Friday, March 8, 2013

cover me, part 1

College Radio Homie tells me he doesn't think much of cover songs, and there have been some bad ones, but there's something that I really like about when a band covers something and does it well, or turns it into something that you didn't expect that still works.

I was thinking about this because I was listening to a bunch of Screaming Trees b-sides last night while doing some reading for class. Evidently grunge bands and tales of nuns getting demonically possessed go together in my brain, but anyway, there's certain folks who can take a song and totally make it work, and other times it just feels utterly unnecessary or just plain wrong.

There are those covers where the original is rendered irrelevant or at least not as pleasing to my ears.

 The ones that do a complete deconstruction.

 Greg Dulli's remarkably good at this kind of thing. Thanks to Prince being a copyright goon, I can't find the stellar rendition the Twilight Singers did of "When Doves Cry," which is totally a first world problem. Still there's some other great ones here.

Longtime readers know I dig pretty much anything Mark Lanegan's ever done except those records with Isobel Campbell. The Christmas EP might be essential holiday listening now. That voice pretty much makes most songs awesome. That being said, I hoped that him and Martina Topley-Bird doing my favorite XX song would have been more awesome than it actually turned out to be. Still, the covers below are pretty swank.

 The air of menace in this Leadbelly cover gives it a sense of doom that's not necessarily apparent in the original. I know Cobain gets a lot of props for his version of this on MTV Unplugged, but this 1989 one where he's playing guitar is still my favorite.

Kristin Hersh always gets props:
I'm also partial to the Ramones' version of 'Somebody to Love'
 Jawbox was also extremely awesome in the cover song department. 

Other Joy Division covers that do it for me:


And the Mighty Melvins

One of my fellow DJs starts his show off with a Sabbath cover or two every week. Sometimes they're awesome, sometimes not so much. I want to track down a physical copy of this one since it's not even on itunes if I wanted it and this copyright chilling effect business makes other routes unconducive. 
Speaking of Sabbath covers:


  1. J Geils Band covering John Lee Hooker's "Serves You Right To Suffer"

  2. Wow. Just wow.

    I would add Sun Kil Moon's cover of Modest Mouse's Neverending Math Equation.


    Don't forget Unto Ashes doing The Drowning Man, Don't Fear the Reaper, Running With the Devil.