[Begin snobbish rant] Music for the average American consumer goes something like this: turn on radio; listen to “Top 40” station; download a 30 second ringtone of a song designed to be catchy to the point of brainwashing. Yes, I know, this is a huge generalization. But, the point is that the amount of great music currently being made is staggering, with unprecedented access to it thanks to the internet, and yet so many people are content with whatever is spoon-fed over the airways (current readers excepted, of course). If you take the time to explore the music you like, you never know what you might find. [End snobbish rant]
This month’s Cover Commission artist, Brooklyn transplant Justin Keller, hopes maybe you will dig deeper into those liner notes. He currently plays guitar in support of the Welcome Wagon, a band whose album was produced by and played on by Sufjan Stevens. He also rocks the saxophone for Sarah & the Stanleys. You may recognize Sarah from her involvement in the Auto-Tune the News videos (“Double Rainbow” or “Bed Intruder Song” for anyone living in a cave).
His own project, under the name of Land of Leland, is a more subdued affair. Spacious and sad, the guitar and piano accompaniments beautifully highlight a vocal style immediately reminiscent of Bon Iver. His melancholy sound, surrounded in reverb, also recalls Sun Kil Moon. In his cover of ’80s hit “Your Love,” he takes the classic by The Outfield and turns it into a ghostly, lonesome plea, layering a choir of voices over his softly fingerpicked guitar.
You will find a list of ten songs below, one of which will be covered by Land of Leland exclusively for Cover Me. As Keller points out, most of them are ’80s songs. Still, he echoes the recent sentiment of Iron & Wine in his cover of George Michael when he says, “those songs are undeniable. And some of them could use a less produced take.” Download The Outfield cover above and check out Land of Leland’s Bandcamp page to get a taste of his style to help you decide which song you want to hear him pay tribute to. Then come back and vote!
Polls close in one week, so don’t delay! Poll closed