Oct 162013
 

They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s special day with other people singing his or her songs. Let others do the work for a while. Happy birthday!

A quarter of a century has gone by since Husker Du’s final drumbeat, and Bob Mould has spent those twenty-five years repeatedly disproving F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous quote about there being no second acts in American lives. To recount: his band Sugar marked his most commercially successful period of his career; he dabbled in acoustic and electronica; he worked as a live DJ; he wrote scripts in professional wrestling; he wrote a well-received autobiography, See a Little Light; he wrote the theme to The Daily Show. Best of all, he never stopped being Bob Mould.
Continue reading »

Jun 052013
 

Welcome to Cover Me Q&A, where we take your questions about cover songs and answer them to the best of our ability.

Here at Cover Me Q&A, we’ll be taking questions about cover songs and giving as many different answers as we can. This will give us a chance to hold forth on covers we might not otherwise get to talk about, to give Cover Me readers a chance to learn more about individual staffers’ tastes and writing styles, and to provide an opportunity for some back-and-forth, as we’ll be taking requests (learn how to do so at feature’s end).

Today’s question: Which artist/band does the best covers? That’s a lot to bite off, no doubt about it, but many mouths make less chewing, and the many mouths at Cover Me are very good at raising their voices. As always, our answers are not the only answers; feel free to leave yours in the comments section… Continue reading »

Mar 122013
 

The music of Mark Kozelek, whether made with his former band Red House Painters, under his own name, or as Sun Kil Moon, has been described many ways: dreamy, melancholic, and wistful come to mind. With the release of his newest covers album, Like Rats, you can add creepy to the list. The songs he’s picked to cover have lyrics that are alternately menacing and depressing, either overtly or because they’ve been stripped of their accompanying upbeat music. Kozelek has never shied away from darker themes in his music: the yearning loss in RHP’s “Michael,” death and loneliness (and maybe serial killers?) in SKM’s “Glenn Tipton,” regret and self-pity in his cover of John Denver’s “I’m Sorry.” Kozelek’s voice often soars over the intricate guitars, though, and its sweetness lends the songs a faint glimmer of hope. But on “Like Rats,” he sings a register lower than usual (more on that decision later) and piles dark song upon dark song until the listener is off-balance from the assault of negativity. The album is barely 30 minutes in length, and anything more might be too much. Continue reading »

Jun 272012
 

Mark Kozelek‘s “band” Sun Kil Moon arrived on the scene with the sprawling Ghosts of the Great Highway in 2003, filled with introspective, echoey acoustic pieces as well as electrified, crunchy, Neil Young-esque epics. “Salvador Sanchez” is the hardest rocking song on the album, although it is revisited as the softer “Pancho Villa” for the album closer. Brooklyn husband and wife team, Little Silver, do a significantly stripped down version of “Sanchez” that’s even more peaceful than Kozelek’s own “Pancho Villa.” Continue reading »

Apr 202012
 

Cover Classics takes a closer look at all-cover albums of the past, their genesis, and their legacy.

The songs would just come from him, as if he was a vehicle from God that the songs flowed through… The man was driven to write songs. The music came out of a very deep place. And oftentimes, out of that deepness, John felt very alone. If you listen to his songs, there’s a lot of loneliness there. — Annie Denver

By the time of his death in a 1997 plane crash, John Denver’s image no longer fit the man. He had written more than 200 songs and had multiple gold albums; his concerts appealed to young and old alike; he used his fame to bring attention to environmental causes, championed the space program, and testified in Congress against the PMRC. But to the general public, he had become something to mock, a naive, uncool lightweight who said “far out” way too much and did his best work with Muppets. It’s telling that when USA for Africa was preparing to record “We Are the World,” they turned down Denver – who had founded the World Hunger Project back in 1977 – because they felt his presence would damage the song’s credibility. Denver, and his music, had not been getting the respect they deserved for far too long. Continue reading »

Sep 212011
 

Mark Kozelek, leader of now defunct ’90s group Red House Painters and the sole member of Sun Kil Moon, has made a name for himself as an excellent cover artist. From his entire album of Modest Mouse covers (which many reviewers initially thought was new material) to his heartfelt album of AC/DC covers, his haunting voice immediately reveals the sadness behind any song. Mark’s own material is even more dense and has an instantly recognizable quality to it. Perhaps that’s why there are so few covers of his songs. Continue reading »