Dec 182014
 

Follow all our Best of 2014 coverage (along with previous year-end lists) here.

A few months ago, I read an interesting interview with an artist named Nouela. You probably haven’t heard of her, but you may have heard her music. She’s become a specialist in a weird but growing niche: covers recorded for movie and television trailers. Whether doing a piano “Sound of Silence” to promote a new HBO show or a brooding “Black Hole Sun” to promote Liam Neeson punching people, she’s found a quickly-growing way of getting her covers out there.

It struck me as part of a growing trend we’ve seen. More and more great covers seem to come from unexpected places. Sure, you’ve got still your standby sources, your b-sides, tribute albums, and radio shows. But new avenues for covers have increasingly crept in. This year saw a Sam Smith cover that is only available to hear under Grey’s Anatomy dialog (thankfully he’s recorded a few live versions too) and a whole covers album recorded to plug a Canadian TV show. Brands have fully embraced covers too, most recently My Morning Jacket’s “This Land Is Your Land” recorded for North Face ads, or Charli XCX and Bleachers trading covers for Kia.

We don’t care where they originated when we make our year-end lists, though, and we would up with some of everything. In our top five alone, we’ve got a live radio session, a deluxe-edition bonus track, and a cover hiding in plain sight on one of the most acclaimed country records of the year. You have to keep an eye on more places than ever to spot the best covers these days. Wherever they come from, we’re glad to have ’em.

Click on over to page two to begin our countdown, and thanks for reading.

– Ray Padgett, Editor in Chief
(Illustration by Sarah Parkinson)

Dec 192013
 

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. Continue reading »

Feb 092011
 

How many times have you listened to “West End Girls” and thought to yourself, I wonder what this would sound like on mandolin? Our guess: zero. Frankly, Jon McLeod aka. the Focussed Distraction never wondered that either. However, a random series of events led to him finding out exactly what it sounds like. Now you can learn too. McLeod tells Cover Me about this cover’s genesis: Continue reading »

Jun 282010
 

Just like we did for Bonnaroo, we’re rounding up the covers performed at this year’s Glastonbury. A strange mix to be sure. Florence and the Machine performs her “favorite song of all time” for what she claims will be a one-time-only cover; Stevie Wonder honors the anniversary of Michael Jackson‘s death; Shakira pays tribute to indie; Muse gets a little help from the Edge for “Where the Streets Have No Name.” The Pet Shop Boys singing “Viva La Vida” while wearing crowns may be the weirdest moment though.

Anyway, videos of all those and more below (all taken from the BBC broadcast). If you find any more Glasto 2010 covers, post a link in the comments!
Continue reading »