New Jersey’s Marissa Paternoster of Screaming Females has made a name for herself as a whirling dervish of guitar shredding, but if you head down the Eastern seaboard a little more you’ll find someone coming up on her tail: Grace Vonderkuhn of Wilmington, Delaware. After fronting local bands for the past few years, she’s stepped out front with a psyched-out debut EP earlier this year that was hotly tipped by Pitchfork and Vice.
Last year, the North Carolina band Lost in the Trees announced an indefinite hiatus (and it sounds like it’s permanent). But before they went their separate ways (well before in fact), they recorded a majestic cover of the Beatles’ “And Your Bird Can Sing.” We’re proud to premiere it below.
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.