The music of Mark Kozelek, whether made with his former band Red House Painters, under his own name, or as Sun Kil Moon, has been described many ways: dreamy, melancholic, and wistful come to mind. With the release of his newest covers album, Like Rats, you can add creepy to the list. The songs he’s picked to cover have lyrics that are alternately menacing and depressing, either overtly or because they’ve been stripped of their accompanying upbeat music. Kozelek has never shied away from darker themes in his music: the yearning loss in RHP’s “Michael,” death and loneliness (and maybe serial killers?) in SKM’s “Glenn Tipton,” regret and self-pity in his cover of John Denver’s “I’m Sorry.” Kozelek’s voice often soars over the intricate guitars, though, and its sweetness lends the songs a faint glimmer of hope. But on “Like Rats,” he sings a register lower than usual (more on that decision later) and piles dark song upon dark song until the listener is off-balance from the assault of negativity. The album is barely 30 minutes in length, and anything more might be too much.
Ryan Adams is a covers machine: just check out our Live Collection from last May or check out all the other covers he’s done since then. He’s been delving into the world of metal, in particular, over the last couple years, going so far as to create a satirical(?) black metal persona, Werewolph. That hasn’t stopped him from doing covers of metal songs in his typical singer-songwriter style, as well. Adams has long been a self-proclaimed Danzig fan, and if you forgot to get your mom a gift for Mother’s Day last weekend go ahead and send along this cover of “Mother” to her.
Indie artists continue their march through the list of 25 covers compiled by the A.V. Club as part of the Undercover series. The latest, and so far ballsiest, band to participate, Baltimore’s Wye Oak, took on the daunting task of performing Danzig’s “Mother.” No easy task, especially for a duo known more for ethereal indie folk than big guitar chops!
Yesterday we saw My Morning Jacket break out the first “Rocket Man” since 2001 as part of their five albums, five nights series at New York’s Terminal 5. Well last night they continued the run with At Dawn, the second album. As on night one, they encored with b-sides and covers from around the time (“the time” in this case being 2001).
That meant three covers. First came a nod to Jersey metal pioneers Danzig. Six songs later, the band kept it heavy for a cover of Black Sabbath’s “Black Sabbath.” Perhaps the best was the Rolling Stones‘ “Miss You,” Jim James’ funky falsetto leading into a twenty-minute performance of the band’s own “Cobra.” We’ve got videos of the Danzig and Stones-Cobra below (as well as the complete setlist for context). We’ll add the Sabbath video and higher-quality audio of all three when it becomes available.
Edit 10/22: Added video of “Black Sabbath.”