Dec 092011
 

When we think back to this year, we might remember 2011 as the year that the whole concept of the “cover album” became more fluid, and not always for the better. Thanks to the increased prominence of sites like Bandcamp and Soundcloud, a cover album could be conceived, recorded, and shared in the space of a weekend. This didn’t necessarily lead to better cover albums, but it certainly led to more of them. They came in all formats – digital, CD, vinyl, and even cassette-only – and from all directions – labels, blogs, and even some magazines.

Which, we like to think, makes this list that much more helpful. In a year where the biggest single-artist cover album we got came from William Shatner, it proved a particular challenge to dig through the many obscure artists and assorted tributes and extract the gems. Gems there certainly were though, be they from newcomers making an impression with their favorite songs or old-timers honoring groups that influenced them decades ago. It may have taken a bit more work to find them, but the end result is as strong a selection as we’ve seen.

Continue to page 2 to read the list…

Nov 162011
 

Turn up your speakers, because L.A. duo Tashaki Miyaki want you to hear Buddy Holly a little differently than you ever have before. Despite the oversaturation of Buddy Holly covers this year thanks to a couple of tribute albums, no artist yet has oversaturated a song with this much guitar noise and scuzz. Holly’s sugary sweet lyrics drip out of a shoegaze haze, sung unaffectedly by Tashaki Miyaki’s lead singer and drummer, Lucy (maintaining an air of mystery, Lucy and guitarist Rocky have not revealed their last names). The coyness fits well with the sound, as the dreamy waves of music seem to obscure the original song. Continue reading »

Sep 062011
 

Had he lived, tomorrow would have been Buddy Holly’s 75th birthday, and today marks the release date of the second full-length Buddy Holly tribute of the past ten weeks. Due to the proximity of the release dates, the two collections are destined to be linked together and compared. On the surface, similarities abound: both Rave On Buddy Holly (review here) and Listen To Me: Buddy Holly feature big name stars and a bevy of classic rockers. Rave On boasts Paul McCartney, Nick Lowe, Patti Smith and Lou Reed while Listen To Me offers Stevie Nicks, Brian Wilson, Jackson Browne and Ringo Starr. The differences lie in the roster of contemporary contributors. Where Rave On is stocked with indie cred, Listen To Me relies on a list of chart-topping pop stars.

Less innovative than its slightly older cousin, Listen To Me: Buddy Holly has a few oddities that tend to tarnish an otherwise pretty solid compilation. First on the list of disappointments is Linda Ronstadt’s 1976 Hasten Down The Wind version of “That’ll Be The Day.” Really? Does a 35 year-old song get a pass on an otherwise “new” collection simply because the legendary Peter Asher produced both projects? Did they think we wouldn’t notice? Continue reading »

Aug 192011
 

We know, we know, another Buddy Holly cover. This year so far has seen 13 posts and counting on Buddy covers. We haven’t seen an artist get this much cover love since someone realized Lady Gaga sounded good on acoustic guitar. Still, this latest cover is worth another post. Brian Wilson covers “Listen to Me,” the title track of the latest tribute album, and it’s a perfect slice of beach pop. Continue reading »

Aug 102011
 

Who would have guessed 2011 would be the year of Buddy Holly? We’ve already seen one all-star tribute album and now we’re gearing up for a second. Despite its godawful cover, Listen to Me: Buddy Holly boasts an intriguing roster. The artists lean a little older than the Rave On Buddy Holly set, but Fall Out Boy’s Patrick Stump proves an exception to that rule. He also delivers our first listen to an album cut. Continue reading »

Jul 252011
 

When it rains, it pours. It seems like half of our posts in May/June detailed song releases leading up to the Rave On Buddy Holly tribute album. On June 25th it came out, we reviewed it, and we figured we could let our Round-the-Clock Buddy Holly Tribute Coverage News Team go. Well, looks like we’ll have to hire them back again, because now there’s another all-star Buddy Holly tribute album in the works. It’s called Listen to Me: Buddy Holly and includes contributions from Brian Wilson, Lyle Lovett, Stevie Nicks, Ringo Starr, and Zooey Deschanel, who, amusingly, also appeared on the other tribute. Rolling Stone has a teaser video for the album here. No tracklist has been announced, but the album comes out September 6th. If it rolls out anything like the last one, expect hourly updates on its progress. Continue reading »