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)

Apr 212014
 
Todd Terje

Norwegian DJ Todd Terje has worked his magic yet again on Robert Palmer‘s track “Johnny and Mary,” with a little help from the legendary Bryan Ferry. While Terje has been active in the electronic scene since 1999, he released his debut album It’s Album Time just this month. Ferry lends his signature vocals and piano playing to the track. Terje’s interpretation is slowed-down and laid-back, allowing the lyrical emotion to shine. Continue reading »

Nov 292013
 

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

Where would you start the lineage of hard rock and heavy metal? Many music fans pinpoint August of 1964, when “You Really Got Me” was released into the wild; two score and nine years later, it’s only gotten wilder. Thanks to the Kinks, heavy music would never be the same.

But it should be noted that “You Really Got Me” isn’t just a blueprint for hard rock – it’s also one terrific song. Have power chords ever been used so well, before or since? Have primal urges ever been more basically, urgently, and perfectly expressed? Van Halen’s version, which is probably the best known cover, doesn’t bring much new to the table aside from some pyrotechnics, which is a shame because there’s a lot more potential in the song. But other folks have been able to show just how durable a song it is…
Continue reading »

May 182012
 

The thought of being invited into a crypt may not come off as the most appealing proposal. When Hope And Social invited Ellen and the Escapades into their ‘crypt’ to produce a cover in a day, the Leeds-based group accepted the challenge. The result? A folky twist on Robert Palmer‘s “Addicted To Love.” Continue reading »

Nov 152011
 

Quickies rounds up new can’t-miss covers. Download ‘em below.

Ministry is best known for their rampaging industrial sound, but back in 1983 they were still your basic poppy synth band. It makes sense, then, the DFA synthpop duo Holy Ghost! chose a song from that period to cover on their new single. Nancy Whang (of LCD Soundsystem) and Juan Maclean help get the party started.
MP3: Holy Ghost! ft. Nancy Whang & Juan Maclean – I Wanted to Tell Her (Ministry cover) Continue reading »

Nov 022011
 

Quickies rounds up new can’t-miss covers. Download ‘em below.

It takes a lot to make Robert Palmer hip, but L.A. electro-pop duo Kisses manage just that on their new single. Made up of Princeton frontman Jesse Kivel and girlfriend/fashion blogger Zinzi Edmonson, Kisses bring the dated ‘80s sound into the 21st century.
MP3: Kisses – Johnny and Mary (Robert Palmer cover) Continue reading »