Jun 112021
 
They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s special day with other people singing his or her songs. Let others do the work for a while. Happy birthday!
Howlin' Wolf covers

Born 111 years ago this week, Chester Burnett, better known as Howlin’ Wolf, was a blues musician who possessed one of the most distinctive voices in 20th century popular music, and who wrote some of his genre’s most enduring hits. With his rival Muddy Waters, Wolf defined the electric blues style that reverberated out of Chicago in the 1950s. This sound in turn altered the course of the nascent rock music genre, as youngsters like Keith Richards, Jimi Hendrix, and Eric Clapton absorbed Chicago blues, and brought their own trippy flavor of it to new and wider audiences. Wolf was among the first black musicians to capitalize on white youths’ love for the blues form.
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Jun 112021
 
german cover songs

We’re not generally in the practice of publishing reader mail at Cover Me (doesn’t mean we don’t appreciate getting it!). There’s no Letters to the Editor page like you’d see in an old magazine. The comments section and social media serve that function well enough. But today, we’re making an exception.

Last summer, a German reader named Karsten Schroeder wrote in offering to share some cool covers he liked by German bands. We said sure – we’re always looking to discover new stuff, after all. We didn’t hear much after that and, to be honest, forgot about it. Then, a full ten months later, he emailed an exhaustive look at the covers scene in Germany. Across 123 songs, Karsten explored covers spanning punk – his favorite genre – to hip-hop, folk to pop to a few genres that are Germany-specific (“Fun-Punk,” “Deutschrock”). It was so rich and detailed, full of amazing covers that we – and, I expect, you – had never heard before that we asked him if we could publish it. Continue reading »

Jun 102021
 
Donner Night by Night

Norwegian guitarist, composer and producer Jacob Holm-Lupo is a chameleonic musicmaker. As the chief songwriter/vibemeister of ensembles The Opium Cartel and White Willow, Holm-Lupo has created an oeuvre that includes dozens of records made across three decades. His music draws from a broad palate of ‘70s & ‘80s prog, jazz and art-rock influences. Chief among these is the venerable Steely Dan.
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Jun 082021
 

So Low by Lowland HumIt might seem like an obvious choice to perform a minimalist version of Peter Gabriel‘s So. Gabriel’s fifth album, and the first with its own name, So is the most ’80s of albums. It features so many of Gabriel’s career trademarks: Fairlight and Prophet synthesizers (and many others), sequencers, early drum machines, gated drums, etc. If there is any one album that captures the sound of ’80s record production, it’s So. (And that’s only fair since Gabriel invented so many of those conventions during his solo career.) So stripping it all away to focus on the songs might seem like an easy and obvious approach.

But whether or not it’s simple or obvious, “minimalist modern folk”  husband and wife duo Lowland Hum has created a powerful record with their song-for-song cover of the entirety of So, cleverly titled So Low and released on May 19. The band mostly use few instruments, Daniel and Lauren’s voices, an acoustic guitar, a few loops, and a few judicial overdubs. It feels like the exact opposite approach to the material that Gabriel took when he wrote the songs.

But don’t mistake this for a record like Gabriel’s own New Blood, where Gabriel reinvented his own songs as orchestral pop. There’s way more space here and so few instruments that some moments are almost spartan. Lowland Hum play with Gabriel’s songs just enough to make some of them sound new, but mostly they adhere closely enough the originals that they are easy to place.
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Jun 082021
 
julia jacklin rvg army of me cover

The first single from Björk’s second adult, “Army of Me” might be the closest she ever got to industrial pop sound that was everywhere in the mid ’90s. The synthetic bass, the sample, it’s all low, with only Björk’s vocal (lower in her range) and the clanging percussion brightening things up. On their new cover, Australian singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin and RVG take a less ominous and more wrong approach to the song. Continue reading »

Jun 072021
 
big freedia judas

To celebrate Lady Gaga’s seminal 2011 album Born this Way turning 10 this year, the album is being re-released with a bonus disc of covers performed by prominent LGBTQIA+ artists. The first track to be released from this bonus disc is Big Freedia’s cover of “Judas,” the second single released from Born this Way. Continue reading »