Aug 072011

They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s big day with cover tributes to his or her songs. Let others do the work for a while. Happy birthday!

Bruce Dickinson may be the most metal individual of all time. Not only does he front Iron Maiden, one of the pioneering groups of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal and a genre-defining titan of rock, but he’s also a licensed commercial airline pilot. That means that he can charter a Boeing 757 to fly fans of his band to gigs they might not otherwise reach, something he’s actually done before. He’s even got a special plane named after his band’s mascot, “Ed Force One.” Continue reading »

Jul 262011

Download This scours the web’s dark corners for cool cover freebies. View past installments.

When you think of Iron Maiden, acoustic guitar probably doesn’t come to mind. Throughout their hard-hitting run of classic heavy metal albums in the 1980s, Maiden used the instrument incredibly sparingly, often only to add flavor to a track or to give it room to get louder when the electric guitars finally kicked in. At least until some of their more experimental work in the 2000s, the term “unplugged” really had no meaning for this genre-defining sextet. Yet a die-hard Scottish Maiden fan known to the Internet as “Thingfishy” (real name: Gavin Anderson) has decided that, for almost the band’s entire catalog, the acoustic sound is where it’s at. Continue reading »

Apr 152011

Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!

Covering metal songs can be tricky. The musical complexity often displayed on the originals means that to create anything new, you may have to venture away from anything resembling “metal.” In doing so, however, your music may no longer hold any appeal to fans of the band you’re covering. As a result, metal covers tend to play it safe (and, thus, be terrible).

From what we found, though, Iron Maiden fans are open-minded (or wonky) enough to appreciate a folk-rock “The Trooper” or a pan-flute “Aces High.” Maiden fans support wacky non-metal cover albums and one-offs more than you see with their peers. That made finding quality covers of every song on The Number of the Beast both more easy and more enjoyable than it was for, say, our Master of Puppets tribute two years ago. With all the terrific reinterpretations we dug up, we could just as easily have done a tribute to Piece of Mind or Iron Maiden (and maybe one day we will).

For now, though, we bring you our track-by-track, cover-by-cover look at Iron Maiden’s seminal The Number of the Beast. Eight songs, eight covers, in a wide variety of styles. Maiden songs translate beautifully to other genres, and musicians across the musical spectrum have taken advantage. Continue reading »

Nov 222010

The Mountain Goats‘ lovely acoustic pop songs and soul-bearing personal lyrics seem a strange match for British heavy metal mammoths Iron Maiden. Yes, the Mountain Goats covering Maiden would be odd indeed. Well, don’t worry; they didn’t. Not quite.

Instead, Mountain Goat songwriter John Darnielle’s wife Lalitree  (a professional photographer by day) has recorded an electro-pop version of Maiden’s 1986 hit “Wasted Years.” The song comes from a future covers project produced by an undisclosed friend. On her blog Lalitree explains that she “couldn’t wait” to share it. Listening to it, one can understand her impatience – the synth aptly conveys the minor-key gloom of the original thrasher, while her airy vocals bring a lighter touch. Check out Lalitree’s cover below and let us know what you think! Continue reading »

Jun 072010

The news last year that dapper Mario-lookalike keyboardist Franz Nicolay was leaving the Hold Steady hit fans hard. How would music survive without the ever-chipper gent with the best mustache in rock?

Good news: It doesn’t have to. Franz is back with gypsy-punk band Guignol, a New York quartet that also features Peter Hess of Eastern Bloc rockers Balkan Beat Box. For their latest album they team up with Mischief Brew (Erik Peterson to his mom) for 13 originals, a Django Reinhardt song, and a shit-kicking Iron Maiden cover that we’re pleased to premiere here. Listen and download below.
Continue reading »