Jan 252017
 
protest cover songs

Well, it has been quite a week in politics. President Trump got sworn in Friday, then on Saturday hundreds of thousands of protesters marched across the country. We don’t need to go into the many (many) controversies and debates the first few days of the Trump administration have already brought us. You know them, and that’s not really our beat anyway.

What is our beat is cover songs, and a whole lot of politically-minded covers came out in the past week. Some are explicitly covers of songs with political lyrics, like Neko Case, kd lang, and Laura Veirs covering Patti Smith’s “People Have the Power” and OK Go covering Morrissey’s “Interesting Drug” (opening lines: “There are some bad people on the rise / They’re saving their own skins by ruining other people’s lives”).

Other covers are only political in the sense that they were released to raise money for groups like the American Civil Liberties Union or Planned Parenthood. Barsuk Records put out a covers comp featuring Nada Surf, David Bazan, Mates of State, The Long Winters (wonderfully titled Sad!). Members of the Philadelphia punk scene came together for a 35-song set of covers by the likes of Laura Stevenson and Jeff Rosenstock, which range from the covers of political artists like Against Me! and Bikini Kill to a cover of the Beatles’ “I’m Only Sleeping,” which would be difficult to find a political take on. Continue reading »

Apr 132016
 

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

jackson browne nico

“These Days” was written by an old soul of sixteen, Jackson Browne, several years before he released an album of his own. The melancholy ballad was originally released on the 1967 album Chelsea Girl (a reference to Andy Warhol’s 1966 film Chelsea Girls) by the singer-songwriter, lyricist, composer, musician, fashion model, actress, and ’60s counterculture queen, Nico. It may have been Browne’s song, but Nico was the first to put a stamp on it, and her stamp was an indelible one.

Continue reading »

Feb 032016
 

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

MatesofStateCrushesCoversMixtape

When Mates of State‘s Crushes (The Covers Mixtape) came out in 2010, we ranked it the sixth best cover album of the year. If I were redoing that list today, I’d make it #1 (or, at worst, #2 – I do still love that Peter Gabriel album). The reason Crushes holds up so well is the same reason a lot of people might hate it: Its almost gleeful irreverence to its source material.

On Crushes, the husband-wife indiepop duo of Kori Gardner and Jason Hammel draw their song selections equally from indie hits of the past decade and classic singer-songwriters. But they are beholden to neither group. Americana laments become dance celebrations. Outsider indie-prog becomes glossy toy-store pop. Electronic beats and gorgeous harmonies coexist in worlds far different than the ones the original artists envisioned. Continue reading »

Dec 082010
 

So it begins: Listomania 2010. Like every music blog worth its proverbial salt, Cover Me will be going list-crazy this month. The difference is, our lists will specialize in – you guessed it – cover songs. Take the typical year-end list and insert the word “Cover” between “Best” and “Albums/Songs/etc” and you have a pretty good idea of what to expect. First up: The Best Cover Videos of 2010.

Cover songs hit the web faster than ever these days, but well-crafted cover videos remain relatively rare. Sure, YouTube is bursting with webcam performances and DIY concert footage, but bedroom confessions soon grow tiresome. Well-crafted cover music videos (remember those?) come along far less often. A great video can be art on its own, playing with – or against – the audio recording to create a viewer/listener experience greater than the sum of its parts.

Below, we present our top ten cover videos of 2010. In some cases the song’s origins play an essential role in the music video; in others it makes no difference. Each brings new imagery, insight, or, in some cases, lolz to the song it accompanies. A Rastafarian astronaut shoots lasers. Apples float around a Twilight Zone apartment. Pig people fight mummy surgeons in the basement.

Check out our ten favs below, then tell us which you liked best. Continue reading »

Dec 072010
 

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!

The most unique individual to emerge from the Los Angeles suburb of Pomona – which also produced such “luminaries” as Jessica Alba and Mark McGwire – Tom Waits is 61 years old today. His music seems to have lived three lifetimes though. He started out singing twisted jazz/beat ballads soaked in booze, progressed to bizarre German musical theater in the ’80s and early ’90s and invented almost a genre of his own in his most recent work. Even at his strangest, though, he always has made the song of paramount importance. Continue reading »