Alternative Rock

Dusted || The 10 Best Cover Songs Of July 2022

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.

A little later than usual, due to vacation, but there was too much fun music to skip this post. Elsewhere enough has been written about She & Him’s Melt Away tribute to Brian Wilson, the new Minions soundtrack, Easy Eye Sound’s John Anderson compilation and the countless Running Up That Hill covers – we heard some other highlights.

Oh Oh I Love Her So || Cover: Jesse Malin || Original: Ramones
New York singer-songwriter Jesse Malin followed up last year’s album Sad And Beatiful World with the sensitive single Keep On Burning. On the flipside, the BPM goes up for a catchy, danceable version of Ramones’ Leave Home song (1977). Out on vinyl 7″ via Wicked Cool Records.

New album: Zado || Looking Back On What I’ve Lost

Originally released in 2021, but now finally getting the vinyl treatment, here is a record from Singapore that is too good not to share. Zado is just one of the many musical projects of the multi-talented multi-instrumentalist, Izzad Radzali Shah (Anxious Living, Daily Ritual, SIAL – we covered his work in Beach Things). Izzad wrote, played and recorded everything on Looking Back On What I’ve Lost, which is his second record under the Zado moniker. That alone is impressive, but what stands out even more is the sheer quality of the songs.

If I had to put a label on it, I’d put Zado in the indie rock category. That indie rock sound has elements of ’80s underground pop from the US, but there are also touches of shoegaze and britpop. Unpolished yet melodic.

Out now through Singapore label 4490 Records. Vinyl expected to arrive early August.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Hutchie || Some Other Way

Let me introduce you to Hutchie, a band of three featuring members of Le Saboteur, Ol’ Doris, and BUGS. Some Other Way is Hutchie’s debut (mini)album, and it is comprised of eight rockin’ indiepunk tracks. Hutchie are a band that writes songs out of necessity, and their song touch upon the relational and deeply personal (Seat Next 2 U and The Summer Your Dog Died), as well as dealing with societal developments (Out Here). “This is a record full of disappointment, sadness, addiction, and isolation, sure. But’s that’s balanced against an equal dose of love, lust and hopefulness,” singer Michelle Pannell explains.

Feeling out of step with world has fueled angsty and true music for decades. But Some Other Way sounds brighter and more melodic than you’d expect based on that quote. This doesn’t sound like an angry record, but there is definitely a sense of urgency and true emotions oozing through these songs. Yep, I am enjoying this one a lot.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Gentlemen Rogues || A History Of Fatalism

Anytime Gentlemen Rogues (Austin, Texas) puts out a new release, they have my eyes and ears. And that even applies when the release technically consists of previously released tracks. This week, the band released A History Of Fatalism, which combines their A History So Repeating and Fatal Music EPs. Both EPs were remixed and remastered, and most importantly: pressed on vinyl for the first time.

It’s a joy to revisit these songs. There is a throwback quality to the guitar-driven powerpop of Gentlemen Rogues. They have that same knack for creating polished yet powerful songs as Bob Mould and Superchunk. And although I wouldn’t call Gentlemen Rogues punk, there clearly is some punk energy to their sound. If you are looking for some quality rockin’ powerpop, pick this one up. You get three bonus tracks with the digital stream (and vinyl download). Of the three I like Fuck And Run the most – a song I at first misheard as Fuck Enron and only later discovered to be a Liz Phair cover. Sigh.

A History Of Fatalism is out now through Snappy Little Numbers and Rocket Heart Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Snappy Little Numbers || Rocket Heart Records

New album: Ram Vela & the Easy Targets || Stuck on Yesterday

Please meet Ram Vela (songwriting, lead vocals, guitars) and The Easy Targets – Nathan Snyder (guitars, vocals), Dan Walker (bass, vocals) and Rachel “Spanky” Fuhrer (drums) – who are firing seven exciting new tunes at you from Austin, Texas. Their debut album Stuck on Yesterday is admittedly influenced by the past – 70s power pop / new wave (it’s somewhat reminiscent of Elvis Costello) and 90’s alt-rock / 00s punk rock (Jimmy Eat World, The Get Up Kids, Motion City Soundtrack, etc. ) – but the songs here are more original than the somewhat pessimistic title suggests. Standout track Pick Up Where I Left Off is a catchy hit full of sing-along lyrics, Let’s Start a Band is a relatable anthem for all aspiring young musicians. If upstart bands are as good as Ram Vela & the Easy Targets, the future of rock music looks bright.

Stuck on Yesterday is out now digitally (self-released). Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Fo Daniels || Imitation Roses

Funny how you now can still discover an album that you overlooked last April. I was pointed to new single Promises b/w Portrait of a Morning by American singer-songwriter/guitarist Forrest “Fo” Daniels, which turned out to be stripped-down bonus tracks to complete his debut LP Imitation Roses that came out three months ago. That album is so good I don’t want to keep it from you. It contains ten powerful songs recorded completely live, along with Charlie Holt (drums), Selby Austin (bass), and Darby Mcglone (guitar) in the same room, in just one day. That makes the result raw and authentic, yet the energetic indie rock with alt-country influences sounds well thought out, with an eye for balance and detail. These are great guitar-driven tracks – well played and sung, superbly produced – that should prevail on alternative radio stations and festival grounds.

Add to wantlist: streaming only for now

New album: Pronk || Mayonaise

At live shows from Dutch boogie-rock outfit Pronk, there are two kinds of people: the audience with a fist in the air – dancing , laughing, screaming, stomping, sweating, and drinking too much – and behind them some casual attendees who look open-mouthed wtf is going on. If you listen to the 11 new songs on their sophomore full-length Mayonaise, you can probably imagine that. It doesn’t matter that you don’t speak the language – most fans in the Netherlands don’t really understand this dialect either – but you’ll undoubtedly have an idea what it’s all about. Singer/guitarist Arjan Pronk (The Prodigal Sons, 16Down, Bökkers), drummer Henk Jonkers (Hallo Venray, Fatal Flowers), guitarist Sam Pols (Magnetic Spacemen) and singer Dion Legebeke (The Damned Few) play dirty, hard, bold and catchy rock ‘ n’ roll – party guaranteed – that you can’t get out of your head. This music is just as fat, unmistakable and shameless as the product from the album title, and that’s a compliment.

Add to wantlist: Mayonaise is out now on vinyl LP through Excelsior Recordings.

New EP: John McCabe || No One Ever Says

To be honest, I initially thought I had discovered three forgotten R.E.M. classics. However, it turned out to be John McCabe originals. The Californian musician/artist has the gift of writing powerful 3 minute songs – alternative rock with jangly guitars and compelling vocals – that sound like 90s radio hits. On his new (4th) solo EP No One Ever Says, McCabe (vocals, guitars, mandolin), together with producer John Kimbrough (guitars, bass, keyboards, percussion, backing vocals) and Derek Syverud (drums), prove how good he is. Opening song Screeching Halt grabs you from the first touch, only to let go when the guitars in closing track Brake Parts have died down.

No One Ever Says is out now digitally via Shelf Talker Music. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: The Pinheads || The Mirror

Have The Pinheads come of age or is it the circumstances under which The Mirror came about? The Australian six-piece manages to maintain the high level we heard on their first two LPs, but on album number 3 the garage / surf punk sound has evolved into rock ‘n’ roll with an alt-country feel. The ten new songs were written, recorded and mixed during the tumultuous bushfire season in the ‘Black Summer’ of 2019/2020 and the Covid pandemic that followed. With an almost 6-minute opening track entitled Heart Of Darkness you’d expect nothing but gloom, but the band emphasizes that their intention was “to find light amongst the madness, roving through trial, tribulation and ultimately, salvation.” The lockdown resulted in some extra time to create a hand-drawn video frame by frame, but everything is also well thought out musically. This is a mesmerizing, impressive record.

The Mirror is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through Farmer & The Owl.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Farmer & The Owl

New album: Quinton Brock || My Shadow

“A record that conveys and rises above rock’s latest trends all at once.” New York singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Quinton Brock, formerly of surf rock duo The Get Money Squad, has released his solo debut album My Shadow, setting the bar high: “We’re changing rock music forever.” It’s not hard to imagine that this ambition will be realized, because this is one of the most surprising, cool and versatile records of recent times. It has a NY sound without being reminiscent of The Velvet Underground or The Strokes, and the musicians have the personality and charisma to become crowd favorites. The energetic songs fly in all directions – in terms of influences you can tick indie, slacker rock, alternative, hip hop and surf – and one minute you hear jangly guitars and the next a funky R&B beat, interrupted by a few skits. All tracks are written, performed and produced by Quinton Brock, but somewhere also Travie McCoy, Pink Siifu, Portugal. The Man, Dane Orr, Griffin Smith, Don Hanson, Peter Enriquez, Gengis Don and Elijah Allen show up. This LP is unconventional and probably not for everyone, but isn’t that true of all groundbreaking changes?

My Shadow is out now digitally via Shadow Panther (Quinton Brock’s own label).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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