The Fontaines are a brother-sister duo – Charlotte and Hank – who live in LA and are inspired by Lesley Gore and Peggy Lee, so it’s not surprising they’d be Lana Del Rey fans as well. And on their new cover of “Young and Beautiful”, which we’re happy to premiere below, they do the former Ms. Lizzie Grant justice.
Beatles covers are a dime a dozen these days (we’ve got a review of another tribute album going up later today in fact). The originals are so iconic it can be difficult to put one’s own stamp on it. Most covers stick too close to the originals, but then the braver attempts at dramatic reinterpretations fail ten times as often as they succeed. It’s hard to win.
On his new version of “Julia” though, classically-trained guitarist Jeremy Bass finds a nice middle ground. He reworks the song into a tender bossa nova rhythm for his new album New York in Spring, finding a new beauty in the melody without veering off into novelty Beatles Go Brazil!-type territory.
Mexico City sextet El Conjunto Nueva Ola is not your typical cumbia band. For one, they mix in new wave and disco in heavy doses; they must be the only cumbia band with a keytar player. For another, they dress up in lucha libre masks, the traditional headwear of Mexican wrestlers, and never let anyone see their faces.
A lot of songwriters call themselves “Americana,” but John Statz the geographical credentials to back it up. He’s from Wisconsin, lives in Colorado, recorded his new album in Vermont, and titled it Tulsa. On one track he looks across the pond though – to Britain’s Radiohead, whose “Motion Picture Soundtrack” he turns into a hushed country lament.
If you Google “David Ford,” you’ll see this description under his website: “David Ford is a brilliantly talented British musician from Eastbourne, UK. His live performances are incredible, and his songs are breathtaking.” Knowing David’s work, this is probably tongue in cheek (or written by an overzealous PR person), but it just so happens to be true. I’ve long talked friends’ ears off about Ford, calling him the best songwriter under 40 working today (Exhibit A: “State of the Union”. Exhibit B: “To Hell with the World”. Exhibit C: “Philadelphia Boy”.)
It’s no secret that we’re big fans of Bent Knee here at Cover Me. Their covers somehow manage to simultaneously be both nuanced and almost overwhelmingly powerful, and to work with their source material instead of feeling like they’re working on it. While their covers don’t come around as often as we’d like, they’re an absolute treat every time they do.
In the world of alt-country, Asleep at the Wheel frontman Ray Benson has more cover song credibility than most. In their four decade career, the nine-time Grammy winners have recorded not one but two Bob Wills tribute albums with guests like Willie Nelson and the Dixie Chicks, which were so successful that they turned into a touring musical (which Ray starred in). He’s covered W.C. Handy with Willie Nelson and Red Foley with Brad Paisley. And on his new solo album A Little Piece, out next week, he takes on Randy Newman‘s “Marie”.
Back in 2010, Anna Rose performed the Stooges “Gimme Danger” for the “Jam for Ron Asheton” honoring the recently-deceased Stooge with current band members Scott Asheton, Mike Watt and Steve Mackay. As these things generally are, the tribute night was somewhat of a karaoke-esq affair. In the subsequent years though, she stuck with the song, re-arranging it and fiddling with it to arrive at the version you hear below. She delivers the song like nightclub singer with a spaghetti western bent, like if Blue Velvet was set near the Alamo.