Under The Covers

April 22, 2009

“Great Things Are Covered” – Anonymous

I’ve been slacking with the music posts recently but I’m gonna try to make up for it with three quality covers today.

Eels – I Could Never Take the Place of Your Man (Live Prince Cover) [Bonus Track] from “With Strings – Live At Town Hall.”

I’m not a huge Prince fan and so I can’t say that I was familiar with this track before I listened to this cover but, if you’re like me, that won’t keep you from enjoying it.

Geri Halliwell – Live And Let Die (Paul McCartney Cover)* from “Lift Me Up.”

This is a somewhat straight-forward interpretation (unlike Duffy’s) but it’s fun nonetheless thanks to the quality of the source material. *Thanks, Sean!

Martha Wainwright – Stormy Weather (Live Judy Garland Cover) from “Rufus Does Judy At Carnegie Hall.”

Stormy Weather is perhaps most famously done by Etta James but Judy Garland also performed it, including during her celebrated one-night-only performance at Carnegie Hall AKA “the greatest night in show business history.” When Rufus Wainwright recreated the night in 2006 (someone’s got cajones!), he had his sister Martha take the stage for one song – and she almost stole the show. As always, Martha’s voice in any given second has more emotion than I experience in an entire year and while I’ll concede that her voice might be an acquired taste, I’d still have to recommend this track.


Under The Covers

April 6, 2009

“Great Things Are Covered” – Anonymous

Three random covers for today…

Regina Spektor – Real Love (John Lennon Cover). I was only introduced to this song through Regina’s cover and was absolutely blown away by it’s beauty. John’s love songs always had a graceful simplicity to them and coupled with Regina’s voice, it makes for a beautiful combination.

Franz Ferdinand – Call Me (Live Blondie Cover). This comes from the great “War Child: Heroes” compilation. The cover is pretty straight forward, but Franz Ferdinand give it a good spin and make it a keeper.

The Postal Service – Against All Odds (Phil Collins Cover). I’ve read some ridiculously positive reviews of this cover. While I don’t disagree completely, it didn’t change my life either. If you don’t like the beginning, don’t worry – it picks up about half way through. Personally, I kinda want to have my hands on everything The Postal Service ever created, but even if you’re not that rabid, it’s still worth having.


Dark Was The Night Comp – New Ben Gibbard + Feist, My Brightest Diamond, The Decemberists, and Sufjan Stevens!

February 18, 2009

Dark Was The Night” is a new compilation from the Red Hot HIV/AIDS charity. Check the track list:

Disc One
01 “Knotty Pine” – Dirty Projectors + David Byrne
02 “Cello Song (Nick Drake)” – The Books Feat. Jose Gonzalez
03 “Train Song” – Feist + Ben Gibbard
04 “Brackett, WI” – Bon Iver
05 “Deep Blue Sea” – Grizzly Bear
06 “So Far Around the Bend” – The National (arrangement by Nico Muhly)
07 “Tightrope” – Yeasayer
08 “Feeling Good” (popularized by Nina Simone) – My Brightest Diamond
09 “Dark Was the Night” (Blind Willie Johnson) – Kronos Quartet
10 “I Was Young When I Left Home” (Bob Dylan) – Antony + Bryce Dessner
11 “Big Red Machine” – Justin Vernon + Aaron Dessner
12 “Sleepless” – The Decemberists
13 “Stolen Houses” (Die) – Iron and Wine
14 “Service Bell” – Grizzly Bear + Feist
15 “You Are The Blood” – Sufjan Stevens

Disc Two
01 “Well-Alright” – Spoon
02 “Lenin” – Arcade Fire
03 “Mimizan” – Beirut
04 “El Caporal” – My Morning Jacket
05 “Inspiration Information” (Shuggie Otis) – Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings
06 “With A Girl Like You” (The Troggs) – Dave Sitek
07 “Blood Pt 2” (based on original song “You are the Blood” by the Castanets) – Buck 65 Remix (featuring Sufjan Stevens and Serengeti)
08 “Hey, Snow White” (Destroyer) – The New Pornographers
09 “Gentle Hour” (Snapper) – Yo La Tengo
10 “Another Saturday” (traditional song) – Stuart Murdoch
11 “Happiness” – Riceboy Sleeps
12 “Amazing Grace” (traditional song) – Cat Power and Dirty Delta Blues
13 “The Giant Of Illinois” (Handsome Family) – Andrew Bird
14 “Lua” – Conor Oberst + Gillian Welch
15 “When the Road Runs Out” – Blonde Redhead + Devastations
16 “Love vs. Porn” – Kevin Drew

It’s a lot to digest, I know, so I’m giving you my favorites.  I absolutely love the Feist + Ben Gibbard (of Death Cab For Cutie, of course) duet – their voices are great together. My Brightest Diamond‘s take on Nina Simone‘s classic “Feeling Good” is equally impressive as it is inventive. I’m a huge fan of The Decemberists and “Sleepless” is a beautiful slower piece that starts off being carried by strings and later moves onto the piano. Simple, beautiful, and with great vocals from Colin Meloy. Highly recommend all three. I’m also including the (10+ minute!) Sufjan Stevens track just because I have it. Not sure how I feel about this one but I’ll let you make up your own mind; it’s not completely typical of Sufjan’s work, for better or for worse. 

Check out the Dark Was The Night website for streaming versions of “Knotty Pint” by Dirty Projectors + David Byrne, “So Far Around The Bend” by The National, and “Brackett, WI” by Bon Iver.

Buy: Amazon (for only $9.99!)


Under The Covers: Wakey!Wakey!

February 18, 2009

“Great Things Are Covered” – Anonymous

Wakey!Wakey! (no space, two exclamation points) is NYC-based Mike Grubbs and his collection of string and horn players that create a really great sound, especially when led by Mike’s strong yet tender voice. Some of their best work comes, however, when it’s just Mike and a piano. They’re responsible for some of my favorite covers and even more amazingly, their label (Family Records) makes them all available for free online.

Wakey!Wakey! Wednesdays Covers Project

01. Apology Song (The Decemberists cover)
02. Two-Headed Boy Pt. 1 (Neutral Milk Hotel cover)
03. Say It Ain’t So (Weezer cover)
04. Maps (YeahYeahYeahs cover)
05. California Girls (Beach Boys cover)
06. New Partner (Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billie cover)
07. Girls Just Wanna Have Fun (Live) (Cyndi Lauper cover)
08. No One (Alicia Keys cover) (right click/save as)
09. Letters Home (Joei DBG cover)
10. Everlong (Foo Fighters cover) (right click/save as)

Download the above as a zip file (right click and save as) or click here to download the tracks piecemeal.  I highly recommend, “No One” and “Everlong.”

Live At Bowery BallroomLive At Bowery Ballroom

01. Brooklyn
02. Falling Apart
03. LGA
04. Blame You
05. Messy Girl
06. War Sweater
07. Crazy (Gnarls Barkley cover)
08. Away
09. Clinton Street Girl

Download the above as a zip file (right click and save as) or click here to download the tracks piecemeal.

Silent As A MovieWakey!Wakey! – Silent As A Movie

01. Fallin’ Apart (streaming here)
02. Messy Girl
03. LGA
04. Take It Like A Man
05. Honey Covered Hand
06. Cokehead
07. Chaotic Masterpiece
08. Car Crash
09. The River’s Still ft. Casey Shea
10. War Sweater
11. Blame You

Buy Silent As A Movie here.

Also, courtesy the Wakey!Wakey! website the great original track Get Away (Here We Go Again) (right click/save as).

Check out the Wakey!Wakey! MySpace for tour dates, videos, and streaming versions of “Brooklyn” and “Falling Apart.”

Under The Covers

January 21, 2009

“Great Things Are Covered” – Anonymous

The Boy Least Likely To – Faith (George Michael Cover). I’m sorry, is that a banjo?  Oh yeah.

Ane Brun – True Colors (Cyndi Lauper Cover). Norwegian songstress’s achingly-beautiful piano-ballad version of the gay icon’s mega-hit.

Damien Rice – When Doves Cry (Prince Cover). Brilliant song, brilliantly covered with a lyrical interpolation from Led Zepplin’s “Baby I’m Gonna Leave You.”

Under The Covers – UK Edition! [Updated]

January 8, 2009

“Great Things Are Covered”  – Anonymous

This should be the first of hopefully many posts highlighting some of my favorite covers.  In today’s Special UK Edition:

Lily Allen – Womanizer (Britney Spears Cover).  I’m not a huge Lily fan but she strips Womanizer down and gives it some great English sass.  Very nice.

Leona Lewis – Run (Snow Patrol Cover).  This a rather straight-forward interpretation but Leona’s voice does the original justice and the final product is beautiful.

George Michael – As (ft. Mary J. Blige; Stevie Wonder cover).  I wasn’t familiar with the Stevie Wonder original when I came across this version but I still think I prefer this one more: I really like Mary J.’s voice in this (it’s kinda rough!) and it’s got a gospel choir doing backing vocals! Woot!

Updated: Links fixed; my apologies.  Also, thanks to Sean for pointing me toward the fabulous “As” video: