Not all new music is really new, as many artists occasionally play a song they know from one of their heroes. Often they are songs that deserve to be dusted and polished, simply because they should not be forgotten. Some of those cover versions are so good, we’d like to put a spotlight on them. Chosen from a wide range, here are – in alphabetical order – ten of our favorite covers from last month – links to the pages where you can add them to your wantlist included.
96 Tears || Cover: Oort Clod || Original: ? & The Mysterians
Manchester-based five-piece Oort Clod released a nice 12-track split EP (together with Priceless Bodies), on which the 1966 garage rock single is doused with a post-punk sauce. Out on cassette through Alphaville Records.
Breed || Cover: The Dollyrots || Original: Nirvana
To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Nirvana’s Nevermind, Kelly Ogden and Luis Cabezas aka The Dollyrots – if you didn’t know the Californian rock ‘n’ roll band yet: they are awesome – recorded a raucous cover of Breed. Free to download on their Bandcamp page.
Down By The Riverside / Up Above My Head || Cover: Jackie Venson || Originals: Traditional / Sister Rosetta Tharpe
“Up above my head // I hear music everywhere” – in less than three minutes you hear two classics successfully combined in such a way that after hearing it once, it gets stuck in your brain. This is one of the great tracks on Love Transcends, the new full-length album by American singer/songwriter/guitarist Jackie Venson.
Freedom Highway || Cover: The Specials || Original: The Staples Singers
Protest Songs 1924-2012, the new album by UK ska band The Specials, released on the first day of October, contains only covers – the title reveals the approach. The song here – about civil rights marches in 1965 – rushed ahead of the LP. “People still are protesting about very serious issues, people protesting about ridiculous issues. But overall there is that thing in your head that you’re on a path, or highway, and you’re searching for freedom,” said singer Terry Hall.
Hungry || Cover: The Queers || Original: Paul Revere & The Raiders
American punk rock band The Queers has been making noise since 1981, and now they’ve released their first ever covers album, through Cleopatra Records. On Reverberation you will hear their version of 14 of rock’s earliest songs, such as Be True To Your School, Love Potion #9, The Kids Are Alright, Strychnine , and…. Hungry, the 1966 single by Paul Revere & The Raiders.
Monkey Man || Cover: Brad Marino || Original: Rolling Stones
In memory of Charlie Watts, American rock ‘n’ roll warrior Brad Marino (vocals, guitars, bass) gives the Let It Bleed track a makeover, where Craig Sala has the heavy task of taking care of the drums. With Kris Rodgers on keys. Digital only track on Bandcamp.
One Way Or Another || Cover: The Coathangers || Original: Blondie
Two of our favorite bands, Atlanta’s The Coathangers and California’s L.A. Witch, have reinterpreted beloved songs by classic punk pioneers of their respective coasts, for Suicide Squeeze Records’ split 7” One Way or the Highway. The Coathangers do their spin on one of the most popular Blondie hits, L.A. Witch’s cover of The Gun Club’s Ghost on the Highway is almost as cool.
Pipeline || Cover: The C33s || Original: The Chantays
Actually I wanted to devote a separate post to UK three-piece The C33s’ Take Me Off The Face Of The Earth EP (out on cassette via Rare Vitamin Records), but I didn’t find the time for it yet. This cover post is a great opportunity to point it out – better late than never -because the first of the four tracks is a cover of The Chantay’s 1962 surf classic Pipeline, but please check out their other songs too.
Ride A White Swan || Cover: The Rubes || Original: T. Rex
I know, last year the compilation AngelHeaded Hipster with covers of songs of Marc Bolan and T. Rex by big stars came out, but that wasn’t enough. Salt Lake City’s garage rock band The Rubes are currently releasing (digital) reissues of their old work – Clown College and Mutiny To A Revolution – but as a surprise there was also this cover two weeks ago.
Spoonful || Cover: Harlis Sweetwater || Original: Howlin’ Wolf
Harlis Sweetwater’s great four-track (digital) EP Diesel Dirt & Spit closes with Spoonful, in which the Californian singer/guitarist makes the impressive blues song of Howlin’ Wolf – written by Willie Dixon – all his own and now it rocks really hard.
There are also some new cover-only albums worth checking out, such as the 2LP Kong’n’roll (26 rock’n’roll bands tribute to the Sitges Horror Film Festival), the 2LP I’ll Be Your Mirror (a tribute to The Velvet Underground and Nico), and Join The Ritual (celebrating Jagjaguwar’s 25th anniversary).