Jan 082021

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!

LA’s Grant Lee Buffalo was formed in the early ’90s out of a regrouped Shiva Burlesque. A folk band juiced up with fuzz boxes, the trio could go from folk to grunge and back in a matter of moments. Lead singer and guitarist Grant-Lee Phillips has an impressive vocal range, which features an impressive falsetto that YouTube bedroom coverers dare not attempt, and makes finding covers of some songs near impossible. Although critical darlings, the band struggled to find success in what was then a radio-dominated music industry, despite great production values and lyrics about the militarization of law enforcement and voter apathy that still hold up today.

A brief reunion tour in 2013 did yield the excellent Live at the Royal Festival Hall, an authentic plugged-in affair that I highly recommend. Since breaking up, Phillips has gone solo under his own name, while bassist Paul Kimble has formed Pistol Star, and drummer Joey Peters has been a member of Rusty Truck and the country revival band Stash.

We’ve talked about the covers Grant Lee Buffalo recorded before; now it’s time to see others covering GLB originals. Let’s go down the rabbit hole.
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Jan 312011

Last year’s remake of the Karate Kid came and went pretty quickly. If that franchise cash-in failed though, another recent Kid throwback continues to inspire nostalgia. It’s Bat for Lashes’ song “Daniel.” Though she’s never officially confirmed that song concerns the beloved 1984 film, on the cover of the single she sports a tattoo of protagonist Daniel LaRusso. The lyrics stray a bit from the plot, true, but this could still soundtrack a solid training montage.

Something for Kate singer Paul Dempsey mused on the Karate Kid connection when he covered the song yesterday for Australia’s Triple J radio. “If this song is from the perspective of Mr. Miyagi, it’s really creepy,” Dempsey notes. His falsetto keeps things more positive, bouncing off the understated “Daniel” backing chorus for a fun cover that veers away from the original’s pop production without losing the instantly-catchy groove. Continue reading »