Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire got local during their Philadelphia tour stop, covering “Motown Philly” by hometown heroes Boyz II Men. The indie giants kept the track true to its funky R&B roots. From the look of the video the band had a grand old time with this tune, because who doesn’t love a little new jack swing? And if your dream is seeing Win Butler sing Boyz II Men in a giant fake head, then this video is absolutely for you. Continue reading »

Bridie Monds-Watson, better known as SOAK, first made a splash on the musical blogosphere when her single “Blud” was remixed by CHVRCHES back in February. As one of the first signees on CHVRCHES new label, Goodbye Records, SOAK returned the favor with this tender take on “The Mother We Share.” Continue reading »

JanelleMonae

Leave it to one of contemporary music’s most innovative artists to remind us that legendary songs can be powerful in any musical style. David Bowie’s “Heroes” got a soulful update courtesy of R&B artist Janelle Monáe as part of a new Pepsi ad campaign. Bowie and Monáe both represent the innovation of sound and identity through blurring the lines of genre, style and gender, so it only makes sense that their paths would cross in such an awesome way. Continue reading »

Saturday, April 5th was the 20 year anniversary of Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain’s death, and the impact his music made on his peers was very apparent. Over the weekend, both St. Vincent and Muse showed their love for the fallen frontman with covers of Nevermind’s “Lithium.” Continue reading »

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!

Imagine, if you will, a place where Elvis is still the King. Not the slim, young, rockabilly Elvis, shaking hips and pouting lips, but a rotund, sweaty, Vegas Elvis, one who is adorned in sequins, karate-kicking and crab-clawing his way through an entire set of Led Zeppelin songs. And just for shins and grits, imagine those oh-so-familiar classic rock tunes tuned to a reggae beat and backed by a band that’s a cross between Bad Brains and Bob Marley.  Amazingly, what can be imagined can – and has – become reality. Welcome to the world of Dread Zeppelin.
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Often, it is somebody else’s interpretation of a Tom Waits song that reveals the lyrical and melodic side of his artistry. Waits has written many beautiful songs, but you have to peel back the layers of everything else that makes him interesting to find that inner core. Tom Waits’ recording of “Dirt in the Ground,” from Bone Machine, is slow, funereal march with somber horns in the background. The mood is clear, but the lyrics take close listening to decipher. Continue reading »

Apr 042014

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!

Rock history is full of bands who created something truly special, with inherent value, that for whatever reason never got their due in the music marketplace. The dB’s (that stands for decibels, don’t you know) could be a case study in how to make great music and influence other musicians, but miss out on commercial success. Passed over by labels hunting for the next Knack, the band, led by guitarists Chris Stamey and Peter Holsapple, signed with British label Albion Records at the very beginning of the ’80s, which meant that both their stellar debut and its follow up weren’t officially released in America for years.  The band only signed with an American label, Bearsville, after founder Stamey left to forge a solo career. When they submitted a video  to MTV for their suicide-themed song “Amplifier,” they were rejected.
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References abound with this cover. A band that takes their name from a Neil Young song covers The Afghan Whigs’ song that is a play on the title of a Miles Davis album, Birth of the Cool. Some critics say The Emperors of Wyoming sound like Tom Petty, Tom Waits and Creedence Clearwater Revival while one of their songs, “Brand New Heart of Stone,” is an obvious tribute to The Rolling Stones track with a similar name. Continue reading »

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