Oct 222010

Song of the Day posts one cool cover every morning. Catch up on past installments here.

One year and three days ago, Cover Me posted one of our most popular posts up to that time. We rounded up fifteen of our favorite “Weird Al” covers. After Al tweeted a link to his 1,500,000 followers, well, let’s just say Blogspot was less than thrilled with the strain on their servers. In that post, we included Throwing Toasters’ cover of “Good Enough for Now.” They did the Polka Party! should-be-a-classic solo acoustic, with a touch of country twang. Well, in honor of Al’s birthday tomorrow, we’ve got another version of the tune to share. On his new Share the Covers, Bitch (Part Two), Marc with a C opens with “Good Enough.” What starts as another simple acoustic ditty slowly expands with harmonies, shaker, and mandolin.

Incidentally, it’s patently unfair that “Good Enough for Now” is clearly a comedy record, but people play Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are”—which has the exact same message—at their weddings. How is a song about lowered expectations romantic? Better than playing “Every Breath You Take” I suppose, but still. Continue reading »

Oct 212010

Song of the Day posts one cool cover every morning. Catch up on past installments here.

Diversity in music is overrated. Sure, a group with a few tools in their tool belt bears some advantages, but you don’t need a bunch of screwdrivers and socket wrenches if you can use one tool really, really well. When you’re a Finnish symphonic-metal group that does covers of popular songs, that tool is a hammer. Of Thor.

The group behind the hammer in question, Northern Kings, released “We Don’t Need Another Hero (Thunderdome)” as their first single in 2007. Their fists-to-the-heavens video stars Juha-Pekka Leppäluoto’s incredible forked beard in some sort of Dante’s Inferno/killer carnival scenario. Is it a joke? Probably. Is it awesome? Absolutely. Continue reading »

Oct 202010

Song of the Day posts one cool cover every morning. Catch up on past installments here.

Amidst the hoopla about “Somewhere,” “Maria,” and syncopated snapping, one West Side Story classic often gets lost in the Jets-Shark shuffle: “Gee, Officer Krupke.” A rare moment of levity in the musical’s bleak second act, the song gives the Jets a chance to explain where they come from. It’s a catchy romp, with plenty of authority-figure impersonations, but between the laughs it points to the cycle of poverty and neglect that leads young people to gang life.

Puttin’ on the Ritz open their 2008 covers album Bangin’ into the Future with this Leonard Bernstein-Stephen Sondheim gem. The “Outsider Jazz Duo” becomes a quintet for irreverent covers of “Earth Angel,” “The Rainbow Connection,” and nine more. For “Gee, Officer Krupke” a trumpet bloops and blaps along amidst all the anti-authoritarian shouting. Gee, Officer Krupke….krup you! Continue reading »

Oct 192010

Song of the Day posts one cool cover every morning. Catch up on past installments here.

Sunday Girl (a.k.a Jade Williams, an English DJ/model/graphic artist) is a big deal in the UK dance scene (check out her stuff here). The moniker came about when she worked in a pet shop every Sunday and no one asked her name, but she recently became the darling of dance remixers everywhere by offering a cappella versions of her songs to anyone who was willing to sacrifice some bandwidth.

Don’t expect any remixes coming from this cover, though. Taking on Ke$ha‘s “Tik Tok,” Sunday Girl strips out the noise and sings liltingly along to an acoustic guitar. Her vocals evoke Harriet Wheeler of The Sundays, conjuring images of a shy teen out for the first time with her wild white-trash girlfriend. Here’s hoping nothing too bad happened on that crazy night. Hanging out with Ke$ha can’t be a good thing. Continue reading »

Oct 182010

Song of the Day posts one cool cover every morning. Catch up on past installments here.

For most of the world, “Jamaican music” means one thing: reggae. Now, this isn’t totally off base. But reggae didn’t come about until the late 1960s. Surely something came before. Of course it did. That something (or one of those somethings) was “mento.”

You could be forgiven for confusing the two. Both emphasize the backbeats, lazily meandering along. Mento, though, comes from African folk traditions and features a more acoustic sound. Mentomusic.com offers loads of insights, including a fascinating piece on mento’s influence on Bob Marley. Whether you’ve heard of the genre or not, you almost certainly know one example: “Day-O (The Banana Boat),” a mento song sold as calypso because Americans didn’t know the difference. Continue reading »

Oct 152010

Song of the Day posts one cool cover every morning. Catch up on past installments here.

Covers of Memoryhouse’s beautiful song “Lately” have been popping up all over the place since (the many versions of) the song’s release, and pretty much all of them have been lovely to say the least. However, Fort deClare’s cover is certainly one of the best. Fort deClare is one Sam Ramos, a 15 year old (!) from Virginia, who has been recording covers and original songs for almost a year and throwing them up on his MySpace. He seems to take a dreamy, folky approach to everything he does, which is perfectly suited to this particular song.

With the glut of covers of “Lately”, it can be pretty hard to stand out, but Fort deClare manages to do it. The strong musicianship and beautiful texturing along with a slightly faster tempo than most — which is driven by some beautifully played percussion starting about halfway through the song — help the track build up and soar into the ending. If he manages to keep recording songs like this and continues to build up his base of original work, Fort deClare will definitely be an artist to keep an eye on in the coming years. Continue reading »

Oct 142010

Song of the Day posts one cool cover every morning. Catch up on past installments here.

If you’ve ever ridden public transit, you know the scene. Homeless man drinks from paper bag. Child bounds about with no obvious parental supervision. Man stealthily reads paper over his seatmate’s shoulder. Mediterranean rock band busts out violin, harpsichord, and trumpet. Woman begins belly dancing. Homeless man strips. Just another day in a commuter’s life.

Okay, maybe a few things are different. But when your busmates are Dolapdere Big Gang, what do you expect? For the video to their raucous version of Nina Simone‘s “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” the Turkish octet hopped aboard an Istanbul bus and let ‘er rip. You don’t know whether to mosh or go all whirling dervish to this East-West fusion. As long as you’re moving, it doesn’t matter. Continue reading »

Oct 132010

Song of the Day posts one cool cover every morning. Catch up on past installments here.

It’s Bon Jovi time and you know what that means: Raise those pump-able fists high! Okay, now put them away. You won’t need them for this. Maybe a comfortable turtleneck for some mid-tempo head-bopping. The Boat People take “Livin’ on a Prayer” down a couple notches—but only a couple. The languid dance beat and super-cheesy synth present a cheeky front without disrespecting the original.

“We always sing this song when we end up in a particularly ridiculous ‘lifestyles of the rich and famous’ situation,” the band wrote. “Also, for some reason this song reminds me of the Arcade Fire, they both seem to draw something lyrically from The Boss and kind of surprised me that those two have something in common.” Continue reading »