Jun 062011

Duncan Sheik had one of the 1990s’ more enduring songs in “Barely Breathing,” which hung around the Billboard Top 100 charts for a full year. As they say in (what used to be) the radio business, it tested well. Six additional albums have followed, but Sheik has spent much of the past five years composing scores for Broadway productions and winning both Tony and Grammy awards in the process. Long before he was halfway to an EGOT, though, Sheik spent his teenage years in the 1980s. On Covers 80s he reflects the influence that a wide range of synthpop bands and tracks had on his formative years.

This is no John Hughes soundtrack compilation and if you’re looking for a “Walking On Sunshine” feel-good nostalgia trip, you’ll likely be disappointed. While a few big hits are represented, Sheik offers a deeper and somewhat darker journey back into his past. Although he grew up in New Jersey, Sheik does not include any American bands on Covers 80’s. He says that the litmus test for inclusion was “did I really, really care about it when I was 15 or 16?” Apparently what Sheik really, really cared about back then was the electronic, indie and New Romantic pop of the second British Invasion and Covers 80s benefits greatly from Sheik’s choice of source material. Continue reading »

Jun 012011

This past March, Cover Me trekked to Austin for South by Southwest 2011 and returned with several new discoveries. One of the finest was Josh T. Pearson. The ex-Lift to Experience frontman stunned us at a backyard BBQ with his heartbreaking country originals and one cover, of Boney M’s “Rivers of Babylon.” At the time, that was the only cover he performed. Two months later, we have three more that will blow you away. Continue reading »

Mar 152011

America’s obsession with choirs covering popular hits has been growing with intensity over the last several years. Just look at the television sensation Glee, the Academy Award/Hollywood darlings of PS22 Chorus, and even those crappy group song nights on American Idol.  However, last year audiences were introduced to a different kind of choir in a haunting trailer for the movie, The Social Network. Sung by an all-female Belgian group, the Scala and Kolacny Brothers’ ethereal cover of Radiohead’s “Creep” played over the montage.  Their unique take on this oft-covered tune became an overnight sensation.

The United States may just be catching on, but the Scala choir has been creating chilling cover songs since 1996. With five studio albums under their belts in Europe, Scala is finally reaching across the pond. In addition to their North American tour that begins next month, the group finally released their album in the U.S. Boasting thirteen tracks from their previous overseas albums, Scala and Kolacny Brothers is a great introduction to some of their best material.  Continue reading »

Feb 232011

It’s been a while since we’ve heard from Bat For Lashes. Sure, we’ve been making do with “Daniel” covers (1, 2), but her own covers have been missed. Her cover of Depeche Mode’s “Strangelove” finds her back at her best though. Thumping bass, ominous guitar effects, and Natasha Khan haunted-pop vocals return in full force. Continue reading »

Feb 112011

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

Hailing from Chicago, IL, the Smashing Pumpkins helped blaze a trail for the wave of apathy that infected most ’90s alternative rock. They also gave hip kids from the Midwest the first nationally-recognizable band they could take pride in since Cheap Trick. Formed in 1988, the Pumpkins enjoyed over a decade of fame and influence until noted in-fighting brought about their dissolution at the turn of the millennium. After numerous side-projects and member-shuffling, the Pumpkins have once again taken to the stage under the leadership of Billy Corgan, perhaps one of rock music’s true auteurs.

The Pumpkins have celebrated their diverse influences via cover songs throughout their career. A quick scan of their recorded catalog reveals studio takes of tracks originally by acts like the Cars, Van Halen, Alice Cooper, the Cure and Missing Persons. Their live shows are similarly peppered with covers that one might not expect to hear from these iconic slackers. Some of these do seem like a natural fit though: it’s not too hard to draw a line to the Pumpkins from Neil Young, Depeche Mode or Pink Floyd, for instance. Continue reading »

Jan 242011

When we named Nada Surf’s If I Had a Hi-Fi one of the best cover albums of 2010, we noted that “Enjoy the Silence” offered one of the few nods to well-known material. Perhaps the band agrees, because after pushing single Bill Fox’s “Electrocution” last year, they’ve released the Depeche Mode cover as their latest video. Get ready to emote! Continue reading »

Oct 082010

“When I was 13, I was watching TV and the video to ‘Enjoy the Silence’ came on. I was paralysed. The guitar riff was captivating and I could feel a sensation in my chest. I said to my mum: ‘What is this thing that I feel every time I hear this guitar riff?’ She sounded worried and said: ‘I don’t know. That’s very strange.’ It was something delicious and intriguing, and to this day, I still get that feeling when I hear the song.”

That’s a quote from Shakira in the Guardian a few years back, offering a third piece of evidence (after her the xx and Metallica covers) that the Latin pop star has shockingly good taste. Not that Depeche Mode’s “Enjoy the Silence” is exactly a buried treasure. Everyone from Tori Amos to the Bloodhound Gang has covered the Top 10 single since its 1990 release, generally emphasizing dreamy atmospherics over dramatic reinterpretation. Continue reading »

Apr 102010

Cover News is a weekly feature keeping you up to date on the goings-on in the world of cover tunes, tribute albums, etc. Plus, at the bottom we post the array of cover tunes we’ve been sent in the past week. Have you recorded a cool cover? Send us an mp3! As always, follow Cover Me on Twitter for the latest news.

Evelyn Evelyn

This Week’s News

Brilliant songwriter David Bazan (who released last year’s third-best album) covers Vic Chestnutt, ruminates on the possibility of a cover album.  [American Songwriter]

Rate Your Music celebrates the Golden Hits of Yesteryear with one hit, fifteen other songs.  [Rate Your Music]

The Mates of State cover album Crushes boasts one of the best tracklists I’ve seen in a while.  Download their version of Girls’ “Laura” now.  [Mates of State]

Ted Leo interviewed Paul Weller in the most recent issue of SPIN magazine, so his cover of “Hung Up” seems appropriate.  [SPIN]

Dr. Martens are curating a drool-worthy list of covers, which they’re releasing at a snail’s pace.  [Dr. Martens]

Not another “Bad Romance” cover.  Yeah, it’s good, but still…not another “Bad Romance” cover.  [Paste]

Ok, we’ll allow one more, but only if you’re a chubby 8-year old singing into a banana.  [Videogum]

An epic cover battle rages on the ‘Tube.  “Baby” on recorder vs. “Telephone” on glockenspiel vs. “Moonlight Sonata” on crockenspiel [Video 1, 2, 3]

Shel Silverstein covers by My Morning Jacket, Kris Kristofferson, Andrew Bird and 12 more.  Cue mouth-watering.  [Sugar Hill Records]

The Jacket is everywhere, also appearing on a John Prine covers tribute.  Maybe we can get an actual album guys?  [Consequence of Sound]

A Tears for Fears cover = eh.  A Tears for Fears cover that isn’t “Everybody Want to Rule the World” = yay!  [We All Want Someone]

Amanda Palmer is like a weirder Regina Spektor, so a cover makes sense.  [YouTube]

Speaking of Amanda Palmer, she’s currently prepping to take her conjoined-twin circus act Evelyn Evelyn on the road.  Here’s their cover of “Love Will Tear Us Apart.”  Ouch.  [Jason Webley]

Killer tracklist for this new David Bowie tribute album.  MGMT, A Place to Bury Strangers and Duran Duran (!!) tackle some lesser-known tunes.  [SPIN]

The PS 22 Chorus melts hearts with a Talking Heads cover.  [YouTube]

Buffalo Tom’s Bill Janovitz continues his Cover of the Week series with his wedding song, the Ink Spots’ “I’ll Get By.”  Awww.  [Bill Janovitz]

This Week’s Submissions

Akasha – Rocky Raccoon (The Beatles)  [more]

Ryan Avery & Emily Zisman – Send Me an Angel (Real Life)  [more]

Coconut and The Duke – Nature Boy (Eden Ahbez)  [more]

Fade From Nothing – 31 Ghosts IV (Nine Inch Nails)  [more]

Fulton Read – One (Yeasayer)  [more]

The Inevitable Backlash – Give You Hell (The All-American Rejects)  [more]

The Morning Pages – Telephone (Lady Gaga)  [more]

Passporte Royale – Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (The Beatles)

Julian Shah-Tayler – In Your Room (Depeche Mode)  [more]

SPEAK – Digital Love (Daft Punk)  [more]

Ben Taylor – By Your Side (Sade)  [more]

835 – Judy Is a Punk (The Ramones)  [more]

Email your cover for inclusion!