Ben Howard’s talent lies in the art of stripping down playful synth pop jams and spewing out chill inducing, moody acoustic reworks. Continue reading »

Some covers are more equal than others. Good, Better, Best looks at three covers and decides who takes home the gold, the silver, and the bronze.

 
Aretha Franklin is back in the news again, promoting her upcoming cover album Aretha Franklin Sings the Great Diva Classics and letting fly with her 72-year-old chops on Letterman. Meanwhile, Derek Jeter played his last game, and the Red Sox saluted him by inviting Michelle Brooks-Thompson from “The Voice” to sing “Respect.” She was promptly dubbed “Fake Aretha Franklin.”

Anyway, both events brought back memories of one of the undisputed greatest covers ever recorded. And the original’s nothing to sneeze at, either – this is Otis Redding we’re talking about, expressing as only he could what he’s got-ta, got-ta, got-ta have. “That’s one of my favorite songs because it has a better groove than any of my records,” Redding said. “Everybody wants respect, you know.” It was true – the song took him into the top 40 for only the second time, and the stampede to cover it began. Some of those covers were on the same level as the version by the nun in Airplane!, but a lot more of them rose far above that level…
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Atlanta “grass ‘n roll” group Seven Handle Circus recently took to a sunny street corner in New Orleans to record a live cover of A-ha‘s classic ’80s hit. Outfitted with guitar, upright bass, mandolin, banjo, fiddle, and call-and-response vocals, the band lends the song a breezy sensibility befitting the performance’s street-side setting. Continue reading »

English new-wavers Tears For Fears are in the midst of their first North American tour in three years. The band has released a slew of fantastic covers over the past year or so – including covers of Hot Chip and Arcade Fire – and just a couple of days ago, they surprised fans in Portland with a live rendition of Radiohead‘s iconic “Creep.”

The Pablo Honey smash has been covered ad nauseum and the band doesn’t stray far from the original. Still, they do bring an energy to the 21-year-old song that the audience feeds off of. Go ahead, plug in your headphones and singalong while listening to the cover below:

Check out more Tears for Fears on the band’s official website.

The Squidbillies, an animated show on Adult Swim about mud squids living in Appalachia, has a special twist for its fans this season. The eighth season, which started on September 21, featured the show’s traditional theme song covered by Neko Case. Case is just the first of several musicians – including Todd Rundgren, King Khan and the Shrines, Centro-Matic, Dwight Yoakam, and Milk Carton Kids – that will be covering the theme for this season. Continue reading »

If you haven’t already fallen in love with FKA Twigs yet, now is a good time to do so. The experimental R&B artist just stopped by Radio 1 Live Lounge and dropped this gorgeous take on Sam Smith‘s “Stay With Me.” Continue reading »

Nao is an east London singer, songwriter and producer with an electro and R&B sound. She has worked with Pulp amongst others and takes her influences from artists like Björk and fellow Londoner Burial. She has recently been picked as a support slot for Swedish indie and electronic outfit Little Dragon on their European tour. To celebrate she has performed a version of “Ritual Union.” This was the killer single (from the album of the same name) released a few years back by her new tourmates. Continue reading »

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from The Cure, but Paul McCartney, in a manner of speaking, has brought them back together. An upcoming Sir Paul mega-tribute (42 tracks!) album includes The Cure’s version of “Hello, Goodbye.” Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson, Roger Daltrey, Smokey Robinson and many more have contributed to the record, which is set for a November 18, 2014, release. Continue reading »

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