If you are lucky enough to be in Chicago during the brutal winter season, know that there is one thing that is sure to cheer you up: The David Bowie Is retrospective currently on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art. Hardcore Ziggy Stardust fans and celebrities alike have been flocking to the retrospective to get take a glimpse at some of the most intimate moments of David Bowie‘s career. Recently, of Montreal‘s lead singer Kevin Barnes took to the stage at the MCA to celebrate Bowie as well.
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.
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!
Artist, activist and new media pioneer Maya Arulpragasam, better known to the world as M.I.A., turns 36 today. A Briton of Tamil descent, she started as a visual artist, attending London’s Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design. While there, she met Elastica’s Justine Frischmann and designed the cover art for their final single. Urged on by Frischmann and Peaches, whom she met while filming a video document of Elastica’s last tour, she began recording music in her bedroom.
Georgia-based psychedelics Of Montreal have earned a reputation for their highly original sound and somewhat unusual behavior, so somehow it seems perfectly natural that a recent concert in Atlanta would include a geographically-appropriate cover of The Charlie Daniels Band‘s “Devil Went Down to Georgia” that includes mock pro wrestling matches between spandex covered and masked people, plenty of crowd surfing and the band’s playful, bordering on bizarre personality. Apparently the band has been on a patriotic kick, hence the star-spangled wrestler’s victory in the extra-fake wrestling part of the video.
Under the Radar shines a light on lesser-known cover artists. If you’re not listening to these folks, you should be. Catch up on past installments here.
When a musical group is defined by a genre, it often boxes them in and alienates them from an expanding fan base. A certain type of music usually lends a certain type of music lover. If we were to write “bluegrass,” some may just stop reading at this point and turn up their nose. But others might see this term and immediately scroll down below to take a listen. The NYC quintet Punch Brothers is a bluegrass group for both of these types of music lovers, and for those somewhere in-between: those who aren’t really sure if bluegrass is their thing, let alone bluegrass cover songs. Trust us – it is.