Jan 232018
 

review dr demento covered in punkLet’s be blunt: No one needs novelty songs.

Loosely defined as “a satirical or comedic parody of popular music,” most people instinctively leave the room – or the house – at the first whiff.

Or do they? What, then, explains the enduring popularity of Dr. Demento, querulous-voiced prankster and legitimate, if puzzling, cultural icon? A rock ’n roll writer, label A&R man, and sometime roadie, he began broadcasting a rock and oldies show at Pasadena station KPPC in 1970. He quickly found that the novelty songs he slipped in – notably Nervous Norvus’ “Transfusion,” a truly demented tale about reckless driving, and a precursor to the Cramps’ psychobilly – were what his listeners really wanted to hear.

Now 76, Dr. Demento – a.k.a. Barret Eugene Hansen – ceased terrestrial radio broadcast in 2010, though his program persists online. And now we’re treated to Dr. Demento Covered in Punk, by some counts his 15th official album release. If you’re already hooked on the good doctor’s offbeat charms, you’re likely not in need of encouragement to purchase this collection of supposedly “punk” covers (more on that later) interspersed with the Doctor’s commentary. But can we rightfully recommend this 2+ hour compilation to the rest of the record-buying public? The answer, surprisingly, is: “Yes!” Sort of.

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Feb 182015
 

Welcome to Cover Me Q&A, where we take your questions about cover songs and answer them to the best of our ability.

Here at Cover Me Q&A, we’ll be taking questions about cover songs and giving as many different answers as we can. This will give us a chance to hold forth on covers we might not otherwise get to talk about, to give Cover Me readers a chance to learn more about individual staffers’ tastes and writing styles, and to provide an opportunity for some back-and-forth, as we’ll be taking requests (learn how to do so at feature’s end).

Today’s question: What’s a cover song that introduced you to an artist?
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Jun 292012
 

Cover Classics takes a closer look at all-cover albums of the past, their genesis, and their legacy.

Erickson didn’t simply sing [the] songs, he became them. Watching him then, it was like he was screaming to get outside of his body, knowing that the music behind him was a cannon meant to hurtle him into the stratosphere. I can recall shows where Erickson sang as if his life would end if he didn’t reach a certain plateau. We’d stand in the audience, holding our breath and hoping for his sake that he got there. – Bill Bentley

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Sep 222011
 

As you’ve surely heard by now, R.E.M. broke up yesterday via an understated note on their website. Just as it began, the entire enterprise ended not with a bang, but with a murmur. The quartet-turned-trio performed together for 31 years, 15 albums, and countless “R.E.M. changed my life” exclamations in the ‘80s and ‘90s.

Over the course of their career, the band performed countless covers. From the very beginning, they seemingly relished every opportunity to pay tribute to their influences, tacking covers onto singles, compilations, and their annual Christmas fan club records. In the whole lot, there are few duds. Through a combination of smart selections (no novelty rap covers here) and a rare ability to extract the essence of a lyric or melody, they made just about every song they tackled sound like an R.E.M. original. To remember the beloved band, we look back chronologically at some of their most important and best-known covers. Continue reading »

Aug 192011
 

Of all the artists with the potential to make a comeback in 2011, few seemed less likely that Jeff Mangum. Yet here he is, on an honest-to-god tour, playing full sets before actual audiences. With Neutral Milk Hotel’s discography so limited though, he’s been fleshing out sets with covers. The latest cover comes from a Toronto performance where he performed Roky Erickson’s “I Love the Living You.” Continue reading »

May 202011
 

This Week on Bandcamp rounds up our favorite covers to hit the site in the past seven days.

An embarrassment of riches this week. In addition to the normal five Bandcamp spotlights, we’ve added five more below that we just didn’t want to let go. Check out the main set, then scroll further to download bonus covers of Roky Erickson, Black-Eyed Peas, The Wizard of Oz, Mountain Goats, and Antony and the Johnsons. Continue reading »