With most cover session series such as AV Undercover, the BBC’s Live Lounge and Like A Version you get some bands selecting a cover they feel safe with while others try something completely new. I’m a big fan of reggae covers of other songs (The Dynamics pulls this feat off repeatedly and brilliantly) but have never seen many going the other way, reggae songs into another style. Of course there are excellent exceptions such as The Clash’s versions of Police & Thieves and Armagideon Time.
Despite lead singer Brandon Flowers’ moments of delusional grandeur (IE, claiming they would have the best album in 20 years with Sam’s Town), the Las Vegas natives collectively known as The Killers seem to know how to have fun every now and then. While performing at the V Festival in Staffordshire, Flowers whipped out a stripped down version of Iggy Azalea‘s “Fancy,” much to the delight of the crowd.
Back when John Mellencamp went by John Cougar, he scored his first hit with 1979′s epic “I Need A Lover.” For the AV Club’s Undercover series, Hamilton Leithauser (formally of The Walkmen), took on the saga with his touring band and absolutely killed it.
Kathleen Edwards has covered Bruce Springsteen’s “Human Touch” live a number of times, usually with the assistance of Jenn Grant, a frequent touring companion. The online YouTube versions are okay, but suffer from less than stellar performances or shaky recording. Apparently, that almost perfect performance has been tucked away in the record vaults. Edwards recently decided to share it with her fans via a Facebook post.
Sam Amidon has built a career out of taking traditional folk, blues and Appalachian tunes and modernizing them. Although he occasionally strays into pop culture (his version of R. Kelly’s “Relief” was Cover Me’s 2nd favorite cover song of 2010) he can typically be found playing some obscure tune of long-forgotten origin. The first release from his upcoming album, Lily-O, fits the bill.
“Ceremony” is known in most music fans knowledge as the song that bridged Joy Division’s transition to New Order following the death of the former’s frontman. As one of the last songs Ian Curtis wrote, there are recordings of Joy Division performing it but there is sadly not a fully realised studio version out there.
Sunderland indie rockers Frankie & The Heartstrings have been a busy bunch as of late. Last year, they opened up their own record shop in their hometown, and, recently, covered the latest single from their neighbors from the north, Franz Ferdinand.