Jan 132016
 

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, about a man we’ve written of before and surely will again, but perhaps not with as much emotion as we do this week: What’s your David Bowie memory?
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Sep 042015
 

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

fireflies

These days the Magnetic Fields, Stephin Merritt’s means of distribution for some of the cleverest old-school songwriting around, is arguably best known for the 69 Love Songs box set (if you don’t yet have it, there are half a dozen songs on it you’ll fall in love with), but they’ve come up with winners right from the start. “100,000 Fireflies” was their first single on their first album, Distant Plastic Trees, back when Merritt was letting Susan Anway handle all the vocals and he handled all the instruments. Anway sings of shrieking and suicide, over a simple backing just this side of rinky-dink, but what comes across is a devastating lilt of loneliness, made all the more painful by its catchiness.
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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)

Jun 262014
 

1994. A brilliant year for music. In my native UK, we heard the first rumblings of Britpop with the release of Oasis’s ‘Live Forever’, ‘Parklife’ by Blur and Primal Scream’s ‘Rocks’. Stateside, Green Day released their classic ‘Dookie’, Johnny Cash had his his renaissance with his first Rick-Rubin produced album, and Outkast unleashed their debut. Continue reading »

May 112011
 

After Superchunk frontman Mac McCaughan performed covers of Bruce Springsteen’s “Bobby Jean” and Jay Reatard’s “My Shadow” and the full band recorded a John Cale Christmas song, it’s finally time for Superchunk themselves to get the covers treatment. Seattle’s indie wunderkind Telekinesis (aka Michael Benjamin Lerner) just released a cover of Superchunk favorite “Nu Bruises.” Continue reading »