Valentine’s Day is a contentious holiday for many, but the Starbucks “Sweetheart 2014” compilation has made it more palpable with some fantastic covers. Sitting amongst this chocolate box of covers (which also includes morsels like Vampire Weekend covering Andrea Bocelli’s “Con Te Partiro”) is a cover of Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You” done exquisitely by Ben Harper. Giving the wistful tune a simple stripped down treatment, Ben’s airy, slow vocals and piano accompaniment are perfect for Valentine’s Day lovers AND haters. Check it out below.
I’m not sure there were more great cover songs this year than any other. But there were more good ones.
What I mean by that is, the average quality of the covers we come across in the time we’ve been around has risen, rather dramatically. Whether they’re iTunes homepage singles or some guy emailing us his Bandcamp, more cover songs in 2013 avoid the old pitfalls than ever before. They don’t sound like they were recorded in a cereal box, substitute ear-bleeding volume for actual creativity, or – the worst cover sin of all – try to carbon-copying the original. With the ease of production and distribution available now, artists seemed to record covers only when they felt they had something to add, and do a halfway decent job committing those ideas to 1s and 0s.
Brooklyn’s indie rocker Frankie Rose is all over the place. As a member of indie garage rock acts Dum Dum Girls, Vivian Girls, Crystal Stilts, and her newest band Frankie Rose and the Outs, she has been a key part of developing the indie rock scene in Brooklyn, crafting dreamy noise rock songs for the last 8 years. Following her cover of the Strokes “Soma” earlier this summer, Frankie tackles a fellow dream pop favorite, Mazzy Star‘s 1990 track “Blue Flower.”
Our White Stripes tribute continues today with a massive live collection. The Stripes were known for their concert presence as much as anything and, with the freedom that only a two-person band can bring, they frequently performed covers both expected (delta blues) and not (Mazzy Star). Some songs appeared frequently over the years, others popped up for one night only. Sometimes they were planned performances, other times Jack White just started singing some lyrics.
Below, we give you a collection of cover songs the band performed on their 2005 Get Behind Me Satan tour. The set was originally compiled by a user over at the Little Room forum and his/her efforts amaze us to this day. Thirty-three songs, all available as MP3 downloads below. The audio quality ranges from pretty-good to fantastic. Download them individually or as a full set.
Cover News is a weekly feature where I sum up the week’s cover-related news, whether it’s new to the world or just new to me. Anything that doesn’t fit in my regular thematic posts I think my readers would enjoy, be it a youtube video, a blog shout-out, or a cool-looking new release. I also post all the submissions I have gotten from record labels and artists.
Time to debut another new feature here at Cover Me! I’ve loved sharing the music with you all over the past year and a half, but I always find stuff that doesn’t fit in my somewhat constricting thematic format. So allow me to present a new supplementary series: Cover News. Anything cover-related I think you should hear now, without waiting for it to fit into one of my themes.
One of the most exciting parts will be sharing the many submissions I get from artists and labels. I always feel guilty when I am sent great tracks or CDs and take forever posting them because they don’t fit into a theme. So here you can grab the tunes as soon as they reach my mailbox. Side note: Any artists/labels that sent me tunes I never posted, remind me and they will go up here next week. The days of your (completely justified) impatience are over!
This Week’s News
The first bit of news is a little self-promotion, a reminder that you only have four more days to decide which song derpferdheisshorstwienerschnitzelschwarzeneggerkablowie (sp?) covers for this week’s Cover Commissions. Read about it here, then vote on the right.
I’d like to give a shout-out to the newest member to the cover crew, Grand Passion. There’s plenty of tunes out there, so the more the merrier!
Ariel Aparicio does a great cover of the Psychedelic Furs’ “Pretty in Pink,” and now you can hear it while supporting a good cause! Buy it from iTunes here and Ariel will donate all his profits to the Greater New York City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen For The Cure, founded for a friend battling breast cancer.
Fiona Apple has been hiding out recently, but she’s resurfaced with a track for a Cy Coleman tribute EP. Listen to “Why Try to Change Me Now?” here.
Old-school folkie Marianne Faithfull has released a covers disc that tries to get some of that Johnny Cash mojo, taking on everyone from Espers to Merle Haggard. The unquestioned high point though is her take on The Decemberists’ “The Crane Wife 3” with Nick Cave, and you can watch her perform it on Letterman here.
In a blogosphere filled with shoddy posts and quick tunes, you can always count on Aquarium Drunkard to raise the bar for thoughtful content along with their tunes. Read about (then listen to) Whiskeytown’s “Nervous Breakdown” cover here, then check out their thoughts on Spoon doing Destroyer thisaway.
Berkeley Place isn’t technically a cover blog, but dude posts so many covers it might as well be. All Kurt fans will love his set of Nirvana covers, rarities, etc. Did I set set? I meant sets. It’s a four part post.
The Smithsonian is offering a free download of Cephas & Winnan’s version of the folk classic “John Henry,” which I found over at Muruch.
This Week’s Submissions