Feb 252018
Ed Cobb

Every so often, a figure from behind the scenes of popular music garners such renown that he or she becomes a household name: “Colonel” Tom Parker, Quincy Jones, and Carole King (as a hitmaking songwriter before she stepped into the limelight) to name a few.

And then there are all the countless others, the ones who passed through this realm largely unheralded by the record-buying public. One of these was songwriter and producer Ed Cobb, who would have turned 80 today. You may not know his name, but he left his mark on some very disparate—and uniquely compelling—byways of pop music.

Cobb’s musical career began as a member of the Four Preps, a white doo-wop group that scored two Top Five hits in 1958. The Preps’ sound was safe and family-friendly; hardly the stuff of legend. But early on, Cobb gravitated towards songwriting and production, penning soul and R&B numbers rather than the Preps’ squeaky-clean material. One of these was a little number Cobb wrote for Gloria Jones called “Tainted Love.” It didn’t make much of an impact in its first two iterations, but on its third try became a record-breaking smash, hitting #1 in 17 countries. (Of course, close readers of Cover Me will already know this story.)

But there’s more to that song’s journey. When we recently spoke with Fugazi frontman and Dischord Records co-founder Ian MacKaye about Ed Cobb – his other band Minor Threat covered Ed Cobb’s “Sometimes Good Guys Don’t Wear White” – he alerted us to a yet another cover of the song: Continue reading »

Feb 102016

It’s hard to say how responsible Yuck‘s excellent 2011 self-titled debut was in launching this decade’s ongoing ’90s revival, but songs like “Get Away” and “Georgia” were compelling reasons to trade in your turntables for guitars and revisit Clinton-era rock music. Five years later and on the eve of their third album, Stranger Things (February 26th via Mamé Records), the London-based punk band is still going strong by taking everything that was great about ’90s guitar rock – J Mascis’ fuzz pedal, Stephen Malkmus’ sunny melodies, and Kevin Shields’ blissful use of noise – and finding new avenues to make their own way through alternative music’s ever-changing landscape. Continue reading »

May 232011

Last night a slew of alt-indie heroes descended on New York’s Bowery Ballroom to pay tribute to the bands featured in Michael Azerrad’s era-defining tome Our Band Could Be Your Life: Scenes from the American Indie Underground 1981-1991. Ted Leo covered Minor Threat, Titus Andronicus did the Replacements, and, strangest of all, Dirty Projectors played Black Flag. Continue reading »