Dec 212012

Adele dominated the cover song landscape in 2011, but Two-Aught-Twelve saw no similar galvanizing figure. Yes Lana Del Rey got covered a lot, but Leonard Cohen and Arcade Fire also seemed to garner an unexpected landslide of great covers (and speaking of landslides, so did Fleetwood Mac). “Call Me Maybe” was a huge hit that didn’t lead to much in the way of classic covers, and few seem to have even bothered attempting the Korean raps on “Gangnam Style.”

Which means that cover songs in 2012 were more diverse, ambitious, and left-field than ever before. A given YouTube search or Hype Machine browse would be as likely to turn up forgotten hits or underappreciated songwriters as it would the latest Top 40 smash. Find a sampling of all the diversity in Cover Me’s official Best Cover Songs of 2012 countdown. Start with #40-31 on the next page, and check back daily as we’ll be adding more til we hit #1.

Philip Dickey has a knack for names. First Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, now his newest project: Dragon Inn 3. With his sister Roni Dickey and SSLYBY video director Brook Linder, they are debuting the new group with an EP this Saturday. The name for that? Ghoul School. Continue reading »

As the crumbled fliers and crushed PBR cans across the Lower East Side and Williamsburg will attest, another CMJ has come and gone. In a year that didn’t seem to quite have the star power leading into it, hundreds of under-the-radar bands had a reasonably level playing field on which to try to impress to industry and tastemaker types who swarm the city’s diviest clubs. Here are five standout acts we caught, complete with a great cover each has done in the past. Continue reading »

Unless you’re Sterling Archer or Top Gun’s greatest fan, chances are you don’t opt to sing or listen to Kenny Loggins‘ “Danger Zone” all that often. The song has been sitting on the A.V. Club’s Undercover List for quite some time, and Alt. Country band Calexico decided to tackle it. Continue reading »

Back in 2008, Thomas Bartlett, aka Doveman, released an atmospheric, spacey cover album of every track off the 1984 classic Footloose. The original soundtrack spawned multiple radio hits, most famously the ultra-repetitive title track by Kenny Loggins, but Doveman’s version won’t be getting you out of your seat to cut a rug. Continue reading »

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.

Although The Diamond Family Archive may sound like the name of a big band, it consists only of one man, by the name of Laurence Collyer. Settled on the south coast of England in Brighton, this ZZ-Top-bearded singer is a veritable jack of all trades in the music business. Along with writing, recording and producing his own songs through his own label, he also drops in to play with other local British bands and occasionally records EPs on friends’ labels. It’s near impossible to know how many albums Collyer has put out between his own projects and colleagues’ and he often limits printed album copies to less than 100 (including hand drawn artwork and other treasures). Despite being this busy, The Diamond Family Archive’s website labels him “reclusive.” Continue reading »

Live Collection brings together every live cover we can find from an artist. And we find a lot.

You think Vermont music, you might think flanneled hippies strumming mandolins. Not Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. They may come from the great wooded north, but their big soul sound comes straight from Dixie with a side of south-side Chicago. Potter is a vocal tour de force, a skinny white girl with an enormous voice. She can do a two-hour show without fading a bit and her hot four-piece band keeps right in step. Searing guitar solos abound, but nothing can upstage that voice.

Through years of near-constant touring, the band has amassed quite a stack of covers. In our latest Live Collection, we collect every concert cover we could find (thanks archive.org!). That includes blasts through Blondie, My Morning Jacket, and a whole lot of Neil Young – including a 14-minute “Cortez the Killer” that should be required listening for any rock band. Josh Ritter joins the band on John Prine’s “Pretty Good,” but otherwise they don’t need any help in blowing the roof off any building they play.

As a special bonus, below the main set we have the thematic new covers from their 2009 New Year’s Eve show. The band had clearly been spinning the Top Gun soundtrack a lot; they cover seven songs from the darn thing! And not just the original soundtrack either. The band apparently took to the 1999 Special Edition CD, cause they run through three of the four old-school bonus tracks as well. In between ’80s classics like “Take My Breath Away” and “Danger Zone,” the band throws out Top Gun lines as a wink to clued-in audience members. “This is Ghost Rider requesting permission for a flyby!” Permission granted. Continue reading »

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