Amanda Palmer and The Righteous Babes — The Last Day of our Acquaintance (Sinéad O’Connor cover)
You’re going to notice a theme here. We have the usual grab-bag included below (see “Best of the Rest”), but, for our featured covers up top, it’s all Sinéad. There were so many wonderful tributes performed, often in concert and always powerful and moving. Many did “Nothing Compares 2 U,” technically a Prince cover but really a Sinéad song now and forever, but others selected from elsewhere in her catalog. Of this one, which just came out Tuesday, Amanda Palmer wrote, “This song means a great deal to me, as does the artist who penned it, along with everything she still stands for.” A portion of the money from sales will be donated to The Irish Women’s Survivor Support Network.Continue reading »
Rufus Wainwright’s Folkocracy is a reminder of how different a context is the word folk, when there is that Atlantic Ocean dividing America and Europe. This album feels a very North American version, where, broadly, anything much with an acoustic guitar, and on the softer side of rock, fits the bill, with often a fair old slice of the older social commentators, Seeger, Guthrie et al, chucked in for good measure. In the UK, folk tends more to the trad. arr., in style if not necessarily sacrosanct in content, and of a devoutly Celtic or Anglo hue. Wainwright doesn’t totally ignore any particular aul’ country, but Folkocracy is full of nods, sometimes eccentric, to an early 60’s heyday of Kingston Trios, Peter Paul and Mary and that ilk, if with a few left field lurches into Broadway and Hollywood. At times it is astonishing, in a beguiling way, sometimes bewildering and sometimes just plain odd. But, overall, this album is impressive, if more on the side of to be admired more than loved, with a slew of guests adding their varied (and variable) flavors at several stages along the way. Continue reading »
Aaron Taos ft. Jordana — Under Control (The Strokes cover)
Aaron Taos says: “When Jordana and I met for the first time, we realized very quickly that we both shared an obsession with the Strokes. What’s more surprising is that we also share the same favorite Strokes song, “Under Control,” an album cut off of their second LP Room On Fire. Naturally, we decided that we had to cover this amazing tune. Reimagined as a minimalist duet, this slow burn produced by Blake Richardson (formerly artist Sage Baptiste) also comes with a lo-fi vid shot in Brooklyn, NY. We just want to make Julian Casablancas proud.”Continue reading »
Bria – When You Know Why You’re Happy (Mary Margaret O’Hara’ cover)
Bria’s “Where Have All The Cowboys Gone?” made our list of the Best Covers of 2022. The track was a sneak peak at her covers EP Cuntry Covers Vol. 2, and the full thing dropped a few weeks ago. It includes a wonderful version of this much more obscure song. Bria explains: “Mary Margaret O’Hara is a creative force and one of my favorite Canadian artists. I have been a huge fan of hers for quite some time and really wanted to try my hand at one of her songs for Vol. 2. She is a real queen of vocal improvisation. It’s a trait of hers that I’ve always admired, so I really wanted to explore that when recording this cover. The video for this track is special to us, a sort of collage of memory; fragmented footage of summer taken over the last two years is dispersed throughout shots of a vast winter scene, filmed while we finished the record up North with our live band.”Continue reading »
Adam Lambert – Getting Older (Billie Eilish cover)
On his new covers album High Drama, Adam Lambert didn’t pick one of the obvious Billie Eilish songs to cover (“Bad Guy,” “Everything I Wanted,” etc). He goes for relative deep cut “Getting Older,” off her 2021 album Happier Than Ever. Eilish’s original was fairly minimalist. Lambert doesn’t do “minimalist.” His “glam” version, as he describes it, makes the song sound like a much bigger hit than it was.Continue reading »
Four days after the Grammy Awards, the Recording Academy returns to the Dolby Theatre in LA to stage an all-star tribute to The Beach Boys. All surviving bandmembers were present to watch a host of A-list artists tackle their hits and, occasionally, deeper cuts. The proceedings were filmed for A Grammy Salute To The Beach Boys, which will air later this year, but for now you can preview it with audience footage that landed on YouTube.
Below, find videos of Beach Boys covers from Mumford & Sons, St. Vincent, Beck, My Morning Jacket, Weezer, LeAnn Rimes, Brandi Carlile, Fall Out Boy, Little Big Town, Charlie Puth, Norah Jones, Pentatonix, and Hanson, along with a couple cool duets among the artists performing: Beck and Jim James of My Morning Jacket doing “Good Vibrations,” Carlile and Legend doing “God Only Knows” (pictured above), and Luke Spiller of The Struts & Taylor Momsen of The Pretty Reckless doing a medley of “Surfin’ USA” and “Fun Fun Fun.”
It’s a little hard to compare them all since sound quality is inconsistent, but three performances that stand out here at Mumford & Sons collaborating with Sam Gendel on a strange jazzy “I Know There’s an Answer,” St. Vincent crooning “You Still Believe in Me,” and LeAnn Rimes singing the hell out of “Caroline No.” And Weezer, of course, who were made to do crunchy power-pop covers of Beach Boys hits. (I couldn’t find any video of three performers from this show: Andy Grammer, Lady A, and Take 6).