Dec 172018
 
best cover songs of 2018

Two things strike me as I scan through our list this year. This first is that many of the highest-ranking covers are tributes to recently-deceased icons. No surprise there, I suppose. But none actually pay tribute to artists that died in 2018. They honor those we’ve been honoring for two or three years now – your Pettys, your Princes, your Bowies. Hundreds of covers of each of these legends appeared in the first days after their deaths, but many of the best posthumous covers took longer to emerge.

Good covers take time. That principle – the cover-song equivalent of the slow food movement, perhaps – holds true throughout the list. Sure, a few here appear to have arisen from sudden moments of brilliance, flash-arranged for some concert or radio promo session. But many more reveal months or even years of painstaking work to nail every element. Making someone else’s song one’s own isn’t easy. These 50 covers took the time to get it right.

– Ray Padgett, Editor-in-Chief

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Oct 312018
 
cover songs october
AJ Lambert – Lush Life (Frank Sinatra cover)

Frank Sinatra’s granddaughter covers Frank Sinatra. You think you know where this story ends: fawning nepotism. But despite familial loyalty, A.J. Lambert isn’t afraid to twist “Lush Life,” adding a Lynchian undercurrent of menace. More of an overcurrent in the crawling, nose-bleeding video.

Amy Shark – Teenage Dirtbag (Wheatus cover)

Every month, one or two of these selections invariably hail from Spotify’s terrific new cover-sessions series. My only gripe is that they came with no information, the sort a band would write in the YouTube description or press release announcing a new cover, or say on stage before performing one live. That’s now solved with Spotify’s new “Under Cover” podcast, in which the artists performing the covers talk about them. We learn that Amy Shark tried to make “Teenage Dirtbag” a Pixies song, and that she considered the song her anthem when she was young. She says: “The first time I heard ‘Teenage Dirtbag,’ I was in high school. I was crazy obsessed with it to the point where it was in my head every day all day. I would sing it in all day in school. Even teachers would say, ‘Amy, please listen to something else.'” Continue reading »

Dec 042017
 
2017 cover songs

Our official list of the Best Cover Songs of 2017 comes next week. But first, we’re continuing the tradition we started last year by rounding up some of the songs it most killed us to cut in a grab-bag post. No ranking, no writing, just a bunch of knockout covers. Continue reading »

Apr 112017
 
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When someone thinks of the song “Love Hurts”, the hit version from 1970s Scottish rock band Nazareth would be the popular choice. Big guitars, heavy drum downbeats, wailing tenor vocals, and just overall big-hair greatness.

Going back a bit further in the history of the song will take you to its first recording by The Everly Brothers in the 1960s: easy guitar and harmonies with a light touch in terms of emotion.

Fast forward to today, and the Vermont trio Mountain Man have forged their own path with the simile ridden song- gorgeous three part harmony, soft guitar, and an emphasis on the emotion of the lyrics. It’s an interesting choice of cover for the Indie Appalachian Folk inspired trio, but not too far fetched considering the roots of the song. Continue reading »

Sep 022011
 

Hailing from Vermont, the all-female folk trio Mountain Man spent the summer winning over audiences at folk festivals across the country with their breathtaking vocal abilities. Singing with minimal or no accompaniment, Molly Sarle, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig and Amelia Meath twist their voices together into complex webs of layered melody and harmony, forming a hypnotic soundscape that feels like it belongs in a majestic cathedral or concert hall. In a recent a cappella session for LaundroMatinee the group performed a few numbers, including their completely stripped-down take on experimental cellist Arthur Russell‘s “Kid Like You”. Continue reading »