Not all new music is really new, as many artists cover songs. Sometimes these are songs by their favorite artists, eg as a tribute to such a musical hero for a special reason, or they simply feel that a song deserves to be dusted and polished to reacquaint fans with great songs from the past. Other times, bands cover songs as a parody. Regardless of intent, some of those cover versions are so good or so much fun, 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.
You’ve probably seen compilations with cover versions of songs by Todd Rundgren and Yoko Ono elsewhere, and for some reason at least 3 different artists released a new reimagination of Bruce Springsteen’s I’m On Fire (don’t ask), but there was a lot more to choose this month.
Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere || Cover: Guerrilla Monzón || Original: Neil Young
At the end of last year I wrote enthusiastically about PCH, the debut EP by New York trio Guerrilla Monzón. Now Jason Sanchez (vocals, guitars), Eric Gordon (vocals, bass), and Rey Sinsay (drums) are back with Make It Home, featuring 7 new songs worthy of your attention. There’s this telling cover on it, which I don’t want to withhold from you (this way the legacy of Neil Young can still be listened to on Spotify, sort of ;)), but their own songs are just as good.
Rock This Town || Cover: Burning Bananas || Original: Stray Cats
This French rockabilly trio with guitar, double bass and drums only wants one thing, and that is to let their audience dance as much as possible. They succeed well with their takes on standards of the genre which are not lacking in energy, frenzied solos and bouncy rhythms, and this is a good example of that.
My Favorite Game || Cover: Bad Moves || Original: The Cardigans
AS IF! is a fun compilation with pop-punk covers of songs from teen comedies, an initiative of Don’t Let the Scene Go Down on Me! – the proceeds go to charity. For example, you’ll hear Wheatus’ Teenage Dirtbag (by (TT)b, from Loser), Everclear’s Local God (by Basic Bitches, from Romeo + Juliet), and No Doubt’s Just A Girl (by Some Faith, from Empire Records), as well as Add To Wantlist favorites Bad Moves with their version of The Cardigans’ 1998 hit My Favorite Game (from Sabrina the Teenage Witch TV series).
Ana Ng || Cover: Cheekface || Original: They Might Be Giants
Los Angeles indie pop trio Cheekface continues to put out entertaining music, and even if it’s a song from another band, they make the right choice. Their version of They Might Be Giants’ 1988 crowd favorite Ana Ng (“Listen Ana, hear my words // They’re the ones you would think // I would say if there was a me for you”) is a match made in heaven.
Can’t Stand Losing You || Cover: KID & Nodrizo || Original: The Police
Spanish blues punk duo KID and Angelito “Nodricito” Moreno decided to add some pepper to some of the hits from The Police’s first LP during the lockdown, and we can thank them for that. We want to hear their rough, fast and dirty spin on Losing You more often. Out digitally via Family Spree Recordings.
A.M. 180 || Cover: Casual Sects || Original: Grandaddy
American “sad boi grunge-pop band” Casual Sects have released their highly recommended EP Rejoice!, featuring 6 compelling garage rock/pop punk tracks. Below you can hear the cover that Rev. J. Tyler Brunson (guitar, keyboard, vocals), Sean Strickland (guitar), Joshua Hellvig (bass, vocals), and J. Alexander Cunningham (drums) recorded, but do yourself a favor and listen to their own songs as well.
High And Dry || Cover: Hollis Brown || Original: The Rolling Stones
In 2009 American 5-piece Hollis Brown borrowed their band name from Bob Dylan’s song Ballad of Hollis Brown, and in 2014 they paid tribute to Velvet Underground’s Loaded on their Record Store Day LP Gets Loaded. On second homage album In The Aftermath, which was realized in a 24-hour live session with lots of whiskey and minimal overdubs, they picked up the Stones’ 1966’s Aftermath, the band’s first record with only Mick Jagger-Keith Richards compositions. There’s a lot to enjoy here – you hear Hollis Brown rock ‘n’ roll, no imitations – but High And Dry puts the biggest smile on my face. Out on vinyl LP via Cool Green Recordings.
Like A Rolling Stone || Cover: The William Loveday Intention || Cover: Bob Dylan
No one covers Bob Dylan in such an intense way as Billy Childish. We’ve all heard this song too many times, but in this version hurts “How does it feel?” like never before. You can find it on their new album Cowboys Are SQ, available on streaming services and soon on vinyl through Liberation Hall.
Kashmir || Cover: Beth Hart || Original: Led Zeppelin
In May 2004 American singer/songwriter/musician Beth Hart stunned the audience at the Paradiso in Amsterdam with her performance of Whole Lotta Love. The song became a semi-regular fixture in her setlist over the years, including a memorable show with Slash. Now there is the full cover album A Tribute To Led Zeppelin, out digitally, on CD and vinyl LP via Provogue, on which the powerhouse vocalist channels the legendary voice of Robert Plant. The new versions stay true to the originals (I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not), and the sound is amazing – at the helm were producer Rob Cavallo and engineer Doug McKean, along with an A-list team of musicians. We couldn’t really get around this one, could we?
It’s Not My Cross To Bear || Cover: Regina Bonelli || Original: The Allman Brothers Band
Last but not least, here’s another powerhouse vocalist from the US. Regina Bonelli once again impresses on her new (3rd), soulful blues album Truth Hurts. The LP also includes cover versions of Willie Dixon’s Killing Floor and Darondo’s Didn’t I, but her interpretation of Southern ballad It’s Not My Cross To Bear makes the most emotional impact.
Check out our Dusted playlist on Spotify for more cool cover songs.