Funk & Soul

Dusted || The 10 Best Cover Songs Of June 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.

In June we heard some covers on the soundtrack of Baz Lurhmann’s biopic film ELVIS, The Routes’ did a surf rock Kraftwerk tribute, Elvis Costello celebrated Paul McCartney’s 80th birthday, a project of Disclotch Records contained 27 home recordings to pay homage to Daniel Johnston, and previously we wrote about releases from Thee Escapees, Mikey Erg, Reverendo Band, Runaway Lovers and Townies with some successful cover versions. Below we list the 10 best that we haven’t mentioned yet.

Hound Dog || Cover: The Record Company || Original: Big Mama Thornton
The iconic rock ‘n’ roll track Hound Dog was written by Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller, first released by blues singer Big Mama Thornton (1953), and made famous by Elvis Presley (1956). The ELVIS soundtrack features an honorable cover by Shonka Dukureh, but as a fan of American roots rock band The Record Company, it’s their version that you see here (not related to the movie). It’s not a Thornton or Presley imitation: as always The Record Company gives it its own twist. In case you don’t know: they previously worked on Beastie Boys’ So What’Cha Want, still one of my favorite covers ever.

New album: The Soul Jacket || KICK Radio

Spanish funk rock outfit The Soul Jacket have released their new full-length album, an entertaining concept album that gives the feeling of listening to an American FM station for 35 minutes, while you’re on the road in the late 60’s. Somewhat similar to Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon A Time In Hollywood soundtrack, but by one band. And with success: KICK Radio plays some pretty good music!

The LP is a fitting vehicle for the six musicians of The Soul Jacket to demonstrate their mastery of styles such as southern soul, funk, acid jazz, garage rock, reggae and Tex-Mex – the whole is varied, but coherent. Given the concept, the idea is that you listen to the album – eleven upbeat tracks – from start to finish without pausing, shuffling or skipping. This is possible via all streaming services, but below is a taste of what to expect: first single Scratch My Back is a funky party anthem, Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In) is a cool, more than six minutes long cover of the 1967 psych classic – written by Mickey Newbury – that is also reminiscent of Another Brick In The Wall. Tune in!

KICK Radio is out now digitally. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New EP: Cosmit || It’s Cosmit

Two years ago, Bristol’s (UK) scrappiest and poppiest punkrock band Cosmit entered the scene with a three-song single – I liked it so much it made my singles of the year list. Its follow up, the five-song It’s Cosmit EP, is finally here.

Two years and 8-songs in, I’ve yet to hear a Cosmit song I don’t like. Go Go Go alone makes this EP worth the purchase. On the song, Cosmit sounds like the Northern Soul version of Marked Men, and their harmonies provide an absolute dopamine rush. Or what about Bad Luck, a song that sounds upbeat with sweet backing choirs, but actually is kinda dark. “I’ve seen it all before || It never rains it pours || If it wasn’t for bad luck i wouldn’t have any luck at all.”

In addition to Northern Soul, Cosmit cites Motown and ’60s pop as major influences on their brand of punk rock. This could have resulted in a mess in less capable hands, but in the case of Cosmit (featuring members of RVIVR, Austeros, Toodles & The Hectic Pity, and the co-owner of Specialist Subject Records) it’s an exciting blend of HITS! HITS! HITS!




Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Sister Cookie || In The Blue Corner

Once you’ve heard and seen London-based songstress Sister Cookie sing, you can’t help but be impressed. Apparently she has it all – the voice, the skills, the tunes, the sound, the looks – but between the lines you feel pain and suffering. For her full-length debut album In The Blue Corner, the Lagos-born composer and self-taught pianist wrote 11 honest and raw songs in which rock ‘n’ roll and jazz influences merge into funky soul music like milk and sugar in hot coffee. Sister Cookie’s distinctive, powerful and gritty vocals steal the show here, but the vintage foundation that the experienced band lays down is very solid. Credits also to Alex McGowan’s production, because there is nothing to fault on this record. This is rhythm and blues as it should be, making 2022 a whole lot more swinging.

In The Blue Corner was released as a limited edition run on turquoise sparkle vinyl in November 2021, but now widely available digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through The Liquid Label. Likely, both Amy Winehouse and The Courettes fans will enjoy this one.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Sister Cookie

Dusted || The 10 Best Cover Songs Of April 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.

In April we checked out George Is Lord’s My Sweet George (10 George Harrison songs), Phonophore Records’ All Good Kids (a tribute compilation with various artists doing 28 Guided By Voices tracks), The Greyboy Allstars’ Get A Job (10 funky covers that have become an integral part of the band’s famed live sets), Edgar Winter’s Brother Johnny (an all-star musical love letter to Johnny Winter), The William Loveday Intention’s Paralysed By The Mountains (Billy Childish calls his You Gotta Move cover, featuring his wife Julie and Dave Tattersall, one of his best recordings ever), and Willie Nelson’s 72th(!) album A Beautiful Time (with tunes of The Beatles and Leonard Cohen). We’ve already written about LPs by The Surfrajettes and The Sellwoods with some fun cover versions on it. And then there also were 20+ other releases that would be worth mentioning, but as always, we’re limiting ourselves to the 10 best.

It’s Not Love, But It’s Not Bad || Cover: Eli Paperboy Reed || Original: Merle Haggard and The Strangers
On his new full-length album Down Every Road (out digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through Yep Roc Records), American soul shouter Eli Paperboy Reed pays homage to country legend Merle Haggard by putting a soulful spin on 12 of his classic country tunes. Thanks to Reed’s distinctive, powerful vocals and the groove of Mike Montgomery (bass) and Noah Rubin (drums), the new versions gain in expressiveness, which is certainly reflected in It’s Not Love, But It’s Not Bad (this one isn’t written by Merle Haggard by the way, but by Glenn Martin & Hank Cochran). Those who pre-ordered the LP or CD in time, received a 7″ single with an almost unrecognizable take on Motörhead’s Ace of Spades.

New EP: The Pagans S.O.H || Le Coq EP

And now for something completely different, something for which the term eclectic was coined. The Pagans S.O.H (Shepherds of Humanity) fuse elements of hip-hop, funk, punk, ska, metal, jazz, gospel, and reggae to create a cool and fun vibe, somewhat reminiscent of the crossover sound of bands like OPM, Jaya The Cat, and Dog Eat Dog 25 years ago. They rock, but also show their funky and psychedelic side. The UK 4-piece – Marcus Lesycsyznski-Hall (vocals), Daragh Guest (guitar), Conor Hodgkiss (drums), and Nathaniel Hellier-Allport (bass) – released Le Coq EP, featuring 3 previously released singles – Banananah (2018), Pagan Pilgrimage (2019), and The Pagans Are Alive (2020) – plus brand new song Cocky. All great tracks, with delicious raps and danceable riffs – a little crazy, but above all energetic and exciting. Want more of this too? The next EP will follow in the fall.

Le Coq EP is out now digitally, on cassette and CD trough Rare Vitamin Records. “Music to actually hold in your hands and take possession of” – not available on Spotify. (Coincidentally, I was listening to 1986 compilation Buried Alive by US punk band Pagans earlier this week, but as far as I know, despite the naming similarities, it’s unrelated.)

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

Dusted || The 10 Best Cover Songs Of March 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.

Never – since we started this website – have I seen so many good covers come along as this March. We already wrote about Night Owls’ heavy soul and dub infusedVersions, Wednesday released the nice country-gaze cover album Mowing the Leaves Instead of Piling ’em Up, Black Midi came out with their surprising Cavalcovers EP, there was a second volume of The William Loveday Intention’s The New And Improved Bob Dylan, and so on. On the list we compiled during the month, there were 35+ covers that were good enough to share below, but we forced ourselves to be critical, with enough variety. So here again are our ten top picks!

Here Comes The Summer || Cover: Sweet Nobody || Original: The Undertones
Californian indie pop 4-piece released Five Star Diary, one of the standout tracks from their album We’re Trying Our Best, on 7″ vinyl. On the flipside you can hear a really cool version of The Undertones’ Here Comes The Summer. Irresistible catchy! Out through Lazy Perfection Records.

New album: Night Owls || Versions

The 45’s that Californian supergroup Night Owls released in the past three years sold out quickly, but the good news is that these singles have now been brought together on the irresistible album Versions. It’s a successful project of Dan Ubick (The Lions, Connie Price and the Keystones, De La Soul) on guitar and percussion, Blake Colie (Arise Roots, The Lions, Hollie Cook) on drums, Dave Wilder (The Lions, Ziggy Marley, Macy Gray) on bass, and Roger Rivas (The Aggrolites, Jason Mraz, LBDA) on organ and piano, and they re-image classic funk and soul hits and deep cuts with a Jamaican twist, but they do it like no other. On every track there’s a different vocalist, and they are not the least. For example, on Marvin Gaye’s Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler) you can hear the voice of Terin Ector (Orgone), and on Shuggie Otis’ Aht Uh Mi Hed that of John Arthur Bigham (Fishbone, Soul Of John Black). This is a heavy soul and dub infused LP with ace covers only, performed by top class musicians and singers, carefully selected and produced by Dan Ubick. Without a doubt this is THE record for barbecue parties this year.

Versions is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through F-Spot Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || F-Spot

New album: Morad || About a Woman

Let’s shift our focus to Jakarta, Indonesia, where we find one of the greatest talents in contemporary R&B/soul. Mohammad Fajar Bagus Radityo’s versatile, intriguing, flexible singing voice is one that instantly evokes a sense of sensation in any music lover. Under the moniker of Morad the singer-songwriter has just released his debut full-length album About a Woman, featuring nine intense songs inspired by his muse. Although the wonderful vocals rightly claim the leading role, the rich musical accompaniment and appropriate production (by Viki Vikranta) are sublime. This is a beautiful and impressive LP.

About a Woman is out now digitally through Berita Angkasa. Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Hogchoker || 2222

Few bands have such an eclectic, crazy sound as Hogchoker, the Shanghai-based 4-piece with Simon Jackson (vocals, sax), Tom Brodie (bass), Matt Saunders (guitar), and Zee (drums). You can describe their style as theatrical, funky world punk, always socially aware and played with full dedication. On February 22, 2022 at 22:22 their new full-length 2222 went live on the streaming services, which should contain 22 tracks but turned out to be 26 (not really unexpected, because in our Gimme 5 feature they also exceeded the usual 5 choices ;)). It’s a concept album, featuring songs for people – poets, nurses, wrestlers and murderers – who would be 100, 200 or 300 this year. Good idea, well executed. Moreover, on a song level this release is much more unambiguous and classic in structure than before, which will make it more enjoyable for most listeners (the versatility is certainly reflected in the entire project, because ska, dub, punk, klezmer, jazz, EDM, salsa, and even ballads all come by). This is 112 minutes of fascinating, surprising music, in which everyone should be able to find something to their taste. History has never been so much fun.

2222 is out digitally (name your price). Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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