Sep 032019
 

In the Spotlight showcases a cross-section of an artist’s cover work. View past installments, then post suggestions for future picks in the comments!

sleater-kinney covers

When Sleater-Kinney reunited for the first time in 2015, they commented on the riot grrrl movement for an interview with The Cut.

For [guitarist Corin] Tucker, riot grrrl isn’t a dirty word. “I was definitely part of riot grrrl in Olympia,” she said. “For me, that was about having this really supportive group of women that wanted to do art — that was fanzines, that was music, it was spoken word, it was visual art — and that we would support each other and make a larger space for women’s voices in the world.

Tucker said, “For us, the lyrics are really tied to our beliefs and our desire to change things – that’s really the scene that we came from, is all about sincerely being angry and wanting to use music to change the world, basically,”

 

Now, as they prepare to release a new album, I’m hopeful that a change in this world is on the horizon. There is a riot grrrl in all of us, and now is the time to be heard. 

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Sep 032019
 
partner cover rush

The 2010 Rush documentary Beyond The Lighted Stage has a strange effect on all those who witness it. No matter what one thought of Rush and their music before viewing it, you would have to be some kind monster to hate them afterward. Their heartfelt bond with one another, self awareness about their effect on men (check out their cameo in 2009’s I Love You Man), as well as, of course, their virtuosic musicianship, proves riotously lovable on screen. As a result, people who have never been “into” Rush before have come away liking them, or at the very least wanting to like them. Continue reading »

Sep 022019
 

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

Bikini Kill

2019 marks the return of the riot grrrl. Bikini Kill, Sleater-Kinney, L7, and Team Dresch, all formative riot grrrl bands, have reunited in 2019 to play tours and (in some cases) even release new music. In the era of the #MeToo movement, increasing abortion restrictions, and the struggles of the LGBTQ community to find acceptance, riot grrrls sense that they are needed, and they’re coming back. The riot grrrl movement was a punk musical movement, but it was also a political movement; lyrics took on weighty topics, promoted feminism, and unabashedly commented on politics. This week we celebrate riot grrls, and thank them for speaking up and pushing for equality through their music. 

It only seems right to kick off a week of riot grrrl posts with Bikini Kill, often considered the founding band of the movement. Founded in Olympia, Washington, home to the early riot grrrl scene, in 1990, the band is made up of singer Kathleen Hanna, drummer Toby Vail, guitarist Billy Karren, and bassist Kathi Wilcox. Before disbanding in 1997, Bikini Kill recorded five albums, demanding “girls to the front” at their shows. Afterwards, the members went on to other musical projects. Most notably, Hanna became part of Le Tigre, the rock band known for its liberal political statements. Ironically, Hillary Clinton’s campaign tried to use “Rebel Girl” in a campaign video, but Vail requested that it be removed.

In 2006, when Rolling Stone picked the best songs of each year since 1967, Bikini Kill’s “Rebel Girl” was deemed the best of 1993. But this song is not just a song for the ’90s (not to mention a refreshing break from heteronormative lyrics), it’s an emblem, an anthem for everyone fighting injustice in this world. 

When she talks, I hear the revolution
In her hips, there’s revolution
When she walks, the revolution’s coming
In her kiss, I taste the revolution


These covers span the spectrum from screaming to singing, and they choose a variety of tempos marked by a steady metronomic drum beat. 

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Aug 302019
 

Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!

Immaculate Collection

Madonna was back in the news recently, as her latest release Madame X got the music press dishing out the full “return to form” treatment. No surprise, really – that’s the de rigueur clarion call to anyone of her vintage releasing, well, almost anything. To be fair, it has its moments, but nothing can beat The Immaculate Collection, the collection of Madge’s early singles that charts her journey from odd-voiced popstrel to soft-porn audio-provocateur. Continue reading »

Aug 282019
 
chromatics cover jackson c frank

Jackson C.Frank was what you would call a musician’s musician. While his stark, windblown folk sound was revered and respected by his peers during the ’60s, he was for the most part utterly invisible and unappreciated by the general public.

He is primarily remembered as a peripheral character in the lives of far greater known artists. Paul Simon produced his first and only album in 1965. Nick Drake covered no less than 4 of his songs. Sandy Denny, the legendary Fairport Convention vocalist, was romantically involved with him for several years and one of her finest recorded moments is a song about their relationship. Continue reading »

Aug 222019
 
hootie barenaked ladies

During the mid-1990s, there were fewer rock-pop crossover bands bigger than Hootie and the Blowfish. But their decline at the end of the decade paralleled their meteoric rise. When the band called it quits in 2008, there was little fanfare or farewell. Continue reading »