Mar 102017

Cover Classics takes a closer look at all-cover albums of the past, their genesis, and their legacy.


Until 2010’s Scratch My Back appeared, Peter Gabriel had been an artist more covered than covering – arguably a pity, given the cracked wistfulness of his croaky beauty. But I guess if you can write material of the quality and diversity that he has, why bother with someone else’s material? The problem was, Gabriel hadn’t been writing that kind of material – this was his first album in eight years.

So was Scratch My Back just, as covers projects can so often be, a stopgap sales pitch to keep his brand alive during a creative lull? Who knows? I think not and hope not, feeling this a deliberate if somewhat failed experiment on two levels. Flawed, maybe, rather than failed.
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Dec 062016
best cover songs

Over the past few months, we’ve been hard at work making our list of The Best Cover Songs of 2016. Narrowing it down to 50 caused some excruciating choices, that’s how many great covers there were this year.

We’ll be posting the full list next week (and “Best Cover Albums” this Thursday), but as a little appetizer, here are our Honorable Mentions, covers we loved and still wanted to spotlight as among the best 2016 had to offer. Continue reading »

Dec 212012

The third season of HBO’s crime drama, Boardwalk Empire has just finished. Having spent a good deal of time in the Atlantic City area when I was young, I have become a big fan of the show which is based on historical criminal figures. There is a lot to like about the show and many focus on the once-in-a-lifetime role of gangster Nucky Thompson as played by Steve Buscemi. Indeed he is incredible. But what transports you into 1920’s prohibition era South Jersey shore are the sets, costumes, cinematography and perhaps most importantly, the music. Continue reading »

Aug 312012

Last week, Pitchfork posted their People’s List poll results and, not surprisingly, Radiohead’s OK Computer took the top slot (Kid A came in second). Though the poll has generated some controversy-in-the-form-of-thinkpieces since then, few take issue with the winner.

Following our similar collections of Kid A and In Rainbows covers, we celebrate the victor with covers of every song on the classic album. As the Pitchfork poll yet again attests, no one does Radiohead like Radiohead and the best way to cover is to not compete. From big brass bands to bluegrass jams, these twelve artists find ways to do it different. Continue reading »

Aug 202010

If you’ve ever attended a music festival, you need to know Consequence of Sound. If you ever plan on attending a music festival, you need to know Consequence of Sound. If you have no interest in music festivals whatsoever, you need to wise up…and then you need to know Consequence of Sound. In addition to the site’s regular music news and features, their Festival Outlook has established itself as the premiere source for festival info. From lineup info (which they always seem to know before anyone else) to reviews, their coverage spans ‘em all, from the big boys (Bonnaroo, Coachella) to the underdogs (Ghoulsfest?).

Suffice to say: These guys know their festivals. So as fest season winds down, we checked in with some CoS writers (of whom – full disclosure – I am one) to hear the best festival covers they’ve ever witnessed. Here’s what they offered. Each has a review and a video so you can vicariously experience the insanity.

After you finish here, hop over to CoS’ Friday Mixtape! The covers were chosen by yours truly. Continue reading »

Radio Radio

 Posted by at 12:00 pm  1 Response »
Sep 292009

One of my friends recently moved to Chicago and complained to me about the lack of good radio stations. This puzzled me, as it seemed to imply that there were good stations anywhere anymore. If there are, I don’t know ‘em, which leads me to ask this question:

Jesse Malin – Do You Remember Rock ‘n’ Roll Radio? (The Ramones)
Joey and the gang predicted the demise of radio by a good twenty years. Ironically, Malin seems to be making a pitch for mid-tempo “alternative” stations with this one. [Buy]

Town Bike – Radio Nowhere (Bruce Springsteen)
Last Friday I had the privilege of attending a taping of Elvis Costello’s Spectacle show featuring Springsteen (my review). They chatted and played for four straight hours, wrapping things up with a radio medley. It started with this… [Buy]

Dustin Kensrue – Radio Radio (Elvis Costello)
…and finished with this, Bruce taking Costello’s part from the classic Saturday Night Live debacle. Hard to find interesting covers of this, but here’s Thrice’s lead singer breaking it down acoustically at an Apple in-store performance. Fun fact: Whenever his equipment broke down on his last tour, “Weird Al” Yankovic went into a cover (not parody). Watch. [Buy]

Ted Leo – The Spirit of Radio (Rush)
Indie-punk Leo seems like an odd person to cover prog giants Rush, but his guitar chops are up to stuff. A good thing, ‘cause that’s all there is. [Buy]

Josh Millard – Radio Cure (Wilco)
After the bizarre faux-jazz version we heard from the Bad Plus a few months back, here’s a more straight-forward acoustic take. If you like this stripped-back approach, check out James Eric and Erin Vogel covering the whole Yankee Hotel Foxtrot album last month. [Buy]

Matthew Show – Mohammed’s Radio (Warren Zevon)
Zevon is blessed with two excellent tribute albums. Enjoy Every Sandwich features an A-list group of musicians and peers, but the lesser-known Hurry Home Early features some true gems. This is one. [Buy]

Amanda Palmer – On the Radio (Regina Spektor)
Now I love Amanda Palmer, but this one seems almost TOO easy. Spektor and Palmer share the same eastern-European oddball appeal like cabaret-pop twins separated at birth. When I saw Spektor do this one live, she was too drunk to do it justice. Palmer gets it right. [Buy]

Masters of Reality – Devil’s Radio (George Harrison)
The radio intro here includes everything you might hear, from music to war, new cars to pop stars. Harrison included this on his 1987 comeback album Cloud Nine that itself featured a hit cover, of Got My Mind Set on You (great video too). [Buy]

Bruce Lash – Mexican Radio (Wall of Voodoo)
Is this jazz or folk? Sincere or ironic? All I know it’s off Lash’s second Prozak for Lovers all-covers album, which is worth getting your hands on. [Buy]

The Wrong Trousers – Video Killed the Radio Star (The Buggles)
Fun fact: This was the first music video ever played on MTV. Maybe it was the last too; the age of the music video came in with a boom and went out with a whimper. Prepare for the upcoming sequel: “MTV’s Relentless Obsession with Crappy Reality Television Killed the Video Star.” [Buy]