Like any great songwriter, Warren Zevon wrote songs whose words resonate well beyond their release date. Los Angeles singer-songwriter Bhi Bhiman picked up on one such connection in Zevon’s classic “Lawyers, Guns, & Money,” find overtones of the various Trump family investigations, from the NRA-boosting Russian spy to Donald Trump, Jr. Bhiman writes of his new cover:
For a cellist who frequently covers new wave, goth, and art-rock songs, David Bowie’s “Heroes” would seem one of the more obvious song selections. But San Francisco’s Erica Mulkey, who performs as Unwoman and appears regularly at sci-fi and steampunk conventions, says she resisted “Heroes” for years. Though one of her favorite songs, it seemed too obvious, and too often covered. Hard to find a fresh way to do it, especially after his passing. But backers on her Patreon pushed her to do it, and she ended up happy they did.
It will come as no surprise to anyone who’s ever heard a blues song that the narrator of “Baby, Scratch My Back” isn’t really talking about itchy shoulder blades. And if the metaphor is still too subtle, Whitehorse’s slinky, sultry new cover will get the message across.
The Canadian husband-and-wife duo of Luke Doucet and Melissa McClelland are preparing to release The Northern South Vol. 2, their latest blues-covers LP, in January (we spoke to them about their own favorite cover songs last month). Their cover of “Baby, Scratch My Back” is a highlight, slower and groovier than some of the more upbeat jams. McClelland’s trademark telephone-mic brings an era-appropriate distortion as Doucet’s fiery guitar leads channel vintage Chess Records. They use pots for percussion, which sounds like something an old bluesman might do, and blow some melodica, which doesn’t.
Hot off the heels of our The Best Talking Heads Covers Ever countdown a few months ago, there’s already another contender: The Values’ new version of “This Must Be the Place (Naive Melody),” premiering here. On their upcoming EP Imposter, the Brooklyn duo of Mason Taub and Evan Zwisler give the song a modern electropop sheen, without losing some of the Afrobeat touches of the original.
In 1991, a mysterious singer calling herself Q Lazzarus made the sort of massive cultural imprint most musicians only dream of: having her song “Goodbye Horses” soundtrack the iconic Buffalo Bill mirror scene in Silence of the Lambts. And then, at the moment most musicians would capitalize on early success – she vanished.
Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!
Devo released their brilliantly-titled debut album Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! forty years ago today. Though later albums would yield bigger hits (we’re still a few years from “Whip It”), their debut remains their most iconic record. Blending their poppiest hooks with their artiest quirks, it works wonderfully as a statement of purpose.
As Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald Casale told me when I wrote about their “Satisfaction” cover for my book (you can still read an excerpt of that chapter at The New Yorker), even completing the album became a monumental pain. Having Brian Eno produce your debut record would seem a coup, but sessions quickly became fractious. Devo wanted to record the album with zero studio experimentation. They’d honed the songs over several years of concerts and rehearsals, and saw no reason to change them. Eno did not go for that approach, sneaking into the studio with his pal David Bowie after the band left and adding new instruments at least once. The next morning, Devo caught on and wiped them. Devo’s instincts have rarely led them astray, but boy I’d be curious to hear what Bowie was trying to add to the tracks.