Covers albums are commonly filled with songs that have special meaning to the band and often had an impact on the members. “Break-Up album” usually refers to a collection of songs dedicated to the end of a recent, often painful, relationship. Brooklyn band Quiet Loudly missed both of those memos. Their album is filled with songs chosen at the whim of a few fans who pledged a certain amount on the previous album’s Kickstarter, and the “Break Up” referred to is the band itself.
Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.
In honor of Eric Idle’s 71st birthday tomorrow, let’s pay tribute to his most famous song, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life,” from Monty Python’s Life of Brian. Idle, of course, is best known as a comic actor and writer and a member of the Python troupe and not as a songwriter. However, this surprisingly happy tune, with deceptively dark lyrics, sung by Idle and a group of fellow crucifixion victims at the end of the film, has become remarkably popular. It was a parody of the peppy songs often featured in Disney movies, but over time its ironic underpinnings have been ignored in favor of its upbeat chorus and jaunty whistling (suggested by Neil Innes, who wrote most of the music associated with the Pythons).
Under the Radar shines a light on lesser-known cover artists. If you’re not listening to these folks, you should. Catch up on past installments here.
Are you looking to discover a dream-poppy, trip-hoppy kind of singer? Do you want to learn about someone who invests her emotions in electronica? Have you been waiting far too long for the chance to learn about a singer-songwriter who can’t help but obliterate the way you think about famous songs with her covers? Boy, have we got an artist for you, and her name is Mimi Page.
Cover Classics takes a closer look at all-cover albums of the past, their genesis, and their legacy.
Harry Nilsson’s two best-known songs, both of which won Grammys, were cover songs – “Everybody’s Talkin’” came from Fred Neil, and “Without You” was originally Badfinger’s. Meanwhile, his peers knew that as talented a singer as he was, he was an even greater songwriter. For the Love of Harry: Everybody Sings Nilsson, released a year after his 1994 passing, shone a light on nearly two dozen of his compositions and showed the esteem two generations of musicians held him in.
Quickies rounds up new can’t-miss covers. Download ‘em below.
• Last month, the Rosebuds covered the Talking Heads. The choice was a natural – both groups deliver poppy, off-kilter melodies that worm into your head for days. Salt-n-Pepa, on the other hand, haven’t influenced Ivan and Kelly Rosebud one iota. They just re-released it for free on their new Bandcamp.
MP3: The Rosebuds – Push It (Salt-n-Pepa cover)
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!
Few would argue that Harry Nilsson was one of the best and most unique American singer-songwriters of his time. Nilsson crafted complex multi-layered vocal pop for his amazing voice, which had a range of three and one-half octaves. He wrote beautiful, personal, and emotional songs that earned him the respect of his peers, critical acclaim, and occasional commercial success – though his two Grammy awards were not for originals. Yet Nilsson is a largely forgotten cult figure; a legacy he himself insured with his stubbornness, his insecurities, numerous bad career decisions and an appetite for destruction more commonly associated with contemporaries like Keith Richards, John Bonham and Keith Moon. (Ironically, both Moon and Mama Cass would die in Nilsson’s London apartment, which he allowed his friends to use when he was in the States.)
This Week on Bandcamp rounds up our favorite covers to hit the site in the past seven days.
Today’s set takes a simpler, quieter approach than most. No dubstep, chillwave, or other “new” sounds to be found here. Just basic productions showcasing classic songs done right.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the release of the Phil Spector collection Back to Mono (1958–1969), the landmark set that compiles all of the early productions by the one-in-a-million wunderkind. Phil Spector’s abhorrent personal life and criminal history notwithstanding, the man’s influence on American music is indisputable.
So much in music circles back to this now-infamous sociopath. Music seems to channel Spector now more than ever: She and Him spearhead a resurgence of doo-wop sounds; Best Coast rebuild the Wall of Sound in fuzzier, shoegaze form; and, while it is no longer 1999, there are still millions of teenage generations to come that will have to see Top Gun and download the song all over again. So let’s celebrate the music that defined a generation and changed the landscape of popular American music forever. Here are five of the most well-known and oft-cited covers of classic Phil Spector productions. Old and new, these tracks have contributed to the ongoing resurrection of the Wall of Sound.