Mike Doughty, who first found fame in the mid-90’s with his alt-rock outfit Soul Coughing and has been a solo act since 2000, announced last week that his next album will be comprised of nothing but covers. The Flip is Another Honey, due out November 6th, has a tracklist covering commonplace songs (“Take Me Home, Country Roads” by John Denver, “Southern Girls” by Cheap Trick) and lesser-known tracks (“Boy + Angel” by Doveman, “Ta Douleur” by Camille, “Mistress” by Red House Painters).
New Jersey based Titus Andronicus is known for their near-mockery of emotion with their completely unreserved demeanor and lyrics. While at SXSW, the band was selling $2 mixtapes. The mixtape, which is comprised mostly of rare demos, is not only a necessity to any hardcore fan, but also to the cover fan. The band doesn’t pull any punches, covering everything from Weezer, Thin Lizzy, The Velvet Underground, and yes, the obnoxiously catchy jingle for Hot Pockets.
Swedish singer/guitarist Kristian Mattsson, better known as The Tallest Man on Earth, has made a name for himself worldwide with his unique brand of jagged-edged acoustic folk. After leaving his Swedish rock band to be a folksinger, Mattsson gained a following with his powerful hoarse voice and intricate acoustic guitar work, before mostly switching to hollow-body electric guitars on his last few tours. This shift away from an acoustic sounds seems to be developing even more now, as earlier this week he appeared on Swedish game show På Spåret with a full band to cover the classic rock hit “Dancing In The Moonlight” by Irish rockers Thin Lizzy.
When people look back in 2011 in music a decade from now, one name will come to mind: Adele. In our little world of cover songs, she dominated. Everyone covered Adele this year. It’s not just that we saw more covers of “Rolling in the Deep” than any other song; they beat out second place (probably “Pumped Up Kicks”) by like a factor of five! We generally try to look for larger cover trends in these annual wrap-ups, but it’s hard to remember anything else from this year except the year-long onslaught of Adele covers hitting our mailbox.
There’s only one “Rolling in the Deep” cover in this year’s list though. The rest are all over the place. Some of the artists listed built their covers with lush soundscapes, thick beats, and intricate string work. Others just took guitars or pianos and bowled us over with the emotion in their voices. There may not be much of an overarching “Year in Covers” narrative, but that means there’s a cover or two for everyone. From feel-good takes on rap songs to kill-yourself versions of pop songs, this year’s list features flips, flops, and genre switcheroos of all sorts. A good cover should be informed by the source material but stand on its own, and we’ll be unrolling the 50 finest examples of songs doing just that all week. Start with #50-41 on the next page and check back daily as we count down to the best cover of 2011.
Last night had a full slate of special TV covers. We’ve already seen the Flaming Lips warp the Beatles on MTV and Amanda Palmer and friends do their take on Rocky Horror on Ferguson. Not to be outdone, Conan offered its own special cover: Reggie Watts doing Thin Lizzy’s “The Boys Are Back in Town.”
If you follow new music releases, you probably know that the Foo Fighters‘ latest record, Wasting Light, greeted the world this past Tuesday. If you really follow new music releases, you might also know that the Foos put out a second, far more exclusive record last week — Medium Rare, a 13-track collection of covers spanning their career. This was part of the promotional juggernaut known as Record Store Day, an annual happening designed to drive fans into local record stores (if they happen to have one around!).