Jun 302009
This Week’s News
The first news is a friendly reminder that you have less than 12 more hours to download from this blog!  All the archived mp3s will vanish as of Wednesday (sad I know), so use this guide to help you get started.  You don’t have long, so go nuts.
The second bit of news is to look for a unique tribute to a certain someone tomorrow night.
In a less self-centered vein, a cappella covers are hit or miss, but these two nail it.  First up we’ve got Perpetuum Jazzile conjuring up the sounds of a storm with Toto’s “Africa” and then there’s the Carleton Singing Knights (who came up with that moniker) trying to wrap their collegiate voices around Dirty Projectors’ “Cannibal Resource.”
Beck’s going on a cover rampage these days.  First came the news that he’d recorded more Sonic Youth covers to follow up the “Green Light” he released on Record Store Day.  In fact, he decided to go whole hog and just cover the Youth’s whole EVOL album for an upcoming box set.  The catch?  His version will be released on cassette only.  I understand vinyl nostalgia, but cassette?
He does understand new technology though, as he is demonstrating with his just-launched Record Club where he and a group of collaborators (including MGMT and Devandra Banhart) will cover classic albums one track at a time.  First up is The Velvet Underground & Nico, with videos of “Sunday Morning” and “I’m Waiting For the Man” already up at his website.  A new tune comes every week, then onto the next album.
If you read my other blog, you know I can’t get enough My Morning Jacket.  Jim James’ voice makes my soul melt, so hearing that he’s working up an EP of George Harrison covers (as “Yim Yames”) made me a happy fan indeed.
For those of you who prefer your pleasures a little guiltier, get secretly stoked for the upcoming Killers cover album.  They’re still working on the disc, but it’s looking like a real grab back with the potential for Genesis, Tom Waits, and Fleet Foxes tunes.  While you wait, revisit some of their old covers: Romeo and Juliet (Dire Straits), Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town (The First Edition) and Shadowplay (Joy Division).
Don’t know how I missed this back in April, but join me in catching up with Paste’s “50 Best Bob Dylan Covers of All Time.”  Debate away!
Even that list is too narrowly defined for Britain’s Telegraph though, which has come up with their own set of the 50 best covers ever period!  I’m sure you’ll agree with every one.
Pissed off by those lists?  Here’s a 50-best-covers list compiled by Guardian readers.
One more list, but a funnier one.  Humor video site Urlesque has come up with a group of “Bohemian Rhapsody” covers that range from the bizarre to the really bizarre.  Ukulele, ok.  Clarinet, pushing it but fine.  But a Queen cover by hand fart?  Must be seen to be believed.
I haven’t heard this yet myself, but this Headless Heroes cover album sounds like a winner.  Just FYI.
Cover lovers everywhere are in constant debt to Rick Rubin for producing Johnny Cash’s phenomenal American Recordings series, so much so that he can almost be forgiven for his recent work with Metallica and Weezer.  And if David Crosby is to be believed, the upcoming Crosby, Stills and Nash cover album he’s behind should be a winner as well.  Hear Crosby sound off.
I’ve never heard of the Monochrome Set, I’ve never heard of “He’s Frank,” but this cover by Fatboy Slim, Iggy Pop and the Roots on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon is all sorts of awesome.  They’ve got a Letterman take too, but it’s just not the same without Tuba Gooding, Jr.
This Week’s Submissions
Apr 012009

Cover Commissions is a monthly series in which a featured artist produces a special cover for this blog. The song to be covered is usually chosen by blog readers via a poll or suggestions form. Any artists interested in participating in a future installment, please email me at the address on the right.

Only two weeks ago we debuted James Eric’s Devo cover, and the ’80s love continues today with our second Cover Commissions artist, John Anealio. At the beginning of March you voted for which sci-fi song you wanted John to cover here, and it was neck and neck between the Flaming Lips’ “Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots” and Styx “Mr. Roboto.” John picked the latter to cover, and I couldn’t be happier with the results (and Lips fans, don’t be sad, Damien Rice did an unbeatable Yoshimi cover you can snag here).

John’s Mr. Roboto reimagines the tune in a way you’ve never heard. But don’t take my word for it; listen to him describe it himself at a podcast on his fabulous blog Sci Fi Songs. And remember, his originals are terrific whether you know the source material or not. Learn more about those in a new interview over at SF Signal.

But enough about all that. On to the tune!

This mp3 may be freely shared with the artist’s blessing. Post it on your blog, send it to your friends, burn it for your office mates. When you do share this however, please include a link to this site. Cover Commissions is a monthly occurrence here, and the more traffic this project draws the more exciting we can make future installments.

Another Cover Commissions in the bag, but we’re not wasting any time. Check back in the next couple days for the next installment and get your voting hands ready!