Country rockers Deer Tick are no strangers to covers, performing at times as the Nirvana cover band Deervana. Recently they headed to the AV Club’s Undercover project to take on the only Harvey Danger song anyone knows, “Flagpole Sitta.” Lead singer John McCauley admits right away that he chose the song because he “fucking loved that song” when he was a kid. Most of America’s youth agreed when it hit the airwaves back in 1998; the catchiness of the simple tune is undeniable. Deer Tick’s faithful cover doesn’t reveal anything new about the hit, but it’s a fun listen nonetheless.
Rhode Island’s favorite indie-hipster-country-folk rockers Deer Tick make quite an impression in a live setting, following in the long tradition of light beer-soaked guitar riffs, loud drumming and rough, attitude-heavy vocals. In a recent session for LaundroMatinee they paid tribute to their roots-rock forefathers, the legendary ZZ Top. Taking on the song “Cheap Sunglasses,” a fitting choice considering frontman John J. McCauley’s taste in eyewear, they let their ’70s influences run wild.
Quickies rounds up new can’t-miss covers. Download ‘em below.
• NYCTaper delivers yet again on this soundboard recording from Deer Tick’s recent show in Wantaugh, NY. The show benefited the Tommy Brull Foundation for disabled children, so if you enjoyed the tune, donate here.
MP3: Deer Tick – Waitress in the Sky (The Replacements cover)
At this year’s Newport Folk Festival, Portand’s swinging roots rock quartet, Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside was quite busy. Playing local clubs, the main festival, and the afterparty, the band was celebrating the recent release of their debut album Dirty Radio. During their set Deer Tick’s John McCauley joined the band for a performance of the title track from John Prine’s 1999 duets album In Spite of Ourselves.
Over the last 6 months indie rockers Deer Tick have played various shows appearing as “Deervana,” their homage to grunge rock pioneers Nirvana. So on Saturday when the band took the stage at Bonnaroo ’11 as Deervana it was no surprise to Deer Tick fans, but the rest of the audience got a glimpse into one of the driving influences behind the band.
The amazing thing about this album is that it didn’t come sooner. An indie-Americana tribute to country/folk songwriter John Prine seems so inevitable. He may never have become a household name, but anyone who ever recorded a song with steel guitar or mandolin knows Prine. With bands like My Morning Jacket and the Avett Brothers spearheading an alt-country revival, Prine’s slyly sarcastic songs about love and life are due a second showing.
The artists who appear on Broken Hearts and Dirty Windows: Songs of John Prine comprise a who’s-who of young folk/Americana bands, but these obvious admirers choose some very non-obvious tracks. The usual-suspect songs are largely missing in action. No “Paradise,” no “Sam Stone,” no “Illegal Smile.” The only no-duh selection is “Angel from Montgomery,” one of four songs from Prine’s self-titled debut. The rest span the gamut, dusting off tunes from the ‘80s and ‘90s alongside the canonical ‘70s material.