Nov 152013
 

When Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs recorded their first Under the Covers collaboration, they were surprised that it was released with the subtitle “Vol. 1.” Whatever genius at the Shout! Factory label chose to do that deserves a raise and a promotion, as it led Sweet and Hoffs to record two more volumes. Where Volume 1 consisted of songs based in the ’60s, and Volume 2 was made up of ’70s songs, Volume 3, released this week, is all about the ’80s, the decade when Hoffs came of age as a musician and Sweet wasn’t far behind.
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May 282013
 

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

Jane Wiedlin co-wrote “Our Lips Are Sealed” and brought it to her band, the Go-Go’s; their version was sunny and buoyant, a nascent form of girl power that served as their first single and heralded their classic debut album, Beauty and the Beat. Terry Hall co-wrote “Our Lips Are Sealed” and brought it to his band, the Fun Boy Three; their version was moody and dark, a top-ten dose of paranoia that served as their next to last single and heralded the end of their too-short career.
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Sep 212011
 

Every Wednesday, our resident Gleek Eric Garneau gives his take on last night’s Glee covers.

In “The Purple Piano Project,” Coach Schuester rallies the troops after last spring’s devastating Nationals loss in New York City. New Directions needs to recruit, and it needs its mojo back. But the antagonistic Sue Sylvester — now running for a seat in Congress – has once again made up her mind to squash the glee club’s dreams. Also, alliteration abounds.

Hi everybody! Welcome back from summer break to my weekly Glee write-ups. I enjoyed writing this feature last year, and it seems like enough of you enjoyed reading it to warrant my continuation, so on we go into season three!

The show made a few subtle (not often a word we associate with Glee) changes coming into this latest season to address criticisms from the last – most notably, that the show had grown aimless. To guard against that happening again, the creative trio behind Glee did something new over the summer – they outsourced their writing. Now Brad Falchuk, Ryan Murphy and Ian Brennan have a co-executive producer, two consulting producers and two staff writers to help them craft stories (most interesting to me is Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, a veteran of Spider-Man comic books and, yes, the recent musical). Continue reading »

Aug 022011
 

Last month, we mentioned a new tribute compilation of Los Angeles bands today covering their L.A. influences. Titled Beat LA, the punk-leaning album features city upstarts like No Age and Crystal Antlers digging deep into L.A.’s musical history to cover bands both obvious (The Doors, Minutemen) and less so (Thelonious Monster, 20/20). It’s out today and you can stream the whole thing below. Continue reading »

Jan 182010
 

Music is about making noise kind of by definition, so the number of songs extolling the virtues of silence is surprising. In truth, the only sonically accurate piece about silence is John Cage’s 4’33”…but it’s hard to find covers of that one that differ much from than the original, for obvious reasons. If you’re unfamiliar with the piece, go get educated, then come back and listen to some slightly louder songs.


Action Camp – Enjoy the Silence (Depeche Mode)
Telling someone to enjoy the silence kind of undercuts the message. “Hey you! Are you enjoying the peace and quiet? Well, are you??” [Free EP Download]

Christopher O’Riley – I Better Be Quiet Now (Elliott Smith)
O’Riley takes Smith’s advice, shutting his trap for a soothing piano instrumental. [Buy]

The Tremeloes – Silence Is Golden (The Four Seasons)
Frankie Valli and the gang originally put this out as a b-side to “Rag Doll.” They should have given it its own release; in 1967 the Tremeloes took it to number one in the U.K. [Buy]

Stanford Harmonics – The Sound of Silence (Simon and Garfunkel)
A cappella Simon and Garfunkel? Yawn. Well give it a chance, because this very strange interpretation incorporates all sorts of unexpected genres like ambient and chillout electronica. [Buy]

Everclear – Our Lips Are Sealed (The Go-Gos)
The Vegas Years is an unusually good title for a covers album. Everclear’s top-40 alt-rock sound works pretty well with this one, a guilty-pleasure hit itself in its time. [Buy]

Sonic Youth – Loudmouth (The Ramones)
Kim Gordon’s favorite band is the Ramones, so on their 1991 live album Hold That Tiger they closed with four covers, none of which are quiet. [Buy]

Benjamin Costello – No Surprises (Radiohead)
Because suicide is one way to get some peace. [Buy]

No Age – It’s Oh So Quiet (Björk)
This seems to be No Age’s answer. Too quiet? Well we’ll fix that! [Buy]

Jet Pack – Don’t Speak (No Doubt)
Jet Pack may not speak, but on this killer surf-rock instrumental they don’t exactly shut up either. [Buy]

Deerhoof – A Kind of Hush (Herman’s Hermits)
There’s probably a reason more covers don’t just randomly omit words, but it certainly is unique. [Buy]