Aug 232013

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!

Sunday is Elvis Costello’s birthday, an occasion where we usually feature covers of an artist’s songs. But seeing as the birthday boy is one of the hardest working songwriter/musicians in the music world, it would be a shame to give him a break now. So we’ll look at some of the covers he’s done and get his birthday weekend started tonight, like we all do when a good birthday falls on a Sunday.
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Oct 042011

Way back in June 2010, the Gaslight Anthem performed their ripping cover of Pearl Jam’s “State of Love and Trust” on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. A year and a half later, they’re finally releasing a studio recording. It comes on their mostly-covers iTunes Sessions EP, which also includes takes on the Who, Tom Petty, and a traditional classic. Continue reading »

Apr 262011

Red Band (also known as The Puppet Folk Revival) is indisputably the best Israeli puppet cover band on the Internet. To be fair, there isn’t much dispute over Israeli puppet cover bands. If there was any substantial amount of arguing going on, though, it’s likely that Red Band would win. Continue reading »

Feb 112011

Live Collection brings together every live cover we can find from an artist. And we find a lot.

Hailing from Chicago, IL, the Smashing Pumpkins helped blaze a trail for the wave of apathy that infected most ’90s alternative rock. They also gave hip kids from the Midwest the first nationally-recognizable band they could take pride in since Cheap Trick. Formed in 1988, the Pumpkins enjoyed over a decade of fame and influence until noted in-fighting brought about their dissolution at the turn of the millennium. After numerous side-projects and member-shuffling, the Pumpkins have once again taken to the stage under the leadership of Billy Corgan, perhaps one of rock music’s true auteurs.

The Pumpkins have celebrated their diverse influences via cover songs throughout their career. A quick scan of their recorded catalog reveals studio takes of tracks originally by acts like the Cars, Van Halen, Alice Cooper, the Cure and Missing Persons. Their live shows are similarly peppered with covers that one might not expect to hear from these iconic slackers. Some of these do seem like a natural fit though: it’s not too hard to draw a line to the Pumpkins from Neil Young, Depeche Mode or Pink Floyd, for instance. Continue reading »

Oct 142010

Song of the Day posts one cool cover every morning. Catch up on past installments here.

If you’ve ever ridden public transit, you know the scene. Homeless man drinks from paper bag. Child bounds about with no obvious parental supervision. Man stealthily reads paper over his seatmate’s shoulder. Mediterranean rock band busts out violin, harpsichord, and trumpet. Woman begins belly dancing. Homeless man strips. Just another day in a commuter’s life.

Okay, maybe a few things are different. But when your busmates are Dolapdere Big Gang, what do you expect? For the video to their raucous version of Nina Simone‘s “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood,” the Turkish octet hopped aboard an Istanbul bus and let ‘er rip. You don’t know whether to mosh or go all whirling dervish to this East-West fusion. As long as you’re moving, it doesn’t matter. Continue reading »

Mar 142010

Shuffle Sundays is a weekly feature in which we feature a cover chosen at random. The songs will usually be good, occasionally be bad, always be interesting. All downloads will only be available for one week, so get them while you can. 

A while ago a friend of mine got into an argument with her family about whether Manfred Mann wrote “Blinded by the Light.” It seemed inconceivable that someone would not know this was a Bruce Springsteen song and, subsequently, might think the line was actually supposed to be “revved up like a douche” (Bruce sang “deuce,” but Mr. Mann enjoys the potty humor).

To be fair though, I thought for years that “The Mighty Quinn” was an original. Mann has made hits out of many such lesser-known songs. If people think they’re written by him because of it, that’s not strictly his fault.

Unlike with “Blinded,” I think Springsteen’s contribution to “Dancing in the Dark” is safe. It helped Born in the U.S.A. move thirty million copies worldwide and spawned an incredibly cheesy video featuring a sleeveless tee and a pre-fame Courtney Cox. It’s spawned countless parodies, from Jon Stewart…

…to the Muppets (love Kermit’s mid-life crisis joke!)

Manfred Mann never recorded an album version of this song, but he has covered it live with his Earth Band for almost a decade now. By itself that would probably sound pretty good, but he inexplicably mashes it up with the Animals’ version of “House of the Rising Sun.” One song is about feeling bored with one’s life, the other concerns spending all your money on prostitutes. Perhaps not the most logical songs to put together.

Manfred Mann’s Earth Band – Dancing in the Dark/House of the Rising Sun (Bruce Springseen/The Animals) [Buy]

What do you think? Sound off in the comments section below.