The moment I saw that We Are Trees had a song entitled “Dear Chan Marshall,” I was all ‘hell yeah, I’m up for the ride.’ (I’m a huge Cat Power fan and any reference to her will get me giddy.) That fact alone, for me, warranted them a listen–and I was not disappointed. (more…)
COVER CLASH | “These Days” (Jackson Browne, Nico, Gregg Allman, St. Vincent, Gemma Hayes, Memoryhouse, The Tallest Man On Earth)
Nico’s Chelsea Girl album art will most likely call to mind “These Days,” the hit single it spawned. However, what most people don’t realize is that Nico’s rendition, although it is the most recognized version, is actually a cover.
Written in 1968 by a wise-beyond-his-years Jackson Browne when he was only 16 (YES, 16!!), it was recorded principally by Nico, Gregg Allman, and Browne himself on separate occasions and in very distinctly different styles. But the song has found new life in the covers by St. Vincent, Gemma Hayes, The Tallest Man On Earth, and most recently, Memoryhouse–each bringing a different feeling/perspective. (more…)
Jack White + Laura Marling = true musicianship at its finest.
Okay, well, these songs aren’t technically “new” since they’re covers; they’re new in the sense that they’ve just been released. These 2 covers of Jackson C. Frank’s “Blues Run The Game” and Neil Young’s “The Needle And The Damage Done” are the products of Marling’s 25-minute recording session over at Jack White’s Third Man Records studio.
Produced by White, yet still raw and untouched, Marling’s incredibly mature voice is center-stage with just her and her guitar. I’ve always been a sucker for close-miking, and being able to hear the fingers plucking and dragging on the strings give the recordings a really warm tone. Both tracks clock in at just over 2 minutes–short and sweet (though if it were up to me they would just go on and on). Enjoy! (via NME)
Laura Marling – “The Needle And The Damage Done” (Neil Young Cover)
Laura Marling – “Blues Run The Game” (Jackson C. Frank Cover)
And we’ve got a live one for ya!
A lot of my readers seem to love Russian Red (aka Lourdes Hernandez), so here’s a treat! The Madrid-based songbird has just released a cover/collaboration of Elvis Presley’s “Love Me Tender” via her Facebook for Sony’s commemorative 75th anniversary album for the King of Rock, Viva Elvis.
While performing with holograms of deceased music legends borders on distasteful (seriously, who does that?!), is recording a track with the deceased any more tasteful? Is it sacrilege? Regardless, this delicate re-imagining of the classic Elvis track honors and pays tribute to the original while incorporating a tinge of singer-songwriter feeling with a plucked acoustic guitar.
Call it a remix or whatever you’d like, but it’s a truly beautiful rendition of an already tender lovin’ song. Enjoy!
[MP3]: Russian Red – “Love Me Tender” (w/ Elvis Presley) [right-click, save as]
EDIT: I recently had the chance to talk to Lourdes about this “duet” in a short Q&A session.
Karen O has gone country, y’all!
Okay, not really. But the Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman has recorded a cover of the surprisingly appropriate Roger Alan Wade track “If You’re Gonna Be Dumb, You Gotta Be Tough” for the jackassary that is the upcoming Jackass 3D movie. (Yes, it’s really happening). She’s gotta a slight Southern twang, but somehow, she still ends up sounding like a badass. Guess Karen O took a note from Wade: If she’s gonna go country, she’s gotta be tough.
Karin Dreijer Andersson, was originally one half of Grammi-winning (Swedish equivalent of a Grammy; those tricky, Swedes!) electric duo, the Knife, with her brother. Now performing solo under the moniker, Fever Ray, she is known for her theatricality (often donning masks and face paint), haunting vocals, and creating dark daydreams with synth textures.
“When I Grow Up” is a Fever Ray original and is the perfect song to introduce new listeners to her music. Honestly, on the first listen her multi-tracked vocals sound almost Bjork-like. The bass line is gripping and the sparse percussion is quite satisfying and carries the eerie feeling effectively. The single melody line repeated throughout pushes the track forward with a sense of movement.
And here’s the video, which I think suits the track perfectly and adds to its eerie tone.
First Aid Kit
And we’ve got 2 Swedes on the docket today! These two sisters from Stokholm had humble beginnings. They started off posting acoustic videos on youtube and tracks on Myspace, and clearly, they’re doing something right, because now they’re touring all over the world. They have a show in Toronto coming up on October 15.
Their version of Fever Ray’s “When I Grow Up” is a beautiful folk rendition with the girls’ signature harmonies. Completely different from the original, First Aid Kit’s vocals are in the forefront while subtle guitar instrumentation and muted percussion is buried in the mix (save for the intro).
Which version do you prefer? Fever Ray’s spooky electronic take or First Aid Kit’s classic folk?
P.S. What did you think of Glee’s cover of Paramore’s “Only Exception”? I hated it.
First up we have Band of Horses, who are the originators of “The Funeral.” The track starts off softly and then breaks into urgency driven by crashing cymbals and guitars, though heralding back to the lone voice and guitar in one section. The sound is signature indie rock-driven folk, folks–and simply and truly Band of Horses.
[MP3]: Band of Horses – “The Funeral” (right-click, save link as)
In ring 2, we have Canadian folk songstress, Serena Ryder, whose cover is off her 2009 EP, which she made in collaboration with Toronto-based roots/country band, The Beauties. She also covers Kylie Minogue, Jordan Sparks, and Hank Williams. Eclectic, huh? Her version of “The Funeral” is a bit slower and more sparse, with 3 vocal tracks and beautiful horn/brass instruments and guitar buried in the background. Her raw and musky vocals are front and center, and the focus seems to be solely on the emotion.
VOTE on who YOU think does “The Funeral” best!