Apr 012014
 

Seemingly overnight, Lawrence, Kansas based Kawehi has turned into an Internet sensation with her killer, live-looped cover of Nirvana‘s “Heart Shaped Box.” The Hawaiian musician only uses three tools to cover the grunge classic: her voice, a step sequencer, and a MIDI keyboard and it is nothing short of amazing. EDM haters, beware. This modern take on the angsty track just might change your tune. Kawehi has received praise from music critics and even received a tweet of approval from Courtney Love. Continue reading »

Jul 122013
 

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

Considering The Beatles’ impact on music, pop culture and beyond, surprisingly few filmmakers have taken on the challenge of telling the legendary band’s story on the big screen. Director Iain Softley stands apart as one of the few who wasn’t daunted; his very first film, Backbeat, tells the story of the Beatles’ raucous early years as a cover band, performing in the seedy red-light district of Hamburg, Germany. The film concentrates on the love triangle amongst John Lennon, then-bassist Stuart Sutcliffe, and German photographer Astrid Kirchherr.
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Mar 232013
 

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!

Ric Ocasek, who turns 64 today, may be best remembered for buzzing around in the “You Might Think” video, but between 1978 and 1988 he led the Cars to FM radio immortality with a string of successful singles and albums (and two quality solo albums to boot). After the Cars folded, Ocasek’s skills as a producer became much in demand, and he stood behind the glass for bands such as Bad Brains, No Doubt, Nada Surf, and Weezer’s multi-platinum Blue and Green Albums. In both musician and producer roles, Ocasek’s influence has proven huge and lasting; bands such as The Strokes, Weezer, Fountains of Wayne, and even Nirvana owe Ocasek debts of gratitude for his style and sound, melding ‘50s rockabilly to ‘70s new wave with ‘80s rock and pop sensibilities. Continue reading »

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 »