Eric Lauritsen

Eric Lauritsen resides in New York City, where he has recently completed a stint with the indie record label Engine Room Recordings (noted for their Guilt By Association cover compilation albums) and currently teaches an LSAT review course. He is applying to law school and intends to spend his career as a music lawyer, a field through which he hopes he can reinvent the music business in the digital age. An indie rock enthusiast, the list of Eric's favorite bands usually begins with Spoon and goes on to include The National, Andrew Bird, Okkervil River, Frightened Rabbit, and several others that he sincerely hopes come out with lots of covers to fuel his writing.

Oct 252010

Well, it’s late October. Leaves are turning, temperatures are diving, and the best Halloween costumes are long gone from the shelves of stores across the country (looks like it’s “homeless guy” for me again this year). For many, this all amounts to just one thing: the baseball playoffs. But as the Giants and Rangers get ready to square off in the World Series, it may seem like there’s little excitement in it for those of us unfortunate enough to call ourselves Dodgers, Mariners, or, worst of all, Yankees fans.

Music fans, on the other hand, are having a field day (get it? field day? heh). At last Wednesday’s NLCS game between the Giants and Phillies in San Francisco, Death Cab frontman Ben Gibbard sang the national anthem. As if that wasn’t enough, Gibbard’s wife, She and Him‘s Zooey Deschanel, took on “God Bless America” during the seventh inning stretch. Gibbard and Deschanel – the match made in indie heaven – were a nice lead-in to Phil Lesh and Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead, who sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the game the following day. All three of these performances, available for streaming below, are remarkable in their simple beauty. Continue reading »

Oct 192010

If you’re a big fan of Bad Religion, you should know this about me up front: I had no idea that they were as influential as they apparently are. I knew them simply as a decent punk band that, for reasons I didn’t fully appreciate, seemed to be on constant rotation on my hometown radio station. So you can imagine my confusion when I heard that a pretty solid lineup featuring the likes of Tegan and Sara, Switchfoot, Ted Leo, the Weakerthans, and others were covering their favorite Bad Religion songs for the tribute album Germs of Perfection: A Tribute to Bad Religion. “Does the world need this?” I wondered.

As it turns out, I was kind of an idiot. Bad Religion’s been around for 31 years—as in, since 1979. Their guitarist for most of that time has been Brett Gurewitz, founder and owner of Epitaph Records and affiliates ANTI-, Burning Heart Records, Fat Possum Records, and Hellcat Records. Germs of Perfection, which was released by SPIN and MySpace Music as a free download today, commemorates the 30-year anniversary of Epitaph, which is as good a reason as any for such a tribute. Continue reading »

Oct 142010

Live Collection brings together every live cover we can find from an artist. And we find a lot.

It was almost 17 years ago now that frontman Jay Farrar split ways with his alt-country group Uncle Tupelo due to differences with bassist Jeff Tweedy, leaving Tweedy and the rest of the band in the dust. Since that time, Farrar’s career has skyrocketed, and Tweedy and the boys haven’t done anything.

Wait. I’m wrong. They formed a band called Wilco, which continues to prosper as one of the most important and influential bands in indie music.

To conclude that Wilco’s longevity is due to some sort of a constant and timeless sound would be dead wrong, however, as our latest Live Collection shows. The covers below, which include romps through the works of David Bowie, Sheryl Crow, the Ramones, and even a few half-hearted attempts at tracks by one of Farrar’s subsequent projects, Son Volt, show just how much Wilco has changed through the years. The Wilco who covers “Organ Blues” in 2000 sounds little like the one who does Tom Petty’s “Listen to Her Heart” in 1995. Sure, their 2002 cover of The Stooges’ “TV Eye” anticipates the pulsating pianos and dissonant guitars that would not truly define their albums until years later, but as a general rule, you can follow the arc of the band’s sound through the years pretty closely via the covers below. Continue reading »

Oct 122010

Cover Me first, ahem, covered Jon Hardy and the Public back in 2009 when the band released an EP of Randy Newman covers entitled Little Criminals: Songs of Randy Newman. As we noted back then, Randy Newman covers pretty much never get old, particularly when they include a version of the greatest lyrical work of all time, “Short People.” What we didn’t know then though was that, while in the studio for that EP, the band was also working on a reinterpretation of Them‘s 1965 hit “Here Comes the Night.”

We’re happy to revisit the St. Louis quintet’s soulful melodies with an exclusive premiere of that work. Their version of “Here Comes the Night” shares much in common with the 1965 original in beat and basic structure, but cuts out any semblance of upbeat doo-wop that may have shown through on the original. Lyrically, the song deals in the painful subject matter of breakups and the heartache of watching your ex move on to someone new. Van Morrison sings the verses in an amazingly upbeat and almost carefree way. There is no such joy in Hardy’s voice. Continue reading »