Aug 312022
catbite everybody talks

Catbite is a rockin’ four-piece ska band from Philadelphia whose influences include The Selectors, The Specials, Elvis Costello, and many more. In their new cover, they tackle one of the recent pop-rock hitmakers Neon Trees’ most popular tunes, “Everybody Talks.”

While the original high-charting power pop song is gleeful, this version is more forward in showcasing how sinister sweet-talking) can be. This cover almost gives us 60’s vibes with all of its lush vocal oo’s and ah’s layered in the background. The driving talking guitars on the offbeats and bright yet boisterous drums make this version likable at first blush.

But as the tune continues, it gets grittier and grittier. What once was an upbeat pop song turned into a dirty tune full of yell-singing, a crepe-cake of guitars, and even a touch of organ. It adds up to something sassy, energetic, and dance-worthy. Check it out below.

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Aug 252022

‘The Best Covers Ever’ series counts down our favorite covers of great artists.

Elvis Costello Covers

When Elvis Costello first appeared on the scene, the press fell over themselves not only to praise him, but to pigeonhole him. He was a punk. He was a new waver. He was a nerd, what with his glasses and gawky suits (Dave Marsh memorably said that “Elvis Costello looks like Buddy Holly after drinking a can of STP Oil Treatment”). Most commonly, he was lumped in with Graham Parker, Joe Jackson, Billy Joel, and others as an Angry Young Man. “I’m not angry,” Costello protested on My Aim Is True, and everyone nodded and smiled and patted his head.

Costello wasn’t interested in living on that particular cul-de-sac. He began expanding his musical palette, making more complex songs with more complex rhymes. He delved into other genres, starting with country & western (to the dismay of both Costello fans and C&W fans, and to the pleasant surprise of music fans) and moving on to blues, jazz, orchestral, classical pop, and more. As he became a greater student, he became a greater teacher, giving credit in word and action to his influences, penning a well-received autobiography, and hosting the talk/music show Spectacle, where he interviewed and played with his peers. He continues to record – his most recent album, The Boy Named If, was released earlier this year – and has settled into the role of elder statesman that his talent earned him long ago.

Costello turns one year elder today, his 68th birthday. We’re celebrating with a collection of the fifty best Elvis Costello covers we could get our hands on. They reflect his wide range of styles, revel in his literacy, plumb his depths. Most of all, they reveal his heart, showing over and over again how his love of song can lift, wrench, open up the people who listen to him and to his music. We hope you find this list as worthy of celebration as Elvis Costello is.

– Patrick Robbins, Features Editor