Aug 162011

Artists who contributed to the new John Martyn tribute album had a lot of options when choosing a track to cover; Martyn released twenty albums during his forty-plus year career. Thirty artists covered a song from Martyn’s expansive catalog to create Johnny Boy Would Love This: A Tribute to John Martyn. The British singer-songwriter, best known for his unique style on guitar, had a career that spanned genres from folk to jazz to rock and his music touched artists old and new. We previewed contributions from Beck, David Gray, and others earlier this month; now the complete album is available.

The remarkable scope of Johnny Boy Would Love This is an asset in that the album offers a rich, diverse group of tracks from well-respected artists. However, similarities between many tracks give the feeling that the collection could have been more carefully curated. Both discs are disproportionately populated with gentle, introspective covers; all the tracks respectfully pay tribute to Martyn, but not all offer something unique to the collection. There are, however, a selection of standouts among the thirty songs that make Johnny Boy Would Love This a worthwhile purchase for Martyn fans. Continue reading »

Aug 082011

Last month, we heard the first cut from upcoming John Martyn tribute album Johnny Boy Would Love This. Today we have seven more to check out, from some of the album’s heaviest hitters. John Martyn may not be a household name, but these cuts should help breathe new life into many near-forgotten gems. Continue reading »

Mar 152011

After a long hibernation, one of our favorite cover series returns today! It’s A.V. Undercover. Longtime readers might remember that this weekly series compiles a list of 25 songs, then invites artists in to check them off one by one. This season’s list looks incredible. We can’t wait to see who covers the White Stripes’ “Fell in Love with a Girl,” Kanye West’s “Runaway,” and Chumbawamba’s “Tubthumping.”

First up, though, is indie folk favorites Iron and Wine. For their tune, they chose George Michael’s 1988 cheesefest “One More Try.” “You can say it’s a goofy ‘80s tune and so that makes it ironic,” Sam Beam told the A.V. Club, “but there are a lot of songs from the ‘80s that are great tunes that are masked by production. And George Michael had an incredible beard.” Continue reading »

Aug 102010

Neutral Milk Hotel covers are a dime a dozen – recall the all-ukulele NMH cover band – but when Oscar-winners turn their talents to an In the Aeroplane Over the Sea cut, it’s worth taking notice. The Swell Season are Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. Best known for starring in/soundtracking Once, their version of “Two-Headed Boy” is as pretty as you’d expect. The beauty of their Irish-inflected harmonies doesn’t preclude the occasional shouting crescendo and they even throw in a bonus for those paying attention: a bit of “The King of the Carrot Flowers Pts. Two & Three” at the end. Watch the video, the latest in the A.V. Undercover series, and download the MP3 below. Continue reading »

Jun 012010

Levi’s debuted an exciting new series a week back that features beloved indie artists covering songs that inspired them. They will release two songs a week from now through July 1st, with selections from The Dirty Projectors (Bob Dylan’s “I Dreamed I Saw St. Augustine) and the Shins (Squeeze’s “Goodbye Girl”).
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