As the crumbled fliers and crushed PBR cans across the Lower East Side and Williamsburg will attest, another CMJ has come and gone. In a year that didn’t seem to quite have the star power leading into it, hundreds of under-the-radar bands had a reasonably level playing field on which to try to impress to industry and tastemaker types who swarm the city’s diviest clubs. Here are five standout acts we caught, complete with a great cover each has done in the past.
While reviews of recent seasons of Weeds have been somewhat mixed, one thing is for certain: it is an unarguably wonderful thing that the show has reopened the revolving door of artists covering its theme song, Malvina Reynolds’s “Little Boxes.”
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!
The second of this week’s birthday twofer follows yesterday’s Leonard Cohen feature. There, we heard Nick Cave cover “Avalanche” with the Bad Seeds. Today, Mr. Cave takes a load off while others pay tribute to him. It’s his 54th birthday and, judging by the vital fury of his last few albums, we suspect he’s just getting started.
This past week the A.V. Club wrapped up their beloved “Undercover” series with the Fruit Bats’ rendition of Loretta Lynn’s “The Other Woman.” This cover was just one of a myriad of brilliant renditions put forth by various indie rock gods and goddesses over the time span of three months. And seeing as this was a veritable who’s who in indie rock these days, few bands disappointed. The worst it got was average (ie that Smith Westerns take on “American Girl”), but most bands scored at least a 7 out of 10. Given the talent, it would be near impossible to only pick just a couple favorites so we here at Cover Me are choosing ten performances instead. The ten most original, most jaw-dropping, and most “Play it again man!”-inducing covers that were featured this past summer.
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!
Claremont, CA’s The Mountain Goats began as the alter-ego of singer-songwriter John Darnielle, who’d record raw versions of songs on cassettes to distribute to friends in the early 1990s. Since then, Darnielle’s project has added a few members and become a major force in the indie world. Albums like The Sunset Tree, Get Lonely and most recently All Eternals Deck have received serious critical praise and become favorites among the college radio crowd. One might guess that’s primarily because of the compelling figure cut by Darnielle; his mix of brutal honesty and quirky humor speaks to listeners much in the way an artist like Ben Folds does, although instead of a massive piano between Darnielle and his audience, there’s usually just an acoustic guitar.