Mar 242017
 

Under the Radar shines a light on lesser-known cover artists. If you’re not listening to these folks, you should. Catch up on past installments here.

emm gryner

In Canada, and among elite musicians, it seems foolish to claim that the work of Emm Gryner flies under the radar. She has a dozen and a half releases to her name, not counting the ones with the folk trio Trent Severn (where she sings and plays bass) and the hard rockers Trapper. She’s played with David Bowie’s band and opened for Def Leppard. Nelly Furtado named her album Science Fair as a desert island disc. Bono was once asked what songs of the previous 20 years he wished he’d written; Gryner’s “Almighty Love” was one of the half-dozen or so he named.
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Mar 072016
 

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

blacksabbath

“War Pigs,” originally titled “Walpurgis” (defined as “Christmas for Satanists” by Black Sabbath bassist Geezer Butler), is the first track off Black Sabbath’s second studio album, 1970’s Paranoid, and is regarded by Guitar World magazine as the “greatest Heavy Metal song ever.”

The slow gravitational pulling power chord intro creates an atmosphere of an apocalyptic wasteland. The rolling darkness and muffled air-sirens continue until they are quickly halted with the most spine-tingling, D to E power chord transition in heavy metal history, not once, not twice, but thrice! Ozzy Osbourne gives us a piercing belt of “Generals gathered in their masses / just like witches at black masses,” and Toni Iommi continues the pattern after every Ozzy verse until Iommi’s power chords evolve into a wicked guitar riff. Bill Ward comes crashing in on drums, Geezer Buttler starts pounding his bass, and before you know it, you’ve bypassed “Luke’s Wall” (the song’s instrumental outro) and you’re riding shotgun with Lucifer on a thrill ride through hell.
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Feb 122016
 

In the Spotlight showcases a cross-section of an artist’s cover work. View past installments, then post suggestions for future picks in the comments!

ween

Ween caters to no one. When it comes to creating music, they don’t care who you are, where you’re from, what you believe in, or what offends you. Ween’s goals are clear: they are going to make the music they want to make and have an absolute blast in the process. As a result of this approach, we all reap the tremendous benefits.

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Jul 162013
 

Five Good Covers presents five cross-genre reinterpretations of an oft-covered song.

King Crimson’s debut album, In the Court of the Crimson King, is iconic. The cover, a painting of a screaming creature (reportedly the only painting ever by computer programmer Barry Godber, who passed away shortly after the album’s release at the age of 24), is instantly recognizable and unforgettable. Although it was not the first prog-rock album, In the Court raised the bar and in many ways created the road map for the successes and excesses of the style. Nearly 44 years after the album’s release, it was discussed on, of all places, a New York Mets broadcast, and not because Mets fans so often have the same look on their faces.

Crimson leader Robert Fripp has described the first song on the record, “21st Century Schizoid Man,” as the first heavy metal song. That’s a claim that’s far from settled, but the crunching riff and distorted vocals and music displayed here would in fact become mandatory in the metal songs that followed in its wake. (Still, it is amusing to think of vocalist Greg Lake as a heavy metal godfather.) But the song also has a jazzy middle section, some virtuoso guitar soloing, and a free-time ending. Lyrically, the song is typical Peter Sinfield, filled with bizarre and obscure allusions and dystopian imagery which many have related to the Vietnam War. Fripp, at least once, dedicated “21st Century Schizoid Man” to Spiro Agnew.

The song has often been covered, more often than not in a metal style. As we will see, other covers pick up on the various styles included in the original. But not always.
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Feb 242011
 

Twice a year, the indie chicks of Girl Crisis sit down in a Brooklyn living room to perform a cover. In the summer months, they honor their gender with a song by a female songwriter. Last summer, for instance, they covered Taylor Dayn’s “Tell It to My Heart.” In the winter, they go for the guys. This winter: Ozzy Osbourne, with Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid.” Continue reading »

Dec 082010
 

So it begins: Listomania 2010. Like every music blog worth its proverbial salt, Cover Me will be going list-crazy this month. The difference is, our lists will specialize in – you guessed it – cover songs. Take the typical year-end list and insert the word “Cover” between “Best” and “Albums/Songs/etc” and you have a pretty good idea of what to expect. First up: The Best Cover Videos of 2010.

Cover songs hit the web faster than ever these days, but well-crafted cover videos remain relatively rare. Sure, YouTube is bursting with webcam performances and DIY concert footage, but bedroom confessions soon grow tiresome. Well-crafted cover music videos (remember those?) come along far less often. A great video can be art on its own, playing with – or against – the audio recording to create a viewer/listener experience greater than the sum of its parts.

Below, we present our top ten cover videos of 2010. In some cases the song’s origins play an essential role in the music video; in others it makes no difference. Each brings new imagery, insight, or, in some cases, lolz to the song it accompanies. A Rastafarian astronaut shoots lasers. Apples float around a Twilight Zone apartment. Pig people fight mummy surgeons in the basement.

Check out our ten favs below, then tell us which you liked best. Continue reading »