Jun 132011

Williamsburg, Brooklyn has become synonymous with hipster culture, so it’s no surprise that a covers album featuring a lineup of tracks with serious indie cred would originate in the neighborhood. Somewhat more surprising? That those covers would come from an 11-piece salsa band. The self-titled debut album from the Williamsburg Salsa Orchestra adds some Latin flair to tracks from indie staples including Peter Bjorn and John, TV on the Radio, and LCD Soundsystem.

It’s apparent from the get-go that the WSO is a talented group of salsa musicians. Bandleader Gianni Mano leads the ensemble through the album’s ten peppy tracks with precision and energy. However, the combination of salsa and indie is rather hit or miss, with the up-tempo excitement of the orchestra sometimes overshadowing the content of the song being covered. Blaring horns, timbales, and bongos make for a fun cover of an upbeat track like Peter Bjorn and John‘s “Young Folks,” but can feel overwhelming in quieter moments. Similarly, Solange Prat’s vocals have a very polished, almost Broadway quality that meshes well with the salsa backing but lacks the emotional subtlety needed to get the most out of softer tracks or lyrics originally voiced by less traditional singers. Continue reading »

Feb 142011

After their breakout album, Odd Blood, we’ve all come to associate Yeasayer with lots of synths and other electronics. Songs like “O.N.E.” and “Ambling Alp” proved their love of ’80s and early ’90s sounds. So in some sense, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that they’d take on Seal‘s song “Crazy.” On Australia’s Triple J radio, they stripped down the song to nothing but vocals, acoustic guitar, tambourine, and a couple of drums. Continue reading »

Jan 122011

Earlier today NPR posted a live set by Yellow Ostrich. They noted that though little-known, these guys are going places. Darn tootin’. Well, really, this one guy is. Alex Schaaf provides most of the direction for Yellow Ostrich, and we’re pretty sure he’s the only one playing on these covers. Sure doesn’t sound like it though.

Last year Schaaf unleashed a torrent of intimate indie-minded covers, reworking blog favorites like “Zebra” (Beach House), “King of Spain” (The Tallest Man on Earth), “’81” (Joanna Newsom), and a ton more. He’s since tacked a few more onto the list, most recently releasing a warped mostly-a cappella take on Sharon Van Etten’s “Love More.” Each tune offers moments of pure pleasure. Check out the joyful tambourine on “Androgynous” or the “ooh ah ah”s that replace “Fake Empire”’s beloved horn breakdown. Continue reading »

Dec 212010

Seems these days even your grandmother has a ‘Best of the Year’ music list. We had three (Songs, Albums, Videos). Though exciting early on, by mid-December we’re all pretty sick of learning that – surprise! – another person likes Kanye West. So when Ace Reporter compiled his Best of 2010 list, he did it with a twist: He presented the list in cover song form.

For his top five albums, he covered a song from each. The tunes come as part of his ThreeSixtyFive project, where he’s been releasing a new song every single day this year. The production on these tunes makes the achievement that much more stunning. In 2011, maybe he should try sleeping. Continue reading »

Oct 142010

Telephoned is not your average cover band. For one, this Brooklyn singer/DJ duo spent the past year opening for Chromeo. Transforming, sampling, and remixing, they told Spinner they aim to take a song and turn it into something that gets you moving on the dance floor. The pair's latest cover is “O.N.E.,” the hipster anthem from Yeasayer's Odd Blood.

While the original version of “O.N.E.” is actually better for dancing, Telephoned did make it theirs by mashing it up with the reggae beats from Gyptian's “Hold Yuh” and adding their own vocals. It feels like “O.N.E. on vacation” as a laid back, dance in the sand, sip a daiquiri kind of tune. If you're looking for a little more soul and a little less dancing, Telephoned will take you there. But when vacation's over, head back to Yeasayer… because they are the real thing. Continue reading »

Apr 102010

Cover News is a weekly feature keeping you up to date on the goings-on in the world of cover tunes, tribute albums, etc. Plus, at the bottom we post the array of cover tunes we’ve been sent in the past week. Have you recorded a cool cover? Send us an mp3! As always, follow Cover Me on Twitter for the latest news.

Evelyn Evelyn

This Week’s News

Brilliant songwriter David Bazan (who released last year’s third-best album) covers Vic Chestnutt, ruminates on the possibility of a cover album.  [American Songwriter]

Rate Your Music celebrates the Golden Hits of Yesteryear with one hit, fifteen other songs.  [Rate Your Music]

The Mates of State cover album Crushes boasts one of the best tracklists I’ve seen in a while.  Download their version of Girls’ “Laura” now.  [Mates of State]

Ted Leo interviewed Paul Weller in the most recent issue of SPIN magazine, so his cover of “Hung Up” seems appropriate.  [SPIN]

Dr. Martens are curating a drool-worthy list of covers, which they’re releasing at a snail’s pace.  [Dr. Martens]

Not another “Bad Romance” cover.  Yeah, it’s good, but still…not another “Bad Romance” cover.  [Paste]

Ok, we’ll allow one more, but only if you’re a chubby 8-year old singing into a banana.  [Videogum]

An epic cover battle rages on the ‘Tube.  “Baby” on recorder vs. “Telephone” on glockenspiel vs. “Moonlight Sonata” on crockenspiel [Video 1, 2, 3]

Shel Silverstein covers by My Morning Jacket, Kris Kristofferson, Andrew Bird and 12 more.  Cue mouth-watering.  [Sugar Hill Records]

The Jacket is everywhere, also appearing on a John Prine covers tribute.  Maybe we can get an actual album guys?  [Consequence of Sound]

A Tears for Fears cover = eh.  A Tears for Fears cover that isn’t “Everybody Want to Rule the World” = yay!  [We All Want Someone]

Amanda Palmer is like a weirder Regina Spektor, so a cover makes sense.  [YouTube]

Speaking of Amanda Palmer, she’s currently prepping to take her conjoined-twin circus act Evelyn Evelyn on the road.  Here’s their cover of “Love Will Tear Us Apart.”  Ouch.  [Jason Webley]

Killer tracklist for this new David Bowie tribute album.  MGMT, A Place to Bury Strangers and Duran Duran (!!) tackle some lesser-known tunes.  [SPIN]

The PS 22 Chorus melts hearts with a Talking Heads cover.  [YouTube]

Buffalo Tom’s Bill Janovitz continues his Cover of the Week series with his wedding song, the Ink Spots’ “I’ll Get By.”  Awww.  [Bill Janovitz]

This Week’s Submissions

Akasha – Rocky Raccoon (The Beatles)  [more]

Ryan Avery & Emily Zisman – Send Me an Angel (Real Life)  [more]

Coconut and The Duke – Nature Boy (Eden Ahbez)  [more]

Fade From Nothing – 31 Ghosts IV (Nine Inch Nails)  [more]

Fulton Read – One (Yeasayer)  [more]

The Inevitable Backlash – Give You Hell (The All-American Rejects)  [more]

The Morning Pages – Telephone (Lady Gaga)  [more]

Passporte Royale – Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da (The Beatles)

Julian Shah-Tayler – In Your Room (Depeche Mode)  [more]

SPEAK – Digital Love (Daft Punk)  [more]

Ben Taylor – By Your Side (Sade)  [more]

835 – Judy Is a Punk (The Ramones)  [more]

Email your cover for inclusion!