Feb 222013
 

In the Spotlight showcases a cross-section of an artist’s cover work. View past installments, then post suggestions for future picks in the comments!

Mary Lou Lord is a music lover. For starters, she was busking for eight years before being signed to a label; there are bands in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame whose careers are shorter than that. She cofounded the Boston chapter of Girls Rock Camp, a summer program designed to foster a positive atmosphere for girls to become empowered through music education. She shares songs that are new to her on her Facebook page, and when she talks about Connie Converse, or points out how much Neil Young’s “Pocahontas” sounds like Carole King’s “He’s a Bad Boy,” you can’t help but get caught up in the giddy excitement of her discovery. Continue reading »

Dec 122011
 

In the Spotlight showcases a cross-section of an artist’s cover work. View past installments, then post suggestions for future picks in the comments!

With a voice as natural as a hunk of dry bark and a guitar style so vivid you’ll swear you can hear the dust coming off the strings, M. Ward rose from Portland, Oregon, and settled down on back porches all across Americana. His warm, enduring melancholy and his playing ability has won him fandom not just from listeners, but from his peers, who seek him out for collaborations and tribute albums aplenty. With his work with Zooey Deschanel in She & Him, not to mention with Jim James and Conor Oberst in Monsters of Folk, Ward’s never been more visible, and yet his music still retains the earthy intimacy it had when he first started out. Continue reading »

Dec 022011
 

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

There is in every madman a misunderstood genius whose idea, shining in his head, frightened people, and for whom delirium was the only solution to the strangulation that life had prepared for him. – Antonin Artaud

You can’t talk about Daniel Johnston’s art without talking about Daniel Johnston, and about the demons and angels he brings to the table. His mental illness, his obsessions, his rudimentary playing and recording abilities – all become assets, and all contribute to the creation of his drawings and his music, which serve as both his refuge from the world and his passageway into it. Johnston has walked along (and fallen off) the edge for an exhaustingly long time; it’s his art, as much as anything else, that’s kept him tethered to life and allowed him to express what he sees in the benign and malignant hellions he faces every day. Continue reading »

Jul 112011
 

Quickies rounds up new can’t-miss covers. Download ‘em below.

Brooklyn electropop musician Computer Magic has built a following with earworm tunes and unbeatable videos (here’s the most recent). She took a break from recording her debut album to upload this thumping John Lennon cover to her website.
MP3: Computer Magic – (Just Like) Starting Over (John Lennon cover) Continue reading »

Jul 072011
 

British ukulele player Sophie Madeleine knows the reach of a YouTube cover. Released two years ago, her bedroom cover of Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” has garnered over 200,000 views and earned her props from musicians like Ingrid Michaelson. So to promote her upcoming album The Rhythm You Started, she is leading up to the July 25th release date with a cover a day. Continue reading »

May 252011
 

In the Spotlight showcases a cross-section of an artist’s cover work. View past installments, then post suggestions for future picks in the comments!

Mark Linkous was a genius. A sensitive, fragile, damaged genius who created haunting, lo-fi musical tapestries as Sparklehorse. Linkous, a Virginia Gentleman whose pop band, Dancing Hoods, was chewed up and spit out by the corporate machine in the 1980s, reinvented himself in the ‘90s. There would be four full Sparklehorse releases, and an EP, as well as a couple collaborations: one with Christian Fennesz, and last year’s Dark Night of the Soul with Danger Mouse and David Lynch. Depression, drug overdoses and legal issues would lead to an uneven timeline of Sparklehorse releases over a 15 year period. Sparklehorse is an acquired taste…a complex bottle of blended malt Scotch that has been aging in a cask for decades; its harsh bite and smoky, burning finish a barrier to the three-chord Lite Beer crowd. Linkous’s vocals have a lot to do with Sparklehorse’s sometimes inaccessibility. He doesn’t so much sing as release his breath into the path of a song – the way that one spirit might summon another in your dream. Or nightmare. Continue reading »