Oct 222010

Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!

Elliott Smith’s 1997 release, Either/Or, strikes the perfect balance between the stripped-down acoustic recordings of his early career and the more fleshed-out arrangements that he would later explore. It doesn’t hurt that the album contains some of his most memorable melodies as well.

With its near-whispered vocals and dark lyrics, Elliott Smith’s music has always had a personal, headphone-music quality to it—you don’t see many summer barbecue mixes blaring tracks like “2:45 AM.” As a result, the best covers of his songs tend not to stray far from the singer-recording-in-his-bedroom model, but we’ve also included some of the more adventurous interpretations of his work. Continue reading »

Oct 122010

Recording a tribute album is a tricky proposition. Taking on an iconic band like Led Zeppelin increases the risk significantly. And trying it with 39 tracks (51 if you include the digital bonus tracks)? That’s a lot of freakin’ songs. Some of Led Zeppelin’s songs are even covered more than once in this collection. This project is the brainchild of Rob Jones, who runs the Jealous Butcher record label (home of The Decemberists and M Ward among others), and has been over five years in the making.

I, like so many others, love Led Zeppelin. I have all of their albums, box sets, and various paraphernalia. Led Zeppelin soundtracked my teenage years, helped me realize how bad most ’80s hair bands were (thanks guys) and led me to discover other great musicians Led Zeppelin cited as influences. Because their musicianship and writing is so strong, any cover will instantly be compared to the iconic original. Therein lies the rub for an artist attempting a Led Zeppelin cover. Completely re-imagine a song and risk being torn apart by the purists; stay too faithful and be told that your cover pales in comparison to the original.  Some artists on The Land of Ice & Snow are faithful to the original, others…not so much. One of the few times being unfaithful is a good thing. Continue reading »