Graduate of Chapman University’s Conservatory of Music and producer to such acts as SZE (TDE), Teri Gender Bender (Le Butcherettes) and Kail (Hellfyre Club), Kate Ellwanger treats us to three strikingly chill covers via her About Us EP.
Almost exactly two decades ago, English quintet Radiohead released their iconic sophomore album The Bends – an album sprawling with angst-laden instrumentation, haunted melodies and a sound that cemented them as one of Britain’s undisputed Greats.
Few songs capture the absolute essence of melancholy quite like Radiohead‘s “Street Spirit (Fade Out)” – a track easily hailed as the Oxfordshire five-piece’s darkest work, frontman Thom Yorke once having described it as “the dark tunnel without the light at the end.”
Considering Kathyrn Joseph’s own musical inclinations, the appeal isn’t hard to spot: the Scottish musician revels in all things gloomy, favouring fragile and intimate piano phrases coupled with her timid, Tori Amos-esque vocals.
In her incredibly intimate performance, Joseph relies on the raw emotion wrought from instrumentation soaked in minor arpeggios, gently pounding drums and her desperate falsetto cries. The piano quietly weeps – as do we - while Thom Yorkes heart-wrenching lyrics sweep over us, resulting in a delicate and raw emotional overhaul. “Scotland’s best-kept secret” no more – with this precious gem of a cover and her own work, Kathryn Joseph is sure to attract the international eye.
BBC Introducing, a program intent on supporting under the radar musicians, featured the Scot in her live debut on the Vic Galloway show. Watch the powerful performance down below.
Listen to Kathryn Joseph here.
A lot of songwriters call themselves “Americana,” but John Statz the geographical credentials to back it up. He’s from Wisconsin, lives in Colorado, recorded his new album in Vermont, and titled it Tulsa. On one track he looks across the pond though – to Britain’s Radiohead, whose “Motion Picture Soundtrack” he turns into a hushed country lament.
Follow all our Best of 2014 coverage (along with previous year-end lists) here.
Back when we redesigned the site in 2010, we created basic star icons to represent the ratings we’d give an album when we reviewed it. 2 stars, 3.5 stars, etc. When we posted an album review, we’d find the corresponding icon where we last uploaded it. However, earlier this year we couldn’t find one of the icons we were looking for. Why? It turns out we’d never used it. We’d never before given an album a perfect five stars.
This year, for the first time, we did. Which should suffice to say it’s been an excellent year for cover albums. True, a few of the marquee tributes we most eagerly anticipated fell flat, either too formulaic (The Art of McCartney) or too out-there (that Flaming Lips’ Sgt. Peppers tribute we’ll never speak of again). But in the cracks and under the radar, cover and tribute albums thrived.
In our list of the twenty best, we’ve got everything from big names on major labels to DIY projects thrown up on Bandcamp. We’ve got New Orleans jazz, Parisian dub reggae, and songs that were popular when your great-great-great-great grandfather was calling town dances. Something for everyone, I guess. Something for all our fwends (sorry, that was the last time, promise).
Start the countdown on Page 2…
English new-wavers Tears For Fears are in the midst of their first North American tour in three years. The band has released a slew of fantastic covers over the past year or so – including covers of Hot Chip and Arcade Fire – and just a couple of days ago, they surprised fans in Portland with a live rendition of Radiohead‘s iconic “Creep.”
The Pablo Honey smash has been covered ad nauseum and the band doesn’t stray far from the original. Still, they do bring an energy to the 21-year-old song that the audience feeds off of. Go ahead, plug in your headphones and singalong while listening to the cover below:
Check out more Tears for Fears on the band’s official website.
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!
Gillian Welch is a yankee. There, it’s said. One would have a hard time discerning it from her mix of folk and bluegrass arrangements, but there’s a Big Apple right there on her birth certificate. So let it be noted that, when compared to some “legitimate” country music popularized and sung by those born and bred in the South, with their auto-tuned cartoonish absence of substance, an overabundance of shiny objects and pyrotechnics, and some ghastly redneck rap thrown in, it’s obvious that birthplace alone has little influence on how traditional or great country music is.
It’s not every day that a musician who is barely 20 gets permission from Thom Yorke to include a cover of Radiohead‘s “Karma Police” on an EP. The Santa Cruz native, who flew to London just to record bits of this cover, recently released a bizarre video for his take on the 90s alternative classic.