Nov 292013
 

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

Where would you start the lineage of hard rock and heavy metal? Many music fans pinpoint August of 1964, when “You Really Got Me” was released into the wild; two score and nine years later, it’s only gotten wilder. Thanks to the Kinks, heavy music would never be the same.

But it should be noted that “You Really Got Me” isn’t just a blueprint for hard rock – it’s also one terrific song. Have power chords ever been used so well, before or since? Have primal urges ever been more basically, urgently, and perfectly expressed? Van Halen’s version, which is probably the best known cover, doesn’t bring much new to the table aside from some pyrotechnics, which is a shame because there’s a lot more potential in the song. But other folks have been able to show just how durable a song it is…
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May 152012
 

They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s special day with other people singing his or her songs. Let others do the work for a while. Happy birthday!

Brian Peter George St. John le Baptiste De La Salle Eno turns 64 today. Here are some reasons we will still need him and feed him: 1) He co-founded Roxy Music and proved you could be flashier and suaver than Bryan Ferry; 2)He invented ambient music; 3) He produced the best albums by U2, Devo, and Talking Heads, not to mention his involvement with David Bowie’s Berlin Trilogy; 4) His Oblique Strategies cards are to writer’s block what the Salk vaccine was to polio; 5) The noise Windows 95 makes when it opens? He wrote that; 6) He shows absolutely zero signs of stopping. Continue reading »

Nov 112011
 

Last night, Brian Eno made his much-publicized appearance on The Colbert Report. As it turned out, though, he wasn’t the only musician in the building. Michael Stipe came out at the end to be permanently installed on Colbert’s new “Rock and Roll Shelf of Fame.” Without R.E.M. to front, he’s gonna have a lot of time on his hands. Eno soon popped back out for a “Lean on Me” sing-along. Continue reading »

Sep 232011
 

Under the Radar shines a light on lesser-known cover artists. If you’re not listening to these folks, you should. Catch up on past installments here.

When bands are so loosely organized that they’re less a group than a state of mind, they usually call themselves a collective. The Doleful Lions – sometimes Jonathan Scott with a great supporting cast, sometimes Scott alone – call themselves an experience. And they’re right.

Scott sings about topics close to his heart. For most singers, this usually means cars and girls, but in Scott’s case, the topics have ranged from Freemasonry to cheap horror movies (1999’s The Rats Are Coming! The Werewolves Are Here! was named after the 1972 ratsploitation classic).  He’s also sung of fearsome fringe figures (Charles Starkweather, Bobby Beausoleil) and conspiracy theories (“and don’t you know it was the government/stopped The Beach Boys from releasing Smile” – “Surfside Motel,” from his 2002 masterpiece Out Like a Lamb). Yet throughout all this, Scott’s voice is like a warm blanket, comforting even as fears swirl around it, and his way with a pop melody and his range at production – from low-fi bedroom recordings to soaring studio epics – make each song, yes, an experience. Continue reading »

Jun 242011
 

This Week on Bandcamp rounds up our favorite covers to hit the site in the past seven days.

A somewhat mellower set today, perfect for the official start of summer. The first few tracks take us into folk and folk-rock, but things get a bit dreamier at the end on covers of David Byrne/Brian Eno and, of all people, Will Smith. Party in the city when the heat is on! Continue reading »

May 032011
 

Download This! scours the web’s dark corners for cool cover freebies. View past installments.

If someone were to give a word-association test for the term “music,” one might respond with “dancing.” Music and dance go hand in hand, whether it’s literally a song about shaking your groove thang or just a song that inspires you to move. Dance is as universal as music; both do not require great intellectual thought, but require our emotions to respond with joy or sadness. Dance is a physical representation of our emotional response to music. Continue reading »