Sep 082011
 

Let’s rip the band-aid off right up front: “Fleet Foxes Sing” is not actually Fleet Foxes. This needs explaining, because when the first cover popped up on Tumblr last month, plenty of folks bought it. “Fleet Foxes Covered Whitney Houston’s ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’,” announced Yahoo. “Fleet Foxes Cover Whitney Houston, Prove They Can Turn Anything into a Campfire Singalong,” crowed The L Magazine. Only problem? The real band’s response. “We didn’t do that Whitney Houston cover,” they tweeted. “Funny though!” Continue reading »

Aug 172011
 

What do you get when you combine Leslie Feist, Colin Greenwood of Radiohead, Air’s Nicholas Godin and a collection of early Velvet Underground songs? The answer is “Velvet Underground Revisited”. The group of musicians, also including the Hotrats (Nigel Godrich, Gaz Coombes and Danny Goffey of the band Supergrass) and Soap&Skin, played an all-day tribute to the influential band in Paris in early July. The concert covered all of the songs off of the band’s Nico-featuring 1967 debut album, frequently called the “Warhol album” or the “banana album” for the Warhol pop art on the cover. Continue reading »

May 262011
 

Dylan Covers A-Z presents covers of every single Bob Dylan song. View the full series here.

An excerpt from Bob Dylan’s Chronicles: Volume One (Simon & Schuster, 2004):

When I finally did arrive in California, my songs and my reputation had preceded me. I had records out on Columbia and I’d be playing at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium and meeting all the performers who had recorded my songs-artists like The Byrds, who’d recorded “Mr. Tambourine Man,” Sonny and Cher, who’d done “All I Really Want to Do,” The Turtles, who recorded “It Ain’t Me, Babe,” Glen Campbell, who had released “Don’t Think Twice,” and Johnny Rivers, who had recorded “Positively 4th Street.”

Of all the versions of my recorded songs, the Johnny Rivers one was my favorite. It was obvious that we were from the same side of town, had been read the same citations, came from the same musical family and were cut from the same cloth. When I listened to Johnny’s version of “Positively 4th Street,” I liked his version better than mine. I listened to it over and over again. Most of the cover versions of my songs seemed to take them out into left field somewhere, but Rivers’s version had the mandate down-the attitude and melodic sense to complete and surpass even the feeling that I had put into it. It shouldn’t have surprised me, though. He had done the same thing with “Maybellene” and “Memphis,” two Chuck Berry songs. When I heard Johnny sing my song, it was obvious that life had the same external grip on him as it did on me.

Yes, today’s installment boasts a special distinction: It contain Dylan’s favorite cover of his own work. Rivers’ “Positively 4th Street” is indeed spellbinding. We’d venture that if Bob heard some of these other covers, though, he might have to reconsider. The Ghosts of Electricity’s 11-minute “Standing in a Doorway” takes a live jam to the stratosphere. Guy Davis’ “Sweetheart Like You” is so beautiful it redeems all of Dylan’s output in the ’80s (well, almost). If nothing else, John Doe (of X)’s soaring “Pressing On” from the I’m Not There film would surely be a contender.

We’ve also got a few of those “left field” covers he apparently disdains. Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Subterranean Homesick Blues” roars even harder than he ever intended. World Wide Message Tribe’s “Precious Angel” takes the holy message to the club floor. Cheap Trick’s 10-minutes “Please Mrs. Henry” doesn’t sound much like it did with the Band in that Woodstock basement. Check out these and dozens more on the next few pages and see if you agree with Dylan that Rivers tops the lot.

P.S. After you’ve reached your verdict, you might also compare it to the 170 covers we’ve presented in previous installments, linked here:
Part 1: “Absolutely Sweet Marie” – “Everything Is Broken”
Part 2: “Father of Night” – “Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues”
Part 3: “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door” – “Oxford Town”
Part 4: “Peggy Day” – “Sweetheart Like You”
Part 5: “T.V Talkin’ Song” – “4th Time Around” [Coming Friday]

Continued on Page 2…

May 162011
 

Internet fame is a fickle friend. For some, it turns you into the next teen sensation and even inspires its own ‘Fever.’ For others, one of the biggest jokes to date (“Friday”). You may not have heard of Steffaloo yet, but your cool 17-year-old neighbor with two thousand Tumblr followers has. Steffaloo manages a cult online following with everything she does, whether it be photography, blogging, or yes, even music. Continue reading »

Dec 212010
 

YouTube is filled with amateur cover “artists.” Most stink. On the ‘Tube extracts the exceptions.

Our series continues today with college student Kiersten Holine, who has an addictive set of covers on her YouTube channel. You come for her impressive repertoire of songs, but you stay for her poignant and impassioned vocals. Holine decided to post her first video in 2007 and was overwhelmed by the great feedback she received from her online fans. 600,000 viewers can’t be wrong, can they? [Editor’s note: Ke$ha’s newest video has 1,500,000 views. ‘Nuff said.] Holine will let you in to the privacy of her room to get caught up in the emotion of her covers.

Holine bares her heart and soul on covers of folks like The Beatles, Bon Iver, and Wilco. “If a song hits me hard emotionally and melodically, I have to try to play it,” she tells Cover Me. “Every song I’ve chosen has meant quite a bit to me.” Her favorite cover to play is Feist’s “The Park,” and while watching her play it you can’t help but notice her connection to it. Continue reading »