Dusted || The 10 Best Cover Songs Of January 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.

In January we heard new cover albums from Ryan Adams (Springsteen’s Nebraska), Kepi Ghoulie (new wave on Full Moon Fever), Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps (Beatles classics with soul: With a Little Help from Her Friends), but also many more successful reinterpretations. The next ones enchanted us the most.

Baby Please Don’t Go || Cover: Lola Lola || Original: Traditional
The theme is probably several hundred years old, but Big Joe Williams (1935), Muddy Waters (1953) and Them (1964) popularized it, and still Baby, Please Don’t Go is widely covered in all possible genres. This month a nice cowpunk version of Dash Rip Rock came out, but this exotic popcorn banger from Portuguese R&B outfit Lola Lola is even more exciting – they ensure that the classic remains a hit on the dance floor in 2023. Out now digitally and on vinyl 7″ through Chaputa! Records.

New album: Wet Future || Under the Weather

No idea how I got home yesterday, because I listened to Under the Weather, the full-length debut album by Canadian four-piece Wet Future. Apparently I was so immersed in the nine alternative rock songs with driving melodies, fascinating lyrics (“I was trying to get inside ya”, did I hear that right?) and intense vocals, that I didn’t consciously notice what was going on around me.

Sean Lyons (vocals, rhythm guitar), Lucas Bosma (lead guitar), Miles Mclaren (bass) and Brett Attig (drums) formed Wet Future during the covid pandemic, recorded their first single Toughen Up in November of 2020 and built steadily thereafter to the rest of this quite convincing LP. They created a big sound that – let’s predict success – will appeal to a large audience.

Under the Weather is streaming only for now (self-released).

New album: The Tubs || Dead Meat

When London-based Welsh band The Tubs released their single I Don’t Know How It Works in early 2020, I couldn’t help but order the 7″ right away. It was one of my favorite songs of that year, leaving me wanting more. Finally here’s the full-length debut album, entitled Dead Meat, from the musicians who earned their sores in Joanna Gruesome, Ex-Vöid and Sniffany & The Nits. You’ll hear nine strum & thrum jangle pop songs with somewhat bitter or miserable lyrics, lavishly laced with dynamic post-punk and traditional folk-rock elements (Felt, The Jam and Richard & Linda Thompson are mentioned as influences, in addition to Cleaners From Venus and the Flying Nun catalog). They sound like the record is spinning just a tad too slow, maybe that’s what makes this music so intriguing. Previously released tracks I Don’t Know How It Works, Two Person Love and Illusion (re-presented here as Illusion Pt. II) are included, but re-recorded in a slightly different version. Lead single Sniveller and closing track Wretched Lie are the new highlights of this great LP, with  respectively a melody and a chorus that keeps haunting your head. Just saying: I already ordered it.

Dead Meat is out now digitally, on cassette, CD and vinyl LP through Trouble In Mind Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: John McCabe || Somehow Or Another (2017​-​2022 EPs and singles compilation)

Californian musician/artist John McCabe made it to my year-end list with his 3-track EP No One Ever Says, but it turns out there’s a lot more where that came from. Subjangle, the ever-reliable label (and source) for the best jangle pop sounds, has taken on the honorable task of bringing together a selection of favorite singles and all five of his EPs released since 2017 on a double CD. Somehow Or Another is a strong compilation on which jangly alternative rock and heartfelt and Americana melt together in 26 powerful 3-minute songs, always with those unmistakable vocals that demand your attention. Beautiful, melancholy and vigorous.

Somehow Or Another (2017​-​2022 EPs and singles compilation) is out now digitally and on 2CD through Subjangle. RIYL: R.E.M., The Rain Parade, Miracle Legion.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Turn Turn Turn || New Rays From An Old Sun

The Byrds already knew it in 1965: “To everything (turn, turn, turn) // There is a season (turn, turn, turn) // And a time to every purpose, under heaven.” It was inevitable that a band would derive its moniker from that, especially if its members bonded over a mutual love of close harmony 60s and 70s country, folk and pop. That goes for Adam Levy (guitar, vocals), Savannah Smith (guitar, vocals) and Barb Brynstad (bass, vocals), veterans of the Minnesota music scene. The influences of Turn Turn Turn are clear, but the eleven new songs on their sophomore album are original, fresh and contemporary – this interpretation cannot be put into words more beautiful than its title New Rays From An Old Sun. This is swinging and uplifting Americana that embraces you with warmth. Perhaps musicians in the future will find inspiration on this LP: “Don’t run for cover everyone has got to learn // You’re lost and you misread the signs // You’re a stranger in a strange land // At the strangest time” (from opening track Stranger in a Strange Land).

New Rays From An Old Sun is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP via Simon Recordings.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Glyders || Maria’s Hunt

The cover art doesn’t give much away what to expect, but Glyders are a Chicago-based trio that turn up the heat with their neo-psychedelic Americana peppered with T. Rex influences. Their full-length debut LP Maria’s Hunt contains ten atmospheric songs, dreamy and mysterious – recorded analogue at home, classic quality. Josh Condon (vocals, guitar), Eliza Weber (bass) Joe Seger (drums) have created a wonderful album full of colorful music that could be the soundtrack of a road movie through the desert.

Maria’s Hunt is out now digitally, on cassette and vinyl LP through Country Thyme/Drag City Records. You can listen to the full album via Soundcloud and the streaming services. RILY The Stands’ All Years Leaving and The Wheels’ The Year Of The Monkey.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Drag City

New album: Traumahelikopter || Save Yourself

Exactly ten years after the release of their self-titled debut album, Dutch garage rock band Traumahelikopter is back with their fourth LP, defiantly titled Save Yourself – an indictment of selfishness. The idiosyncratic bassless trio – Mark van der Ploeg (vocals, guitar), Daan van Dalen (guitar) and Roel van Berloo (drums) – from Groningen rock city basically still does the same as back then, although a little more thoughtful and a little less boisterous, and that suits them well. The ten new songs are energetic, melodic and catchy, with appealing lyrics and strong varied guitars and vocals. Expect a kind of mix of the power pop of Shoes and the alternative rock of Jimmy Eat World, with a clear sound and a slightly melancholy vibe. Highlights on this record are Can’t Resist, Leaving On Your Own (featuring Hanna Lahaije), Please Don’t and Next Move.

Save Yourself is out now on CD and vinyl LP through Excelsior Recordings.

Add to wantlist: Discogs || Excelsior

New EP: The Playground Bullies || Don’t Worry, She Gets Fed by Strange Men

For a moment I thought I had discovered a new cool band from New York, but a bell rang in the distance. Hadn’t I heard this music before? The Playground Bullies appears to be a new project by Max Foreign Keen from Vancouver, British Columbia (Canada), whose EP The Evangelist Forgets Her Creature At The Grocery Store we wrote about a few months ago. You can hear three of those tunes on Don’t Worry, She Gets Fed by Strange Men, but in lo-fi garage rock versions that are as raw as they are irresistible. (In my opinion even better than the originals, a good reason to share them again.) Gritty vocals, strong hooks and poetic lyrics? Check! If you are not yet convinced by the amazing opening song Raison D’Être, you will be after the ten minutes that the closing track One Less Mouth to Feed (at the Eucharist) lasts.

Don’t Worry, She Gets Fed by Strange Men is out digitally via Burner Phone Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp (Note: On Max Foreign Keen’s personal Bandcamp page you can find an EP with the demo versions, under the title I Sell My Body For Spare Parts)

New album: Neverland Ranch Davidians || Neverland Ranch Davidians

Billed as “smoldering, psychotic R’n’B like the missing link between Blues Explosion, Suicide, and Stax Records,” here’s the self-titled debut album from the Neverland Ranch Davidians. (I think we can also safely mention The Dirtbombs and The Gun Club as reference names.) That the L.A. trio mixes punk, blues, rockabilly, psych and soul doesn’t say much in itself, it’s about the who and what. We’re talking about Tex Mosley (guitar, vocals), known from The Hangmen, Will Bentley (guitar, backing vocals) and Max Hagen (drums, backing vocals), and their sound is raw, primitive, distorted and authentic. They cover Link Wray (Butts In My Beer) and Ray Charles (I Believe to My Soul) in a creditable way, but the ten original songs here are even more powerful. As far as I’m concerned, Rat Patrol and Knee On My Neck stand out, respectively a garage rock banger with doo-wop influences and a blues rocker with a message, but actually the whole record is fascinating. Those heavy guitars and screamed lyrics – breathtaking.

Neverland Ranch Davidians is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through Heavy Medication Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Heavy Medication

New album: The Shang Hi Los || Aces Eights & Heartbreaks

When The Shang Hi Los debuted their Kick It Like A Wicked Bad Habit EP two years ago, we immediately fell in love with the Boston-based rock ‘n’ roll outfit (not entirely unexpected, given the band members’ past, but that aside). So good news that Jen D’Angora (vocals, guitar), Dan Kopko (vocals, guitar), Lee Harrington (bass, vocals) and Chuck Ferreira (drums, percussion) are now back with a full-length album called Aces Eights & Heartbreaks. Once again Jen and Dan have managed to write strong songs, and the synergy between their strong voices has remained, but their musical palette has broadened a bit. In hit single Billy, for example, they inimitably combine a spaghetti western soundtrack with a girl group sound, in which halfway through there also appears to be room for a guitar solo that would not have been out of place in an 80s hard rock anthem. Uniting the best of the past 60 years, The Shang Hi Los show that rock ‘n’ roll still is alive and kicking.

Aces Eights & Heartbreaks is out now digitally and on CD through Rum Bar Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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