Jan 292021
 

‘The Best Covers Ever’ series counts down our favorite covers of great artists.

pixies covers

In a 1994 interview with Rolling Stone, here’s how Kurt Cobain described the genesis of “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

“I was basically trying to rip off the Pixies. I have to admit it. When I heard the Pixies for the first time, I connected with that band so heavily that I should have been in that band—or at least a Pixies cover band. We used their sense of dynamics, being soft and quiet and then loud and hard.”

Surprisingly, the Pixies’ most famous superfan – the man who said he should be in a Pixies cover band – never covered the Pixies. Nirvana were rarely shy about covering their influences, from the Vaselines to the Velvet Underground, but maybe the Pixies were just too obvious. Every Nirvana song, Kurt might have thought, was just a Pixies cover a few degrees removed.

That line of thinking didn’t stop many other artists, though. Pixies covers abound, both from obvious acolytes in the ’90s alt-rock scene to musician fans in other genres who found a way to make Pixies songs sound like bossa nova or doo-wop. We’ve narrowed it down to the best thirty for our list, below. We hope you la la love it.

PS. The artist for this month’s list was selected by our Patreon supporters. To have a say in who we tackle next, sign up for our Patreon here.

The list continues on Page 2.

Aug 212018
 
posthumous aretha franklin covers

Last night’s VMAs surprised many by omitting any sort of musical tribute to Aretha Franklin. You’d think if anyone could pull that together with a few days notice, MTV could – but honestly, I get it. There have been fewer memorial covers of Aretha Franklin than we saw for Tom Petty, Prince, Leonard Cohen, and many others. Even Chris Cornell earned more in-concert tributes, and Aretha’s career of hits goes back decades further than his.

Why is that? Certainly Aretha is no less beloved than these others; eloquent and moving tributes in other forms continue to pour in hourly. My guess: Aretha is first and foremost known as a singer, maybe the greatest ever (Rolling Stone said she was). Though certainly no songwriting slouch (pretty much every part you’d sing along to in “Respect,” she added herself), Aretha may simply be too daunting vocally for many musicians to attempt.

Luckily, not all musicians. Here are the best posthumous Aretha Franklin covers we’ve seen so far. Hopefully more are coming! Continue reading »

Aug 092016
 
OfClocksandClouds

With the possible exception of “Wolf Like Me,” TV on the Radio songs are not easy to cover. They typically rely on dense textures and complex rhythms – not the sort of thing you can easy strum along to at the coffeeshop open mic. But today we’re premiering a band who took on the challenge, Brooklyn duo Of Clocks and Clouds. They do justice to TV on the Radio’s early song “Young Liars,” keeping some of the basic textures but giving it an arena-ready Interpol-esq sheen. Continue reading »

Apr 222015
 

Welcome to Cover Me Q&A, where we take your questions about cover songs and answer them to the best of our ability.

Here at Cover Me Q&A, we’ll be taking questions about cover songs and giving as many different answers as we can. This will give us a chance to hold forth on covers we might not otherwise get to talk about, to give Cover Me readers a chance to learn more about individual staffers’ tastes and writing styles, and to provide an opportunity for some back-and-forth, as we’ll be taking requests (learn how to do so at feature’s end).

Today’s question: What’s a favorite country & western cover of a non-country & western song?
Continue reading »

Feb 042015
 

Back in 2009, TV on the Radio released a cover of David Bowie‘s “Heroes” for the charity album War Time Presents Heroes. The album benefited the charity’s aid efforts in real war-stricken areas such as Iraq, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The cover has recently been deemed fitting for wars set in HBO’s fantasy drama Game of Thrones trailer for the upcoming fifth season. Continue reading »

Aug 112014
 

I genuinely don’t think I’ve ever heard a bad cover of a Daniel Johnston song. His music just works so well for cover versions. It might be the sparse nature of most of his songs, leaving other artists able to interpret the source material however they want.

The latest band covering one of the songs from Daniel’s vast back catalogue is recently reformed Canadian indie-rock band The Unicorns. Recently seen supporting fellow countrymen Arcade Fire, the band are re-issuing their lost indie classic ‘Who Will Cut Our Hair When We’re Gone?’ and will be including this cover of ‘Rocketship’ as a bonus track.

There is definitely a Daniel sound retained with this, with the repetitive single note so common with some of his early songs present. In fact, it sounds more like Daniel than most other covers of his songs you’ll hear (although this TV On The Radio cover sounded great using the repetitive note thing too).

This is a great addition to the many covers of the cult hero that are out there and if you listen carefully there’s even a sample of the great man himself at one minute and 50 seconds in.

Check it out below and keep your eyes peeled for the Unicorns re-issue due soon.