Dec 122014

Follow all our Best of 2014 coverage (along with previous year-end lists) here.

Back when we redesigned the site in 2010, we created basic star icons to represent the ratings we’d give an album when we reviewed it. 2 stars, 3.5 stars, etc. When we posted an album review, we’d find the corresponding icon where we last uploaded it. However, earlier this year we couldn’t find one of the icons we were looking for. Why? It turns out we’d never used it. We’d never before given an album a perfect five stars.

This year, for the first time, we did. Which should suffice to say it’s been an excellent year for cover albums. True, a few of the marquee tributes we most eagerly anticipated fell flat, either too formulaic (The Art of McCartney) or too out-there (that Flaming Lips’ Sgt. Peppers tribute we’ll never speak of again). But in the cracks and under the radar, cover and tribute albums thrived.

In our list of the twenty best, we’ve got everything from big names on major labels to DIY projects thrown up on Bandcamp. We’ve got New Orleans jazz, Parisian dub reggae, and songs that were popular when your great-great-great-great grandfather was calling town dances. Something for everyone, I guess. Something for all our fwends (sorry, that was the last time, promise).

Start the countdown on Page 2…

Nov 132014

These days, it seems that every band or artist puts out tracks before new albums come out, and it’s easy to understand why – at $1.29 on iTunes, an individual song purchase costs more than it would in relation to the album, or, if you get the tracks by pre-ordering, you’re locked in for the whole shebang. Most, however, will release a track or two in anticipation. That, apparently, is not She & Him‘s style. In the last few weeks, the easy-listening power-duo of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward have already released four tracks (out of thirteen total) from their upcoming collection of standards, Classics, which comes out on December 2. Continue reading »

Sep 272012

Singer-songwriter and musician Rickie Lee Jones has spent nearly 35 years carving a unique path that has blended rock, pop, blues, R&B, and jazz. From her early success with the hit 1979 song  “Chuck E’s in Love” to the 2000s where she experimented with beats, loops and spoken word, Jones is the embodiment of the evolving artist. Her latest effort, The Devil You Know is a collection of covers of classic rock tracks that read as a greatest hits list. Continue reading »

Sep 082011

In the past few months, True Blood has established itself as the television show most likely to deliver unexpected covers. Last night’s Sons of Anarchy season premiere indicates there might be another gritty drama making a run for it. Almost five million caught the show (setting an FX record) and heard a sensitive new performance of Louis Armstrong’s “What a Wonderful World” from Alison Mosshart (the Kills, the Dead Weather). Continue reading »

Oct 112010

Legendary soul singer Solomon Burke passed away yesterday en route to a European concert. In his seventy years, the “King of Rock and Soul” dominated soul, gospel, and rhythm and blues music like no one else. On early hits like “Cry to Me” and “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love” and latter-day classics like “Diamond in Your Mind” and “Make Do With What You Got,” his smooth baritone turned everything it touched to gold. With just a few syllables he could deliver you or seduce you, raise you up or bring you low. Unlike many of his peers, Burke continued performing and recording up through his last days; he released two records this year alone!

Though his commercial fortunes ebbed and flowed, the music community never forgot Burke. His 2002 album Don’t Give Up on Me featured song contributions from Bob Dylan, Brian Wilson, and Tom Waits. Pretty impressive Rolodex.

We’ve rounded up some live covers to remember the legend. Few can turn a phrase like Burke can, making his renditions of clichés like “Christmas Song” and Sam Cooke‘s “A Change Is Gonna Come” revelatory. On the less somber side, the raucous onstage party on “Proud Mary” shows his love of the ladies. Anyone who has attended a Burke concert can attest to the unbridled joy filling the room. He will be missed. Continue reading »

Jan 022010

Cover News is a weekly feature keeping you up to date on the goings-on in the world of cover tunes, tribute albums, etc. Plus, at the bottom we post the array of cover tunes we’ve been sent in the past week. Have you recorded a cool cover? Send an mp3 to the email address on the right and we’ll post it!

Vic Chessnut (R.I.P.)

This Week’s News

The Best Cover Songs of 2009 post may have gotten lost in the holiday shuffle for some people. If you missed it…25 downloads counting down the best of the year! [Cover Me]

Christmas is over. The fat goose was slaughtered, the boughs of holly are starting to smell, and the ten lords a-leaping have died from exhaustion. As many of you know, we posted a new Christmas tune every day of Advent to Twitter. Follow us on Twitter so you don’t miss out on the next Twit-sclusive (almost to 500 followers…exciting stuff coming when we hit the mark). First though, catch up on all the Christmas covers at once. []

The year of entertainer deaths claimed one final victim in songwriter in Vic Chesnutt. Boyhowdy pays tribute with some nice words and cover tunes. [Cover Lay Down]

Blue moon last night, an optimistic open to a new decade. Seems like there’s a certain song one might play… [I Am Fuel, You Are Friends]

The Flaming Lips ushered in 2010 by covering the complete Dark Side of the Moon. As with anything they do, it sounds…interesting. [Rolling Stone]

Good cover / Bad cover: Ain’t No Sunshine [My Old Kentucky Blog]

In honor of the just-passed thirtieth anniversary of Fleetwood Mac’s Tusk, a couple covers. [The Days of Lore]

FBI releases Michael Jackson tribute album! All proceeds go to keeping an eye on Bono. [The Spoof]

If you didn’t happen to celebrate your new years eve at a Katerine concert in Belgium, see what you missed with her Beyoncé/Pointer Sisters mash-up. [Belgovision]

New Joe Strummer tribute album, released for free on his charity’s website. [Strummerville]

This Week’s Submissions

Donna Beasley – Love My Way (Psychedelic Furs) [more]

David Bennett – Still Still Still [more]

The Crown Vandals – Idioteque (Radiohead) [more]

Railcars – Dreams (The Cranberries) [more]

Betty Steeles – What a Wonderful World (Louis Armstrong) [more]

Via Tania – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood (Nina Simone) [more]