Funk & Soul

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: Kacimi || Couronne d’Eph​é​m​è​res

Alexis Kacimi is the owner of Le Pop Club Records, but he also writes and records music under his own (sur)name. His latest LP is Couronne d’Eph​é​m​è​res, where he joins forces with La Mécréance, a freakbeat combo from Geneva. The record starts off strongly with Monter Dans Le Ciel. The song is a psychedelic garage pop treat and a perfection entrance point to the varied bunch of songs. Kacimi et al touch many corners of ’60s and ’70s pop music on Couronne d’Eph​é​m​è​res, and offers a little bit for everyone and a lot for some. It is a seductive record that makes you bop your head, shake your hips, but also allows some quiet contemplation. It is out now on CD, Tape and vinyl through Le Pop Club.




Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Dusted || The 10 Best Cover Songs Of December 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.

One last look back at 2022 before we move on to all the new stuff 2023 has to offer. December saw the release of Wicked Opossum Records’ Starstruck compilation (a tribute to The Kinks), Lee Baggett made his Lagniappe Sessions from last September officially available (Def Leppard, English Beat, Van Halen), and Dave Grohl & Greg Kurstin held their third annual Hanukkah Sessions (Randy Newman, Rush, Janis Ian and more) but apart from countless Christmas songs it was fairly quiet in the cover area. Still, we effortlessly found a dozen great ones.

Season of the Witch || Cover: The William Loveday Intention || Original: Donovan
Wild Billy Childish is unstoppable, and here’s the next single, out today on Spinout Nuggets. Side B In Full Eclipse is a father/son co-write where the former had some crazy words to which the latter linked a crazy tune. The A-side is an intense new version of a song from Scottish singer-songwriter Donovan’s 3rd studio album Sunshine Superman (1966), with Dave Tattersall on lead guitar.

Music Year-End List || Dennis’ Favorite Singles and EPs of 2022

We previously shared our lists of favorite albums – here‘s Niek’s and there‘s mine – but there were also some shorter format releases that I noted as wantlist worthy. Below you can listen to the Top 50 singles and EPs that I enjoyed the most last year – quite an eclectic selection, but imho all pretty cool. I’ve excluded releases with songs that also appear on my AOTY overview, and also left out individual songs. Links point to Discogs or Bandcamp (the headings), and to previously posted reviews (in the body text) – add to your wantlist (or collection) what you like!

New album: The Point. || Berto’s Banquet

Now this is an interesting release, showing that boundaries don’t really exist for gifted musicians. In the recent past Austin-based duo The Point delivered jazz fusion and blues inspired hip-hop beats, but now they take inspiration from Texas psych and garage rock, Peruvian chicha, dub reggae and funk. Jack Montesinos (guitar, vocals) and Joe Roddy (organ, synth bass) recorded their new mini-album Berto’s Banquet completely live, assisted by Alberto Telo on drums. That approach works out very well, because the 7 tunes here – less than 21 minutes – rock and swing like crazy. Although they incorporate lyrics from Leadybelly and Chance the Rapper in two tracks, this is authentic music – raw, exciting and energetic.

Berto’s Banquet, produced by Nico Leophonte and Alberto Telo, is out now digitally and on CD via Seeedy Jones.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Heather Redman & The Reputation || Heather Redman & The Reputation

If you like your daily dose of soul music served with garage rock sauce, then you should definitely check out Heather Redman & The Reputation’s self-titled debut LP. We’re talking about Heather Redman (vocals), Matt Webster (guitar), Dan Stahl (drums), Bryan Lakatos (bass) and David Payne (pianet, guitar, bass, organ), with Patrick Himes (Hammond organ) and Khrys Blank (percussion) in prominent guest roles. You’ll hear mighty vocals, hip-swaying rhythms, swinging organ melodies and functional guitar riffs – soulful and compelling. This one will be on the menu more often in the near future.

Heather Redman’s first full-length album, produced by Patrick Himes and David Payne, is out now digitally and on CD through Magnaphone Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Music Year-End List || Dennis’ Favorite Albums of 2022

What to say about 2022? It was a year when the world emerged from a pandemic, only to be quickly knocked down again by other crises. Inevitably, it also affected music: an explosive cocktail of hope and fear, of light and dark, of anger and newfound party spirit. Either way, there were plenty of comforting and entertaining tunes to discover (I mainly searched the crates with indie rock, power pop, garage rock, jangle pop, country, and soul).

I checked out 2,400+ new albums – sometimes moving on to the next one after a few minutes, sometimes all songs on repeat – adding 135 of them to my longlist of wantlist-worthy releases. The Top 50 that emerged after long deliberation, is independent of sales figures, number of streams, expert reviews, or snobbish pretensions. It is simply a matter of what I liked and played the most – records that made 2022 more than worthwhile despite everything. Looking at the result, my choices are more folky and mature and less garagy and raucous than I expected beforehand – getting older daddy? – but with a relatively large number of debuting artists and only a handful of veterans.

So here’s my year-end list (you can also find most of it in a playlist on Spotify). Links point to Discogs or Bandcamp (the headings), and to previously posted reviews (in the body text) – add to your wantlist (or better: your collection) what you like!

New album: The Guy Hamper Trio featuring James Taylor || All The Poisons in the Mud

In 2009 The Guy Hamper Trio released their debut single Polygraph Test b/w Sally Sensation. The A-side can also be found on the must-have compilation Punk Rock Ist Nicht Tot! The Billy Childish Story 1977 – 2018. Indeed, this is another Billy Childish project, and after 13 years there is now also a full-length album, called All The Poisons in the Mud. In addition to the two old tracks, it contains ten new ones – almost 40 minutes in total – and although all but one of them are completely instrumental, they never get boring. In fact, it’s all quite exciting. A great tune like Step Out is somewhat reminiscent of Green Onions (Booker T. & The M.G.s) but souped-up, and with an awesome version of Fire (Jimi Hendrix) there’s also a real cover. Call it wild rhythm & blues or funky garage rock, but somehow this LP immediately feels like a classic.

Besides Billy Childish himself on guitar, the trio consists of Julie Hamper on bass and Wolf Howard on drums. However, their legendary guest James Taylor (of The Prisoners and The James Taylor Quartet fame) on Hammond organ takes the lead role. The album title is also the title of a novel that Billy Childish has been writing for some time, taken from a I Claudius quote by Robert Graves. The cover art is inspired by work by Saul Bass for Duke Ellington.

All The Poisons in the Mud is out now on CD and vinyl LP through Damaged Goods. A successor has been promised.

Add to wantlist: Damaged Goods || Discogs

Dusted || The 10 Best Cover Songs Of November 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 November, a bizarre number of new cover releases saw the light of day, including tributes to Billy Joe Shaver, Pavement and Jack Terricloth by various artists, Seth Avett singing Greg Brown, also William Fitzsimmons doing his whisper rock thing, Phil Wolff honoring Tom Waits and Bruce Springsteen interpreting soul music. We listed about 40 covers that would be worth sharing (apart from the countless alternative versions of Christmas classics; if you had to listen to one, choose Drummer Boy by Titus Andronicus adapted from Billy Joel’s Piano Man, or Vista Blue’s We Practiced All Year Long including a cover of a Kmart ad from 1979). Here are the 10 covers – X-mas free – we liked the most.

Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again || Cover: Dune Rats & Friends || Original: The Angels
Now this is fun in every way. For triple j’s Like A Version feature, Australian garage punk trio Dune Rats cover Am I Ever Gonna See Your Face Again, from the self-titled debut LP (1977) by their compatriots The Angels. To add to the party, they are joined by their friends Ruby Fields, Jackson Van Issue (Beddy Rays), Anna Ryan (Teen Jesus and the Jean Teasers) and Kelly Jansch (TOTTY), as well as The Angels’ Brewster brothers themselves. Nice to see how they are all enjoying themselves, and so are we. If you want to hear more from this band: their most recent album Real Rare Whale is just as entertaining.

New album: Ryan Baine || Morning Flight

Choral beach folk, 90s dancefloor soul, and smooth 70s style and production, by a California dream line-up featuring members of Mapache, Howlin’ Rain, GospelbeacH, Joe Bourdet, and Grateful Shred. The label’s acclaim is promising, but singer/songwriter Ryan Baine delivers on his debut album Morning Flight. He himself can be heard on electric and acoustic guitars, upright piano, Wurli, organs, mellotron, ARP, Moog synthesizers, percussion and vocals – there are entire bands that do with much less – but there is also a troupe of other skilled musicians involved*. You’ll understand that there’s a lot going on – pretty good stuff – in the eight songs here, yet the record isn’t overweight nor overproduced. The well-crafted tunes are sunny, dreamy and enchanting.

Morning Flight, produced by Jason Soda and Ryan Baine, is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through Curation Records. *Personnel: Greg Marino (flute, sax), David Baine (upright bass, bass, Wurli, organ, Joe Bourdet (Moog synthesizer), Steven Mertens (bass), Travis Popichak (drums, percussion), Justin Smith (drums), Jon Niemann (organ), Jason Soda (electric guitar, percussion), Jeff McElroy (bass), Sam Blasucci (electric guitar, backing vocals) and Clay Finch (backing vocals).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Curation Records

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