Category Archives: covers

J.C. Brooks and the Uptown Sound cover Wilco

I knew nothing about J.C. Brooks and the Uptown Sound until today, when I saw the video for their soul-style cover of Wilco’s I Am Trying to Break Your Heart on Boing Boing.

The group is from Chicago, so this comes off as a nice homage to their fellow Windy City dwellers. And let’s be honest: It takes some balls to tackle a song that’s become so sacred to Wilco fans, but these guys pull it off wonderfully, giving a bit of depressing indie rock a bright spin.

The cover is the B-side of a 45, available via Rabbit Factory.

Mayer Hawthorne: I Wish It Would Rain (video);
Thin Moon (James Pants cover)

Mayer Hawthorne has been everywhere since the release of his 2009 debut A Strange Arrangement. And he’s expanding his reach with another huge tour this spring, including a leg with Passion Pit. Too bad the tour skips Phoenix, even though we saw him in October open for Ghostface.

To help stoke another round of buzz, Hawthorne has released a new video for the slow jam I Wish It Would Rain, in which our brokenhearted leading man laments lost love whilst being shadowed by that oh-so sad rain cloud amid sunny skies.

Stones Throw is also unveiling a 7-inch at its March 17 “45 Live” party at SXSW in which Hawthorne and James Pants cover each other with Hawthorne taking on Thin Moon and Pants returning the favor on Green Eyed Love. The label has made Hawthorne’s cover available as a download.

Mayer Hawthorne on NPR’s World Cafe
Mayer Hawthorne: Green Eyed Love (video, remix)
Mayer Hawthorne: Maybe So, Maybe No (video)

Far covers Ginuwine’s “Pony,” reunites for album


I’ve been cautiously optimistic about this news of a Far reunion — and new album! — and it all appears to be a go: “Perhaps some of you have heard via the internets that we’re putting out a record with the venerable Vagrant Records. True and good.”

Though it’ll be hard to live up to the greatness of 1998′s Water & Solutions – a desert-island disc candidate from my collection – the band’s two-album stint was (ahem) far too short, even though singer Jonah Matranga carried on with a solo career.

Far’s reintroduction actually came last year in the form of a cover of Pony, the ’90s hit by Ginuwine. If you’ve ever wanted to hear Jonah sing, “If you’re horny, let’s do it/ride it; my pony,” well, your wildest dreams have come true. Apparently, Ginuwine is a fan.

And here’s an acoustic version of Pony the band did for 91X.

Keep up with Far on Twitter and/or MySpace.

Wu-Tang album covers remixed

I meant to post this last week when I saw it at URB, but a designer/artist by the name of Logan Walters has taken it upon himself to redesign the covers of Wu-Tang Clan-affiliated albums in the style of the classic Blue Note look. The results are fantastic.

Says Walters: ” … almost all of the Wu-Tang album art was horrible (ODB’s two albums being the only real exceptions) — no offense to the original designers, but as iconic as they might be they’re looking pretty dated these days.” It’s a brilliant concept and Walters seems to have nailed it, right down to the yellowing edges of each cover. He’s gone so far as to replace the originals with his designs in his iTunes library. Can’t say I blame him. You can check out all the covers (and he’s adding more) at his Flickr set.

And while we’re on the topic, El Michels Affair has another mp3 available from its album of instrumental Wu-Tang interpretations, Enter the 37th Chamber. GZA’s Duel of the Iron Mic – El Michels calls it Duel of the Iron Mics … plural – gets the reworking here, complete with movie-clip sampling that appears in the original.

El Michels Affair cover Wu-Tang’s Bring Da Ruckus

Last year I posted a video of retro-soul instrumental group El Michels Affair performing Da Mystery of Chessboxin’ with Wu-Tang Clan.

The group has returned this year, prepping for next week’s release of Enter the 37th Chamber, an album in which El Michels Affair interprets 15 well-known Wu-Tang songs. You can see the tracklisting and order the CD at Fat Beats.

P.O.S. covers Pearl Jam’s “Why Go”

Although I’ve always preferred Vs. to Ten – am I alone in that sentiment? – Pearl Jam’s debut played a huge part in shaping my music tastes in high school (though I swear I could never hear Jeremy for as long as I live and be completely happy). I mean, I didn’t grow my hair grungy long like some people I know – *cough* my brother *cough* – Ten is an amazing album and deserving of its recent deluxe reissue.

That’s got people reminiscing about the record and reinventing its songs, thanks to an MTV2 project. Take, for example, Minnesota rapper P.O.S., who does an amazing one-man version of Why Go, showing off some singing chops in the process. Plaid flannel is a nice touch, too.

But, seriously, back to Vs. I still have the cassette with Five Against One printed on the tape when that was the original title. Can I get like five bucks for that on eBay?

Travis: Something Anything (video)

Well, I don’t think I can get in any sort of trouble for posting this Travis video.

The track, Something Anything, is from the forthcoming album Ode to J. Smith, due out Sept. 29 in the UK. Not sure what that means for a U.S. release.

In more Travis news, the band’s outstanding track, Sing, has been covered by Glen Campbell for his Meet Glen Campbell covers album.

Perhaps Campbell is returning the favor on a Wichita Lineman cover by Travis and Jason Falkner?

Here’s Campbell on AOL’s Sessions:

The New Division (who?) covers the National

I’ll just go ahead and put this out there: I have no idea who the New Division is. I know, via MySpace, that it’s “an indie rock/new wave band from Riverside, CA founded in 2005 by John Glenn Kunkel.” Also, the band takes its name from two of its main influences (New Order and Joy Division … get it?).

I can get past the gimmicky nature of the name. What’s stopping me is that this indie rock/new wave band from Riverside, CA founded in 2005 by John Glenn Kunkel has covered my favorite song from my favorite album of 2007, the National’s Boxer.

Truth is, it’s not a bad cover. Not at all. And I have to admire a band that is doing its part to spread the greatness of the National. The singer, perhaps this John Glenn Kunkel fellow, introduces the song by saying, “It’s a really, really good song. You should really start to listen to it more often. It’s quite amazing.” I’ll agree with that.

Then, in the back of my mind, I hear a little voice (probably my alter ego that wears skinny jeans) say, “Who does this band think it is, covering such a great song?” But, you know, of course it’s not going to be as good as the original. And, of course, the covering band probably knows that. So what I’m trying to say in this debate with myself is that, yes, I’m OK with this cover. It’s a sign of respect for a band that deserves tons of it.

Mobius Band: Love Will Reign Supreme (free EP)

In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, Mobius Band is offering a free six-song EP of covers called Love Will Reign Supreme. I got particularly excited to see they covered the National’s Baby, We’ll Be Fine, a song, in my estimation, that is romantic in its vulnerable and contrite writing (“I don’t know how to do this / I’m so sorry for everything.”).

Mobius Band definitely gives the track an imaginative reworking, one that feels uplifting … like the clouds are parting from the original’s somber tone.

Tracklist for Love Will Reign Supreme:
1. Razor Love (Neil Young)
2. Baby We’ll Be Fine (The National)
3. True Love Will Find You In The End (Daniel Johnston)
4. Mobius Band In A Green Cotton Sweater (Casiotone for the Painfully Alone)
5. I’ll Keep It With Mine (Bob Dylan)
6. Digital Love (Daft Punk)

Download individual songs or the album in a zip file (which includes cover art jpg) here.

  • Mobius Band | Baby, We’ll Be Fine (The National cover)

Cassettes Won’t Listen covers The Freed Pig

cwl.jpgIf I could go back to the early and mid-90s, I’d probably make a point to pay more attention to Dinosaur Jr. Instead, I had my head buried in hip-hop – A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Digable Planets, etc. Of course, I don’t regret that path, but I feel I have no history, no sense of attachment to a band that inspired so much of what I listen to today. (And their drummer’s name is Murph. MURPH! Maybe we’re related.)

You can draw the logical conclusion that I also missed the boat on Sebadoh. So when I got the reissue of III last year, I knew it was a big deal, but I probably couldn’t appreciate it to its fullest extent.

And that’s a shame because I could have used a song like The Freed Pig all these years – its bitter, angry beauty. “Now you will be free / with no sick people tugging on your sleeve / Your big head has that more room to grow / A glory I will never know.” Yow. I often wonder if Lou Barlow ever brought this up with J. Mascis when Dinosaur Jr. reunited. “Hey, look, about that song … ”

Anyway, Cassettes Won’t Listen (aka Jason Drake), in conjunction with Music For Robots, is offering a free EP of ’90s covers called One Alternative, on which The Freed Pig is included.

I question whether such a great song needs to be covered/remade in this way, but I give CWL the benefit of the doubt because his remix of El-P’s Flyentology was aces.

Go download the EP here.

  • Sebadoh | The Freed Pig
  • Cassettes Won’t Listen | The Freed Pig (Sebadoh cover)