Aug 072015
 
ramonesweek

Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!

ramones-end-of-the-century

It wasn’t supposed to happen like this. Phil Spector was supposed to be the gateway to getting the Ramones the airwaves they wanted so badly. Why, with his Wall of Sound production technique and their love of ’60s AM pop covers, theirs was going to be a meeting of the minds that would bear the most amazing fruit. He’d make his great comeback, and they’d make their great breakthrough. So it was written, and so it should have been.

But his perfectionist technique clashed with their one-and-done standards, and his bringing guns to the studio didn’t assure anybody. The sound pulled the Ramones further away from their punk roots, and their songs were weaker (Dee Dee: “Some of the worst crap I ever wrote went on that album”). They’d been reduced to writing sequels to songs on their debut, a sure sign the well had started running dry. When End of the Century was released in February 1980, punk fans the world over learned the sad truth; the Ramones that had left home on a rocket to Russia had come back to earth and landed on a road to ruin. They would spend the rest of their existence as an uneasy combination of working musicians and rock icons, with their days of breaking new ground forever behind them.
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Jan 112012
 

Nine times out of ten, when we hear a new Ronettes cover, it’s “Be My Baby.” We get so many, in fact, that we devoted our first-ever Five Good Covers post to the song. So today we’re happy to premiere a cover of a different Ronettes song. It comes from Maya Laner, singer for Berkley quartet Local Hero, who takes on “Why Don’t They Let Us Fall in Love?” Continue reading »

May 312011
 

Download This scours the web’s dark corners for cool cover freebies. View past installments.

Originally a solo project of frontman Chris Chu, The Morning Benders quickly evolved into a full-fledged quartet. They relocated from Berkeley to Brooklyn a couple of years ago and, with the assistance of Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor, recorded their critically acclaimed second album, Big Echo. Even the notoriously fickle folks over at Pitchfork loved the bright, atmospheric pop of the album, adding it to their “Best New Music” list.

Never ones to hide their influences, the band recorded a collection of covers shortly before their departure from the West Coast and posted it as a free download on their blog. The Bedroom Covers features, suitably, a collection of lo-fi, low-key acoustic versions of a cross-section of pop tunes. The song selection won’t surprise you, but there’s something refreshing about seeing a young band that has an appreciation for musical history. Continue reading »

May 052011
 

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the release of the Phil Spector collection Back to Mono (1958–1969), the landmark set that compiles all of the early productions by the one-in-a-million wunderkind. Phil Spector’s abhorrent personal life and criminal history notwithstanding, the man’s influence on American music is indisputable.

So much in music circles back to this now-infamous sociopath. Music seems to channel Spector now more than ever: She and Him spearhead a resurgence of doo-wop sounds; Best Coast rebuild the Wall of Sound in fuzzier, shoegaze form; and, while it is no longer 1999, there are still millions of teenage generations to come that will have to see Top Gun and download the song all over again. So let’s celebrate the music that defined a generation and changed the landscape of popular American music forever. Here are five of the most well-known and oft-cited covers of classic Phil Spector productions. Old and new, these tracks have contributed to the ongoing resurrection of the Wall of Sound. Continue reading »

Apr 012011
 

This Week on Bandcamp rounds up our favorite covers to hit the site in the past seven days.

This week’s Bandcamp spotlight takes a somewhat unusual focus: covers of imaginary artists. Three of the featured songs come from unusual origins, to say the least. One is a song by a cartoon band, one is a song performed by a creepy character in a whacko movie, and one is the text of an online comic strip put to music. Yeah, some strange stuff. Bookending this bizarre trifecta, the other two featured covers spotlight two new free tribute EPs.

For the first time, though, we’re actually bringing you ten Bandcamp covers. Focusing our main selection on the oddball left a lot of terrific, more traditional covers by the wayside. In a week with an unusually large number of quality releases, we just didn’t have the heart to leave them behind, so find bonus covers of Huey Lewis and the News, the Fauves, Bing Crosby, Johnny Cash, and the Ronettes below the main set. Continue reading »

Mar 082011
 

Bands performing cross-genre cover experiments often risk sounding too kitschy or cute, catching your attention at first, but quickly wearing out their welcome. The more obscure the new genre, the greater the risk (anyone remember The Mike Flowers Pops?) So when a genre experiment album comes across the Cover Me desk, it’s approached with some trepidation.

Brooklyn-based band The Debutante Hour mix vaudeville and cabaret music with a healthy dose of barbershop harmonies. For their latest release, Follow Me, they recruited Franz Nicolay, former keyboardist in The Hold Steady, to produce a set of six covers, all from different musical styles and eras. With each track, the band could easily fall flat, faced with the challenge of bending and twisting a strange blend of selections to meet their needs. Continue reading »