Jun 082012
 

Under the Radar shines a light on lesser-known cover artists. If you’re not listening to these folks, you should. Catch up on past installments here.

They’ve been called “the ABBA of bluegrass punk,” and their label’s beautifully written artist page says they’re “doing their best to keep bluegrass from tottering meekly into a dust-covered coffin.” They’re the Meat Purveyors, and while their name may suggest a Victorian butcher shop, one listen to their musicianship and you’ll know that butchering is the last thing on their mind. Continue reading »

Jul 192011
 

As we mentioned yesterday, SPIN magazine celebrates the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s Nevermind this year with a special issue featuring interviews, recollections, and, best of all, a full-album tribute. Dare we say it, it’s even better than the one we did. Continue reading »

Aug 162010
 

They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates artists’ special days with other people singing their songs. After all, why should they have to do the work? It’s their birthday!

Madonna turns 52 today. She’s in great shape for her age. Amazingly great shape. Disturbingly great shape. You don’t want to pick a fight with those biceps. Yeesh.

Man-muscles aside, the woman’s packed her five decades pretty full. The second best-selling female artists in the U.S. (after Barbra Streisand), she’s had 36 top-ten singles and collectively her albums have gone platinum 300 times over. Madonna’s influence spreads far beyond sales figures though. Not since Elvis first shook his hips has an artist’s sexuality caused more hand-wringing about the decline of civilized society. Even today, she’s still pushing buttons with crucifix besmirching and lesbian be-smooching. Your grandpa may not know the lyrics to a single Madonna song, but chances are he has an opinion about her.

To honor the hit machine/provocateur, we’ve collected five of our favorite Madonna covers. The Dynamics stretch out “Music” to an eight minute soul rave while Picturehouse moans his way through an acoustic “Papa Don’t Preach.” Meanwhile, the Chapin Sisters bring their three-part harmonies to “Borderline,” the Enemy gives us a cabaret piano “Hung Up,” and the Meat Purveyors bounce through a bluegrass medley, mandolin solo and all. Great stuff for a great artist. Happy birthday, Madge! Continue reading »