Dec 182014
 

Follow all our Best of 2014 coverage (along with previous year-end lists) here.

A few months ago, I read an interesting interview with an artist named Nouela. You probably haven’t heard of her, but you may have heard her music. She’s become a specialist in a weird but growing niche: covers recorded for movie and television trailers. Whether doing a piano “Sound of Silence” to promote a new HBO show or a brooding “Black Hole Sun” to promote Liam Neeson punching people, she’s found a quickly-growing way of getting her covers out there.

It struck me as part of a growing trend we’ve seen. More and more great covers seem to come from unexpected places. Sure, you’ve got still your standby sources, your b-sides, tribute albums, and radio shows. But new avenues for covers have increasingly crept in. This year saw a Sam Smith cover that is only available to hear under Grey’s Anatomy dialog (thankfully he’s recorded a few live versions too) and a whole covers album recorded to plug a Canadian TV show. Brands have fully embraced covers too, most recently My Morning Jacket’s “This Land Is Your Land” recorded for North Face ads, or Charli XCX and Bleachers trading covers for Kia.

We don’t care where they originated when we make our year-end lists, though, and we would up with some of everything. In our top five alone, we’ve got a live radio session, a deluxe-edition bonus track, and a cover hiding in plain sight on one of the most acclaimed country records of the year. You have to keep an eye on more places than ever to spot the best covers these days. Wherever they come from, we’re glad to have ’em.

Click on over to page two to begin our countdown, and thanks for reading.

– Ray Padgett, Editor in Chief
(Illustration by Sarah Parkinson)

May 132011
 

Live Collection brings together every live cover we can find from an artist. And we find a lot.

Remarkably prolific by today’s standards,  Ryan Adams has released 12 albums (some solo and some with The Cardinals) since the breakup of his seminal alt-country band Whiskeytown in 2000. Not like your typical modern artist with three or four year gaps between releases. He’s also made friends in high places, including Elton John, Willie Nelson and Phil Lesh of the Grateful Dead. Not just a hard-working studio musician, Adams also tours extensively, with an upcoming European tour marking his return to the stage after his 2009 ‘retirement.’

Never one to hide his influences, Adams regularly includes cover songs as part of his live show. We’ve compiled a selection of his covers for our latest Live Collection. Remember this is no one-album artist. Given his back catalog, Adams chooses covers that, for the most part, really mean something to him. Country and ‘70s rock figure heavily in his choices: five songs associated with Gram Parsons, three classics by The Rolling Stones, and the obligatory Neil Young nod. Continue reading »

Nov 242009
 

Instead of putting up a bunch of songs about turkey, football and racial genocide, we’re celebrating Thanksgiving at Cover Me by giving thanks to you, our readers, but answering your requests. We’ve solicited them the past few weeks here and on our Twitter page and here are the results. Sadly, we could not track down every cover requested, but we got most. Don’t see yours here? Consider yourself having won Stump the Blogger!


The Popcorn Orchestra – Alice’s Restaurant (Arlo Guthrie)
The requesting gold medal goes to @Totz_the_Plaid for requesting one of the very few songs actually about Thanksgiving. Well, part of it is. When a song is 18 minutes long, it tends to be about a lot of things. If the cover is three minutes and instrumental though…it’s a bit different. [Buy]

Yo La Tengo – Somebody’s Baby (Jackson Browne)
Browne wrote this song for the soundtrack to Fast Times at Ridgemont High. That might have embarrassed him if it hadn’t led to his highest-charting single ever. [Buy]

Jamie Walters – Winona (Matthew Sweet)
Matthew Sweet has become quite the cover artist himself, recently releasing his second volume of Under the Covers with the Bangles’ Susanna Hoffs. Here’s a cover of one of his originals though, off his seminal Girlfriend album. He clarifies that the title was inspired by Winona Ryder, but the song is not about her. [Buy]

Radiohead – Ceremony (Joy Division)
The request here was just for a Joy Divison cover, but I modified it to be a cover of a song other than “Love Will Tear Us Apart.” We could fill a whole post of good covers of that one. And three more posts of crappy ones. [Buy]

Max Vernon – I Kissed a Girl (Katy Perry)
A modern song “in the style of the 80s” was the request here and I couldn’t decide between this and Timid Tiger’s “Womanizer.” If at first you can’t figure out why Vernon won out though, wait ‘til the drum machine, synths and Go-Gos-esq backing vocals kick in. [Buy]

The Dresden Dolls – Pierre (Maurice Sendak / Carole King)
Sendak’s been in the limelight all fall with the Where the Wild Things Are blockbuster. Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs soundtracked that one, but in 1975 Sendak co-wrote a musical with Carol King, Really Rosie, that included a version of this story. See for yourself. [Buy]

PYT – Summer of ’69 (Bryan Adams)
A request for some good old fashioned CanCon led to this one. For all you south of the border, CanCon is Canadian Content, the requirement that a certain percentage of songs played on the radio be of Canuck origin. Canadian radio seems to have a bit of an inferiority complex to me, but they shouldn’t. Sure Canada’s responsible for Alanis Morissette (don’t believe me? check out her Wikipedia photo), but I think Neil Young, Joni Mitchell and The Band make up for it. [Buy]

The King’s Singers – After the Gold Rush (Neil Young)
Speaking of which, the grouchy old man himself. As sung by a British men’s chorus, all oh whom’s voices seem to be way too high than is healthy. I do like the explanation Young purportedly gave Dolly Parton for the lyrics though: “Hell, I don’t know. It just depends on what I was taking at the time. I guess every verse has something different I’d taken.” [Buy]

Amy Millan – I Will Follow You Into the Dark (Death Cab for Cutie)
You can tell this is older Death Cab. Nowadays Ben Gibbard and the boys just follow the rest of the world into an embarrassing New Moon fandom. [Buy]

Everclear – Search and Destroy (The Stooges)
This one was only released as the B-side to the band’s recent “Everything to Everyone” single, but it should wider circulation if only to prove that the “Father of Mine” guys actually have a pair. Who knew? [Buy]