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 random order – ten of our favorite covers from last month – links to the pages where you can add them to your wantlist included.
Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door || Cover: The William Loveday Intention || Original: Bob Dylan
It’s unbelievable how much good music Billy Childish continues to create, with originals and covers, but also adaptations of his own earlier work. Last month, with CTMF, he released the great single Bob Dylan’s Got a Lot to Answer For (“Even an idiot must admit that Bob Dylan made some great tunes, but despite his many achievements it must also be said that Bob has got a lot to answer for, so we wrote him a complementary tune”), and from the moniker of The William Loveday Intention also appeared an impressive cover of the master’s Knockin’ On Heavens Door. It’s a classic that has been covered many times, but this is possibly the most epic one. That goes for the 10-minute vocal version (with extra lyrics added), but the even longer instrumental is even more compelling. Out on 12″ vinyl through Squoodge Records and digitally via Damaged Goods.
Ride || Cover: Lily Konigsberg & Nate Amos || Original: Liz Phair
I’m Into Life Records released the (digital) Halloween compilation Creepy Covers, of which the proceeds go to charity. Of the 33(!) indie rock covers, this uplifiting one by Lily Konigsberg & Nate Amos stands out. Other highlights include Deer Scout’s Casper the Friendly Ghost (Daniel Johnston), and Morning Forever’s Psycho Killer (Talking Heads), but actually the whole album is a nice soundtrack for the annual celebration.
Flypaper || Cover: Melvins || Original: Brainiac
American rock / metal band Melvins has been releasing a lot of music the last 36 years, but a 36-track album with new, acoustic(!) versions of a selection of songs from their own catalog probably nobody saw coming. Still, that’s what Five Legged Dog is. While they had plenty of their own work to choose from, you’ll also hear new covers of Rolling Stones’ Sway, Fred Neil’s Everybody’s Talking, and Brainiac’s Flypaper. Out digitally, on 2CD and 4LP through Ipecac Recordings.
Ghost Riders In The Sky || Cover: Daniel Donato || Original: Stan Jones
Nashville native Daniel Donato is a guitar hero like you rarely see. At 16 he became the youngest musician to regularly play with The Don Kelley Band at the famous honky tonk Robert’s Western World. As a tribute to this legendary house band, he recorded the Cosmic Country & Western Songs LP, including a heroic instrumental version of the more than 70-year-old Ghost Riders In The Sky, one to take off your cowboy hat for.
The Witch || Cover: The Woggles || Original: The Rattles
The old garage rockers of The Woggles came up with a nice Halloween surprise: this cover of The Witch, recorded with Pat Beers from The Schizophonics on guitar, is exactly what we needed. Out digitally via Wicked Cool Records, reportedly also available on vinyl sometime in 2022.
Sound System || Cover: We Are The Union + Eve 6 || Original: Operation Ivy
The way this entertaining ska-punk cover came about is a story in itself (see Brooklyn Vegan for that) – a “postmodern joke” on Twitter, involving multiple bands and festivals – but sometimes that leads to unforeseen collaborations which provide a lot of fun.
P-E-R-V-E-R-T || Cover: The YeAsTieS || Original: The Welders
In 2010, American punk band The Welders was rescued from obscurity by pressing some demo songs from 1979, including P-E-R-V-E-R-T, onto 7″ vinyl. Great find from The YeAsTieS, because this dirty track deserved a good cover (and more fame). Their Here For Flesh EP is out digitally and on cassette.
Turd On The Run || Cover: Major Nasty || Original: Rolling Stones
Swiss musician and record producer Jonas Marty aka Major Nasty considers The Rolling Stones the greatest rock ‘n’ roll band ever. As a thank you for all the inspiration he found to live his life in their music, he released the album Keeps The Stones Rollin’, with a dozen covers, including Exile On Main St track Turd On The Run. Out digitally and on vinyl LP through Monobuster Records.
New Life || Cover: Boids || Original: Depeche Mode
Depeche Mode broke through in the UK in 1981 with their second single New Life. Imho, the synth-driven song hasn’t stood the test of time very well, but Canadian three-piece Boids shows that it is actually a very strong track. Hopeful pop-punk, to be found on their (digital) Disassociation EP, out via Stomp Records.
Aline || Cover: Jarvis Cocker as Tip-Top || Original: Christophe
In Wes Anderson’s new film The French Dispatch, you hear Jarvis Cocker’s fictional character Tip-Top sing a cover of Christophe’s Aline – in French (with an accent) – in an orchestral, melancholic and enthralling way. He eventually recorded a full companion album, which also included 11 other covers of French pop songs. Chansons D’Ennui Tip-Top is out on CD and vinyl LP through ABKCO. Nice how fiction turns into reality.
We keep a list of covers that we come across throughout the month. We would have loved to share Black Lips’ version of Colt 44 (Fred Cole), and The Reds, Pinks & Purples’ Common Burn (Mazzy Star) here, but for some reason they are no longer online at the moment. And you’re right if you missed something else: if Kid Gulliver’s I Started A Joke (Bee Gees) hadn’t been in our spotlight yet, you would have seen it above.