UK indie pop quartet Porridge Radio have shared a raw, tender cover of The Shins’ “New Slang” as their contribution to the Sub Pop Singles Club, the storied label’s series of limited-edition releases. In their cover, Porridge Radio harness “New Slang”’s earnest spirit and bookish introspection, bobbing along at the clip of a single jangling tambourine just like the original. The band keep the iconic hum-along harmonies intact, accompanied here by a droning violin and some airy keyboards. Dana Margolin’s vocals deserve an honorable mention too, with a performance that feels as eroded and fragile as it does unshakeable.
The Shins’ debut album Oh, Inverted World turns 20 this month. To celebrate the release of the remastered edition, the band commissioned several covers to be released as part of the celebration. First, the band Skullcrusher covered “New Slang”; then Buzzy Lee aka Sasha Spielberg covered “Caring is Creepy.” Most recently Frankie Cosmos covered “Girl Inform Me.” Frankie Cosmos began simply as the stage name of Greta Kline, but now the project has expanded into a full band, including Luke Pyenson on drums and vocals, Alex Bailey on bass guitar and keyboards, and Lauren Martin on keyboards, synthesizers, and harmonies.
Marika Hackman kicks off Covers with a rendition of Radiohead‘s “You Never Wash Up After Yourself,” a pretty clear indication that the album is born from the ennui of lockdown. We hear flies buzzing, and a slow intake of breath, before Hackman languidly sings over a sparse synth soundscape:
I must get out once in a while
Everything is starting to die
The dust settles, the worms dig
The spiders crawl over the bed.
With her multi-tracked harmonies, Hackman brings an intimate, desolate beauty to this short and simple song of hopelessness. And she makes you wonder where the hell she is headed.
Many musicians, unable to go on the road, have taken to performing concerts in their home in the past week. Personally, I have spent a huge amount of time watching various these live streams. The performances have been moving and powerful, an unusually intimate way to see some of your favorite musicians.
Many such shows have included covers, songs that feel right to sing right now, like John Lennon’s “Isolation” or Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” So I decided to round up some of my favorites below.
Unfortunately, many live stream platforms don’t archive the content, so if you miss it live, it’s gone (another reason to watch these streams!). But plenty of great covers have remained online. Check ’em out below, and let us know in the comments what others we shouldn’t miss.
Emily Mure has a simple, pure quality to her music which translates well to the songs she has released so far for her upcoming six-track covers EP.
First to hit the headphones is her cover of The Shins’ “Gone for Good”. It’s a not too saccharine, perfectly melancholy rendition, with simple guitars and breathy harmonies on the chorus. Mure’s distinctive voice gives the cover its own life, despite the overall feel of the song being similar to the Shins original.
As we covered a few weeks ago, the soundtrack for the Amazon original show The Man in the High Castle is chock full of big names covering classic songs. The album is out now, and one of the highlights is Beck covering Elvis’ “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” Like many of the songs mentioned previously, Beck didn’t get too adventurous on this number, opting to stick with what worked the first time.