May 082012

In Defense takes a second look at a much maligned cover artist or album and asks, “Was it really as bad as all that?”

It is in no way difficult to see why you might find bluegrass covers of non-bluegrass songs completely musically offensive. Let’s put it out there: it’s no secret that if you sit there and knock out a pop classic on a banjo and fiddle, you are not asking to be taken seriously. For the most part, bluegrass covers exist simply for their novelty value. Continue reading »

May 042012

If you haven’t been following the A.V. Undercover 2012 series, you’ve been missing out on exceptional cover songs. The series contains twenty-six performances, the most recent being Trampled by Turtles playing a bluegrass rendition of “Rebellion (Lies)” by Arcade Fire, bringing the series to its eighth cover. Continue reading »

Dec 162011

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.

Dec 072011

The phrase “cover music video” is something of a misnomer. The fact that these songs were originally performed by other artists has, in all cases but one, nothing to do with the video. We might more accurately call this list “Best Music Videos for Songs That Just So Happen to Be Covers.” Still, the cover angle gives us a chance to look at some brilliant music videos that mostly flew somewhat under the radar. Continue reading »

Dec 012011

Back in October Trampled By Turtles released a bluegrass cover of the Pixies “Where is My Mind” for the WhyHunger charity cause. Yesterday the band released a crowd-sourced video of the song, recruiting fans via Facebook. They asked fans to take a photo of themselves creatively holding a sign with one word from the song on it and submit it via email. A great use of social media and music. Continue reading »

Nov 142011

Set to release next Monday comes a split covers EP from a pair of Minnesota bands. Pop-punkers Motion City Soundtrack and bluegrass-rockers Trampled By Turtles take part in a unique swapping of songs. The two-song split EP features each artist covering the other’s track. Motion City Soundtrack tackles Trampled By Turtles’ hot single “Wait So Long” from Palomino, while Trampled By Turtles covers “Disappear” from My Dinosaur Life. Continue reading »