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.
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.
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.
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!
“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.
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.
This Week’s News
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]
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
Passporte Royale – Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (The Beatles)
Music is about making noise kind of by definition, so the number of songs extolling the virtues of silence is surprising. In truth, the only sonically accurate piece about silence is John Cage’s 4’33”…but it’s hard to find covers of that one that differ much from than the original, for obvious reasons. If you’re unfamiliar with the piece, go get educated, then come back and listen to some slightly louder songs.
Action Camp – Enjoy the Silence (Depeche Mode)
Telling someone to enjoy the silence kind of undercuts the message. “Hey you! Are you enjoying the peace and quiet? Well, are you??” [Free EP Download]
Christopher O’Riley – I Better Be Quiet Now (Elliott Smith)
O’Riley takes Smith’s advice, shutting his trap for a soothing piano instrumental. [Buy]
The Tremeloes – Silence Is Golden (The Four Seasons)
Frankie Valli and the gang originally put this out as a b-side to “Rag Doll.” They should have given it its own release; in 1967 the Tremeloes took it to number one in the U.K. [Buy]
Stanford Harmonics – The Sound of Silence (Simon and Garfunkel)
A cappella Simon and Garfunkel? Yawn. Well give it a chance, because this very strange interpretation incorporates all sorts of unexpected genres like ambient and chillout electronica. [Buy]
Everclear – Our Lips Are Sealed (The Go-Gos)
The Vegas Years is an unusually good title for a covers album. Everclear’s top-40 alt-rock sound works pretty well with this one, a guilty-pleasure hit itself in its time. [Buy]
Sonic Youth – Loudmouth (The Ramones)
Kim Gordon’s favorite band is the Ramones, so on their 1991 live album Hold That Tiger they closed with four covers, none of which are quiet. [Buy]
Benjamin Costello – No Surprises (Radiohead)
Because suicide is one way to get some peace. [Buy]
No Age – It’s Oh So Quiet (Björk)
This seems to be No Age’s answer. Too quiet? Well we’ll fix that! [Buy]
Jet Pack – Don’t Speak (No Doubt)
Jet Pack may not speak, but on this killer surf-rock instrumental they don’t exactly shut up either. [Buy]
Deerhoof – A Kind of Hush (Herman’s Hermits)
There’s probably a reason more covers don’t just randomly omit words, but it certainly is unique. [Buy]