Franz Ferdinand recently took time out from their packed tour to record a cover of Angel Olsen’s “Shut Up Kiss Me” for SiriusXM. Franz’s version is faithful to the absolutely flawless original. The emotional vocals, slight fuzz in the recording, and simple, driving accompaniment is present in both versions and gives the effect of listening to an old ’60s ballad on the jukebox.
As an avant-garde jazz-influenced album, David Bowie’s final record Blackstar would seem damn-near uncoverable (unless you’re an avante-garde jazz band). But the songs keep getting covered, and by some surprising artists. Sting covered “Lazarus.” Nine Inch Nails covered “I Can’t Give Everything Away.” Amanda Palmber and Anna Calvi covered the title track. (So did Car Seat Headrest and Hiatus Kaiyote’s Nai Palm, blending it with Radiohead, no less).
The latest comes from indie-rock vets Spoon, who tackled “I Can’t Give Anything Away” on The Strombo Show, a radio program that is quickly become Canada’s answer to other international cover-shows BBC Live Lounge and Triple J “Like a Version.” Britt Daniel’s understated vocals deliver the quiet melody and bigger chorus perfectly, but the secret star of this stripped-down version might be pianist Alex Fischel. Needless to say, it sounds quite different than Nine Inch Nails’ take on the tune.
And, while we’re at it, here’s a bunch of other Strombo Show covers from recent episodes too.
At the end of every year, we work for weeks curating our annual Best of the Year list (here’s last year’s). We’re monitoring what comes out all year though, so this month I thought: why wait? Here’s a more impulsive and spontaneous list, some songs we’ve written about already and others we didn’t get to. Just some great covers that stood out as the month comes to a close.
“17 years after America lost WW2, the country is divided and controlled by Japan and Germany. From out of the lawless neutral zone comes The Man in the High Castle’s Resistance Radio, a secret network of pirate DJs broadcasting sounds of hope.”
That’s a cooler introduction than most musical compilations get. This incredible soundtrack for Amazon’s popular TV series The Man in the High Castle was produced by Danger Mouse and Sam Cohen, who adds his own musical talents to covers of “The House of the Rising Sun” and “Get Happy.” Cohen joins a high caliber line up of musicians including Beck, Karen O, The Shins, and Norah Jones as they imagine a world where the Axis has won and musicians have gone rogue.
The current trend seems to be a marked return to the golden age of music and this influx of nostalgic talent works perfectly for the producers of the soundtrack. On advanced tracks, Angel Olsen, Sharon Van Etten, and Benjamin Booker perform covers that are nearly identical to their predecessors.