Almost as common as ghost, witch and vampire costumes on Halloween is the covers concert. Many bands will forgo their latest release or greatest hits and instead pop on a costume and break out the cover songs. Over the years bands like Phish and The Flaming Lips have become known for their Halloween concert festivities and cover sets of full albums or songs from a decade; this year we take a look at some of the other artists getting their spooky fun on.
Jennie Wayne and Peter Murray, hailing from Portland, Oregon and best known as the indie-folk duo John Heart Jackie, have earned a reputation from extensive touring of the northwest and their fantastic debut LP We are Gold Mounds, which came out in 2010. While they usually pair their warm, mellow sound and gorgeous vocals with sparse, elegant songwriting, they show their versatility on their recent cover of Prince’s 1980 single “When You Were Mine,” released as a free download on their Bandcamp page.
Two free new cover EPs to direct you to today. The first comes from Roberts & Lord, a duo that met by trolling Myspace. Ex-Simian singer Simon Lord (the voice of that “We Are You Friends” song) stumbled across California producer Rafter Roberts while looking for a collaborator online and they decided to work together. The electronic experimenters soon found themselves a home on Asthmatic Kitty – aka Sufjan Stevens’ record label – and released full-lengthy debut Eponymous and this free COVERS EP. Download two tracks below (including a must-hear “Because”), then grab the full thing here.
As you would expect from a band featuring “seven ukeleles, an accordion, and a box,” Californian collective the Ooks of Hazzard has a very distinctive sound. The Ooks’ cheerful cover of MGMT’s “Kids” has racked up hundreds of thousands of YouTube hits, making them a verified cover-vid phenomenon. This week they returned to YouTube to release a short documentary detailing their creative process in shaping covers, offering a glimpse of several tracks in the process.
Last we heard from Matt Nathanson, he was covering the Mountain Goats. A good tune, but hardly a stretch for the Massachusetts songwriter. Taking on Prince’s “Little Red Corvette,” though, shows a much bigger leap…and delivers a much bigger payoff. Armed with only two acoustic guitars, he and bandmate Aaron Tap strum along for a delicate strip-down of the funk classic.
Live Collection brings together every live cover version we can find from a prolific artist.
Warren Zevon had paid his dues for years before his self-titled 1976 release would finally get him a fair amount of critical attention and a modest amount of airplay. In his first pass through L.A. he was a session musician and jingle writer, penned a few songs for the Turtles and released a forgettable solo debut in 1970. Then he spent a couple years on the road with the Everly Brothers, both together with Phil and Don and then with each of them solo, like a child of a divorce custody battle, as the brothers were beginning their estrangement. A self-imposed exile in Spain would follow and when Zevon returned to L.A. in late 1975, his pal Jackson Browne was there to help him get a record deal. Zevon had some things in common with his laid-back Asylum label contemporaries, but what separated his music from Browne, Linda Ronstadt and the Eagles was his ability to write caustic and satirical songs about unconventional people often in awkward situations.
In a display of the power of the Internet, a homeless Denver musician has earned hundreds of thousands of views for his new cover of Prince and The Revolution’s “Purple Rain.” Dred Scott, assisted by musician, producer, and cover artist Tyler Ward, recorded the cover for a seven-song acoustic EP Live From 16th Street Mall. Ward tells the story:
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!
It’s time to make it rain and get our purple on, for today Prince turns 53. After spending a few years preoccupied with the creation of some albums that only he could enjoy, the father of funk recently renewed his interest in all us less funky, esoteric people by going on a cross-continental tour. Once again he is accessible to all those who adore him…so long as they adore him on his own terms. Meaning no YouTube fan videos, no file sharing, no blog posts, and for God’s sakes no cover songs!