Dusted || The 10 Best Cover Songs Of August 2023

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.

We’ve already written about tributes to The Cramps and Jonathan Richman, and Misfits-songs by Mexican bands and Lou Reed’s Perfect Day by Al Green were in the spotlight elsewhere, but have you heard the next choice cuts?

Lithium || Cover: Lavalove || Original: Nirvana
One year after Dead Formats Volume 1, Pure Noise Records will release Volume 2 of the punk rock compilation. It has a stellar lineup, including Less Than Jake with the Sooza Brass Band (Come Dancing), The Chisel (Saturday Night’s Alright (For Fighting)), Knuckle Puck (Losing A Whole Year) and The Bouncing Souls (In The Dark). Our new favorite indie band Lavalove is also present with a delicious version of Nirvana’s Lithium, one of the singles from Nevermind (1991).

Come Dancing || Cover: The Midnight Callers || Original: The Kinks
Less Than Jake aren’t the only ones who delivered a cover of The Kinks’ Kinda Kinks song Come dancing (1965) this month, New York City’s The Midnight Callers did as well. It’s the opening track of JEM Records Celebrates Ray Davies, a successful compilation that sees thirteen great classics are covered by great artists/bands, such as Nick Piunti (Til The End Of The Day), The Anderson Council (Do You Remember Walter), The Weeklings (Lola), and The Airport 77s (Picture Book).

Love Buzz || Cover: The Shivas || Original: Shocking Blue
Many people know this tune from Nirvana’s Bleach (1989), but twenty years earlier Robbie van Leeuwen wrote it for Shocking Blue, released on the Dutch rock band’s 1969 album At Home (also known for their number 1 hit Venus). The style of Portland, Oregon-based garage psych outfit The Shivas is a perfect fit – it’s one of the tracks from their Covers Vol. 2, out through Tender Loving Empire Records.

Gloria || Cover: The Jerrys || Original: Them
Jerry Schwartz’s guitar pop band The Jerrys will release a collection of cover songs in early 2024. Ahead of that album they’ve shared their rendition of Them’s Gloria (1964), written by Van Morrison when he was a teenager, but still indestructible after all these years .

She’s Just My Style || Fascinations Grand Chorus || Gary Lewis & The Playboys
When I was in the UK recently, it was hard to tear myself away from That’s 60s, a television channel that non-stop broadcasts music videos of performances by the garage rock and rhythm ‘n’ beat bands of yesteryear – lots of cool footage I hadn’t seen before. One of the clips that made an impression was that of Gary Lewis & The Playboys, so it immediately caught my attention when I saw New Jersey-based cinematic pop duo Fascinations Grand Chorus covering one of their songs for their new single (out on Silent Stereo Records, with The Jellybeans’s I Wanna Love Him So Bad on the flipside). Happy music.

Different Now || Cover: Courtney Barnett || Original: Chastity Belt
Suicide Squeeze celebrates Chastity Belt with a split 7″ single, on which tourmates Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile each recorded a song – respectively Different Now on side C and This Time of Night on side K – from the band’s 2017 album I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone. Courtney Barnett (guitars, vocals), along with Stella Mozgawa (drums, synths), make the amazing melody from the original even more irresistible.

Cities In The Dust || Night Club || Siouxsie & The Banshees
Cleopatra Records was on fire last month, with tributes to Rammstein, The Beatles, The Cramps and ‘Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio’ (and many more), but they also released Spellbound – A Tribute To Siouxsie & The Banshees by twelve various artists. The undisputed post-punk/goth rock queen is experiencing a revival: Siouxsie Sioux has an undeniable influence on new music, she launched her first tour in 15 years, and it’s not without reason that contemporary talents are picking up her songs for this synth-driven compilation. One of the highlights is the cover of 1985 single Cities In The Dust by Los Angeles-based electro-goth duo Night Club.

Inwards || Ted Leo & The Pharmacists || Big Country
It’s been forty years since Scottish new wave band Big Country put out their debut album The Crossing, which apparently prompted fans of singer/guitarist Ted Leo to urge him to cover one of their songs. No sooner said than done, and it’s wonderful.

Rock & Roll || Cover: The Feelies || Original: The Velvet Underground
On October 13, 2018, at White Eagle Hall in Jersey City, legendary New Jersey-based rock band The Feelies performed the music of The Velvet Underground. Exactly five years later, Bar/None Records will release that show digitally, on CD and vinyl 2-LP. This awesome track, which we know from Loaded (1970), is a promising taster.

The Office (Theme Song) || Cover: The Surf Junkies || Original: Jay Ferguson / The Scrantones
The popular sitcom television series The Office almost had a different intro song, but at the last minute it was changed to the now famous tune composed by Jay Ferguson and performed by The Scrantones. Washington’s The Surf Junkies take the theme to a sunny beach, and that works really well. It’s the closing track of their new Stranger Danger EP, out on Double Crown Records.

Check out our Dusted playlist on Spotify for more cool cover songs.

Due to my holiday break I had already written the July overview before the end of the month, so Sinéad O’Connor’s Black Boys On Mopeds by Grian Chatten (Fontaines D.C.), Another Sunny Day’s I’m In Love With A Girl Who Doesn’t Know I Exist by Red Sleeping Beauty, and Classic Pat’s take on the La Bamba soundtrack from the last week of July were missing, but would otherwise have been part of it.

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