Oct 292010

You’ve probably seen our birthday tributes to the likes of Tom Petty, Snoop Dogg, and Madonna. Well, today, they say it’s our birthday. We’re gonna have a good time. In fact, we’ve already begun celebrating. This morning we enjoyed a Schoolhouse Rock Song of the Day. We offered up a new vinyl giveaway. We even re-posted our very first post (covers of songs off John Wesley Harding). But this is the big one.

We contacted a bunch of artists we’ve worked with in the past – terrifically talented folk who have all played a role in Cover Me’s history. We asked them to record birthday-themed cover songs for a special three-year celebration album. Find the fruits of their labor below. Eleven brand-new covers of birthday songs both famous (“It’s My Party”) and obscure (“Birthday Boy”), all recorded just for the occasion. You can download high-quality MP3s individually below or the full set (plus a bonus track!) way down at the bottom. Each artist shared their thoughts on the song they chose, so be sure to read those. Continue reading »

Oct 132009

Halloween is still three weeks away, but everyone has already had it up to the neck with vampires (har!). Hopefully after the Twilight/Jennifer’s Body/True Blood fervor runs its course Dracula and his nocturnal ilk will slink off for a long sleep. When that happens, it’s the werewolf’s time to rise.

The Pluto Tapes – Wolf Like Me (TV on the Radio)
TV on the Radio pulled off the rare feat of scoring a mainstream hit with this one without selling their souls. Andy Hicks of the Pluto Tapes strips back the jagged funk of the original for some slow-burn harmonies and crunchy crooning. [Buy]

Adam Sandler – Werewolves of London (Warren Zevon)
Adam Sander’s music career is as bipolar as it is bizarre. He’s covered Bruce Springsteen, with predictably terrible results (watch the video and laugh), but then again he’s covered Neil Young with shocking decent results (watch the video and be surprised). Happily, this Zevon cover falls into the latter category. [Buy]

Jordan Galland – Hungry Like the Wolf (Duran Duran)
This may be the most popular result from our monthly Cover Commissions, and it was only a bonus track! Still, it’s a killer. Which reminds me, October’s Cover Commissions coming soon! [Buy]

By a Girl – Furr (Blitzen Trapper)
The best wolf-song of the bunch. It’s the same old story: A guy wanders into the woods, spontaneously turns into a wolf, runs around for years that way, then sees a girl and becomes a man again. You know, the usual. [Buy]

Yann Gallice – A Wolf at the Door (Radiohead)
Hail to the Thief gets its share of ire from Radiohead fans. For goodness sakes, Pitchfork only gave it a 9.3! This gorgeous hum-happy cover may make you rethink. [Buy]

Joel Martin – Wolf Among Wolves (Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy)
I’m not quite sure what Will Oldham did to deserve the thirty-track tribute album I Am a Cold Rock, I Am Dull Grass, but fellow freak-folkniks like Iron and Wine and Calexico understand. Joel Martin delivers a high point of an already soaring album. [Buy]

Chester French – She-Wolf (Shakira)
Shakira on writing this 2009 hit: “The image of the she wolf just came to my head, and when I least expected it I was howling and panting.” No comment. [Buy]

The Meteors – Little Red Riding Hood (Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs)
As a kid I always adored this tune on the rare occasions it graced oldies radio, but the Meteors amp it up another notch with a singer who actually sounds like the (sexually aggressive) wolf. [Buy]

Stiff Dead Cat – Dire Wolf (Grateful Dead)
First discovered this bluegrass cover when researching our Workingman’s Dead album post. This lesser gem deserves another look. [Buy]

Ellie Goulding – The Wolves (Act I and II) (Bon Iver)
Covering Bon Iver is like covering heaven. That explains why this is so angelic. [Buy]

Jul 242009

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. We’re still looking for an August artist!

Jordan Galland’s Cover Commissions poll a few weeks ago got a record number of votes. The Pulp fans fought the Duran Duran crew to the bitter end, but Jarvis Cocker finally got the edge over Simon Le Bon. “Bad Cover Version” it is (but “Hungry Like the Wolf” fans, don’t despair — scroll down for a surprise.)

I have to admit though, I feel like Jordan missed an opportunity on this one. That’s what I can’t figure. See, the song’s called “Bad Cover Version,” but he turned in a good cover version. Hell, he turned in an excellent cover version. Such a waste.

All jokes aside, Jordan did a phenomenal job with this We Love Life nugget. I’ll let him introduce it.

First off, the title just calls out for someone to cover this song. Even at the risk of someone saying “it’s a bad cover version of Bad Cover Version.”

The other day I “stumbled” upon a couple kids rapping over an Eminem song, their own lyrics in his style, about the trashy remakes and sequels Hollywood is spitting out. “Would the real Transformers please stand up?”

It had occurred to me before, but now it was obvious – a lot of people feel this way, and I thought back to Jarvis singing “A bad cover version of love is not the real thing” and realized what he was singing about is only getting worse.

It was far from my favorite Pulp song, but the chorus melody is classic, and the sentiment of the song is at the heart of what the band has always been trying to communicate. Yes, our lives are like movies, sometimes depressing movies, sometimes sexy movies, whatever – but let’s not make them bad remakes of movies.

The recording they did is epic and ballady, so I felt like tightening it, and speeding it up. I also instantly knew I wanted to try and get those Little Shop of Horrors ‘50s style backing vocals on the chorus.

When I cover a song, I like to do a version that occupies a completely different space than the original. For that reason, I usually try to cover songs from female artists, because a guy’s voice instantly makes it different.

It was a challenge figuring out how the main riff, played on a twangy vibrato guitar in the original, could be played on piano without it just seeming like single notes.

Without further ado…

A Cover Me Exclusive

But wait, there’s more! Jordan’s a warm-hearted guy and he felt bad for you ‘80s fans. So once again, heeeeeeeere’s Jordan!

I felt like “Hungry Like the Wolf” was a decade too late. While the original recording is clearly from the ’80s, the chords and the sentiment seem to sit better on a couch next to Jim Morrison. The trumpets, played by Sam Oatts, hopefully give it that feel.

On both songs, I was working completely alone, so another challenge was trying to make it feel like a band.

A Cover Me Exclusive

These mp3s may be freely shared with the artist’s blessing. Post them on your blog, send them to your friends, burn them 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.

Jul 112009

This Week’s News

When George Harrison passed in 2001, My Morning Jacket’s Jim James – or should I say, Yim Yames – recorded an EP in tribute to the legend. It’s just been released on Jim’s (Yim’s) website and is well worth the download.

I try to avoid referring you to iTunes since, though it is DRM-free for now, their pricing policies are questionable. But when they have an exclusive Frank Sinatra tribute album featuring Maroon 5 and the Kills, that’s worth looking into.

New cover list over at AOL Radio. A few gems there, enough to overlook the inclusion of Manfred Mann’s “Blinded By the Light.” Yech. What we really learn from this link though is that AOL has a “Rock Cover Songs” radio station!

One of the covers included is the Foo Fighters’ “Darling Nikki.” Which reminds me, go download Spin’s Purplish Rain cover album for free now. You need a copy of the magazine for the code word, but I’m sure you can find it elsewhere, guy.

If your jones for Prince covers still isn’t satisfied, look forward to a new “Let’s Go Crazy” courtesy of Incubus. Dearly beloved…

In other “people you forgot existed” news, Fiona Apple’s back on a tribute album to Cy Coleman. Listen to her take on “Why Try to Change Me Now” here.

I’m glad indie rockers love It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia as much as I do. The season four finale is a musical masterpiece and now you can see a new ad featuring people both famous (Ted Leo, Of Montreal) and not covering the masterpiece “Dayman.”

I caught a Rosewood Thieves show last summer and they mentioned working on a Solomon Burke tribute album, from which they played several phenomenal cuts. Well the album – Heartaches By the Pound: The Rosewood Thieves Sing Solomon Burke – is out, and you can watch them perform a cut off it at Paste.

And finally (you knew it was coming), more Michael Jackson tribute news. They’re putting together a new tribute album over at Butterxface and, though it’s hit a few roadblocks, Julian Lynch has posted his “Human Nature” on his myspace. In other Jacko cover news…

This Week’s Submissions

Dopo Yume – Famous Blue Raincoat (Leonard Cohen)

Xavier Michael – Man in the Mirror (Michael Jackson)

The Rocks – The Way You Make Me Feel (Michael Jackson)

Jul 022009

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.

What do Amy Winehouse and John Lennon have in common? They’re only two degrees of separation away from this month’s Cover Commissions artist! The first connection is producer Mark Ronson, widely credited with giving Winehouse (and others) her unique sound. He released his excellent covers disc Version in 2007 with help from Lily Allen, Santigold and…our guy, on piano!

The second connection is Sean Lennon, respected musician as well as famous son. This month’s artist is Sean’s childhood friend, and not only did he play on Sean’s Friendly Fires a few years back, he even co-wrote two of the songs!

So without further ado, let me present to you…Jordan Galland. When he’s not recording music or playing with his band Dopo Yume, he’s also an acclaimed filmmaker. His most recent album is Airbrush, which you can pick up for cheaps here (or iTunes or Amazon or CDBaby or anywhere else). Or get a taste over at his MySpace page. Dude’s even made a bunch of animated music videos for his tunes! Here’s the newest (and cutest):

All that would be enough for most people, but Jordan’s going to try his hand at a cover for us. What song? As always, it’s up to you!

Nine songs are presented below, each with a link to a youtube video so you can easily listen to any tunes you don’t know. Listen to each, listen to Jordan’s original music, then figure out where his sound would work best and cast your vote in the poll on the right. Voting closes in one week and a brand-new cover of the winning song will debut here in a month or so. Introducing….The Contenders.

David Bowie – Young Americans (34 votes)
The Cars – My Best Friend’s Girl (24 votes)
Duran Duran – Hungry Like the Wolf (65 votes)
Madonna – True Blue (15 votes)
No Doubt – Underneath It All (11 votes)
Queen – Killer Queen (27 votes)
Pulp – Bad Cover Version (69 votes)
Bruce Springsteen – No Surrender (17 votes)
Weezer – Pink Triangle (18 votes)

Get listening and get voting! You have one week…GO!