Indie-electronica group Hot Chip know how to rock a cover, as they proved when they put out one of last year’s best covers of the year. Now they’re back with one that could put them on that list in 2015 as well. The group is on tour now and has been performing Bruce Springsteen‘s “Dancing in the Dark” live at shows this summer. They recently released an official video and studio version of the song and its well worth a listen.
Follow all our Best of 2014 coverage (along with previous year-end lists) here.
A few months ago, I read an interesting interview with an artist named Nouela. You probably haven’t heard of her, but you may have heard her music. She’s become a specialist in a weird but growing niche: covers recorded for movie and television trailers. Whether doing a piano “Sound of Silence” to promote a new HBO show or a brooding “Black Hole Sun” to promote Liam Neeson punching people, she’s found a quickly-growing way of getting her covers out there.
It struck me as part of a growing trend we’ve seen. More and more great covers seem to come from unexpected places. Sure, you’ve got still your standby sources, your b-sides, tribute albums, and radio shows. But new avenues for covers have increasingly crept in. This year saw a Sam Smith cover that is only available to hear under Grey’s Anatomy dialog (thankfully he’s recorded a few live versions too) and a whole covers album recorded to plug a Canadian TV show. Brands have fully embraced covers too, most recently My Morning Jacket’s “This Land Is Your Land” recorded for North Face ads, or Charli XCX and Bleachers trading covers for Kia.
We don’t care where they originated when we make our year-end lists, though, and we would up with some of everything. In our top five alone, we’ve got a live radio session, a deluxe-edition bonus track, and a cover hiding in plain sight on one of the most acclaimed country records of the year. You have to keep an eye on more places than ever to spot the best covers these days. Wherever they come from, we’re glad to have ’em.
Click on over to page two to begin our countdown, and thanks for reading.
– Ray Padgett, Editor in Chief
(Illustration by Sarah Parkinson)
The music blogosphere has erupted in Tears for Fears-related news, most notably with Lorde’s cover of “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” for the latest installment in the Hunger Games trilogy. Unfortunately, one bit of news about the New Wavers seemed to be eclipsed by the excitement (and sometimes outrage) over Lorde’s rendition of their iconic song. In preparation for the reissue of their 1983 debut album The Hurting and their first new album in over a decade, the band has released a fantastic cover of Hot Chip‘s “Boy From School.”
Welcome to Cover Me Q&A, where we take your questions about cover songs and answer them to the best of our ability.
Here at Cover Me Q&A, we’ll be taking questions about cover songs and giving as many different answers as we can. This will give us a chance to hold forth on covers we might not otherwise get to talk about, to give Cover Me readers a chance to learn more about individual staffers’ tastes and writing styles, and to provide an opportunity for some back-and-forth, as we’ll be taking requests (learn how to do so at feature’s end).
Today’s question: Which artist/band does the best covers? That’s a lot to bite off, no doubt about it, but many mouths make less chewing, and the many mouths at Cover Me are very good at raising their voices. As always, our answers are not the only answers; feel free to leave yours in the comments section…
For those familiar with Hot Chip‘s debut album, it is very clear that the band does not appreciate it when people try to tell them that they’re ‘down with Prince.’ Because, in case you didn’t know, Hot Chip is very down with Prince. While promoting its upcoming album, In Our Heads, the band stopped by Radio One with Zane Lowe and performed a funky version of Prince’s “If I Was Your Girlfriend.”
Today would be the 55th birthday of Ian Curtis, the singer who provided the iconic, entrancing vocals for English post-punk pioneers Joy Division. Though Curtis’ suicide in 1980 cut short the band’s career at the height of its creative output, Joy Division has lived on in a massive catalog of covers from musicians who find inspiration in the cavernous spaces of Unknown Pleasures and Closer. In the thirty years since Joy Division’s dissolution, musicians from every corner of the globe– from Australia to California to South Africa– have produced outstanding interpretations of Curtis’ work.
Fact: Hot Chip’s “And I Was A Boy From School” is one of the best opening tracks to, well, anything. Goddamn Electric Bill, Jason Torbert’ one-man electronic/folktronica bedroom project, agrees with one minor correction. In actuality, apparently Jason was a girl from school.