Aug 162018

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

madonna covers

Today is Madonna’s birthday, when the Material Girl herself turns – well, one isn’t supposed to talk of such things, so let’s just say it’s a nice round number. Round enough for us to devote this month’s Best Covers countdown to her many hits and, in a few cases, underexposed deep cuts.

A very few cases, to be honest. More than anyone we’ve done these lists about before, Madonna remains best known as a singles artist (even Beyoncé now gets thought of as an album artist). As a result, it’s the singles a cover artist tends to focus on – f’rinstance, the song “Like a Prayer” has been covered more than every other track on the album Like a Prayer combined. The repeated dipping into the same dozen or so songs sets the bar pretty high. You can’t just tweak a tune here and adjust it there. To stand out amidst the million other “La Isla Bonita” covers, an artist needs to attempt something radical.

Many have taken up the challenge. Not one cover on our list would you confuse with Madonna’s version for a second. These artists translate her dance-pop smashes into garage-punk, gypsy-jazz, reggae-soul, and a few genres that no amount of hyphenates will do justice (just wait ’til you reach that Sonic Youth side project).

So get into the groove below. And, if you have any favorite covers we missed, express yourself in the comments! Continue reading »

Sep 132010

Download This! scours the web’s dark corners for cool cover freebies. View past installments.

Uncle Monsterface may be the best band name ever. It may also be the worst. That’s kind of the point. They don’t do “serious” music; they do “serious party bizness” (their words). These lightsaber-headband-cruse ship buccaneers incorporate puppet shows into their concerts. Their mascot is a paper-mache lizard head. They wrote one song titled “Mashed Potato Vs. Vampire.” They wrote another about the guy who invented Dungeons and Dragons. They play with Harry and the Potters a lot. You get the idea.

Last fall, the band released a covers EP as a free download on its website. They call it Jokey Jingles Ultimate Dance Party Mix Volume III, despite there never being a Volume I or II. They announced it with an incredibly uninformative (but utterly hilarious) infomercial. Check it out. Continue reading »