Dec 072017
craig finn mountain goats

On the new music podcast I Only Listen to the Mountain Goats, frontman John Darnielle and host Joseph Fink (Welcome to Nightvale) are discussing every song on the Mountain Goats cult classic 2002 album All Hail West Texas. Each episode concludes with a new cover of the song in question, one of which – Loamlands’ “Fall of the High School Running Back” – we already named one of the best covers of the year this week.

The new episode features The Hold Steady’s Craig Finn tackling the album’s fifth track, “Fault Lines.” Like every song on the album, the original is a solo acoustic recording, offering a blank canvas for Finn to work on. He says his lush, orchestrated cover was inspired equally by both The Walkmen and Van Morrison. It’s a far cry from the original, although – crucially with any Mountain Goats song – the lyrics stay at the forefront. Continue reading »

Feb 212017

After two albums of balls-to-the-wall rock, Japandroids got a little artier on their recent third album Near to the Wild Heart of Life. Artier by their standards, that is – there’s the occasional synthesizer and one song that tops five minutes, mixed in with a whole bunch more balls-to-the-wall rock. Baby steps.

Perhaps as a sign of their new influences outside the punk/classic rock spheres, Japandroids’ new single contains a B-side cover of Talking Heads’ debut single “Love Goes To Building On Fire.” Their version sounds epic and distorted, a steady build that finally bursts into an massive guitar climax. They haven’t performed it live yet, but they should; it would fit right in with their massive, holler-along shows.

The band is currently on tour with The Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn opening. They’ve been ending each set with a different cover, a joint version of “(I’m) Stranded” by Australian rock band The Saints. Though today perhaps not as well known stateside as the Ramones or Sex Pistols, they remain incredibly influential; Bruce Springsteen covered another song of theirs on his last album. Continue reading »

Oct 122012

In August singer-songwriter Kelly Hogan and her band were featured in the AV Club’s Undercover series, which we’ve covered extensively here at Cover Me, but breaking away from the normal setting, Hogan moved the taping of their cover of The Hold Steady’s “Constructive Summer” out into the summery outdoors. Instead of the familiar graffiti-covered round room, for this video they set up on the front porch of Chicago’s The Hideout, where Hogan used to tend bar. Keeping it simple with only acoustic guitars and a single snare drum, the band’s cover of the youthful, summer anthem turned out impressively accurate. Continue reading »

Aug 302011

Given their relative proximity to the A.V. Club’s Chicago offices, the Hold Steady always seemed like a perfect choice for A.V. Undercover. Believe it or not, though, they were only the fallback choice for this song. Marnie Stern originally covered Huey Lewis and the News’ “The Power of Love,” but technical difficulties apparently ruined the recording. So in steps the Hold Steady to save the day with another cover. Continue reading »

Nov 052010

We’ve been anxiously anticipating this one ever since we heard about it a few weeks ago. Scottish sad sacks Frightened Rabbit and Brooklyn-via-Minnesota’s much peppier Craig Finn (of the Hold Steady) come together to duet on Elton John and Kiki Dee’s “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart.” Q premiered the cut this morning and it was worth the wait. Frightened Rabbit singer Scott Hutchison’s thick brogue balances Finn’s Midwest twang so well you forget that this is two dudes.

After hearing this, we think these two should release an all-duets covers album (preferably under the name “Frightened Finn”). They could tackle Tom Petty and Stevie Nix’s “Stop Draggin’ My Heart Around.” Maybe Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe.” What else would would you like to see on this hypothetical tracklist? Continue reading »

Jun 072010

The news last year that dapper Mario-lookalike keyboardist Franz Nicolay was leaving the Hold Steady hit fans hard. How would music survive without the ever-chipper gent with the best mustache in rock?

Good news: It doesn’t have to. Franz is back with gypsy-punk band Guignol, a New York quartet that also features Peter Hess of Eastern Bloc rockers Balkan Beat Box. For their latest album they team up with Mischief Brew (Erik Peterson to his mom) for 13 originals, a Django Reinhardt song, and a shit-kicking Iron Maiden cover that we’re pleased to premiere here. Listen and download below.
Continue reading »