Dec 132013

Fifty years ago, a covers album wasn’t called a “covers album.” It was called an album. Full stop.

Frank Sinatra, Elvis, Billie Holiday – most albums anyone bought were “covers albums” as we’d think of them today, but that’s not how folks thought of them then. Once the public began putting a premium on singers writing their own songs in the ’60s the concept of course shifted, so that an artist doing a covers album has to be like Michael Jordan playing baseball – an okay diversion but let’s get back to the main event please.

More so this year than ever before though, that pendulum seems to be swinging back in small but meaningful ways to what an album originally meant. More and more artists are releasing LPs saying, this is not my new quote-on-quote “covers album,” this is my new album (that happens to consist of covers). The attitude showcases a confidence and surety of purpose that shows they take performing other peoples songs every bit as seriously as they do their own.

That holds true for both of our top two covers albums this year, and plenty more sprinkled throughout. Which isn’t to knock anyone doing a covers album as a lark, novelty, tribute, or side project – you’ll see plenty of those here as well – but any blurred lines that put a “covers album” on the same level as a “normal” album have to be a good thing.

Start our countdown on Page 2…

In a sense, this is only an Everly Brothers cover album because the Everlys got to the songs first. Released 55 years ago, Songs Our Daddy Taught Us was comprised of just that, Everly Brother renditions of classics and standards. Billie Joe Armstrong, having fond memories of said album, decided to pay tribute to it, and he invited Norah Jones to join him. “Of course; what an obvious pairing,” said nobody.

The resulting album, punningly titled Foreverly, is a song-by-song (in a slightly modified order) rerecording of the Everlys’ classic album, and a potential introduction of the Everly Brothers to a whole new audience. There’s also the possibility that it introduces a whole new audience to Norah Jones. Or Billie Joe Armstrong. Who knows, but there’s a good chance that the number of people who are big fans of all three are few and far between (and likely thrilled).
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Aug 192013

In Memoriam pays tribute to those who have left this world, and the songs they left us to remember them by.

If Doug Fieger hadn’t died of cancer in February 2010, today would be his 61st birthday. By most standards, Fieger had a successful musical career. He was the lead singer for the Knack, whose debut album Get the Knack sold more than two million copies and was the number 1 album on the Billboard album chart for five weeks. The first single, the ubiquitous “My Sharona,” was the biggest song of 1979; the second, “Good Girls Don’t,” hit #11 in the US. The follow-up album went gold and spawned another Top 40 single. Thereafter, the band continued to record and tour until breaking up in 1982, then re-formed in the late 1980s, recording and touring through the early 2000s. Fieger also worked as a guest vocalist for Was (Not Was) (a band co-led by his childhood friend Don Was) and released a solo album. Most musicians — and many wannabes — would take that career in a minute.
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L.A. funk/punk rockers, Red Hot Chili Peppers were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this past Saturday.  On the heels of their upcoming 30th anniversary the band had the honor of hitting the stage last and did so in style. They were joined by Slash, Faces (and Rolling Stones) guitarist Ron Wood, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong and the Godfather of Funk, George Clinton. Continue reading »

This weekend the SF Bay Area saw both Green Day and Metallica playing quite unique live shows. Just a couple hours before headlining Live 105′s “Not So Silent Night” in Oakland, Jane’s Addiction cancelled due to a family issue and local heroes Green Day filled in. Across the bay at the Fillmore, Metallica was holding a very special 30th Anniversary show for their fan club. Continue reading »

Record Store Day is one of those special days that only rolls around once a year. It’s like a holiday, but the kind of holiday that’s only really there for the people who actually care about it – and isn’t that the best kind of holiday? It’s like Free Comic Book Day for a different kind of nerd.

In our latest Record Store Day post we’ve got Green Day releasing a cover of Hüsker Dü’s “Don’t Want to Know If You Are Lonely.” Pressed for the special day, the cover was released on a split 7” with the original. The cover originally saw the light of day on the bonus disc of Green Day’s 2009 box-set collection (from which you can download it on iTunes), but it’s nice to see it in vinyl alongside the ’80s classic. Listen to the tune below. Continue reading »

Jesse Malin may be relatively unknown outside of the Tri-State area, but dude has some famous friends. Bruce Springsteen guested on his 2007 album Glitter in the Gutter and this past weekend another longtime friend joined him for concert at New York’s City Winery: Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong. Continue reading »

This Week on Bandcamp rounds up our favorite covers to hit the site in the past seven days.

For no apparent reason that we can figure out, Bandcamp exploded with covers this week. Eyeballing the selection, there seem to be almost three times as many new covers posted as in weeks past. Or maybe artists are just catching on that tagging your track “cover” makes it easy for us to find. Take note!

As a result, our five favorites this week are among our five favorites of this entire series. Granted, it’s only three weeks old. This week, in fact, we had so many contenders we tacked on three bonus covers at the end. Download all eight below. Continue reading »

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