Jan 192017
 

Download This scours the web’s dark corners for cool cover freebies. View past installments.

SummerofSheryl

Yesterday, a tweet from Rolling Stone writer Rob Sheffield caught our eye. It was a photo of Sheryl Crow holding up a nightmare-clown drawing of her own face. When we Googled to find out more, we stumbled upon an insane tribute album we’d missed, apparently meant to accompany the zine she’s holding up. The zine was forgotten as we burrowed deeper into the weird, weird world of the free Bandcamp tribute album Summer of Sheryl.

Crow’s hits are all high-gloss productions, and these 17 covers are anything but. Basic keyboard beats and cheap guitar sounds abound, with many tracks sounding like they were taped into a $10 cassette recorder. Summer of Sheryl also violates the cardinal rule of tribute albums – only one version of each song – by doubling up on hits “Every Day Is A Winding Road,” “Soak Up the Sun,” and “If It Makes You Happy.” There’s three separate covers of “Strong Enough,” plus a cover of the song Crow apparently wrote for a Katie Couric talk show. Continue reading »

Jan 192015
 

When FIDLAR covers a song, you know you are in for a ride. The skate rockers often cover songs in an abrasive, in-your-face manner, but still manage to expose a certain sincerity that often gets lost in overt punk attitudes. Their rendition of Sheryl Crow’s “If It Makes You Happy,” is no exception. Continue reading »

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 »

Apr 192013
 

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

Fans of Gram Parsons are generally divided into three camps over 1999’s Return of the Grievous Angel: A Tribute to Gram Parsons. The first thinks it’s brilliant, a reverent homage to a great songwriter and a testament to the weight of his country rock influence. The second likes the raw sound of another tribute album better: 1993’s Conmemorativo: A Tribute to Gram Parsons, featuring the likes of Bob Mould and The Mekons. And the third camp feels that the only person that can sing Gram Parsons songs is Parsons himself.

If we took the philosophy of the last opinion to heart, this site wouldn’t even exist. While the so-called purists would deny any version other than the one by the original artist as being legitimate, it certainly would be a dull world if all musicians were content to color within the lines without recognizing that someone else before them drew those lines. While Conmemorativo does contain some gems, there are two reasons why Return of the Grievous Angel is better: great production values, and the guiding hand of Emmylou Harris, who worked so closely with Parsons and who served as executive producer of the compilation. So count us among the members of that first camp. Now let’s meet the man who inspired the album. Continue reading »