Dec 182014
 

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)

Jun 272014
 

Lana Del Rey has made her fair share of enemies while promoting her latest effort, Ultraviolence. She has said things like feminism “isn’t an interesting concept,” and she wishes she was “dead already,” turning off the likes of Francis Bean and simultaneously winning the hearts of angst-ridden teens. Continue reading »

Oct 072011
 

Metaphorest is the recording and performing moniker of Irish singer, songwriter and guitarist Sarah Daly. Daly has been self-releasing her music since as Metaphorest since 2009 on hitRECord, the company run by Joseph Gordon-Levitt. The likes of Joanna Newsom, Jeff Buckley, and Björk inspire her music, along with someone closer to home: her second cousin Kate Bush. With Daly being so close to Bush both musically and genetically, it is no surprise her barebones guitar cover of “Babooshka” is spot-on delightful. Continue reading »

Sep 292011
 

Quickies rounds up new can’t-miss covers. Download ‘em below.

A couple weeks ago, James Vincent McMorrow broke our hearts with his cover of “Higher Love.” Now, he does it again on Chris Isaak’s “Wicked Game.” He’s been playing it live for a while now, but Vagrant just sent over this gorgeous recording.
MP3: James Vincent McMorrow – Wicked Game (Chris Isaak cover) Continue reading »

Sep 022011
 

This past June, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. turned Steve Winwood’s “Higher Love” into a big rock-and-roll party. Now James Vincent McMorrow takes the tune in the opposite direction, turning it into a yearning piano lament. Where Jr. Jr.’s made you want to dance, McMorrow’s makes you want to cry. Continue reading »