Aug 012012

There’s not much to be said about Lana Del Rey that hasn’t already been said. While she tends to get some heat from haters, nothing compares to the recent scathe she caught from Courtney Love after covering Nirvana‘s “Heart Shaped-Box.”

Del Rey covered the grunge classic last week while in Sydney, Australia, stripping some of the grit of the original and layering her airy vocals over strings. Del Rey’s take is cathartic in its own means, but Love decided that Del Rey didn’t do her late husband’s song justice and offered some solid advice: the next time Del Rey performs it, she should remember that it is about Courtney Love’s vagina. Love went on a Twitter rampage (and has since deleted said tweets – but have no fear, Stereogum has screenshots here) telling Del Rey not only what the song was actually about, but that she contributed some of the lyrics as well.

Unsolicited hostility aside, Del Rey performs an honest version of Cobain’s dark and cathartic ode to…love.

If you’ve been living under a rock, learn more about Lana Del Rey on her official website.

Apr 062012

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

Heaven & Hell, Volume 1 was the first of three tributes to The Velvet Underground released by the Imaginary label. They regularly used tributes as a way to move product, averaging three a year and paying homage to cult artists like Syd Barrett, Captain Beefheart, and (unusually for 1992) Nick Drake. They were guaranteed sellers to tiny, rabid fanbases, and brought attention to the label’s own artists besides. But with H&HV1, they tapped into a richer vein than usual, and they landed one band that was ascloseasthis to superstardom. Continue reading »

Jan 042012

Quickies rounds up new can’t-miss covers. Download ‘em below.

In honor of the new year, Canadian dream-poppers Memoryhouse covered the Zombies’ inspiration anthem “This Will Be Our Year.” The duo posted, “I hope this song helps motivate you to lose 5 pounds, stop smoking, and watch less reality T.V. (or is that just me?)”
MP3: Memoryhouse – This Will Be Our Year (The Zombies cover) Continue reading »

Dec 162011

When people look back in 2011 in music a decade from now, one name will come to mind: Adele. In our little world of cover songs, she dominated. Everyone covered Adele this year. It’s not just that we saw more covers of “Rolling in the Deep” than any other song; they beat out second place (probably “Pumped Up Kicks”) by like a factor of five! We generally try to look for larger cover trends in these annual wrap-ups, but it’s hard to remember anything else from this year except the year-long onslaught of Adele covers hitting our mailbox.

There’s only one “Rolling in the Deep” cover in this year’s list though. The rest are all over the place. Some of the artists listed built their covers with lush soundscapes, thick beats, and intricate string work. Others just took guitars or pianos and bowled us over with the emotion in their voices. There may not be much of an overarching “Year in Covers” narrative, but that means there’s a cover or two for everyone. From feel-good takes on rap songs to kill-yourself versions of pop songs, this year’s list features flips, flops, and genre switcheroos of all sorts. A good cover should be informed by the source material but stand on its own, and we’ll be unrolling the 50 finest examples of songs doing just that all week. Start with #50-41 on the next page and check back daily as we count down to the best cover of 2011.

Dec 092011

When we think back to this year, we might remember 2011 as the year that the whole concept of the “cover album” became more fluid, and not always for the better. Thanks to the increased prominence of sites like Bandcamp and Soundcloud, a cover album could be conceived, recorded, and shared in the space of a weekend. This didn’t necessarily lead to better cover albums, but it certainly led to more of them. They came in all formats – digital, CD, vinyl, and even cassette-only – and from all directions – labels, blogs, and even some magazines.

Which, we like to think, makes this list that much more helpful. In a year where the biggest single-artist cover album we got came from William Shatner, it proved a particular challenge to dig through the many obscure artists and assorted tributes and extract the gems. Gems there certainly were though, be they from newcomers making an impression with their favorite songs or old-timers honoring groups that influenced them decades ago. It may have taken a bit more work to find them, but the end result is as strong a selection as we’ve seen.

Continue to page 2 to read the list…

Nov 082011

The new Muppets movie – aptly titled The Muppets – opens in a few weeks. If you can’t wait to get your next fix of Kermit and the gang, though, you can get a preview now. A cover preview, that is. It’s the Muppets Barbershop Quartet performing Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” and it’s everything you hoped and dreamed it would be. Continue reading »

Nov 042011

The Nirvana tributes keep coming. We’ve already heard the iconic Nevermind album honored by SPIN, an all-star concert, the city of Miami, and – oh yeah – us. Now there’s another Nevermind tribute, from the same tribute label that delivered Paint It Black and Subterranean Homesick Blues. It’s called Come As You Are: A 20th Anniversary Tribute To Nirvana’s Nevermind and you can hear three of the best tracks below. Continue reading »