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 »

Dec 182014
 

Follow all our Best of 2014 coverage (along with previous year-end lists) here.

A few months ago, I read an interesting interview with an artist named Nouela. You probably haven’t heard of her, but you may have heard her music. She’s become a specialist in a weird but growing niche: covers recorded for movie and television trailers. Whether doing a piano “Sound of Silence” to promote a new HBO show or a brooding “Black Hole Sun” to promote Liam Neeson punching people, she’s found a quickly-growing way of getting her covers out there.

It struck me as part of a growing trend we’ve seen. More and more great covers seem to come from unexpected places. Sure, you’ve got still your standby sources, your b-sides, tribute albums, and radio shows. But new avenues for covers have increasingly crept in. This year saw a Sam Smith cover that is only available to hear under Grey’s Anatomy dialog (thankfully he’s recorded a few live versions too) and a whole covers album recorded to plug a Canadian TV show. Brands have fully embraced covers too, most recently My Morning Jacket’s “This Land Is Your Land” recorded for North Face ads, or Charli XCX and Bleachers trading covers for Kia.

We don’t care where they originated when we make our year-end lists, though, and we would up with some of everything. In our top five alone, we’ve got a live radio session, a deluxe-edition bonus track, and a cover hiding in plain sight on one of the most acclaimed country records of the year. You have to keep an eye on more places than ever to spot the best covers these days. Wherever they come from, we’re glad to have ’em.

Click on over to page two to begin our countdown, and thanks for reading.

– Ray Padgett, Editor in Chief
(Illustration by Sarah Parkinson)

Mar 072013
 

In Memoriam pays tribute to those who have left this world, and the songs they left us to remember them by.

Here at Cover Me, we have several categories where we salute artists who are still doing good work in the cover song field. What we haven’t had is a category to salute those who no longer walk among the living, but whose songs have built a legacy that keeps their voices as alive as yours and mine. That changes today with the grand opening of our In Memoriam category, where we remember those who have moved on into the great unknown and left an abundance of their gifts behind. Our first subject: Townes Van Zandt, born 69 years ago today. Continue reading »

Nov 232012
 

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.

It feels a little strange putting the Great Lake Swimmers in the “Under the Radar” category. After all, they’ve been recording albums for over a decade – their fifth, New Wild Everywhere, came out earlier this year. They’ve toured the world and elsewhere, with adoring crowds currently flocking to see them throughout Europe. They have nearly 50,000 Facebook fans and hundreds of thousands more around the planet. And yet, they’re still known for being little-known, their ambient-folk sound ever reluctant to cross the mainstream. Continue reading »

Apr 272012
 

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!

When Lyle Lovett first arrived, the country music scene was proud to call the tall Texan one of their own. As his career developed, though, the top-twenty hits dried up, and the establishment took a wary step back. Lovett’s songs may have had a southern feel, but they were also infused with folk, jazz, blues, and big band (make that “large band”), and there was nothing formulaic about his lyrics, which never met a cliche they couldn’t leave sprawling in the dirt. Continue reading »

Aug 172011
 

Richard Buckner’s spare alt-country ballads remind many people of Townes Van Zandt. When NPR posted a “First Listen” to his new album, they mentioned Van Zandt in the second sentence. Buckner’s Wikipedia page waits a little longer…till Sentence #4. It would seem this association is no music-writer fantasy. In his new cover of “Still Looking for You,” Buckner channels Townes so thoroughly you’d swear you were looking at a warts-and-all reincarnation of the man. Continue reading »