Jul 132017
gavin castleton

We’ve written about Rhode Island songwriter/producer Gavin Castleton a few times over the years, spotlighting his airy and enjoyable covers of Peter Gabriel, Frank Ocean, and the Twin Peaks theme. But that didn’t prepare us for his newest, a hard-hitting and powerfully charged of Billie Holiday’s harrowing song about lynching, “Strange Fruit.”

One reason for our surprise is that Castleton recruited another Cover Me favorite to sing: Rescue of funk-rock band Bad Rabbits (hear them covering Smashing Pumpkins and Michael Jackson). Rescue delivers one of the most powerful vocals we’ve heard this year, lurching from aggressive pummel to wavering falsetto. And it blends perfectly with Castleton’s thudding electronic production, spare and unrelenting in a way that won’t let you turn away. Continue reading »

Nov 062013

There are two distinct elements to the Twin Peaks theme song, elements that are difficult for any artist to balance and for any listener to approach. There’s the theme song as a theme song, as Angelo Badalamenti’s mellow, dreamlike instrumentals that play over shots of Northwestern industrialism and waterfalls as the opening credits roll. Alternately, there’s “Falling” – it’s the same song, but it becomes entirely different when Julee Cruise‘s vocals and David Lynch‘s lyrics are introduced. Understandably, most (if not all) covers of the song opt for the latter. And yet, the listener is still somehow presented with the two different versions. Sometimes, like with last year’s Field Mouse cover, we get covers that are evocative of the opening – covers where the vocals are as ethereal as the instrumentals and the whole thing flows together as one ambient whole. Continue reading »

Jul 142011

Odd Future vocalist Frank Ocean’s mixtape Nostalgia/Ultra includes several catchy pop gems, but none as moody and ominous as the grammatically-incorrect standout “Swim Good.” Picking up on the darkness in the song, Providence, RI native Gavin Castleton just released what he calls a cover/mashup/remix of the track, using a newly-recorded vocal track and samples from “Roads” by Portishead as well as Lee Oskar’s “Our Road” and Ananda Shankar’s “The Ocean.” Continue reading »

Aug 262010

Song of the Day posts one cool cover every morning. Catch up on past installments here.

When we talk about a “solo cover” here, we’re usually talking guy with an acoustic guitar. If we really go nuts, maybe with a piano. Yawn. When you’ve got a loop pedal though, “solo cover” potential opens wide.

Gavin Castleton has such a pedal. He puts it to good use on this dancey Peter Gabriel cover, blending piano, organ, clapping, synth, beatboxing, and a backing chorus with his singing. Because he has to add the elements one by one, it’s a slow-build that pays off. When the signature riff finally comes in (at 1:04) it feels like the sound you’ve been waiting for all your life. Continue reading »