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…
Christmas covers come pretty fast this time of year (duh), so we periodically step back to collect a bunch in a single post. Our last set was a few weeks ago and since then we’ve posted new Christmas songs by My Morning Jacket, Josh T. Pearson, Dawes/Peter Wolf Crier/Mannequin Man, and Red Wanting Blue/Tristen. Even with all that, though, there have been even more we haven’t gotten to. So here’s a bunch, crammed together for a holiday mixtape or just some Christmas cheer. Continue reading »
Last we checked in to the A.V. Club’s Holiday Undercover series, Electric Six was going Grinch. In the past week, though, three more Christmas covers have cropped up in the series. Dawes, Peter Wolf Crier, and Mannequin Man selected three Christmas songs just a little off the beaten path – at least, compared to the stuff you hear in Macy’s. Continue reading »
Internet fame is a fickle friend. For some, it turns you into the next teen sensation and even inspires its own ‘Fever.’ For others, one of the biggest jokes to date (“Friday”). You may not have heard of Steffaloo yet, but your cool 17-year-old neighbor with two thousand Tumblr followers has. Steffaloo manages a cult online following with everything she does, whether it be photography, blogging, or yes, even music. Continue reading »
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!
Florence + the Machine songstress Florence Welch recently capped off a breakout year with performances at the Grammys and Oscars. Considering her affinity for covers, it’s appropriate that she took on Aretha Franklin’s “Think” at the Grammys and handled Dido’s part with Best Song nominee A.R. Rahman at the Oscars. Florence + the Machine’s debut, Lungs, arrived less than two years ago, but Welch has already performed more covers than some musicians do in decades. Here are a few highlights, from Florence solo and with the help of her band the Machine. Continue reading »
This Week on Bandcamp rounds up our favorite covers to hit the site in the past seven days.
Once again we delve back into Bandcamp to find the week’s top free covers. There’s a bit of an ’80s theme today, with covers of songs from Pixies, the Cure, and Wham! The two that round them out buck the trend a bit: a Buffy Sainte-Marie song from 1963 and a Dirty Projectors song from 2004. The average of 1963 and 2004 is 1983 though, so there you go! Continue reading »
Over the past few weeks, artists have been unleashing a blizzard of Christmas covers. From live tapings to unexpected albums, these holiday presents came in all shapes and sizes. We kept up as best we could (see ‘em all here), but so many came in we couldn’t possibly post them all. So instead, we collected our favorite Christmas covers from this year in a special mixtape.
This 60-minute tape, which you can download or stream below, mixes the classics with the obscure. It includes refreshingly original covers of famous hymns and unexpected runs through buried nuggets. It finds indie up-and-comers mingling with longtime favorites. Continue reading »
Christmas is a festival of light and joy. As such, those into darkness and sorrow often feel excluded. Party-planners may find themselves asking, “How do I get my congenitally unmerry guest into the holiday spirit?”
We reply: add the following five Christmas carols to your playlist, and even the grinch laid out on the couch will stand up and sing – or at least sit up and nod before collapsing into a ball of self-pity. Continue reading »