Dec 212012
 

Adele dominated the cover song landscape in 2011, but Two-Aught-Twelve saw no similar galvanizing figure. Yes Lana Del Rey got covered a lot, but Leonard Cohen and Arcade Fire also seemed to garner an unexpected landslide of great covers (and speaking of landslides, so did Fleetwood Mac). “Call Me Maybe” was a huge hit that didn’t lead to much in the way of classic covers, and few seem to have even bothered attempting the Korean raps on “Gangnam Style.”

Which means that cover songs in 2012 were more diverse, ambitious, and left-field than ever before. A given YouTube search or Hype Machine browse would be as likely to turn up forgotten hits or underappreciated songwriters as it would the latest Top 40 smash. Find a sampling of all the diversity in Cover Me’s official Best Cover Songs of 2012 countdown. Start with #40-31 on the next page, and check back daily as we’ll be adding more til we hit #1.

Dec 092011
 

When we think back to this year, we might remember 2011 as the year that the whole concept of the “cover album” became more fluid, and not always for the better. Thanks to the increased prominence of sites like Bandcamp and Soundcloud, a cover album could be conceived, recorded, and shared in the space of a weekend. This didn’t necessarily lead to better cover albums, but it certainly led to more of them. They came in all formats – digital, CD, vinyl, and even cassette-only – and from all directions – labels, blogs, and even some magazines.

Which, we like to think, makes this list that much more helpful. In a year where the biggest single-artist cover album we got came from William Shatner, it proved a particular challenge to dig through the many obscure artists and assorted tributes and extract the gems. Gems there certainly were though, be they from newcomers making an impression with their favorite songs or old-timers honoring groups that influenced them decades ago. It may have taken a bit more work to find them, but the end result is as strong a selection as we’ve seen.

Continue to page 2 to read the list…

Jul 282011
 

Dream-pop duo Beach House’s “Zebra” has been something of a favorite on the music blogosphere since its release last year. It has inspired a number of covers, most recently by Brooklyn-based indie rock group Wakey!Wakey!. Despite the band’s lively name, Cover Me favorites Wakey!Wakey! deliver a sleepier version of the song that really allows for Michael Grubbs’ vocals to shine. Continue reading »

Mar 292011
 

Oftentimes, the difference between a good cover and a great cover can be boiled down to a simple question: does the artist make the song their own? This writer figured out the difference at a young age thanks to Joe Cocker’s cover of “With a Little Help From My Friends” at the beginning of The Wonder Years every week. Good covers are simply covers; great covers are reimaginings.

This distinction is captured beautifully in Seven Swans Reimagined, and the title is a perfectly accurate one. This various-artists project from On Joyful Wings is not merely a tribute to the Sufjan Stevens album, but a complete redirection of all the beauty that Stevens imbued it with in the first place. The artists include a few Cover Me favorites like Wakey!Wakey! and Bonnie “Prince” Billy and some of Stevens’ labelmates from Asthmatic Kitty (Shannon Stephens, Half-Handed Cloud). Continue reading »

Jan 192011
 

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

Some of you might have some familiarity with Wakey!Wakey! by now. If the band’s debut studio full-length Almost Everything I Wish I’d Said The Last Time I Saw You, released last February on Family Records, failed to catch your ear, perhaps frontman Mike Grubbs’ recurring spot as the piano-playing bartender on TV’s One Tree Hill did. And if neither of these ring a bell, maybe you’ve stumbled upon the band on their relentless touring efforts (Currently, they’re doing shows in England both as headliners and in support of James Blunt).

But whenever you have – or will – come across the building wave that is Wakey!Wakey!, you shouldn’t miss the collection of covers that a solo Grubbs released back in 2008 as part of Wakey!Wakey! Wednesdays. Featuring songs by The Decemberists, Weezer, Alicia Keys, and more, the ten tracks were released one at a time on consecutive Wednesdays (the original G.O.O.D. Fridays?), and are all available for free download or stream over at The Family Records’ site. Continue reading »

Jun 032008
 

Put on your scarves and Buddy Holly glasses, cause today we’re bringing you the band that was emo before the term existed, and once the term did exist, still kicked ass. For everyone who grew up on the first of their three self-titled albums, and Pinkerton, here are a few new ways to think about your favorite songs. Oh, and did I mention their new one comes out tomorrow? =w=

Asher – My Name Is Jonas
One of the better-known songs on the album, I had trouble finding a decent cover of this one. The best I could find is this solo acoustic take. I like the guy’s voice, but the recording quality’s not great.

Beans – No One Else
Weezer rave!!! Someone get me a glowstick.

Christopher John – The World Has Turned and Left Me Here
One of the more obscure songs on the record, this was always a favorite of mine. This quiet take mostly does it justice, though the singer verges on whiney.

Biffy Clyro – Buddy Holly
The same group who brought you that Umbrella cover that made the blog rounds last year, here Clyro brings a spastic guitar-attack to the album’s trademark song. If you haven’t seen the original video, incidentally, it’s one of their best, so check it out.

Spoony – Undone (The Sweater Song)
It starts out just like the original. Then quickly stops being anything like the original.

Relient K – Surf Wax America
An acoustic take of a song they performed live on their ’06 tour, they strip it back to acoustic guitars and some super-sensitive harmonies. Pity this version doesn’t have the piano and steel guitar the live version does, but it’s the only decent quality recording I could find.

Wakey! Wakey! – Say It Ain’t So
This guy has gotten a lot of well-deserved hype for his cover series, and this song is a perfect example, a delicate piano take that manages to not be as lame as that description might sound.

Hermann H and the Pacemakers – In the Garage
Off the incredible – and incredibly strange – Japanese tribute album Across the Sea, Hermann brings the bossanova excitement with a full horn section.

Glasseater – Holiday
Like the original, but crunchier, and with a wannabe John Bonham on drums.

Mock Orange – Only In Dreams
At four and half minutes, the length pales in comparison to the original, but it’s a tightly-done take that makes the song as loud and rocking as everything else on the original album.