May 202011

Download This scours the web’s dark corners for cool cover freebies. View past installments.

Toronto-based indie label Paper Bag Records boasts an impressive roster of bands, featuring both Canadian and international artists. SXSW breakthrough band P.S. I Love You, The Rural Alberta Advantage and Born Ruffians all call the label home. You Say Party! also worked with the label before breaking up last month. Continue reading »

Apr 182011

Last week, Paper Bag Records released PS I Love You’s squalling cover of Madonna’s “Where’s the Party?” on Soundcloud. The included cover art gave us an inkling something was up, and, intrigued, we tweeted asking them if a True Blue tribute album was in the works. We never heard back…but we were right! Three days later, the label is releasing the full set as a free download to celebrate the launch of their new website. Celebration indeed (whoops, wrong album). Continue reading »

Oct 272010

Under the Radar shines a light on lesser-known cover artists. If you’re not listening to these folks, you should. Catch up on past installments here.

Sheezer (Blue Album)

What do you call an all-female Weezer tribute band? Sheezer, obviously. They already knew they had the perfect name, but when Rivers Cuomo tweeted their existence to his followers before the band had even played their first show last New Year’s Eve, that’s when they knew that maybe it was time to put in some practice. Classically trained pianist and kalimba extraordinaire Laura Barrett (check out her kalimba cover of Weird Al’s “Smells Like Nirvana”) found herself having to suddenly learn how to play the bass. Not that the girls were not already accomplished in their own right, being made up of members from Toronto’s indie rock scene. The group consists of Barrett (The Hidden Cameras), Dana Snell (The Bicycles), Magali Meagher (The Phonemes), Robin Hatch (Sports: The Band), and “shreddingest awesome lead guitarist” Alysha Haugen. Continue reading »

"Weird Al" Yankovic

 Posted by at 2:00 pm  1 Response »
Oct 192009

“Weird Al” Yankovic is one of the smartest men in music. Think about it. How many other wannabe jokesters have tried to do exactly what he does? And how many have even achieved one-tenth of his success? Everyone feels like they have a hilarious parody up their sleeves – in middle school my friend had a food-themed version of the Backstreet Boys’ “I Want It That Way” that never failed to kill us – but Al has taken the genre to another level. The guy’s been around for thirty years and he still sells out concerts coast to coast. Pretty good for a funny-haired accordion-player.

Covering a parody seems somewhat counter-intuitive. The parody is the evil twin of the cover. A good cover keeps the lyrics but changes the music. A parody does just the opposite. So it’s not surprising that most of the fifteen (!) covers below are of Al’s original songs. I’ve long wanted to compile this post for Cover Me. I believe it’s worth the wait. Oh, and later this week I’ll be posting some covers that didn’t make this post on Twitter, so follow Cover Me now!

Laura Barrett – Smells Like Nirvana

After all that, the first choice here is a parody. A brave choice by Barrett, who surely would have gotten more blog love with a cover of the original. Damn thing features a kalimba, after all! Wikipedia it. [Buy]

Stiff Bristles – Frank’s 2000″ TV

When Al wrote this in ’93, it probably seemed like more of a joke than it does today. With flat screens now all the rage, two-thousand inches may not be far off. [Buy]

James Eric – The Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota

Fact: There is a biggest ball of twin in Minnesota, located in the tiny town of Darwin (population: 276). One Francis Johnson created it in 1950, spending four hours a day wrapping twine. For 23 weeks. Another fact: James Eric was our first Cover Commissions artist. Final fact: October’s Cover Commissions is on now, so go vote! [Buy]

Your Mother – I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead

A dead-on spoof of the entire new-age moment, “I’ll Be Mellow When I’m Dead” doubles as a pretty good rule to live by. Your Mother put this out on the vinyl-only The Weird Al-Bum tribute disc. Well worth the $8. [Buy]

The PowerChord Men – Amish Paradise

Here’s a famous song in Yanko-lore. Coolio supposedly gave his permission for the parody (Al always asks, and has been granted it from everyone but Prince) but then publicly claimed otherwise. Publicity stunt or genuine miscommunication? The world may never know (or care). Still, I’ll bet neither ever envisioned the song as a minor-key acoustic duet. [Buy]

Lager Rhythms – Since You’ve Been Gone

A cappella groups are the most reliable source of Weird Al covers. This song was vocal-driven initially anyway, so it’s a perfect match for the Lager Rhythms (get it? har!). [Buy]

The iMAniaC – Hardware Store

Al could give Twista a run for his money as fastest rapper alive. OK, maybe not, but he sure blasts out the shopping list in the bridge. The iMAniaC guys take it a different way. Though turning a Weird Al song into something about Star Trek doesn’t seem like a huge stretch. Also, check out this top-notch fan video. [Buy]

Take Away – Eat It

The final parody cover of the bunch. Weird Al has taken on Madonna in the past; if she ever covered him, it might sound like this. Don’t miss the parody video…of the parody video. [Buy]

Mike Odd & the Oddities – Nature Trail to Hell

With Halloween on the way, this couldn’t be more timely. If this was an actual movie, I know I’d see it. Frankly, I’m surprised it isn’t. You listening, Dreamworld? [Buy]

Double Down – This Is the Life

Weird Al wrote a recession-themed parody of T.I.’s “Whatever You Like” last year. This seems to be the bull-market companion piece. [Buy]

Yoni Gordon – Dare to Be Stupid

Lots of covers of this one (I get a kick out of the synth-dance version over here). But if you’re feeling punk rock, this Yoni’s for you. [Buy]

Yulenog & Nathan Kuruna – Christmas at Ground Zero

“The Night Santa Went Crazy” tends to be the go-to Weird Al Christmas tune, but I think this one’s more clever. “We can dodge debris while we trim the tree underneath the mushroom cloud.” That’s right, internal rhyming. [Buy]

Sudden Death – Happy Birthday

‘Tis the season to be born! Cover Me’s second birthday is on the 30th and my own is on Wednesday. One year maybe I’ll celebrate with broccoli and beer. Not this year though. One other birthday coming up too…oh yeah, Al’s, this Friday! We celebrate the season with this selection from the Prosthetic Lips tribute album (free to download). Oh, and happy birthday Micaela and Chiara Klein! [Download]

Throwing Toasters – Good Enough for Now

The acoustic cover is excellent, but what really gets me is the pre-song intro. The Toasters guy explains why covering Al is tough. Listen and learn. [Buy]

Marc and Jon – Polka #27

On every album Al puts the lyrics of a dozen recent pop hits into a polka medley. In a way, it’s the closest he gets to a traditional cover. The idea of putting Al’s own songs into such a melody seems so obvious once you hear it, but it takes a special kind of genius to blend “Albuquerque,” “Dog Eat Dog,” and “Let Me Be Your Hog.” [Buy]

Jan 142009

–Edit: Reposted, with the offending link removed.–

Didn’t best of 2008 lists get played out in, oh, 2008? Yes. I even already had a post on the best covers of the year. So what is this? Well, I get a kick out of year-end lists, so I really enjoyed seeing the Hype Machine compile hundreds of them into one master list of the fifty most highly-rated albums on the blogosphere. You can read it most easily here, though there aren’t too many surprises. Regardless, I though I’d throw up all the covers I had of songs from these albums. In true year-end list fashion, they’re in descending order.

Laura Barrett – Gamma Ray (Beck, Modern Guilt)
I’ll be honest: I like Beck, loathed this album. I only even made it throw once, it just seemed like experimental mush that took me nowhere. Luckily, Barrett heard something I didn’t, as her twee karimba (wikipedia it) cover gives it a fuzzy cuteness that the grunge-synth of the original obliterated. [Buy]

Friendly Fires – I’m Good I’m Gone (Lykke Li, Youth Novels)
Count me out of the Lykke Li obsession too. From the first time I saw her spastically gyrating on Conan, I knew this strange Swede was not for me. Friendly Fires strips away the irritating production enough to make it more tolerable, though it sneaks in towards the end. [Buy]

Holy Fuck – Balloons (Foals, Antidotes)
I haven’t actually heard the original here, but this unfortunately-named band’s electronica take slowly draws you in, taking it sweet time to add layer to layer. [Buy]

Mason Proper – Get Innocuous/Love Lockdown (LCD Soundsystem/Kanye West, 808s and Heartbreak)
Brilliant. Mason Proper takes the bass line and lyrics from the Kanye hit and throws in some LCD production for a take that may just eclipse the slow-burn original. A point in Proper’s favor: no AutoTune. [Buy]

Ola Podrida – Calling and Not Calling My Ex (Okkervil River, The Stand Ins)
Having a go at another album that passed me by, Podrida brings out a sweet indie melody that stands on its own so well I’m having trouble imagining the original. [Buy]

Noah23 – Canadian Dollars (A Milli) (Lil’ Wayne, Tha Carter III)
Though not as blog-worthy as when ?uestlove held down the a milli’s with Jimmy-Fallon-houseband The Roots (video), Noah23 challenges Weezy by throwing down his own verses instead of Wayne’s. It’s a hip-hop cover of a hip-hop song, but one completely different. [Buy]

The Kooks – Violet Hill (Coldplay, Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends)
A live acoustic take for the BBC, this cover-loving indie group strips back the Brian Eno production to focus on the herky-jerky melody and falsetto-swoon chorus. A song everyone got sick of long ago gets some welcome new life. [Buy]

Roommate – Lights Out (Santogold, Santogold)
The slow pulse oozes sex on this come-on cover that makes you want to be more than just Roommates. [Buy]

Radiohead – The Rip (Portishead, Third)
Frankly, I didn’t see the hype about this album, but Thom Yorke’s plucking makes this one sound like an acoustic In Rainbows outtake. The original ‘Head gets good…head…from another ‘Head. Now if only Motörhead gets on board, the trinity will be complete. [Buy]

David Porteous – Electric Feel (MGMT, Oracular Spectacular)
David makes a bold stance here, replacing the psych-techno throb of MGMT with some crunchy blues guitar. Crunchy solo blues guitar. There’s no way this should work, but it’s fantastic. [Buy]

Hot Chip and Peter Gabriel – Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa (Vampire Weekend, Vampire Weekend)
It’s clear Gabriel hasn’t lost his sense of humor, choosing to be involved in this cover presumably for the sole reason that it name checks him. A lot. Sure, it’s an excellent cover in its own right, but nothing can top the moment where he sings, “And it feels so unnatural to sing your own name.” Tell that to Lil’ Wayne. [Buy]

First Aid Kit – Tiger Mountain Peasant Song (Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes)
The Kit accomplishes the shocking feat of stripping a Fleet Foxes song back even more than the original, leaving little more that a delicately strummed guitar to contend with the female duet that adds a vocal oomph to the proceedings. [Buy]