In 1991, a mysterious singer calling herself Q Lazzarus made the sort of massive cultural imprint most musicians only dream of: having her song “Goodbye Horses” soundtrack the iconic Buffalo Bill mirror scene in Silence of the Lambts. And then, at the moment most musicians would capitalize on early success – she vanished.
In the Spotlight showcases a cross-section of an artist’s cover work. View past installments, then post suggestions for future picks in the comments!
It’s been a while since the Airborne Toxic Event has raised its collective voice. They’ve made many hints about an upcoming album, but no soap radio. They’ve played just half a dozen gigs in the last two and a half years. Founder Mikel Jollett keeps up a steady stream on his Twitter page, but the band’s tweets have slowed to a trickle. Last month they did note the tenth anniversary of the release of their debut album, which prompted one reader to ask if they’d ever release any new music. “Yes,” came the response, but with no elaboration. It’s enough to give the heebie jeebie jitters to the band’s sizable cult, who want to know what they’re going to do next and when they’re going to do it… if at all.
I’m not sure there were more great cover songs this year than any other. But there were more good ones.
What I mean by that is, the average quality of the covers we come across in the time we’ve been around has risen, rather dramatically. Whether they’re iTunes homepage singles or some guy emailing us his Bandcamp, more cover songs in 2013 avoid the old pitfalls than ever before. They don’t sound like they were recorded in a cereal box, substitute ear-bleeding volume for actual creativity, or – the worst cover sin of all – try to carbon-copying the original. With the ease of production and distribution available now, artists seemed to record covers only when they felt they had something to add, and do a halfway decent job committing those ideas to 1s and 0s.
Quickies rounds up new can’t-miss covers. Download ‘em below.
• You probably know Kele better as Kele Okereke, lead singer of Bloc Party. While the band takes a break/resolves reported internal tensions, Kele is releasing a solo EP called The Hunter. It includes this bangin’ cover.
MP3: Kele – Goodbye Horses (Q Lazzarus cover)
Download This scours the web’s dark corners for cool cover freebies. View past installments.
Despite their misleadingly-gendered name, The Harvey Girls are a husband and wife duo originating from Lawrence, KS. In their bio, they highlight ABBA, The Shangri-Las and Prince Paul (producer of De La Soul and Queen Latifah) as musical influences. Suffice to say, they have eclectic musical taste.
Their psych-pop eclecticism comes to the fore on their ’80s covers album Our History Is Your Kitsch. We featured album highlight “White Wedding”, in the past, but the rest of the album stands almost as tall. The song selection seems as if they took the first 8 songs that came up in an iPod shuffle and decided to cover them. Again…eclectic.