We’ve already posted a couple bigger-name covers from this past weekend’s Northside Festival: Kacey Musgraves and Conor Oberst covering “Hey Good Lookin'” and Frankie Cosmos and Ava Luna covering Liz Phair and Serge Gainsbourg, respectively. But, like SXSW and CMJ, this Brooklyn festival is all about discovering the up-and-comers, the next generation of Kaceys or Conors. So we picked the five best bands we saw who we’ve never posted about, with a killer cover from each. Hear great takes on Billy Idol, the Beatles, a Christmas classic, and more below.
Kanye West‘s latest G.O.O.D Music signee, Chicago artist Nigel Holt, (formerly “Hollywood Holt”) releases an angst-ridden and synth-laden covers collection titled Cover Me (editor’s note: good title!) featuring remakes of artists ranging from the late Amy Winehouse to indie acts such as Florence + The Machine and the Neighborhood.
Mexico City sextet El Conjunto Nueva Ola is not your typical cumbia band. For one, they mix in new wave and disco in heavy doses; they must be the only cumbia band with a keytar player. For another, they dress up in lucha libre masks, the traditional headwear of Mexican wrestlers, and never let anyone see their faces.
Follow all our Best of 2014 coverage (along with previous year-end lists) here.
Back when we redesigned the site in 2010, we created basic star icons to represent the ratings we’d give an album when we reviewed it. 2 stars, 3.5 stars, etc. When we posted an album review, we’d find the corresponding icon where we last uploaded it. However, earlier this year we couldn’t find one of the icons we were looking for. Why? It turns out we’d never used it. We’d never before given an album a perfect five stars.
This year, for the first time, we did. Which should suffice to say it’s been an excellent year for cover albums. True, a few of the marquee tributes we most eagerly anticipated fell flat, either too formulaic (The Art of McCartney) or too out-there (that Flaming Lips’ Sgt. Peppers tribute we’ll never speak of again). But in the cracks and under the radar, cover and tribute albums thrived.
In our list of the twenty best, we’ve got everything from big names on major labels to DIY projects thrown up on Bandcamp. We’ve got New Orleans jazz, Parisian dub reggae, and songs that were popular when your great-great-great-great grandfather was calling town dances. Something for everyone, I guess. Something for all our fwends (sorry, that was the last time, promise).
Start the countdown on Page 2…
Live Collection brings together every live cover version we can find from a prolific artist.
Warren Zevon had paid his dues for years before his self-titled 1976 release would finally get him a fair amount of critical attention and a modest amount of airplay. In his first pass through L.A. he was a session musician and jingle writer, penned a few songs for the Turtles and released a forgettable solo debut in 1970. Then he spent a couple years on the road with the Everly Brothers, both together with Phil and Don and then with each of them solo, like a child of a divorce custody battle, as the brothers were beginning their estrangement. A self-imposed exile in Spain would follow and when Zevon returned to L.A. in late 1975, his pal Jackson Browne was there to help him get a record deal. Zevon had some things in common with his laid-back Asylum label contemporaries, but what separated his music from Browne, Linda Ronstadt and the Eagles was his ability to write caustic and satirical songs about unconventional people often in awkward situations.
Download This scours the web’s dark corners for cool cover freebies. View past installments.
Despite their misleadingly-gendered name, The Harvey Girls are a husband and wife duo originating from Lawrence, KS. In their bio, they highlight ABBA, The Shangri-Las and Prince Paul (producer of De La Soul and Queen Latifah) as musical influences. Suffice to say, they have eclectic musical taste.
Their psych-pop eclecticism comes to the fore on their ’80s covers album Our History Is Your Kitsch. We featured album highlight “White Wedding”, in the past, but the rest of the album stands almost as tall. The song selection seems as if they took the first 8 songs that came up in an iPod shuffle and decided to cover them. Again…eclectic.