Jan 302015
 

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

Kirsty MacColl was still in her teens when she wrote and recorded “They Don’t Know.” It should have been a major smash, and in a way it was, peaking at #2 on a UK airplay chart; unfortunately, her distributor picked a horrible time to go on strike, which meant the single never got released, which meant it never placed on the sales-based UK Singles Charts. It took Tracey Ullman’s near-soundalike cover four years later to bring the song into the top ten where it belonged. Kirsty helped out with the backing vocals (that’s her a cappella “BAY-ee-BEE-ee!”), and she never resented Tracey for coming up with the brass ring that in a perfect world would have been hers; instead, she said things like “I don’t mind a bit of reflected glory” and “I’m grateful for (her) paying the rent.”
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Nov 152013
 

When Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs recorded their first Under the Covers collaboration, they were surprised that it was released with the subtitle “Vol. 1.” Whatever genius at the Shout! Factory label chose to do that deserves a raise and a promotion, as it led Sweet and Hoffs to record two more volumes. Where Volume 1 consisted of songs based in the ’60s, and Volume 2 was made up of ’70s songs, Volume 3, released this week, is all about the ’80s, the decade when Hoffs came of age as a musician and Sweet wasn’t far behind.
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Oct 042013
 

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.

Tara Jane O’Neil’s artistic work crosses multiple boundaries – she’s a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and a drawer and painter whose creations have been exhibited worldwide. She calls Portland, Oregon home, with additional residencies in the hearts of thousands. Her website states that “her work innately crosses genres and boundaries,” a point brought home by her collaborating on an album with Nikaido Kazumi, despite their not sharing a spoken language. Perhaps most important, her skills at karaoke are unparalleled – people are still talking about her performance of “Xanadu” at the Experimental Filmmaker Karaoke Throwdown in 2008.
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Dec 142010
 

Ah, Christmas time. Music fills the air, warming hearts with heartwarming stories of family, togetherness, and giving. Or, in some cases, brutal tales of drink and divorce. Yes, this holiday season, every time you think you can’t stand another treacley mall cover of “Silent Night” and “Deck the Halls,” play a new “Fairytale of New York.” That’ll put the cynicism back in your step!

Lord knows you’ve got plenty of versions to choose from. The Pogues’ depressing, beautifully inebriated duet with Kirsty MacColl has become a Christmas classic in its own right. This holiday season, the covers are already pouring in. Here are our three favorites. Continue reading »