Ghanaian-American singer Moses Sumney knows his way around a good (and obscure) cover. His covers have made it onto multiple of our Best of Month lists and his cover of Laurie Anderson’s “O Superman” onto our Best Covers of 2015 list. Sumney has a new concert film coming out called A Performance in V Acts. He’s chosen “Come to Me” for one of the pieces and it’s kind of incredible.
Eddie Vedder – Long Shadow (Joe Strummer cover)
This month, Joe Strummer would have turned 70. In a few weeks, Dark Horse Records will release the compilation Joe Strummer 002: The Mescaleros Years. To promote it, director Lance Bangs filmed a video of Eddie Vedder covering the posthumously-released Mescaleros track “Long Shadow.” It’s a simple fireside performance, similar to Vedder buddy Neil Young’s lockdown videos, and hopefully will bring more attention to a lesser known non-Clash track from the Strummer catalog.
We’ve featured singer-songwriter Thao Nguyen, until recently of Thao & the Get Down Stay Down, on Cover Me a number of times over the years, as she’s covered songs from the past from multiple genres. Now that she’s gone out on her own, she’s chosen to cover a slightly more recent song. The surprising thing is that she picks, as she explains in the video, a song she doesn’t even that well: Björk’s “Human Behavior.”
Butcher Brown ft. Alex Isley – Best Friend (Brandy cover)
Virginia jazz collective Butcher Brown throws it back to ’90s R&B with this cover of Brandy’s 1994 slow jam “Best Friend.” Though it’s a little out of their usual wheelhouse – for one, it has a singer, Ernie Isley’s daughter no less – they ably blend their own leanings with the retro soul-pop feel. If you like this, don’t miss their rooftop NPR Tiny Desk Concert.
Kate Clover – These Boots Are Made for Walkin’ (Nancy Sinatra cover)
“If Suicide produced a Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazelwood song” is a hell of a tag line, and Kate Clover’s “These Boots” delivers on that premise. The menacing guitar seems pulled straight from “Frankie Teardrop,” while Clover’s vocals channel Sinatra’s swagger. Bonus points for the fun Twin Peaks-esque video.
Adia Victoria – On and On (Erykah Badu cover)
Adia Victoria recorded this powerful Badu cover for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. She said of the time she discovered the song, “I was looking for something that was bigger and deeper and felt more warm than the idea of a Christian God. And I dove into my imagination. And the first time I heard ‘on and on’ it felt like Erykah Badu was waiting for me to be her there.”
“Declare Independence,” the third single from Björk’s 2007 album Volta, is one of her most defiant and aggressive singles. Punk attitude and what almost sounds like Nine Inch Nails music, it actually originated as an instrumental piece by her former collaborator Mark Bell. A song about breaking away from distant, detached centralized authority, it is not Björk at her most accessible. But, because of the subject matter, it has become popular (and controversial).