Jun 122017
 
lower dens abba

Last year, 33 1/3 – the music book series that dissects classic albums – hosted a tribute to three of those albums at Brooklyn’s Northside Festival: Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville (covered by Frankie Cosmos), Serge Gainsbourg’s Histoire de Melody Nelson (covered by Ava Luna), and Black Sabbath’s Master of Reality (covered by Deradoorian). And this past weekend, they repeated the trick, with three new bands covering three new albums.

Lower Dens headlined the event, covering ABBA Gold: Greatest Hits (not quite the same as covering a full album, but since ABBA were basically a singles band we’ll let it slide). This sort of cheesy pop is right in the band’s wheelhouse, as heard a few years back in their cover of Hall & Oates’ “Maneater.” For the ABBA set, they performed the tracks as karaoke-plus-live-drumming, with singer Jana Hunter belting in a way she doesn’t often get to in Lower Dens. The karaoke format would be a little disappointing to fans who might want to see more Lower Dens-esq rearrangements of these hits, but her pipes do the songs justice. This “S.O.S.” cover follows Portishead’s last year, our #1 cover of 2016. Continue reading »

Sep 282016
 
Lou_Barlow-by_Rachel_Enneking-5-cropped

Lou Barlow (Dinosaur Jr, Sebadoh)’s new cover of Peter Gabriel’s “In Your Eyes” has a number of knocks against it. His description doesn’t exactly sell it: “i was asked to record a version of this tune awhile back..nothing came of it..thought i’d put up here.” It’s accompanied by shaky iPhone video of his kids. And instead of being played on John Cusack’s boombox, it sounds like it was recorded into that boombox.

But despite all that, Barlow delivers a beautiful acoustic version that rescues the song from the cliche it has sometimes become. Accompanying himself on acoustic guitar with maybe a mandolin accompanying him (hard to tell given the audio), what at first appears to be a tossed-off lark actually turns into a moving and compellingly beautiful performance. And his kid’s cute too. Listen below. Continue reading »

Dec 052014
 


Why?

That’s the first question that comes to mind when listening to A Little Help From My Fwends, the Flaming Lips’ album that covers all of the Beatles’ seminal Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. This isn’t an inherently bad question to ask, though, especially with this band. From making a 4-disc album meant to be played simultaneously (or in any combination) to releasing a USB drive of love songs inside a chocolate, anatomically correct heart, the Lips have always had a degree of quirky, unbridled (and seemingly unchecked) compulsion guiding their career. This seeming inability to reign in their impulse to do whatever idea comes to mind has resulted in a ton of great music and a feverish cult following.
Continue reading »

Jul 102014
 

Covers albums are commonly filled with songs that have special meaning to the band and often had an impact on the members. “Break-Up album” usually refers to a collection of songs dedicated to the end of a recent, often painful, relationship. Brooklyn band Quiet Loudly missed both of those memos. Their album is filled with songs chosen at the whim of a few fans who pledged a certain amount on the previous album’s Kickstarter, and the “Break Up” referred to is the band itself. Continue reading »

Jun 072013
 

Cover Classics takes a closer look at all-cover albums of the past, their genesis, and their legacy.

In 2008, Melissa Rich Mulcahy died, leaving behind two-year-old twin girls and her husband Mark. That would be Mark Mulcahy, leader of the ’80s college radio favorites Miracle Legion and Polaris (Adventures of Pete & Pete – ’nuff said) and a solo artist who was suddenly not just a widower, but one who was unable to record or tour because he needed to be there for the kids. What he didn’t know was that plans had been set in motion to put together a tribute album whose proceeds would assist him in his hour of need – plans which evolved into what Big Takeover called “a sort of indie-rock equivalent to the final scene of It’s a Wonderful Life.”
Continue reading »

Mar 262013
 

Phoenix frontman Thomas Mars is a self-proclaimed fan of legendary rockers Dinosaur Jr. and has been since he saw them perform live back in 1991. It is a safe assumption to say then, that the singer was probably more than pleased when Dinosaur Jr. decided to cover “Entertainment” off their upcoming album Bankrupt! Continue reading »