In 2010 the A.V. Club introduced a new music video series called A.V. Undercover. The idea is simple: A.V. Club readers vote on songs to be covered, a list of 25 songs is selected, and then each song is covered live in a round room located in the A.V. Club offices. As one song is played, it is crossed off the list, so the first band has a pick of 25 songs, and the second band has a pick of 24, and so on. The exciting part of following this series is that readers know which songs are going to be played, but the band performing isn’t revealed until a video has been produced. That said, sometimes there are bonus tracks, as is the case with the first Undercover of 2012, which features Sharon Van Etten and Shearwater playing “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.”
Mirabelle, a duo consisting of singer Michelle Hotaling and producer Scott Slater, released two original albums of music, Chained by Dreams and Sweet Clarity, under Michelle’s name, but recently decided to return to their earliest childhood musical inspirations. To do so, they set forth on a project covering Stevie Nicks and Fleetwood Mac.
Had he lived, tomorrow would have been Buddy Holly’s 75th birthday, and today marks the release date of the second full-length Buddy Holly tribute of the past ten weeks. Due to the proximity of the release dates, the two collections are destined to be linked together and compared. On the surface, similarities abound: both Rave On Buddy Holly (review here) and Listen To Me: Buddy Holly feature big name stars and a bevy of classic rockers. Rave On boasts Paul McCartney, Nick Lowe, Patti Smith and Lou Reed while Listen To Me offers Stevie Nicks, Brian Wilson, Jackson Browne and Ringo Starr. The differences lie in the roster of contemporary contributors. Where Rave On is stocked with indie cred, Listen To Me relies on a list of chart-topping pop stars.
Less innovative than its slightly older cousin, Listen To Me: Buddy Holly has a few oddities that tend to tarnish an otherwise pretty solid compilation. First on the list of disappointments is Linda Ronstadt’s 1976 Hasten Down The Wind version of “That’ll Be The Day.” Really? Does a 35 year-old song get a pass on an otherwise “new” collection simply because the legendary Peter Asher produced both projects? Did they think we wouldn’t notice?
Ohio indie rockers Lovedrug have recently released a slew of cover songs to preface their new album Best of I AM LOVEDRUG. The album will feature a wide range of covers of the likes of Third Eye Blind, Fleetwood Mac, Def Leppard and then some. Check out a few preview tracks.
A band has to be either quite confident in their credibility or have an uncanny ability to laugh at themselves to take on a song by Darren Hayes, Savage Garden frontman. When it comes to a Savage Garden cover there’s only one direction a band can take it: up, and that is where Lovedrug goes with it. They take it up into the clouds and far beyond what one might consider the realm of possibility when it came to this song. Lovedrug unmasked the potential in “Insatiable” and managed to distort it into a techno-indie song with ironic panache.
Roots-rocking sextet Futurebirds just finished a tour with Drive-By Truckers in January and will embark on a second in June. The two bands have more in common than a tour bus though; both hail from Athens, Georgia and feature a large, guitar-driven sound that owes more than a little to Lynyrd Skynyrd. Futurebirds, though, blend more ear-pleasing pop into the rumbling guitars than their Georgian brethren. Thus it seems appropriate that, while the Truckers covered rhythm-and-blues pioneer Eddie Hinton twice on their new album, Futurebirds cover pop stars Chris Isaak and Stevie Nicks on theirs.
Song of the Day posts one cool cover every morning. Catch up on past installments here.
Add “Gypsy” to the list of anti-fame songs that don’t inspire a lot of sympathy. Stevie Nicks wrote the song when Fleetwood Mac was at their commercial peak, waxing nostalgic for a time when her and Lindsay Buckingham slept a mattress on the floor. While the sentiment is no doubt sincere, the people still sleeping on a mattress on the floor may have a tough time understanding this nostalgia.
Van Risseghem has been making waves in the Tulsa music scene for a few years now. His “daydreamy pop melodicism” (Music Zeitgeist) has earned him critical acclaim and choice placement; his song “The Motion” plays whenever you board a Delta flight (hey, it’s better than this). So while he hasn’t exactly hit Rumours-level fame yet, perhaps he can relate to the sentiment of “Gypsy.” At least when he gets on a plane.