Aug 082014
 

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

Interpreting song lyrics can be a dicey endeavor. Many songwriters seem to aspire to something poetic, obscure or obtuse. While it may not be hard to deduce the meaning of lyrics like, say, “I wanna rock and roll all nite, and party every day,” so many songs defy easy understanding, either because the lyrics are vague, or hard to hear, or even utter gibberish. R.E.M.’s early songs were filled with random words that made little obvious sense, and yet along with the music, they somehow created a mood. In 2008, Michael Stipe participated in a Q&A with fans, and he said about his early songs:

those songs were mostly written to be sung live. The pa systems were so crap that no one could ever really hear the singer anyway, including the singer. We just never intended to make records, and then suddenly we were making records and the songs were in my head like that, so we just blurred the vocal and turned it way down. The songs that do have words don’t really make any or much sense, it was about creating a feeling and emotion in the room in the moment. As it turns out the records turned out pretty great too, just inscrutable. I had to learn pretty fast how to write a good or great lyric after that. Please don’t analyze them, there’s nothing but feeling there. Sing along and make it up, that’s what I still do.
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Jun 052012
 

This past week, super trio Sufjan Stevens, The National’s Bryce Dessner, and Nico Muhly performed some of their planetary themed songs for the Sydney Vivid Festival. Toward the end of the night, Sufjan Stevens played a solo cover of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Apropos of the galaxy-like theme, Sufjan told the audience that he always thought the song was about outer space, although he now thinks it’s about Australia. Continue reading »

Feb 142012
 

Happy Valentine’s Day! To get you in the romantic spirit, Cat Martino has put together some love-ly covers for the occasion and we’re pleased to premiere one here. The New York songwriter – and band member for Sufjan Stevens and Sharon Van Etten – delivers a lo-fi version of Madonna‘s “Into the Groove” that will get you in that seductive mood. Here’s info about the cover and project: Continue reading »

Jan 062012
 

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

It’s been a few weeks since we’ve checked in with the covers popping up on Bandcamp, but from the looks of it, the good material didn’t stop over the holiday break. So in lieu of the bedroom acoustic songs we often hear, we cherry-picked out some more thoughtful, complex productions from the surplus. Download ’em all below. Continue reading »

Dec 092011
 

When we think back to this year, we might remember 2011 as the year that the whole concept of the “cover album” became more fluid, and not always for the better. Thanks to the increased prominence of sites like Bandcamp and Soundcloud, a cover album could be conceived, recorded, and shared in the space of a weekend. This didn’t necessarily lead to better cover albums, but it certainly led to more of them. They came in all formats – digital, CD, vinyl, and even cassette-only – and from all directions – labels, blogs, and even some magazines.

Which, we like to think, makes this list that much more helpful. In a year where the biggest single-artist cover album we got came from William Shatner, it proved a particular challenge to dig through the many obscure artists and assorted tributes and extract the gems. Gems there certainly were though, be they from newcomers making an impression with their favorite songs or old-timers honoring groups that influenced them decades ago. It may have taken a bit more work to find them, but the end result is as strong a selection as we’ve seen.

Continue to page 2 to read the list…