Oct 272016
 
My Goodness_Jake Gravbrot

It’s been a good year for covers of Tom Petty’s non-Heartbreakers tracks. Back in January we heard Jane Kramer’s great version of a Highway Companion deep cut, and now we have My Goodness covering a better-known song off a better-known album: Wildflower’s lead single “You Don’t Know How It Feels.” The Seattle duo of guitarist/vocalist Joel Schneider and drummer Andy Lum slows the song way down on their upcoming EP Islands, giving it a spooky menace just in time for Halloween.

“We were listening to a lot of Tom Petty on our last US tour, great driving music – so we decided to choose a classic and take it to a dark place,” Lum tells us. “When we started recording in Seattle, our producer Shawn suggested we play the song at double speed and slow the tape down to get this spacey, warped drum sound. It felt insane while we were tracking, but the end result was totally worth it.” Continue reading »

Oct 062016
 
KAYE_AaronSeeburger-1-lores

After years as a critical punching bag, Britney Spears has finally been embraced (or at worst begrudgingly accepted) by the cool kids. We’re seeing a lot more Britney covers from the indie world than we used to, and her hits are well-built enough to hold up under a wide variety of interpretations. The latest killer Britney cover comes from San Fermin singer Charlene Kaye, who makes “Oops!…I Did It Again” a whole lot darker. Continue reading »

Sep 202016
 
ChicagoFarmer

Other than his hit for Glen Campbell “Gentle On My Mind,” John Hartford songs don’t get covered as often as they should. The pioneering fiddle and banjo player sometimes gets pigeonholed as just a bluegrass guy (and none were better), but he could do so much more, from rockabilly covers to weird experimental stuff (where’s the hip indie cover of his heavy-breathing-and-fart-sounds “Boogie”?). The best recent cover of a Hartford tune has been Jones Street Station’s “In Tall Buildings,” but Chicago Farmer’s new version of “I’m Still Here” gives that one a run for its money. Continue reading »

Sep 072016
 
DollyPartondark

Earlier this summer, we got an email from a band we’d never heard of: 48 Cameras. They sent very little information, just short clips of some cover songs on Facebook. But those clips were amazing. We’ve been bugging us ever since for full versions, and they’ve finally obliged with an upcoming covers album, Songs Our Mothers Taught Us. It’s easily one of the strangest and most fascinating covers album of the year, Tom Waits meets Serge Gainsbourg meets Twin Peaks. They cover a whole bunch of classic songs on the album – “My Funny Valentine,” “By the Time We Get to Phoenix,” “Famous Blue Raincoat” – but none sounds like any version we’ve ever heard.

Despite having worked together for thirty years, the band members have never met. They live all over Europe and work remotely, with different people in the ever-changing lineup contributing to different tracks. “Our music could be a music written in a foreign language which we would not totally like to master,” says frontman (for lack of a better term) Jean M. Mathoul. Continue reading »

Aug 312016
 

Working at an elementary school fundamentally changes the way you listen to and critique music. After only a year of working with children, I have become something of a pop music – dare I say it – enthusiast. I have listened to (and danced) the Nae Nae more times than my angsty-and-holier-than-thou-17-year-old-self would have ever though possible. I know all the words to even the Bieber songs that aren’t on a continuous radio loop.

I’m not even mad about it though. Pop music is fun as hell, and artist JLiNE knows this, too. His club-ready originals have a genuineness about them; he unabashedly calls on the listener to get in on the good times he is clearly having in his videos.  Cover Me has an exclusive of his cover mash-up of Rachel Platten’s “Fight Song” and  Justin Bieber‘ “Where R U Now?” and I dare you not to bob your head along. Continue reading »

Aug 302016
 
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We get a lot of Ariana Grande covers submitted to us, and they tend to follow a formula: a young woman showcases her best arena-filling belt on YouTube. Like Mariah Carey before her, Ariana Grande songs offer an occasion to show off one’s vocal chops. Some of the belting is pretty good, but big, powerful singing doesn’t make an Ariana Grande cover any different than an Ariana Grande original. But now, finally, we have a musician taking a very different approach.

J Hacha De Zola hails from the town of Rahway, New Jersey and exhibits the state’s blue-collar work ethic: he’s already released two albums this year! And if that wasn’t enough output, he’s now got a bonus cut, his wild new cover of Grande’s “Bad Decisions.” It’s a wonderfully ramshackle production, a huge, swaying barroom roll somewhere between Tom Waits and the Pogues (longtime Waits saxman Ralph Carney in fact plays on his latest album, Picaro Obscuro). If you know Grande’s original, this cover is barely recognizable – and if you don’t the recording stands on its own. Continue reading »