Oct 312018
 
cover songs october
AJ Lambert – Lush Life (Frank Sinatra cover)

Frank Sinatra’s granddaughter covers Frank Sinatra. You think you know where this story ends: fawning nepotism. But despite familial loyalty, A.J. Lambert isn’t afraid to twist “Lush Life,” adding a Lynchian undercurrent of menace. More of an overcurrent in the crawling, nose-bleeding video.

Amy Shark – Teenage Dirtbag (Wheatus cover)

Every month, one or two of these selections invariably hail from Spotify’s terrific new cover-sessions series. My only gripe is that they came with no information, the sort a band would write in the YouTube description or press release announcing a new cover, or say on stage before performing one live. That’s now solved with Spotify’s new “Under Cover” podcast, in which the artists performing the covers talk about them. We learn that Amy Shark tried to make “Teenage Dirtbag” a Pixies song, and that she considered the song her anthem when she was young. She says: “The first time I heard ‘Teenage Dirtbag,’ I was in high school. I was crazy obsessed with it to the point where it was in my head every day all day. I would sing it in all day in school. Even teachers would say, ‘Amy, please listen to something else.'” Continue reading »

Oct 302018
 
the lemonheads cover album

The Lemonheads have popped up here a lot recently, despite not doing much. When we posted our Best Covers of 1987 retrospective last year, The Lemonheads’ “Amazing Grace” was on there. The year before that, we decided the also did one of the Best Covers of 1996 (Metallica’s “Fade to Black”). But their biggest list appearance here was the first. The first time we ever did a year-end Best Covers Albums list, in 2009, sitting right at the top was The Lemonheads’ brilliant Varshons.

They haven’t released an album since, but Evan Dando will return in January with Varshons 2. As you can imagine, we’re pretty excited, though he has set himself quite a bar with the first volume.

The track list shows promise, blending obvious peers and influences (The Jayhawks, Paul Westerberg) with some serious left-field choices (Florida Georgia Line??). He announces the album with a cover of the Yo La Tengo song “Can’t Forget.” On paper, this might not be the first song on the tracklist I’d want to hear, but there’s a story here. Back in 1990, Yo La Tengo released their own covers album, Fakebook. Well, an almost-covers album, as the band included a couple originals. One was, you guessed it, “Can’t Forget.” Continue reading »

Nov 102017
 
best covers 1987

Last year I did a roundup of the Best Cover Songs of 1996. It was a fun project to retroactively compile one of our year-end lists for a year before Cover Me was born. I wanted to do it again this year, but continuing the twentieth-anniversary theme with 1997 seemed a little boring. Turns out 1997 also featured a bunch of Afghan Whigs covers.

So to mix it up, I decided to go a decade further back and look at 1987. Needless to say, the landscape looked very different for covers. For one, far more of that year’s biggest hits were covers than we saw for 1996. The year had #1 cover hits in Heart’s “Alone,” the Bangles’ “Hazy Shade of Winter,” Los Lobos’ “La Bamba,” Tiffany’s “I Think We’re Alone Now,” Club Nouveau’s “Lean on Me,” and Kim Wilde’s “You Keep Me Hangin’ On.” Plus ubiquitous hits that didn’t quite top the charts, but remain staples of the songs-you-didn’t-know-were-covers lists, Buster Poindexter’s “Hot Hot Hot” and George Harrison’s “Got My Mind Set On You.” Continue reading »

Feb 022017
 
amanda shires cover

Amanda Shires is best known as a violinist (also for being Jason Isbell’s wife and sometimes bandmate), but on her tender new cover of Leonard Cohen’s “I’m Your Man” she ditches her signature instrument for the ukulele. At least it has the same number of strings!

She proves equally adept at the new instrument, plucking it quietly to accompany her delicate singing. She gets bonus points too for not forcing a switch to “I’m Your Woman,” the sort of dumb lyric change too many singers do when covering a song by someone of the opposite gender. Continue reading »

Sep 302016
 
Fugees

They say nostalgia works in 20-year cycles, and this year the music of 1996 has been in the media a lot. And if you believe the music blogs, it turns out 1996 was a truly groundbreaking year for every possible genre. Over at SPIN: “The 96 Best Alternative Rock Songs Of 1996.” Complex: “Best Rap Songs of 1996.” Junkee: “Ten reasons 1996 was a great year for dance music”. Loudwire: “10 Best Metal Albums of 1996.” Red Bull Music: “1996: Why it was a great year for pop”. Suck it, 1995! (Kidding; similar articles were of course written last year too.)

We’ll be honest: 1996 was not some magical, pioneering year for cover songs. It was also not a terrible year. It was just, you know, another year. There’s no overarching theorem of 1996’s cover songs that wasn’t true in ’95 or ’97. But even so, Cover Me wasn’t around in 1996, so we never made a Best Cover Songs of 1996 list (our first year-end list came in 2009, with the Kings of Convenience’s “It’s My Party” topping it, and you can catch up on all the lists here). So we decided, before the year ends and we take our look at the best covers songs this year, why not take a nostalgic rewind and do 1996 just for fun, twenty years too late. Continue reading »

Jun 142016
 
courtney-barnett-the-strombo-show-2016-source-supplied-photo-by-Vanessa-Heins-671x377

In May 2014, Cover Me wrote about Courtney Barnett, The Up And Coming Quirky Australian Singer-Songwriter, covering The Lemonheads‘ “Being Around.” Two years later, Courtney Barnett, The Critically Acclaimed And Pretty Big But Still Quirky Australian Guitar-Slaying Major Festival-Destroying Singer-Songwriter, covered the Lemonheads again for a stripped down acoustic performance of the alt-rock band’s 1993 song “Paid To Smile” on “The Strombo Show” on Canada’s CBC Radio 2. Continue reading »