Tokyo Police Club finished their “10 Songs, 10 Days, 10 Hours, 10 Years” series over the weekend with five more covers. We’ve already heard them tackle everyone from Moby to the Strokes and that diversity holds for the final set. They start with Phoenix, end with Miley Cyrus, and tackle LCD Soundsystem, M83, and Harlem Shakes in between.
Brooklyn newcomers Lightouts have only been making music for about a year, but they’ve already appeared twice on these pages, covering the Stone Roses and then the La’s. Their latest cover combines two more well-established artists. They cleverly pair LCD Soundsystem’s “All I Want” with David Bowie’s “Heroes.” Lightouts, the named adopted by duo Greg Nelson and Gavin Rhodes, craft a seamless, energetic cross-generational mashup as the b-side for their new single, “The Eloise Suite.”
For the last few years, the folks at Cokemachineglow have marked the end of the year with a Fantasy Covers Podcast. In the latest edition, they give the Podcast a twist by making it a contest– they encouraged artists to submit covers that “re-contextualize” a track with an unexpected new genre. As they predicted, the results are both strange, creative, and occasionally hit-or-miss, but the overall result is a set of imaginative covers with some terrific standouts. Unfortunately the Podcast format means that the 13 covers are only available in one massive file, but it’s one worth downloading.
Today would be the 55th birthday of Ian Curtis, the singer who provided the iconic, entrancing vocals for English post-punk pioneers Joy Division. Though Curtis’ suicide in 1980 cut short the band’s career at the height of its creative output, Joy Division has lived on in a massive catalog of covers from musicians who find inspiration in the cavernous spaces of Unknown Pleasures and Closer. In the thirty years since Joy Division’s dissolution, musicians from every corner of the globe– from Australia to California to South Africa– have produced outstanding interpretations of Curtis’ work.
Williamsburg, Brooklyn has become synonymous with hipster culture, so it’s no surprise that a covers album featuring a lineup of tracks with serious indie cred would originate in the neighborhood. Somewhat more surprising? That those covers would come from an 11-piece salsa band. The self-titled debut album from the Williamsburg Salsa Orchestra adds some Latin flair to tracks from indie staples including Peter Bjorn and John, TV on the Radio, and LCD Soundsystem.
It’s apparent from the get-go that the WSO is a talented group of salsa musicians. Bandleader Gianni Mano leads the ensemble through the album’s ten peppy tracks with precision and energy. However, the combination of salsa and indie is rather hit or miss, with the up-tempo excitement of the orchestra sometimes overshadowing the content of the song being covered. Blaring horns, timbales, and bongos make for a fun cover of an upbeat track like Peter Bjorn and John‘s “Young Folks,” but can feel overwhelming in quieter moments. Similarly, Solange Prat’s vocals have a very polished, almost Broadway quality that meshes well with the salsa backing but lacks the emotional subtlety needed to get the most out of softer tracks or lyrics originally voiced by less traditional singers.
A few months ago we posted about a lovely folk-infused cover of LCD Soundsystem‘s old favorite “Someone’s Great” by Fort Worth, TX band Toadies. The band released the cover for Record Store Day, just around the time that James Murphy was taking his final bow at Madison Square Garden. Now, the Toadies are back with a video for the song. It’s a live version of the cover recorded at the 2010 Dia De Los Toadies Festival, a festival founded and curated by the band that features all Texas artists (past artists have included Ben Kweller, The Secret Machines and The Heartless Bastards).