When artists take on a cover, one can truly never know what to expect. The temperaments of musicians and their strongly-held notions of what is classic and what is terrible can be like the precisely correct atoms in a chemical reaction – get something just slightly out of balance and the whole thing will explode and kill everyone.
Guided by Voices are a truly influential band in the indie music sphere. Their 20+ year run provided the sonic groundwork for the lo-fi, DIY aesthetic so prevalent in today’s indie music scene. So it comes as no surprise that so many artists would be willing to provide covers from all eras of Guided by Voices work for the tribute album, Sing For Your Meat. Ranging from veterans such as The Flaming Lips, Thurston Moore (of Sonic Youth fame), and Lou Barlow, to artists more recently making names for themselves like La Sera and Blitzen Trapper, the bands on this 23-track tribute pay loving homage to a band without whom they might not exist.
Things kick off with a slightly sped up, straight forward rock cover of “Scalding Creek” by Kelly Deal and Buffalo Killers. The vocals keep the simple two part harmony. When they take a break, the lead guitar comes wailing through for a simple, yet effective solo, until the song pulls back on the reigns a little and comes to an abrupt halt. Things keep moving along quite swiftly, since, keeping true to the spirit of Guided by Voices, most songs clock in around two minutes or so, and indie star power like Thurston Moore and Lou Barlow is nicely mixed in with lesser known artists like Western Civ.
Few artists can claim to be as prolific as Guided By Voices’ Robert Pollard. Ignore the GBV catalogue and look at his solo output over the last five years alone – 12 full-length albums people! He built his status as a lo-fi icon with that seminal band, however, and must find living that legacy down as difficult as the solo Beatles did.
Cover News is a weekly feature keeping you up to date on the goings-on in the world of cover tunes, tribute albums, etc. Plus, at the bottom we post the array of cover tunes we’ve been sent in the past week. Have you recorded a cool cover? Send an mp3 to the address on the right! As always, follow Cover Me on Twitter for the latest news.
This Week’s News
Akron/Family invite you to cover their song “Woody Guthrie’s America.” Send it to them and you’ll snag free show tickets (or just listen to other people’s)! [Akron/Family]
Many people turned onto the debut by blog darlings Girls were disappointed that “Lust for Life” wasn’t an Iggy Pop cover. However, “The End of the World” is definitely a Skeeter Davis cover. [Stereogum]
The new version of “We Are the World” debuts. Justin Bieber and Barbra Streisand, together at last! Ugh. [YouTube]
The world does not need a Burt Bacharach covers album. But it does need collaborations by members of Wilco, Sonic Youth and Jim O’Rourke. Mixed blessing. [24 Bit]
The Twilight Singers cover “When Doves Cry.” Get it now before the Purple One’s lawyers attack. [Aquarium Drunkard]
Robert Smith of The Cure covers an Alice in Wonderland song no one remembered existed. I feel like there’s some irony there. [YouTube]
Jeff Beck is prepping an album of standards and classics of the American songbook. Hope orchestral arrangements doesn’t mean no guitar. [Billboard]
Special treat: Three preview tracks from the upcoming Ceremony: A New Order Tribute in Submissions below. For more: [Ceremony]
This Week’s Submissions
Moussa Clarke and John Ashby – And the Beat Goes On (The Whispers) [more]
Send your cover to the address on the right for inclusion!