Anyone who was paying attention to cover songs a decade ago will remember The A.V. Club’s “Undercover” series. In the vein of the BBC Live Lounge and Triple J Like a Version, the entertainment web site would bring bands into their Chicago offices to cover a song. The concept, though, was the site started with a masters list of songs and the band had to pick one. The later they came in, the fewer song choices remained. It went on for years and the covers were ubiquitous (we must have posted a million of ’em). Practically every indie band of the era stopped by (many several times), and they often delivered something great.
Sadly, a few years the series ended and, shortly after, the videos all disappeared (I remember hearing that The A.V. Club’s new corporate owner didn’t want to deal with the licensing). Many have not been seen since – trust me, I’ve looked – and the few that did make it to YouTube are often low-quality or audio-only rips.
Three months ago, though, an anonymous YouTube calling himself Alvin Untercover (clever) uploaded what looks to be almost all of them, several hundred worth, in hi-def. Yo La Tengo covering the Supremes! Julien Baker covering Death Cab! And, of course, frequent guests GWAR covering Pet Shop Boys and Billy Ocean and Kansas and AC/DC.
Lord knows how long these will stay online, so watch them now while you can! Here are a few – okay, more than a few – of our favorites:
Sadly, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band’s cover of Beck’s “Debra” seems to be missing.
What a good news