Jan 252017
protest cover songs

Well, it has been quite a week in politics. President Trump got sworn in Friday, then on Saturday hundreds of thousands of protesters marched across the country. We don’t need to go into the many (many) controversies and debates the first few days of the Trump administration have already brought us. You know them, and that’s not really our beat anyway.

What is our beat is cover songs, and a whole lot of politically-minded covers came out in the past week. Some are explicitly covers of songs with political lyrics, like Neko Case, kd lang, and Laura Veirs covering Patti Smith’s “People Have the Power” and OK Go covering Morrissey’s “Interesting Drug” (opening lines: “There are some bad people on the rise / They’re saving their own skins by ruining other people’s lives”).

Other covers are only political in the sense that they were released to raise money for groups like the American Civil Liberties Union or Planned Parenthood. Barsuk Records put out a covers comp featuring Nada Surf, David Bazan, Mates of State, The Long Winters (wonderfully titled Sad!). Members of the Philadelphia punk scene came together for a 35-song set of covers by the likes of Laura Stevenson and Jeff Rosenstock, which range from the covers of political artists like Against Me! and Bikini Kill to a cover of the Beatles’ “I’m Only Sleeping,” which would be difficult to find a political take on. Continue reading »

Jun 082011

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

There’s not much to say about Radiohead’s OK Computer that hasn’t been said since it was released 14 years ago. Here at Cover Me we seem to post Radiohead cover songs almost daily. Well, the sincerest form of flattery is covering a song by an influential artist or album, right? And love it or hate it, it’s difficult to dispute the impression that OK Computer left on music. So it’s no surprise that Stereogum rounded up 12 great artists a few years ago to do a song-for-song tribute to OK Computer. Since the tribute came 10 years after the original, they titled it OKX. Continue reading »

Jan 252011

John Vanderslice has been cranking out solid indie rock for over a decade, but always seems to lurk just under the radar. His latest album, out today, features a special treat we hope will win him a new fan or two: a cover of Atlas Sound’s “Walkabout.” The tune comes from the exclusive Amazon package for White Wilderness (on sale there for $3.99). Continue reading »

Dec 222010

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

“Karma Police” serves as the centerpiece of Radiohead’s 1997 classic, OK Computer. The beginning tracks of OK Computer find Radiohead at their most experimental to that point. From the shape-shifting “Paranoid Android” to the slow burn of “Exit Music (For A Film),” these otherworldly melodies embody the theme of disillusionment that runs through the album.

The opening notes of “Karma Police,” however, hit with a directness and simplicity that immediately leaps out. Thom Yorke’s voice weaves effortlessly through the chord changes, hardly rising above a whisper when he sings, “This is what you’ll get / when you mess with us.” It’s a remarkable moment when the song’s quiet intensity finally bursts in the second half, Yorke’s disdain turning into something that sounds an awful lot like optimism and warmth. Continue reading »


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Aug 112008

I’m seeing Radiohead on Wednesday night, and that seemed as good an excuse as any for this week’s theme.
EDIT: My review of the concert here.

Easy Star All-Stars – Let Down
From the people who brought you Dub Side of the Moon, it’s Radiodread! You can probably guess the musical genre, but they’re surprisingly adept at bringing the Jamaican flavor to the music, throwing in horns and a big chorus on top of the backbeat guitar.

Jorge Drexler – High and Dry
You may not know the name of this Latin guitar master, but Oscar does. In 2004 his song from The Motorcycle Diaries made him the first person from Uruguay to win an Academy Award. Throw this cover in a film, and I’d vote for a second.

Nickel Creek – Just
Fast-paced bluegrass is what Nickel Creek does, and they do it well.

John Mayer – Kid A
This is Mayer in his acoustic “Your Body Is a Wonderland” guise, not the blues guitar god, but don’t hold that against this simple power-chord ballad.

Northern Kings – Creep
Wikipedia calls them a “Finnish symphonic metal cover band,” following in the footsteps of Lordi but with less elaborate costumes. They do everyone from Lionel Ritchie to Jethro Tull on their album Reborn and here they bring their epic goth to Radiohead. You may well hate it, but for a song that’s been covered a billion times, at least it’s different.

Christopher O’Riley – Arpeggi
A classical pianist, O’Riley has a whole series of Yorke songs in his repertoire, many of which can be downloaded at his website. This is a cover of the early live version of a song that would be revised for In Rainbows as “Weird Fishes / Arpeggi.” O’Riley says he prefers the early version for “the more minimalist/tone generative aspects inherent in the song structure.” Okay.

John Vanderslice – Karma Police
A few years ago Stereogum commissioned covers of every song off OK Computer to celebrate its tenth anniversary. The whole thing is downloadable here (track-by-track notes here), but this off-beat drum machine take is a highlight, with some of the hardest-rocking acoustic guitar you’re likely to hear this side of the D coming in halfway through.

Gnarls Barkley – Reckoner
Cee-Lo’s voice is perfect for this song, which they’ve been doing in their sets as of late. A higher quality source (soundboard) than most others circulating.

KT Tunstall – Fake Plastic Trees
The introspective quiet-but-whiney female thing got real old after Vanessa Carlton and Alanis Morisette in the 90’s, but this song works well in the style.

Gillian Welch – Black Star
Country songwriter Welch makes brings sweet harmonies and guitar work to this one, avoiding any temptation to make it all Nashville honky-tonk.

Sa-Ra – In Limbo
From the electronic-ey tribute album Exit Music: Songs for Radioheads, Sa-Ra brings a funk element to all the synthesizers. More fun in one song than all of Kid A.

Calico Horse – Idioteque
I would have thought this song was uncoverable. I would have been wrong. It sounds perfectly natural in this quiet, drum machine free guise.