Spektor makes a better reference point. Cone’s poppy melodies push her well beyond jazz-lite torch songs while her occasional vocal riffing sounds straight out of Spektor’s “Fidelity.”