Arcade Fire – As It Was (Harry Styles cover)
We kick off this month’s list with not one but two Harry Styles covers! And both performed for the BBC Live Lounge, no less, which clearly went all-in on promoting Harry’s new solo album. First up is Arcade Fire, also currently doing the promo rounds for their own new album, tackling Harry’s new song “As It Were.” It speaks to how much classic-rock Styles has in his DNA that the song fits perfectly in Arcade Fire’s anthemic-rock template. Never ones to not go out, the cover features multiple twelve-string guitars and a dude playing a giant rack of tubes with a hammer.
AURORA – Golden (Harry Styles cover)
The second Styles cover strips it much further back, just pop singer AURORA on piano accompanied by an acoustic guitarist. She also draws from an older song, Harry’s 2019 single “Golden” (a killer song, even if it wasn’t a big hit). The cover serves as a showcase for AURORA’s voice, a little Björk-inflected but with some serious pipes on the long high notes.
Bruce Springsteen & Gary Clark, Jr. – Come Together (The Beatles cover)
Springsteen and Clark teamed up to pay musical tribute to Jon Stewart when the comedian won the Mark Twain Prize at the end of April. We’ll get a better video when the ceremony broadcasts on PBS on June 21, but, for now, a grainy phone clip of the two ripping up a Beatles cover.
Catherine Campbell – Shivers (The Boys Next Door cover)
A lot of Nick Cave’s early music in The Boys Next Door/The Birthday Party is fairly harrowing, but “Shivers,” written by bandmate Rowland S Howard, is comparatively mellow. Even more mellow now on this beautifully folksy cover by Chattanooga, Tennessee singer Catherine Campbell.
Florence and the Machine – Search and Destroy (Stooges cover)
The deluxe edition of Florence and the Machine’s new album Dance Fever offers acoustic versions of four of the album’s songs as well as an unlikely acoustic cover: Iggy and the Stooges’ not-acoustic-at-all classic “Search and Destroy.” Even with the dial turned much further down, Florence Welch brings the energy – and, of course, her inimitable huge voice.
Gillian Welch and David Rawlings – I Just Came Home to Count the Memories (John Anderson cover)
Something Borrowed, Something New: A Tribute To John Anderson comes out August 5. Note “h” in “John”; this is not the Jon Anderson of Yes fame (though Gillian Welch cover Yes would really be something!). This John Anderson is a country music favorite, inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2014. This tribute’s clearly been in the works for a while, as it also includes a “new” recording by John Prine, who died in 2020. Also on board are Sturgill Simpson, Eric Church, Ashley McBryde and more.
Johanna Samuels – Yes it Is (The Beatles cover)
Here’s a real deep-cut Beatles cover! Samuels writes at Aquarium Drunkard (which is where you can hear the song), “I was obsessed with this song after finding the double disc Apple Anthology Part 2 CD set when I was six. Hard to make calls like this, but I think it remains one of my favorite Beatles songs. Something about the way that John is singing. I’m a sucker for those early era harmonies, there’s a youthful sweetness there. The chord changes really feel like the song could have been written 200 years ago or in the ’40s or sung by the first heartbroken homosapien. The chorus is a perfect lift melodically. It’s a perfectly crafted song.”
Margo Price – He Made a Woman Out Of Me (Bobbie Gentry cover)
A few years ago, Margo Price sang Bobbie Gentry’s “Sermon” on Mercury Rev’s excellent tribute album The Delta Sweete Revisited. Now she’s returned with an other Gentry cover, as part of the deluxe edition of her 2020 album That’s How Rumors Get Started. Once again, she steers clear of the obvious “Ode to Billie Joe,” instead tackling the deeper cut “He Made a Woman Out Of Me” off Gentry’s 1970 album Fancy.
Moist Limb – Trone Noir [Chaise Longue] (Wet Let cover/parody)
Wet Leg got covered by bigger names this month, but I get a kick out of this goofy cover-slash-parody by Spokane artist Jon Swanstrom, who recorded it under the name Moist Limb. Now titled “Trone Noir,” Wet Leg’s viral hit “Chaise Lounge” gets a darker sound and video, a disturbing horror movie spin on the original. It’s extremely silly. If you haven’t seen it, watch the original video first to get all the jokes.
Nine Inch Nails – Fashion (David Bowie cover)
At their Raleigh tour opener, Nine Inch Nails covered two David Bowie songs. “I’m Afraid of Americans” was a no-brainer – Trent Reznor produced Bowie’s version, and the band’s covered it often before. But they also debuted a new cover of “Fashion.” Semi-debuted, I should say; Reznor previously performed the song with his regular collaborator Atticus Ross and his wife and How To Destroy Angels bandmate Mariqueen Maandig during a Bowie-tribute livestream last year. But this was the first proper, full-band Nine Inch Nails rendition.
Tove Lo – good 4 u (Olivia Rodrigo cover)
For a minute or so, Tove Lo’s “good 4 u” seems like it’s gonna be one of those pop covers that takes an upbeat banger and slows it way down. But it soon explodes into joyous dance-music catharsis. It’s one of the best covers of the song we’ve heard yet, as if Lady Gaga has recorded the hit back in her “Poker Face” era rather than Rodrigo’s pop-punk throwback.
The Best of the Rest
Amythyst Kiah – Sugar (Tori Amos cover)
Brandi Carlile – Love Can Build a Bridge (The Judds cover)