Mar 312020

Check out the best covers of past months here.

best cover songs march 2020
Adam Green – All Hell Breaks Loose (Misfits cover)

Misfits go mariachi! Adam Green, best known as one half of the Moldy Peaches, plays “All Hell Breaks Loose” like it was “Ring of Fire.” He writes: “In The Misfits and in his glorious solo work, Danzig bridged punk and metal with the blue-eyed soul music of the mid-1960’s like The Righteous Brothers and The Walker Brothers. I’d had an idea for a while to do a Scott Walker / John Franz style production at punk speeds, and the Misfits song ‘All Hell Breaks Loose’ seemed like the perfect vessel for the experiment.”

Anthony D’Amato – Whole Wide World (Wreckless Eric cover)

You’ll never guess which Wreckless Eric song New York singer-songwriter Anthony D’Amato covered! I’m kidding, of course. People only ever cover one Wreckless Eric song (in fact, we posted five of our favorites a couple years back). D’Amato’s breezy cover is a worthy addition – though anyone going the whole wide world right now sounds like a serious health risk.

Chip & The Charge Ups – The Tide Is High (Blondie cover)

A cover of a cover, as Pittsburgh pop-punk band Chip & the Charge Ups cover Blondie’s hit cover of the Paragons’ reggae original. An extremely catchy remake that sounds like Avril Lavigne fronting Blink 182. Bonus points for the band’s coordinated pink and black outfits and hair, the White Stripes of the Warped Tour.

Deap Lips – The Pusher (Steppenwolf cover)

Deap Lips is a collaboration between ever-present weirdos the Flaming Lips and L.A. rock duo Deap Vally. If you know anything about the former, you know this cover is going to be trippy as hell. It doesn’t disappoint, especially when paired with the extremely druggy music video. You might need a friend to talk you down after watching it.

Esther Rose – My Favorite Mistake (Sheryl Crow covers)

Last week, indie-pop duo Lucius and indie-rock hero Courtney Barnett held a four-hour livestream session with a hosts of the coolest other indie musicians out there: The War on Drugs, Sharon Van Etten, etc. They also included one extremely non-indie musician, who has nevertheless been adopted by the community: Sheryl Crow. So no surprise that New Orleans singer-songwriter Esther Rose continued the trend with a blissful old-time-country cover of one of Crow’s biggest hits.

Gouge Away – Wave of Mutilation (Pixies cover)

Who woulda thunk a band named Gouge Away would be big Pixies fans? But they didn’t cover the obvious Doolittle track, going for “Wave of Mutilation” instead. Gouge Away should push it even farther and cover every Pixies song – except one.

Greg Saucier – Clouds in My House (Voidods cover)

Deerhoof is a very strange band, so no surprise their drummer would be behind a very strange covers project. Specifically, he covers an entire album by Quebec thrash metal band Voidods on acoustic guitar. He wrote on Bandcamp, “Just in time for lockdown… One of my favorite records of all time is Quebec thrash metal band Voivod’s 1991 release ANGEL RAT. Because of the extreme beauty and of its construction, I’ve been thinking since it came out that somebody should try a simple acoustic cover of the entire album. Now that the themes in the lyrics seem even more touchingly relevant in March 2020 than they were in 1991, I decided that the person to try it was me!”

John “Papa” Gros – Please Don’t Bury Me (John Prine cover)

You’d be hard pressed to hear New Orleans in John Prine’s 1973 classic “Please Don’t Bury Me.” But you’ll be hard pressed not to hear New Orleans once you spin John “Papa” Gros’s cover. That’s how naturally he makes the transition to second-line jazz. He wrote a long and interesting piece about it for American Songwriter.

Lewis Capaldi – Setting Sun (The Chemical Brothers & Noel Gallagher cover)

Here’s a clever premise: New YouTube series “Birthday Song” asks famous artists to cover the song that was #1 on their birthday. Lewis Capaldi’s was “Setting Sun” by the Chemical Brothers and Noel Gallagher (as you may have guests from the artists involved, we’re talking #1 in Britain here). It comes with a for-fans-only documentary, but skip to the end to hear the cover.

Lowland Hum – Be My Baby (The Ronettes cover)

Singing Other People’s Love Songs is a good, straightforward title for a covers EP. Billboard premiered the first track, a cover of the oft-covered “Be My Baby” that actually manages to do something new with the song – no easy feat! This his-and-hers duet works wonderfully, making one of the most familiar songs in the popular music cannon sound new again.

Naeem – You and I (Silver Apples cover)

Formerly known as Spank Rock, the artist currently known as Naeem says of his radical transformation of ’60s psych-rockers Silver Apples: “It sounds like a James Brown song to me, but if he sang it, he’d sing it as a slow song, and then I imagined myself crooning it. It’s an important song for people to hear right now, especially in terms of the ideas of self-care and the attention economy. The song’s about how we don’t have time for the little things, which feels really heavy and makes so much sense right now.”

Neil Nathan – The Promised Land (Chuck Berry cover)

Cover song veteran Neil Nathan says: “Taking a swipe at a classic Chuck Berry tune which has been covered by luminaries such as The Grateful Dead, Elvis Presley, and James Taylor, is a bit nuts, but it’s such a joy to sing that road trip, that American journey, having a dream and overcoming every obstacle in your path to get there. Works on me every time. Mike and Pete, along with drummer Mark Schreiber, and James Taylor bass player, Chico Huff, got a great groove going. And I added a kind of Wings meets Brendan Benson inspired chorus, which sounds pretty smooth with the No Good Sisters on back ups. Richard Hunter adds some lovely harmonica flourishes too.” [Update: Neil just released a “Love Me Do” cover too!]

Robert Ellis – Pure Imagination (Gene Wilder cover)

Robert Ellis told The Influences, the great covers video series: “I always liked Pure Imagination. I’ve been thinking a lot about that category of songs, like that song, When You Wish Upon A Star, Somewhere Over The Rainbow, What A Wonderful World… Classic songs that are very mainstream, but still extremely important. The lyrics… Everyone would agree that Pure Imagination, though it’s from a children’s movie, is deadly serious. The lyrics are just so good! Gene Wilder embodies that role so well. It’s a very important song, despite the movie.”

Sad13 – Dance Steps (The Natural History cover)

Writer Julian Tapper has written a memoir, Between the Records, with one hell of a pull quote: “Julian Tepper has written an autobiographical slice of late 90s/early 00’s rock ‘n’ roll life reflecting a period both he and I lived thru (and, happily, survived) with such ease that I recognized this world immediately, intimately.” Who said that? Lee Ranaldo of Sonic Youth. Yes, Tapper was in a band, and that band was supposed to play their first show in 15 years last weekend. Since they couldn’t, Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz (who wrote about their favorite covers for us recently), covered one of their songs. All proceeds benefit the Releasing Aging People in Prison campaign.

Sam Wells – Bad As Me (Tom Waits)

Another great YouTube series premise: An artist covers a song they have never heard. In Blind Covers, they only get the lyrics and have to make up the rest themselves. As you’d expect, the resulting covers are very different than the originals. Sam Wells turns Tom Waits’ thundering blues rumble into a lilting country shuffle without even knowing she’s doing so. Then, after she finished, you get to watch her wonderful reaction when she listens to the original for the first time.

Sharon Van Etten – If My Love Could Kill (Lucinda Williams cover)

We already highlighted Jason Isbell and Lee Ann Womack’s cover contributions to the new Music Moments Alzheimer’s benefit compilation, so let me spotlight another high point: Sharon Van Etten’s powerful, propulsive cover of one of the high points of Lucinda Williams’ most recent album of new material. Lucinda is a veteran artist who releases great music at such a clip much of it goes underappreciated by non-superfans. Hopefully this will direct more people to a great album.

Surf Sabbath – Symptom of the Universe (Black Sabbath cover)

Surf-rock covers of Black Sabbath songs? Sure, it seems like a gimmick. And I suppose it is – but it’s a gimmick this band (a proper surf band called The High Breks doing originals usually) executes to perfection.

Vampire Weekend – I Don’t Think Much About Her No More (Mickey Newbury cover)

Vampire Weekend have spent the past year covering all sorts of unlikely people, from Bob Dylan jams from the ’80s to the Parks and Recreation theme song. Last year they also quietly added another to the Japanese edition of Father of the Bride: Mickey Newbury’s “I Don’t Think Much About Her No More.” It flew extremely under the radar, so they put it online a few weeks ago for the rest of us.

This Month in Billie Eilish Covers

So many Billie Eilish covers cross our desk these days – good ones too! – I decided to create a separate section this month.

Gengahr – Everything I Wanted

Georgia – Everything I Wanted

James Blake – When the Party’s Over

JP Cooper – Everything I Wanted

Our Last Night – No Time to Die

Pomplamoose – Everything I Wanted

The Best of the Rest

Black Pumas – Politicians in My Eyes (Death cover)

The Bobby Lees – I’m a Man (Bo Diddley cover)

César Vidal – If You Want This Love (Sonny Knight cover)

Dawes – Jack Straw / He’s Gone (Grateful Dead covers)

Destroyer – Ecstasy (Lou Reed cover)

Dropkick Murphys – James Connelly (Black 47 cover)

Eastern Mountain Time – One World (Dire Straits cover)

Front Country – Do Re Mi (Woody Guthrie cover)

G Flip – Lady Marmalade (Labelle cover)

Green Leaf Rustlers – Big Mouth Blues (Gram Parsons cover)

jennylee – I’m So Tired (Fugazi cover)

Kikagaku Moyo – Gypsy Davey (Trad. cover)

Marcus Mumford – You’ll Never Walk Alone (Rodgers & Hammerstein cover)

The Naked And Famous – Blinding Lights (The Weeknd cover)

Robyn Adele Anderson ft. Sarah Krauss and Julianne Daly – Rollin’ (Limp Bizkit cover)

Saving Grace – Everybody’s Song (Low cover)

Torres – Wandering Star (Portishead cover)

Zeus Springsteen – Madman Across the Water (Elton John cover)

Check out previous month’s best covers lists.

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