Jul 192011
 

We at Cover Me get excited when a musician finds a genre twist that transforms a cover song’s meaning. Previously, we mentioned Laurence Collyer as the one-man-band member of The Diamond Family Archive who excels in doing just that. This Brighton-based musician takes generally upbeat pop songs and twists them into sad and lonely little folk and acoustic numbers. In his latest set, Collyer was kind enough to indulge us with an exclusive EP of outtakes from his brilliant 2009 cover album, The Wanderer. Some are alternative performances of album tracks; others are never-before-heard covers. Continue reading »

Mar 312011
 

Under the Radar shines a light on lesser-known cover artists. If you’re not listening to these folks, you should. Catch up on past installments here.

Although The Diamond Family Archive may sound like the name of a big band, it consists only of one man, by the name of Laurence Collyer. Settled on the south coast of England in Brighton, this ZZ-Top-bearded singer is a veritable jack of all trades in the music business. Along with writing, recording and producing his own songs through his own label, he also drops in to play with other local British bands and occasionally records EPs on friends’ labels. It’s near impossible to know how many albums Collyer has put out between his own projects and colleagues’ and he often limits printed album copies to less than 100 (including hand drawn artwork and other treasures). Despite being this busy, The Diamond Family Archive’s website labels him “reclusive.” Continue reading »

Apr 202010
 

Omigod, you just have to hear this new Bob Dylan cover.  You know that folksy ballad, “All Along the Watchtower”?  Well some afro-headscarf weirdnik named Jimi rocked it so hard that…  What’s that?  You’ve already heard it?  You say it tops every single list of the best Dylan covers that has ever been made with absolutely no exceptions so don’t bother looking to try to prove me wrong?  Ah.  Well, Mr. Music Snob, try these ten lesser-known covers on for size, spanning from Bob’s folk origins until his post-Blonde on Blonde motorcycle crash.

Grand Panda ft. Dawn – Ballad of a Thin Man
This grinding synth slow-burn comes via comp curator extraordinaire Béatrice Ardisson, whose Dylan Mania contains sixteen of the most fantastically weird covers you’re likely to hear.  [Buy]

Mobius Band – I’ll Keep It With Mine
Though Dylan wrote this song in 1964, his own version didn’t see the light of day until 1985’s Biograph compilation.  It indicates he was experimenting with what he called “that thin, wild mercury music” several years before Blonde on Blonde[Buy]

The Roots – Masters of War
Outside of free jazz and the Dead, there aren’t many songs where a blogger must decide whether to post the ten-minute version or the twenty.  I went with the conservative length, but I’ll probably post the longer one on Twitter this week.  Now with extra ?uestlove drum solo!  [Buy]

Dion – Spanish Harlem Incident
When Dion opened Dylan’s New York concerts last fall, he missed an opportunity to deliver this swinging gem to an appreciative audience.  It’s not like he had to worry about stepping on Bob’s toes; the man has only performed it one time himself.  [Buy]

40 Thieves – Subterranean Homesick Blues
“Subterranean” has been described as the first rap song.  40 Thieves make the argument by ripping through the lyrics over a funky Public Enemy-esq beat.  [Buy]

Martin Simpson – Boots of Spanish Leather
Dylan’s finger-picking from the early days should get more credit than it does (see “Don’t Think Twice”), but even at his best he had nothing on this guy.  Listen those funky bass note slaps.  [Buy]

I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody’s Business – Positively 4th Street
This song seems even angrier in a polite acoustic guise.  By the time singer Arthur “Ace” Enders makes it to that cutting last line, you wonder what he’s capable of.  [Buy]

Mike Ness – Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright
Putting Dylan’s acoustic songs to a heavy rock beat is not a novel concept, but the Social Distortion frontman handles it particularly well.  What song doesn’t improve with a little growl?  [Buy]

The Magokoro Brothers – My Back Pages
Even for critics underwhelmed by the incoherent storyline of Dylan’s 2003 film Masked and Anonymous (people, plot is so twentieth century), few could object to the cover-heavy soundtrack.  The Magokoro Bros’ translation of “My Back Pages” into Japanese works because it doesn’t.  Each line has three times as many syllables as will fit, so the singer always seems to be playing catch-up.  [Buy]

Douglas September – Girl from the North Country
The word haunting gets overused, but it has never been more appropriate.  September’s hoarse whisper is devastating and that gusting wind raises the hairs on your neck.  [Buy]

Read Part 2: After the Crash.

NYC (and SOS)

 Posted by at 10:28 pm  No Responses »
Jun 182009
 

Edit: All files are back up for now.

It’s a time of transitions here at Cover Me. For one, box.net is getting fed up with the bandwidth we’re using (though they advertised it as “unlimited), so I need to find another place to host the songs. Anyone with experience have any suggestions, either another hosting site or my own domain name? We’re going for cheap here, but with lots of bandwidth. If I could migrate everything over from box.net that would be ideal; otherwise there will be a whole lot of dead links come July 1st. This thing’s not dead yet but readers, I need your help! Post a comment or email me at covers86{at}gmail{dot}com if you can offer assistance.

Also some personal transitions going on. For one, I graduated school on Sunday (hence my absence from here) and am headed to start interning for Spin music magazine in New York. To celebrate my new locale, here are some tunes about the city that swings.

Tea – Summer In the City (The Lovin’ Spoonful)
I guess there’s nothing in this song that makes it specifically about New York City, but could it really be anywhere else? One tune that never disappoints when it comes on oldies radio, Tea’s take amps up the funky swagger with plenty of horns and guitar-ing. [Buy]

Pete Yorn – New York City Serenade (Bruce Springsteen)
Pete Yorn is one of those musicians I’m not real familiar with, but about whom I just think “blech.” Associations with James Blunt or something. Which is probably unfair as this cover, the only thing I have by him, is excellent, breaking down one of Bruce’s most musically complex songs into a simple story. [Buy]

Gov’t Mule – Down and Out in New York City (James Brown)
A jam band for those who don’t like jam bands, Gov’t Mule grooves out on their excellent The Deep End Vol. 1. Screw Clapton; Warren Haynes is God. [Buy]

Kid Harpoon – First We Take Manhattan (Leonard Cohen)
I posted this one in my very first post here, so needless to say it’s been unavailable for quite a while. The Kid busts out one of my favorite Lenny covers in this frenetic attack of an acoustic jam. [Buy]

Nekked – The Boxer (Simon and Garfunkel)
A little bit of laptop-funk from this well-named crew, adding in blips and thumps that never threaten to obscure the pretty harmonies. Very different than the original, yet totally true to it. [Buy]

Tufts Beelzebubs – City of Blinding Lights (U2)
I recognize that a cappella’s a love-it-or-hate-it genre, but if you have any inclination towards that collegiate sound you should snatch 2008’s Pandaemonium, which won basically every a cappella award there is to win (including best album). [Buy]

Waitswatcher – Bronx Lullaby (Tom Waits)
Tom at his jazziest, Pascal Fricke adds a sweet female voice to his usual instrument, baring the song’s soul with some nylon-stringed plucking. To quote from another of Waits’ songs, “a little trip to heaven.” Enjoy this take, then watch Tom himself do it. [Buy]

Razorlight – Englishman in New York (Sting)
Sting purportedly wrote this tune about gay icon Quentin Crisp. The rest of the story’s in the song. [Buy]

Dion – Spanish Harlem Incident (Bob Dylan)
You probably know this “…and the Belmonts” singer from ‘60s hits like “Runaround Sue” and “A Teenager in Love,” but this more obscure gem takes a simple Dylan acoustic number and really makes it feel like Spanish Harlem. Fun fact: on his 1999 co-headlining tour with Paul Simon, Dylan covered Dion’s “The Wanderer” eleven times with Paul. [Buy]

My Morning Jacket – Across 110th Street (Bobby Womack)
I missed Bonnaroo for the first time in a few years this past weekend (stupid graduation). Luckily I was there to catch this last year, busted out during the Jacket’s three-plus hour midnight set in the pouring rain. Epic. [Buy]

Brian Chartrand – New York State of Mind (Billy Joel)
Chartrand’s partial cover disc Sleeping With Giants proved tough to track down, but it was worth the wait. Instead of overly emoting this crooney number like so many schlock lounge singers do, he swings it along with some funky picking. And don’t say he’s not versatile; on this same album he also covers Justin Timberlake and Lauryn Hill. [Buy]