Feb 222016
 
landofleland2016edit

Back in 2012, when news of Whitney Houston‘s death came out, there was a massive outpouring of love for her work. Her legendary career and persona had an effect on music fans of all ages and backgrounds. There were tributes, vigils, and in at least one case, an impromptu dance party.

Justin Keller, the artist behind the band Land of Leland, recently recorded his version of Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody (Who Loves Me)” but the story behind the song goes all the way back to the day the news of Houston’s death broke. 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)

Oct 082013
 

What do a pop icon and a Scottish synthpop band have in common? As it turns out, a lot.

CHVRCHES recently turned their attention to Whitney Houston’s girls-night-out anthem “It’s Not Right, But It’s OK” creating a cover that would be as at home in a club as the original version was. It’s impossible to match Ms. Houston’s vocals, so Lauren Mayberry keeps her vocals fairly even keeled, allowing the heavy synth and industrial background to push the cover. It all results in the revelation that today’s retro synth sounds have an old pal in some past club tunes. What’s next, YACHT covers C&C Music Factory? Continue reading »

May 032012
 

Quickies rounds up new can’t-miss covers. Download ‘em below.

Norwegian folkie Ane Brun releases It All Starts with One this week and she’s giving away a bonus track for free: a solo guitar Arcade Fire cover that shows her lilting Scandinavian accent hitting full force.
MP3: Ane Brun – Neighbourhood #1 (Tunnels) (Arcade Fire cover) Continue reading »

Apr 022012
 

Living in the S.F. Bay Area, I have had the pleasure of being in the know when it comes to Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers. The soulful, rocking Bluhm is a regular live performer who turns up at the big festivals, as a guest vocalist and headlining her own gigs. A week ago a friend of mine, who is friends with Nicki, posted her most recent “Van Session” song to his Facebook, a cover of Hall and Oates‘ “I Can’t Go For That”. Continue reading »

Mar 052012
 

It’s very, very likely that no one will ever sing “I Will Always Love You” as well as the late Whitney Houston did, but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s not worth a try. Good thing hard rocker Chris Cornell decided to take a chance on the track because, if he hadn’t, the world would have never been able to witness such an unexpected surprise of a cover. Continue reading »