There are numerous versions of Prince‘s iconic “When Doves Cry”; it’s not a song that’s exactly begging for new renditions. And yet alternative legends Local H have recorded not one but two new versions of the song, a rock version and an acoustic version.
“Hand in My Pocket” was Alanis Morissette first chart-topping hit – in her home country of Canada, that is. In the US it didn’t chart on the Hot 100 at all. Despite that relative lack of success stateside, it’s probably her third or fourth most-covered song, after the two biggest hits from the monster that was Jagged Little Pill, “Ironic” and “You Oughta Know.”
Deep Sea Diver is a Seattle indie rock band led by Jessica Dobson who have been active since about 2009. (Dobson was also briefly a member of The Shins.) They recently covered “Hand in My Pocket,” joined by singer-songwriter and fellow Seattleite Damien Jurado.
Most people known Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock” by the famous cover by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. Though Mitchell was connected to CSNY because she was dating Nash at the time, the two versions sound quite different; Mitchell’s is quiet and only features her vocals and a piano, whereas the CSNY version is bombastic and aggressive, featuring typically barbed playing from Neil Young and the band’s trademark harmonies on the chorus. It’s no surprise that many covers follow the CSNY version, as it’s far more well known.
Singer-songwriter Chelsea Wolfe is mostly known for her distinct fusion of folk music with more extreme forms of music such as industrial, doom metal and drone. These are not styles you think of when you think of the hippies or either version of “Woodstock,” but Wolfe has chosen Mitchell’s version as her inspiration on a new cover.
“Have a Drink On Me” is one of the deep cuts from AC/DC‘s classic Back in Black, one of the most successful albums of all time. So, as with any album that has sold that much, deep cuts stop being deep cuts and tribute albums flow.
American noise rock band Whores have tackled this sorta-deep cut for the new Magnetic Eye tribute Back in Black [Redux]. For their sludgy version they’re joined by Bill Kelliher of Mastodon.
Perpetual Groove are a jam band that was originally active from about 1997 to 2013 during which they put out five albums of southern-tinged, jammy rock, with hints of indie rock mixed in. They reunited in 2015, mostly touring and putting out live albums, with one more full length release of original material in 2019. This month they’ve released their first all covers EP C’mon. Covers? with songs from Peter Gabriel, The Cars, The Go-Go’s, and Johnny Cash. The two best tracks are the Cars and Go-Go’s covers.
“Nightswimming” was the fifth single from R.E.M.’s Automatic for the People. Uncharacteristic for both the album and the band as a whole, it’s just bassist Michael Mills on piano and Michael Stipe singing, backed by an orchestra. Stipe’s lyric is one of his simplest and most overt – unless you read what he says the song is really about, and then maybe it isn’t. Regardless of the lyric, the song is about as simple and straight-forward as REM ever got.
Okay Kaya is a Norwegian-American singer-songwriter whose appeared on Cover Me a few times in the last year. On her new cover of “Nightswimming,” recorded for Jagjaguwar’s upcoming Join the Ritual, Kaya completely abandons the piano melody. And she also dramatically alters the vocal melody. Instead, there’s Kaya’s multi-tracked voice and an ever-increasing assortment of keyboards and other gently distorted musical sounds. The aesthetic is very bedroom, as opposed to the orchestral vibe of the original. The vibe has changed, and it feels as though Kaya is telling a different story than Stipe was in the original. But there’s still the sense that you are hearing a very personal story, intended only for you.