Aug 312020
 
best cover songs august 2020
Alex Kapranos & Clara Luciani – Summer Wine (Lee Hazlewood & Nancy Sinatra cover)

Clara Luciani is Nancy Sinatra and Franz Ferdinand frontman Alex Kapranos is Lee Hazlewood on this charming cover. Kapranos wrote, “When the lockdown started, we decided to record [‘Summer Wine’] — more for ourselves than anything else. We wanted to create the atmosphere of an imaginary world away from the confinement we were experiencing. Not that we were unhappy, but the imagination is the greatest medium for escape and adventure… After the lockdown eased off, we got together to film the video with our friends Adrien, Leo, Fiona and Hugo. I love the ideas they had, which suit the mood of the song and reflect our… well, our love of karaoke!” Continue reading »

Jul 162020
 

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

Box of Birds

Is the Church’s A Box of Birds the stock contractual filler for a band bereft of ideas, or a vivid introduction to those influences that begat the inspiration to form in the first place? In truth, it’s a bit of both. At a first listen it even begs whether it deserves status as a Covers Classic. Bear with me, it does, if only saved by the bell of the closing track.

A Box of Birds is a curious mix of songs, from hit singles familiar to all to deeper cuts known but to the few. Gone, by and large, is the space and counterplay that had made the Church’s name, with very little demonstration of how dual guitars can sparkle off each other. Sure, it sounds fun, with an image of the band playing these songs on the hoof, in a garage, that picture added to by the slightly muddy mix and the contrived run of one track into the next. If they hadn’t fully decided what to play until they began, well, that too seems not unlikely. But it all becomes a little wearing, particularly in the build-up to the finale. If ever an album cries out for a grand finish, this is it. And, praise be, the Church deliver.

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Feb 232017
 

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

Matts Author Photo of Me

Patrick Robbins lives in Maine. He’s been writing for Cover Me since 2011. Of all his Cover Me essays, he especially likes his John Denver tribute review and his curation of Ramones Week.

It’s been great writing and editing for Cover Me, not just because I like cover songs so much, but because it’s led me to discover so many great ones I never would have heard otherwise. My thanks to Ray for taking me on, and to all of you for reading what I have to say about my finds. Here are ten of them that I’ve made over the years, which all struck significant chords in my life for various reasons…
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Apr 042014
 

In the Spotlight showcases a cross-section of an artist’s cover work. View past installments, then post suggestions for future picks in the comments!

Rock history is full of bands who created something truly special, with inherent value, that for whatever reason never got their due in the music marketplace. The dB’s (that stands for decibels, don’t you know) could be a case study in how to make great music and influence other musicians, but miss out on commercial success. Passed over by labels hunting for the next Knack, the band, led by guitarists Chris Stamey and Peter Holsapple, signed with British label Albion Records at the very beginning of the ’80s, which meant that both their stellar debut and its follow up weren’t officially released in America for years.  The band only signed with an American label, Bearsville, after founder Stamey left to forge a solo career. When they submitted a video  to MTV for their suicide-themed song “Amplifier,” they were rejected.
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Dec 132013
 

They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s special day with other people singing his or her songs. Let others do the work for a while. Happy birthday!

Today, Tom Verlaine celebrates the day his parents named him Tom Miller. But we, the music nerdery, celebrate it as the birth of the man who (legend has it) opened CBGB’s doors to what would become punk when he talked Hilly Kristal into letting his band Television play. Though not quite a household name, Television is indisputably seminal. More punk in attitude than sound, Television began life as the Neon Boys, with Verlaine and Richard Hell as the leading lights. In time, the Neon Boys transformed into Television, adding Richard Lloyd to the mix on rhythm guitar. With tangoing guitars, they took downtown NYC by storm. Television recorded disappointing (to Verlaine) but intriguing demos with Brian Eno, Hell left the group, and then, finally, they produced the album that would solidify their legend, Marquee Moon. The band broke up soon after their follow up, Adventure, and Verlaine launched his solo career.

Television has reunited intermittently over the years, releasing an album of new material in 1992 and irregularly touring during the aughts – most recently, anointing the new Rough Trade store in Brooklyn with a performance (sans Lloyd, who quit years ago). For three decades, covering Television songs has been a right of passage for a certain stock of rockers, which should shock no one considering the awe in which many guitarists hold Verlaine and Lloyd’s fretwork. Here are five covers for the man who fell into the arms of Venus de Milo.
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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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