Mustard Gas and Roses, otherwise known as M.G.R, the side project of Michael Gallagher formerly of defunct post-metal band Isis, covered Joy Division’s “Exercise One” on their new EP We Are One. The cover leans on overdriven guitar twisting the song into a more metal framework. The heavy guitar pushes open the song like a large wall of sound, with each guitar part given a different voice, adding to the creeping melody.
On her new single, country single Kelsey Waldon is making known her support of social justice with a cover of Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddamn,” a song with its roots in the civil rights movement. She performs “Mississippi Goddamn” alongside gothic blues singer Adia Victoria and R&B folk singer Kyshona Armstrong. This cover previews her upcoming EP They’ll Never Keep Us Down, which is entirely covers circling themes of social justice.
Transport yourself to a rustic farm by listening to Declan McKenna’s lo-fi banjo cover of Paul and Linda McCartney’s Ram classic “Heart of the Country.” The English singer-songwriter’s version starts paired down to only his voice and a banjo, but gradually builds more harmonic layers with a funky bass line stays true to the original. The prominent banjo translates the swing of McCartney’s song well. Overlaid with the banjo, he sounds right as home and could give country singers a run for their money.
McKenna’s recently released album Zeros is a spaced-out glam-rock harmonic journey. And yet he retains a twang in both his indie style songs and in this cover. Even if you can’t visit any horse or sheep in the heart of the country right now, McKenna makes it a bit easier to imagine an autumnal adventure full of apple picking and hayrides this October.
Clairo has been busy. Although the 22-year-old viral pop star has not released any official music since her 2019 album Immunity, she has been uploading covers and demos to Soundcloud. Her newest is a version of The Strokes’ “I’ll Try Anything Once” with Jake Passmore of the London-based indie band SCORS.
MGMT’s Andrew VanWyngarden has shared a cover of Biff Rose’s “Never Mind” from a recording session in January 2015 with James Richardson, Josh da Costa, and engineering by Al Carlson. VanWyngarden’s cover turns Rose’s 1970 classic into something that sounds like an underground ’80s synth-pop treasure. The lyrics tell a sad story, but in a reassuring way; the cover is too dreamy to be melancholic. The replacement of piano with an orchestra of synths makes the song mellow, less bright, and more comforting. Both versions will surely cause foot-tapping, but where the original will incite dancing, the cover encourages swaying in the moonlight.