Back in November we introduced you to the Miracles of Modern Science when they covered Foster the People’s “Pumped Up Kicks.” Well, they’re back with a new video, and it’s delightful. Justin Vernon’s Bon Iver is up for Best New Artist at the Grammys this year (despite the fact that his debut came out in 2008) and despite the new directions 2011’s Bon Iver, Bon Iver took the “band,” the core of his style remains: chilly choruses of his own voice.
When presented with a series of cover albums called Guilt by Association, one might imagine them to be filled with ironic takes on cheesy pop songs; that threat’s only increased by a volume that promises to present only songs that fall under the classification of “hair metal,” perhaps the most mocked of all genres. Fortunately, Guilt by Association Vol. 3 betrays no sign of hipster bands mocking songs that some people (this reviewer) legitimately love. Instead, it finds a collection of young, talented acts embracing some admittedly overwrought material from the 1980s and truly making it their own. By any metric, Guilt by Association can be considered a success.
We at Cover Me get excited when a musician finds a genre twist that transforms a cover song’s meaning. Previously, we mentioned Laurence Collyer as the one-man-band member of The Diamond Family Archive who excels in doing just that. This Brighton-based musician takes generally upbeat pop songs and twists them into sad and lonely little folk and acoustic numbers. In his latest set, Collyer was kind enough to indulge us with an exclusive EP of outtakes from his brilliant 2009 cover album, The Wanderer. Some are alternative performances of album tracks; others are never-before-heard covers.
In Defense takes a second look at a much maligned cover artist, album, or trend and asks, “Is it really as bad as all that?”
Disclaimer: This won’t be a strong defense of any particular American Idol artist. Let’s face it, the show has produced some music that’s utterly indefensible. You won’t catch me rocking out to Clay Aiken in the car anytime soon, mostly because “Invisible” is the creepiest song ever written. But a lot of music fans are quick to dismiss Idol as the lower common denominator of pop culture (an award properly given to the truly meritless Bridalplasty), when the series possesses several redeeming qualities. Chief among them: the ability to surprise audiences with the appearance of a knockout cover bobbing in a sea of dreary copycat performances.
Live Collection brings together every live cover we can find from an artist. And we find a lot.
The recent release of Easy Wonderful has given Guster fans reason to fall in love with them all over again. As their album title insinuates, they have an agreeable sound that resonates with you and has aged well over the past (almost) 20 years. If the Beach Boys went to college in the 90’s, added some bongos, and stayed out of the sun, Guster is what they would sound like.
Featured on soundtracks like Life as a House and Wedding Crashers, their songs can pull at the heartstrings as you croon along with them. On the other hand, they are better known for their laid-back, wisecracking personalities that beam from the stage and infect their fans. During their years of touring, they have taken on many cover songs with both their sensitive and playful dispositions (but mostly the latter). Typically at the end of a show, Guster will rile up the crowd with a number from Madonna, Talking Heads, or whoever sings the “Cheers” theme song (Portnoy) and get everyone involved. Most of the time, it’s just an excuse to get drummer Brian Rosenworcel out in front showing off his questionable vocals, calling in the crowd for backup. It’s just like being at a karaoke bar.
Every Wednesday, our resident Gleek Eric Garneau gives his take on last night’s Glee covers.
Before Glee begins its parade of guest stars and themed episodes that will lead us into the half-season break, it takes a breather to give us a pretty standard episode in “Never Been Kissed.” In a year full of novelty shows, an episode where nothing too out-of-the-ordinary happens almost feels like a stunt itself. Alas, no crazy casting pops up to distract from the major drama that populates this week’s installment. Instead, we focus on another round of boys vs. girls mash-ups (a callback to last year’s “Vitamin D” competition) as the Glee gang deals with a lot of sexual tension or, more accurately, tension that results from one character’s sexual orientation.