Aug 072017
 
phish bakers dozen covers

For years, Phish superphans and the band’s many detractors – so far apart on so much else – have been able to agree on one thing: the band does some killer live covers. Phish long ago made a Halloween tradition out of covering another band’s album in full, tackling ambitious choices like the Beatles’ White Album and Talking Heads’ Remain in Light. And “ambitious” was also the keyword for the band’s just-completed thirteen night run at New York’s Madison Square Garden. Dubbed the “Baker’s Dozen,” each night featured a different donut theme and, more significantly, no song repeated the entire two weeks.

But back to the donuts. The band took the silly premise seriously, theming their sets each night around a donut flavor. This led to a number of surprise covers that they’ve never played before (or probably ever will again). Strawberry-donut night got “Strawberry Fields Forever” and “Strawberry Letter 23.” Chocolate-donut night got “Chocolate Rain” and “You Sexy Thing” – originally by Hot Chocolate. They even dug deep into lyrics, playing the one Radiohead song that talks about lemons.

Such first-time-ever covers tend to appeal even to non-fans because they tend to be short and –
let’s keep the donut theme going here – sweet. Unlike a jelly donut, on a song they’ve never play before they rarely jam. Instead, the fun and sheer rock chops to come forward in a way they may not on the heady stuff.

So I’ve ranked all the first-time covers from the past two weeks of Phish’s concerts, below. I’ll admit I’m not a huge fan myself – I once wrote an article defending their home of Burlington, Vermont from its jam-band stereotype – but some of these are among the best performances I’ve heard by them. Others…are not. Continue reading »

Apr 142016
 
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Earlier this month, a beardless Robin Pecknold covered Fred Neil‘s “The Dolphins” during the Fleet Foxes frontman’s solo set opening for Joanna Newsom’s “special guest” at Seattle’s sold-out Paramount Theatre. Pecknold ended his short performance with a stripped-down interpretation of one of the best songs by the cult ’60s Greenwich folk-rocker. Continue reading »

Jan 112012
 

You may remember that back in September we posted an interview with “Fleet Foxes.” That’s “Fleet Foxes” in quotes, since it wasn’t actually Fleet Foxes, but a guy who covered pop songs in the harmony-acoustic style of Fleet Foxes, and did so damn well. Since then, the imposter known as Fleet Foxes Sing has gotten more press, from the likes of New York Magazine and BlackBook (who claims our interview blew the lid on the farce, though it wasn’t exactly a secret). Continue reading »

Nov 282011
 

In 1965, a 16-year old Jackson Browne wrote the song “These Days.” It was first recorded by German model Nico in 1967, then Gregg Allman, and then Browne himself in 1973. These three versions in differing styles have created the foundation for one of the more popular cover songs in the last 45 years. Other notable artists to cover the track include; Nitty Gritty Band, John Cale, Tom Rush, 10,000 Maniacs,  Fountains of Wayne, and St. Vincent. Continue reading »

Nov 082011
 

Calling Birdy incredibly talented for a 15-year old is accurate, but insufficient. This small singer is incredibly talented for any age. She’s warmed hearts all over Britain in the past year with her covers of the xx and Bon Iver and her debut album just dropped over there. It includes the aforementioned cuts, as well as covers of Phoenix, the National, Fleet Foxes, the Postal Service, and more. We’ve got a few sample tracks to stream below. Continue reading »

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 »