Nov 172020
 
emel mathlouthi every you every me

When COVID-19 hit this spring, musician Emel Mathlouthi was visiting her family in Tunisia to celebrate her father’s 85th birthday. As everything shut down, she found herself trapped there as a short trip unexpectedly stretched to months. She wrote in the announcement:

I was separated from my husband, my band, my collaborators, and all my equipment. But I was immersed in a feeling of nostalgia and memory, surrounded by the blossoming wildflowers, tweeting birds, and blue skies of my hometown. Also, thankfully I was sheltered in with two of my favorite people in the world. Together we were three generations under the same roof – free from school, work, and from outside world distractions. Continue reading »

Nov 132020
 

MarikaMarika Hackman kicks off Covers with a rendition of Radiohead‘s “You Never Wash Up After Yourself,” a pretty clear indication that the album is born from the ennui of lockdown. We hear flies buzzing, and a slow intake of breath, before Hackman languidly sings over a sparse synth soundscape:

I must get out once in a while

Everything is starting to die

The dust settles, the worms dig

The spiders crawl over the bed.

With her multi-tracked harmonies, Hackman brings an intimate, desolate beauty to this short and simple song of hopelessness. And she makes you wonder where the hell she is headed.
Continue reading »

Nov 112020
 
circuit des yeux nico

Welcome the chameleonic sonic world of Circuit Des Yeux aka Haley Fohr. Her lonesome otherwordly voice is a mix of Nico, Odetta and Bill Callahan, and her sound is impossible to stuff into a singular, definitive category. The Circuit Des Yeux sound is alternately urgent and passionate or austere and emotional. Songs can be lush and regal or awash in a transportive electronic haze. Back in 2016 Fohr released an album under the name Jackie Lynn that was ostensibly a country record but featured inflections of lo-fi, psych, new wave, Linda Perhacs and Suicide. Which is to say Circuit Des Jeux-Jackie Lynn-Haley Fohr goes everywhere and does it with extraordinary panache. Continue reading »

Nov 112020
 
ratso nick cave

Larry “Ratso” Sloman has worked with famous musicians for decades, from embedding with Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder tour in 1975 to co-writing Red Hot Chili Pepper Anthony Kiedis’s memoir in 2004. But, until recently, he’s never been a musician himself. Last year, at age 69, he changed that with his debut album Stubborn Heart.

It includes a duet with his longtime friend Nick Cave, who in a forthcoming documentary calls Ratso “a very strange, exotic creature that walks backstage looking like no one you’ve ever met.” Now Ratso’s returned with a cover of Cave’s own “Skeleton Tree”: Continue reading »

Nov 102020
 
myles kennedy trooper cover acoustic

“The Trooper” is one of Iron Maiden‘s most iconic songs; in America, it was one of only three Top 40 singles in the band’s history. The song pairs the classic Maiden gallop with one of the band’s most memorable riffs and vivid lyrics about The Charge of the Light Brigade.

Alter Bridge lead singer Myles Kennedy grew up listening to Maiden and covered “The Trooper” for SiriusXM. In the discussion before his performance, he says he’s going for a “Johnny Cash” vibe. Not sure how Johnny Cash would handle a Bruce Dickinson vocal, but Kennedy acquits himself impressively.

The song is stripped of everything save Kennedy’s commanding voice and his acoustic rhythm guitar playing. There’s no twin lead guitars and there’s no trademark galloping bass – just Kennedy. It’s a compelling performance showing off not just Kennedy’s voice but his ability to capture the song’s rhythm with just an acoustic guitar.