A ton of great covers come out of Australian radio station Triple J’s “Like A Version” series, and we have written about a lot of them (one other just this week!). We’ve come to expect quality, and rapper Denzel Curry did not let us down with his cover of Rage Against the Machine’s “Bulls on Parade.”
The usual disclaimer: Our monthly “Best Cover Songs” aren’t ranked, and the “Honorable Mentions” aren’t necessarily worse than the others.
Update: Hear me discuss this list, along with our Best Pink Floyd Covers ranking, on SiriusXM Volume:
Angus and Julia Stone – Passionfruit (Drake cover)
Three prominent indie artists covered Drake’s “Passionfruit” this month: Franz Ferdinand, Cornelius, and, the best of the bunch, Angus and Julia Stone. Covering a rap song is easier, I suppose, when there’s no actual rapping. Few political or racial minefields in the lyrics for artists to navigate help too (for a counterexample: this month’s worst cover). For Triple J’s great series “Like a Version,” Angus and Julia Stone brought their beautiful harmonies to a smooth soul bed. It floats like Gram and Emmylou singing a Marvin Gaye song.
Departing markedly from the post-punk stylings of The Strokes, Julia Jacklin’s new cover of “Someday” is nostalgic and wistful. Much of the low key feel is due to the super slow tempo, allowing Jacklin the time to dwell on every word. Her syrupy sweet voice delivers a soda shop worthy 50’s jukebox classic and the guitar is bright and gently strummed, a far cry from the frantic fuzzy haze of the original. The drummer’s choice to hang mostly on cymbals rather than drive the beat with the snare encourages the listener to sit back and groove.
Don’t hate me. I’m not a Radiohead purist. I wouldn’t even say I’m a fan. I appreciate a lot of their songs, but mostly they make me feel antsy. I think it’s because they are constantly pushing the boundaries of comfort in a song. There’s always an edgy, frantic feeling to their instrumentation and vocals, even in the slower songs. Case in point, “Weird Fishes/Arpeggi.”
Phantogram recently recorded their take of “Weird Fishes” on Australian radio station Triple J’s Like a Version. Sarah Barthel’s smooth vocals, the drums hanging just a bit behind the beat, and the distinctive arpeggi in the guitar result in a hypnotic, dreamy version of the song that transports me to a dark coffee house, open late.
Toronto quartet BADBADNOTGOOD have been making waves in the jazz scene for quite some time now, but six years into their music career, they still like to blow their listeners away with new material and slick covers.
For their latest session on Triple J’s Like a Version, the band tackles The Beach Boys 1966 classic – first giving it a beautiful prelude led by Leland Whitty on soprano sax, before the all-too-familiar “God Only Knows” bass line kicks in, with the rest of the band expertly weaving their way through the tune, giving a fantastic performance that leaves you craving for more.
Jack Garratt is one of the newest British R&B singers on the scene, releasing his debut album, Phase, earlier this year. The inevitable comparisons he gets to James Blake make sense, but in a new live cover for Australian radio station Triple J, Garratt shows some serious fire that contrasts with Blake’s icier style.