Arlo Parks – Redondo Beach (Patti Smith cover)
I’ve wanted to do a “Full Albums” on Patti Smith’s Horses for years. But it, and she, gets covered less than you’d think. This beautiful piano “Redondo Beach” gets me one step closer. Though, admittedly, I already had Courtney Barnett’s recent cover for that slot. Someone cover “Break It Up” already!
Billy Porter – For What It’s Worth (Buffalo Springfield cover)
You probably know him from Pose – or, if you’re a Broadway person, Kinky Boots – but before all that Billy Porter was an aspiring ’90s R&B singer. It didn’t last long, as his theater career soon took off, but he returns to his roots with this new single. And the song’s writer, Stephen Stills, approved. He said, “For many years no one tried to ‘make it theirs’ as covers are supposed to do. That an artist of Billy’s caliber has chosen to add his flourish to my song from so many years ago is totally in keeping with what I intended.”
Boy Scouts – A World So Full of Love (Roger Miller cover)
Back in 2018, a splashy Roger Miller tribute album rounded up country luminaries from Willie Nelson to Eric Church. Boy Scouts aka Taylor Vick’s new version of “A World So Full of Love” (which Rodney Crowell covered that album) would have made an odd fit. It’s not country at all, more like a piano duet washed through layers of chillwave reverb.
Eleanor Friedberger – Hell (Destroyer cover)
Earlier this year, prominent-in-her-own-right singer Eleanor Friedberger unexpectedly fronted Dan Bejar’s Destroyer on several songs live. Before she did, she apparently attempted a Destroyer covers record. It didn’t work out, but she’s released a few songs off it. She wrote, “I thought I’d put out a digital EP of Destroyer covers before the tour started in February. I didn’t. There were too many favorites from Poison Season and it seemed like it would be an unfair, and slightly creepy amount of attention to that one album! But I did make some demos, and I’ll throw them up on Bandcamp now… It was such a thrill to sing these songs with the band, and Dan was so generous to let me hog the stage. I wish we could be in the dressing room, drinking again, tonight.”
Grace Potter – As the World Falls Down (David Bowie cover)
Grace Potter first tossed this on YouTube in January 2016, shortly after Bowie’s passing. Her new single sounds like the same recording, but fleshed out with strings added to the space electronics.
Iggy Pop – Family Affair (Sly and the Family Stone cover)
Another in the from-the-vaults category, Iggy dug up a 1985 Sly Stone cover that never saw the light of day. Listen close to hear Bootsy Collins on bass! Iggy told the BBC, “I’ve always loved this song, it came out when I was kinda on the ropes in 1971. There’s a lot of truth in it, especially in the second verse, about all sorts of questions that are coming around again now.”
Joss Stone – Sam Stone (John Prine cover)
Joss Stone recorded a cover of John Prine’s song of almost-the-same-name-as-her “Sam Stone” for her 2012 album The Soul Sessions Vol. 2, the sequel to her bombshell 2003 debut. It got cut at the eleventh hour. But, following Prine’s death, her label tossed it on YouTube. It was worth the wait. (Want more Prine covers? Check these pages tomorrow…)
Quiet Hollers – Punks in the Beerlight (Silver Jews cover)
Dozens of Silver Jews covers dropped after David Berman’s sudden passing last year. One of the best, though, took some time. Singer Shadwick Wilde’s low groan of a voice works perfectly for Berman’s lyrics, and even better when counterpointed by the comparatively airy Lacey Guthrie.
St. Paul and the Broken Bones – Lucky (Radiohead cover)
The first in a new series where St. Paul and the Broken Bones covers songs they love. What a way to kick it off. They’ve since tackled Sparklehorse’s “Sea of Teeth” too.
Ty Segall – Gotta Get Up (Harry Nilsson cover)
Harry Nilsson fans can guess what album Segall Smeagol pays tribute to: his 1971 classic Nilsson Schmilsson (but shouldn’t it be Schmegall? don’t overthink it). On this free new EP, Ty Segall covers six of the ten songs, including the hit “Coconut” and the recent Russian Doll breakout “Gotta Get Up.” As in much of his own work, Segall Smeagol is blissfully fuzzed-out as hell.