It was a sad day when Brooklyn’s favorite electronic indie trio, Mobius Band, decided to go on hiatus. But thankfully at least one of its talented members – guitarist and vocalist, Ben Sterling – is still making music, albeit under a different name with new band members. Sterling, bassist Melissa Metrick, and drummer Ian Ainley comprise indie pop band Cookies. If the name isn’t appealing enough (who doesn’t like cookies?), just let the music speak for itself. Cookies’ creative cover of R&B veteran Janet Jackson’s “Love Will Never Do (Without You)” will leave you hungry for more – guaranteed.
Full Albums features covers of every track off a classic album. Got an idea for a future pick? Leave a note in the comments!
Kanye West’s 808s & Heartbreak was universally derided upon its 2008 release. Following three critically-acclaimed rap albums, a heart-on-sleeve pop album by a guy who clearly could barely carry a tune proved dead on arrival. The fact that he masked his vocal deficiencies with Auto-Tune at the very height of the anti-Auto-Tune fervor made 808s a particularly easy target.
Three years later, though, people look back on the album more fondly. 808s clearly played a role in shaping West’s undisputed masterpiece My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, so even the holdouts reluctantly credit the album as a stepping stone to greatness. More generous types recognize, however belatedly, that West perversely used Auto-Tune to make his music more human, not less.
One fact has remained consistent, though, and that is that this album lends itself to covers better than any other Kanye album. The reason is clear – covering a pop song is much easier than covering a hip-hop song. The preponderance of “Love Lockdown”s alone could keep a cover blog going for weeks. Below, then, we present covers of every song off 808s and Heartbreak. No other Kanye West album would be remotely feasible – where the “New Workout Plan” covers at? – but this one proved a cinch. Auto-Tune not included.
Download This! scours the web’s dark corners for cool cover freebies. View past installments.
There’s not much to say about Radiohead’s OK Computer that hasn’t been said since it was released 14 years ago. Here at Cover Me we seem to post Radiohead cover songs almost daily. Well, the sincerest form of flattery is covering a song by an influential artist or album, right? And love it or hate it, it’s difficult to dispute the impression that OK Computer left on music. So it’s no surprise that Stereogum rounded up 12 great artists a few years ago to do a song-for-song tribute to OK Computer. Since the tribute came 10 years after the original, they titled it OKX.
Download This scours the web’s dark corners for cool cover freebies. View past installments.
This past Friday, Brooklyn’s Mobius Band announced that after over a decade of recording and touring, the group was splitting up. For cover lovers, this is terrible news. On Valentine’s Days ’08 and ’09 the band released two free love-song cover EPs on their website. Though they skipped this year (perhaps because things were already on the fritz), we were hoping a new offering would come on V-Day 2011. It seems that’s not to be.
So instead, we use the occasion to revisit their two prior EPs. The band irreverently squeezes artists old and new into their indie pop mold, treating love songs by Townes Van Zandt and Kanye West with equal care. The 2008 EP Love Will Reign Supreme transitions straight from Bob Dylan (“I’ll Keep It with Mine”) to Daft Punk (“Digital Love”). Empire of Love, released one year later, gives the Dixie Chicks’ “Lullaby” a haze-pop sheen and adds xylophone to TV on the Radio’s “Satellite.”
Omigod, you just have to hear this new Bob Dylan cover. You know that folksy ballad, “All Along the Watchtower”? Well some afro-headscarf weirdnik named Jimi rocked it so hard that… What’s that? You’ve already heard it? You say it tops every single list of the best Dylan covers that has ever been made with absolutely no exceptions so don’t bother looking to try to prove me wrong? Ah. Well, Mr. Music Snob, try these ten lesser-known covers on for size, spanning from Bob’s folk origins until his post-Blonde on Blonde motorcycle crash.
Grand Panda ft. Dawn – Ballad of a Thin Man
This grinding synth slow-burn comes via comp curator extraordinaire Béatrice Ardisson, whose Dylan Mania contains sixteen of the most fantastically weird covers you’re likely to hear. [Buy]
Mobius Band – I’ll Keep It With Mine
Though Dylan wrote this song in 1964, his own version didn’t see the light of day until 1985’s Biograph compilation. It indicates he was experimenting with what he called “that thin, wild mercury music” several years before Blonde on Blonde. [Buy]
The Roots – Masters of War
Outside of free jazz and the Dead, there aren’t many songs where a blogger must decide whether to post the ten-minute version or the twenty. I went with the conservative length, but I’ll probably post the longer one on Twitter this week. Now with extra ?uestlove drum solo! [Buy]
Dion – Spanish Harlem Incident
When Dion opened Dylan’s New York concerts last fall, he missed an opportunity to deliver this swinging gem to an appreciative audience. It’s not like he had to worry about stepping on Bob’s toes; the man has only performed it one time himself. [Buy]
40 Thieves – Subterranean Homesick Blues
“Subterranean” has been described as the first rap song. 40 Thieves make the argument by ripping through the lyrics over a funky Public Enemy-esq beat. [Buy]
Martin Simpson – Boots of Spanish Leather
Dylan’s finger-picking from the early days should get more credit than it does (see “Don’t Think Twice”), but even at his best he had nothing on this guy. Listen those funky bass note slaps. [Buy]
I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody’s Business – Positively 4th Street
This song seems even angrier in a polite acoustic guise. By the time singer Arthur “Ace” Enders makes it to that cutting last line, you wonder what he’s capable of. [Buy]
Mike Ness – Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright
Putting Dylan’s acoustic songs to a heavy rock beat is not a novel concept, but the Social Distortion frontman handles it particularly well. What song doesn’t improve with a little growl? [Buy]
The Magokoro Brothers – My Back Pages
Even for critics underwhelmed by the incoherent storyline of Dylan’s 2003 film Masked and Anonymous (people, plot is so twentieth century), few could object to the cover-heavy soundtrack. The Magokoro Bros’ translation of “My Back Pages” into Japanese works because it doesn’t. Each line has three times as many syllables as will fit, so the singer always seems to be playing catch-up. [Buy]
Douglas September – Girl from the North Country
The word haunting gets overused, but it has never been more appropriate. September’s hoarse whisper is devastating and that gusting wind raises the hairs on your neck. [Buy]
Read Part 2: After the Crash.
Petty’s back, baby! His career resurgence began with his Super Bowl Halftime slot in ’08 (and history has already forgotten that he was purportedly the NFL’s second choice, after Bruce Springsteen), continued with sell-out summer shed tours, and has recently hit a new peak when his four-disc Live Anthology dropped last week to a combination of critical acclaim and some why-don’t-more-artists-do-this speculation. The quirkiest Petty honor has to be the Courteney Cox show Cougar Town though, where each episode is named after a Petty song. Is the producer just a fan, or has Tom Petty become “Official Music of Cougars”?
Melora Creager – American Girl
One of the best covers I’ve ever heard. Period. The cello-goth Rasputina frontwoman wails the darkest minor-key duet you’ve ever heard. Rasputina have an entire cover album themselves, The Lost & Found, that is to die for. Literally? [Buy]
Johnny Cash – I Won’t Back Down
As Johnny Cash began recording 2000’s American III: Solitary Man, he began getting sick. He had been forced to stop touring due to a variety of ailments and he would never fully recover. This election-season staple thus takes on a whole new meaning from country’s most resilient badass. Petty himself chimes in on vocals and organ here (he had previously backed Cash on the entirety of Unchained [American II]). [Buy]
Allred – Free Fallin’
A bearded Petty played this one in his 2008 Super Bowl Halftime Show set (in fact, the first three songs I’ve posted are 3/4 of his Super Bowl set list). Watch the whole thing here and marvel at the sweet guitar/heart stage. Petty played four songs with the Heartbreakers, but all except for “American Girl” originally appeared on his solo albums. Irony. [Buy]
Mobius Band – You Don’t Know How It Feels
The lead single from 1994’s Heartbreaker-less Wildflowers, “You Don’t Know How It Feels” featured the controversial line “let’s roll another joint.” Yes, those were simpler times. However, reactionary consumerism being what it is, MTV reversed the word “joint” for the music video. [Buy]
John Dissed – Even the Losers
Dissed produced a top-notch cover of T.Rex’s “Bang a Gong (Get In On)” for our Cover Commissions last month. Check that out on this page if you haven’t already. Then come back here and listen to his take on Petty. [Buy]
Taking Back Sunday – You Wreck Me
Warner Bros. produced Covered, a Revolution in Sound to celebrate its fiftieth anniversary with classic Warner songs covered by younger WB artists. The Flaming Lips do Madonna, The Black Keys do Captain Beefheart, and Taking does Tom. [Buy]
Mark Erelli w/ Jeffrey Foucault – Alright For Now
This one originally appeared on Full Moon Fever, Petty’s first solo album. “Free Fallin’” and “I Won’t Back Down” come off there too. He couldn’t match these sensitive-guys duets. [Buy]
Matthew Sweet and Susanna Hoffs – Here Comes My Girl
Another duet here, with the rare female voice appearing in a Petty cover. This comes from Sweet & Hoffs’ recent Under the Covers Vol. 2. Well worth a listen. I always think of this song as a companion piece to Pixies’ “Here Comes Your Man.” [Buy]
Wilco – Something In the Air (Thunderclap Newman)
A lot of people thing this was originally by Petty, but in face they just covered a 1969 song for their 1993 Greatest Hits album. Wilco played Madison Square Garden on New Year’s Eve ’04 and once the ball dropped they went into an epic cover marathon. Judas Priest, Captain and Tennille, Bob Dylan, this, Randy Newman, Blue Öyster Cult and Devo. Epic. [Buy]
Setting Sun – You Got Lucky
Tom gets the spacey synth treatment here from the free second volume of the Buffetlibre compilation (downloadable here). It would all be a little much without the hauntingly distant voices. [Buy]