Nostalgia cycles move in uncanny ways. Just when you think your favorite indie rock act might’ve faded into vapors, you can count on them to spin around, twenty years later, with something brilliant. Case in point: writing about a La Blogothèque live cover from The Libertines feels like a byline we could have published in the early ’00s. But like clockwork — or, say, the swivel of a windmill… — good things tend to come around again.
Singer-songwriter Alela Diane has been making records steadily the better part of two decades, including this year’s Looking Glass, produced by Tucker Martine. Chief among the web of Diane’s influences appears to be the legendary folk-rock troupe Fairport Convention and, more specifically, Sandy Denny, that group’s magnetic lead vocalist and figurehead. In support of Looking Glass‘s recent, Diane has shared a new cover of Sandy Denny’s best-known solo number, “Who Knows Where the Time Goes?,” performed in a live session for The Line of Best Fit. The video capture and Diane’s performance are both mesmerizing, spooling out in long, slow lines. Diane is practically a dead ringer for Denny here too — standing alone with the song’s singularly haunting spirit, illuminated with just the right amount of echo and bravado.
James Taylor’s “Millworker,” written and released in the late ‘70s, has had an enduring and surprisingly varied track record. Zoomed in, the song is a first-person account of a modern industrial worker’s daily routine in western Massachusetts. Zoom out though, and “Millworker” is a far more profound kind of anthem, with some big ideas about modern labor on the whole — its adverse effects on the mind, the body, the soul, the grind: “It’s me and my machine for the rest of the morning/for the rest of the afternoon/and the rest of my life…”
Parker Graye is a singer-songwriter from Nashville by way of British Columbia. She’s released a number of original singles in recent years, part of her self-described mission to “make country music sad again.” Clunky political references aside, Graye’s aims have been funneled towards her latest, and biggest, release from last Friday: a country cover of “Complicated,” the 2002 hit from emo-rock icon (& fellow Sad Canadian) Avril Lavigne.
The late Dr. John released over 30 records in his lifetime, but the legendary pianist still has one more yet to share. Things Happen That Way is the posthumous new album from Dr. John, due out September 23 from Rounder Records. Produced by guitarist Shane Theriot and Dr. John and executive produced by Karla R. Pratt—Dr. John’s daughter—Things Happen That Way features a couple of brand-new Dr. John tunes that reflect on his decades of high-wire living. But the record’s big focus is its handful of cover tunes, taking inspiration from Louisiana Hayride and Dr. John’s favorite country (and country-adjacent) legends. In the thick of the record’s musical gumbo, we’ve got a cover of the Traveling Wilburys’ “End of the Line,” featuring Aaron Neville and singer-songwriter Katie Pruitt. It’s glorious.
British indie pop duo Summer Camp are saying farewell. Comprised of married musicians Jeremy Warmsley and Elizabeth Sankey, Summer Camp have released three full-length records across nearly a decade and a half of making music together. (As a testament to the duo’s longevity, the last time that the pair were properly featured in our pages here at Cover Me was in 2010, spotlighting their charming holiday compilation cover of The Waitresses’ “Christmas Wrapping.”) To mark their graceful exit, Summer Camp have re-released the very first piece of music that they ever recorded: a cover of The Flamingos’ classic “I Only Have Eyes For You.”