Jul 182014

In the Spotlight showcases a cross-section of an artist’s cover work. View past installments, then post suggestions for future picks in the comments!

Matthew Sweet’s career is a textbook example of what happens if you are exceedingly good at something that is not considered to be cool. In this case, that thing is the musical genre of “power pop.” Sweet is almost universally considered to be a master of the genre (usually defined as being a cross between hard rock and pop, with serious Beatles influences), and his best album, 1991’s Girlfriend, is generally considered to be a masterpiece, even by people who generally look down their noses at “power pop.”

As a result, Sweet is a cult hero to some critics and fans who appreciate the tight, hook-filled yet intelligent songwriting that typifies the genre, while remaining unknown to the masses who may – may – have heard one of the two or three Sweet songs that occasionally sneak into a radio or streaming playlist. Of course, the music geeks who write for Cover Me are Sweet fans; we’ve featured his cover work repeatedly, even giving him a birthday tribute featuring covers of his songs by other artists. But never before has he received the sort of career-affirming fawning adulation that can only be found in an “In the Spotlight” feature.
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Jul 092014

Welcome to Cover Me Q&A, where we take your questions about cover songs and answer them to the best of our ability.

Here at Cover Me Q&A, we’ll be taking questions about cover songs and giving as many different answers as we can. This will give us a chance to hold forth on covers we might not otherwise get to talk about, to give Cover Me readers a chance to learn more about individual staffers’ tastes and writing styles, and to provide an opportunity for some back-and-forth, as we’ll be taking requests (learn how to do so at feature’s end).

Today’s question: What’s a song you didn’t know was a cover song?
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Apr 192011

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

Over the past decade, Portland quintet the Decemberists have gone from indie darlings to indie darlings with a number-one album. This year’s The King is Dead took the band to new levels of commercial success, shining some national attention on a band whose name was once known only to the chamber pop-obsessed and English majors. It may not be too unfounded to compare this band’s story to that of R.E.M.’s in the ‘80s; in fact, given the unabashed fandom they display on The King is Dead, that’s a comparison they’d probably happily invite.

The collection of covers crooned by the Decemberists mostly betrays their too-cool-for-school nature. They seem to have hit all the requisites that prove you listened to hip music in the ’80s – the Velvet Underground, the Smiths, Echo & the Bunnymen, etc. However, there’s a few genuine surprises here. Embarrassing reading of the Outfield‘s “Your Love” notwithstanding, there’s some real pleasure to be had in the band’s delight at ripping into Heart‘s “Crazy on You,” or in their surprisingly earnest rendition of Bad Company‘s “Feel Like Making Love.” Band leader Colin Meloy also turns in an intimate, slowed-down version of Cheap Trick‘s “Summer Girls” to great effect. Even the band’s usual bombast makes itself known in the 16-minute epic of Pink Floyd‘s “Echoes.” Continue reading »

Oct 272010

Song of the Day posts one cool cover every morning. Catch up on past installments here.

They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane;
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

That snippet of Dylan Thomas’ “And Death Shall Have No Dominion” opens today’s tune. Spoken in a low James Earl Jones-meets-HAL 9000 baritone, it sounds like the opening credits to a film called, let’s say, Brave Saint Saturn. It isn’t. It is, however, the opening to an album by a band called Brave Saint Saturn. Close enough. Continue reading »

Aug 202010

If you’ve ever attended a music festival, you need to know Consequence of Sound. If you ever plan on attending a music festival, you need to know Consequence of Sound. If you have no interest in music festivals whatsoever, you need to wise up…and then you need to know Consequence of Sound. In addition to the site’s regular music news and features, their Festival Outlook has established itself as the premiere source for festival info. From lineup info (which they always seem to know before anyone else) to reviews, their coverage spans ‘em all, from the big boys (Bonnaroo, Coachella) to the underdogs (Ghoulsfest?).

Suffice to say: These guys know their festivals. So as fest season winds down, we checked in with some CoS writers (of whom – full disclosure – I am one) to hear the best festival covers they’ve ever witnessed. Here’s what they offered. Each has a review and a video so you can vicariously experience the insanity.

After you finish here, hop over to CoS’ Friday Mixtape! The covers were chosen by yours truly. Continue reading »

Apr 042009

Cover News is a weekly feature where I sum up the week’s cover-related news, whether it’s new to the world or just new to me. Anything that doesn’t fit in my regular thematic posts I think my readers would enjoy, be it a youtube video, a blog shout-out, or a cool-looking new release. I also post all the submissions I have gotten from record labels and artists.

Time to debut another new feature here at Cover Me! I’ve loved sharing the music with you all over the past year and a half, but I always find stuff that doesn’t fit in my somewhat constricting thematic format. So allow me to present a new supplementary series: Cover News. Anything cover-related I think you should hear now, without waiting for it to fit into one of my themes.

One of the most exciting parts will be sharing the many submissions I get from artists and labels. I always feel guilty when I am sent great tracks or CDs and take forever posting them because they don’t fit into a theme. So here you can grab the tunes as soon as they reach my mailbox. Side note: Any artists/labels that sent me tunes I never posted, remind me and they will go up here next week. The days of your (completely justified) impatience are over!

This Week’s News

The first bit of news is a little self-promotion, a reminder that you only have four more days to decide which song derpferdheisshorstwienerschnitzelschwarzeneggerkablowie (sp?) covers for this week’s Cover Commissions. Read about it here, then vote on the right.

I’d like to give a shout-out to the newest member to the cover crew, Grand Passion. There’s plenty of tunes out there, so the more the merrier!

Ariel Aparicio does a great cover of the Psychedelic Furs’ “Pretty in Pink,” and now you can hear it while supporting a good cause! Buy it from iTunes here and Ariel will donate all his profits to the Greater New York City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen For The Cure, founded for a friend battling breast cancer.

Highly Rec’d has come up with a nice little playlist called Don’t Hog the Covers ’09 that you can check out here. From Elvis to the Thermals, they’ve got you covered.

Our old friend James Eric directed me to Redbear’s live set of Velvet Underground covers, available for free at the music paradise CLLCT (hint: search “cover). Thanks James!

Fiona Apple has been hiding out recently, but she’s resurfaced with a track for a Cy Coleman tribute EP. Listen to “Why Try to Change Me Now?” here.

Old-school folkie Marianne Faithfull has released a covers disc that tries to get some of that Johnny Cash mojo, taking on everyone from Espers to Merle Haggard. The unquestioned high point though is her take on The Decemberists’ “The Crane Wife 3” with Nick Cave, and you can watch her perform it on Letterman here.

In a blogosphere filled with shoddy posts and quick tunes, you can always count on Aquarium Drunkard to raise the bar for thoughtful content along with their tunes. Read about (then listen to) Whiskeytown’s “Nervous Breakdown” cover here, then check out their thoughts on Spoon doing Destroyer thisaway.

Berkeley Place isn’t technically a cover blog, but dude posts so many covers it might as well be. All Kurt fans will love his set of Nirvana covers, rarities, etc. Did I set set? I meant sets. It’s a four part post.

The Smithsonian is offering a free download of Cephas & Winnan’s version of the folk classic “John Henry,” which I found over at Muruch.

This Week’s Submissions

The Marches – Cold Shoulder (Adele) [Website]

My Lady’s House – I Kissed a Girl (Katy Perry) [Website]

Daniel Eaton – Just Like Honey (Jesus and Mary Chain) [Website]

Neil Nathan – Do Ya (Electric Light Orchestra) [Website]

Catman Cohen – Fade Into You (Mazzy Star) [Website]

Sharif – The District Sleeps Alone Tonight (The Postal Service) [Website]

Haverford Humtones – Get Behind the Mule (Tom Waits) [Website]