Dusted || The 10 Best Cover Songs Of November 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 November there were cover releases from Cat Power (Sings Dylan: The 1966 Royal Albert Hall Concert), Juliana Hatfield (Sings ELO) and Joecephus and The George Jonestown Massacre (Call Me Animal: A Tribute to the MC5), but otherwise it was a slow month cover-wise. Yet we can once again list ten successful ones.

Enjoy the Silence || Cover: Iron Chic || Original: Depeche Mode
New York punks Iron Chic are back with the new digital single Ancient Pistol (self-released), featuring a heavy version of Depeche Mode’s 1990 synth-pop hit Enjoy The Silence on the virtual flipside. Dark, atmospheric and intense.

New album: Charlène Darling || La Porte

Singer-songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Charlène Darling aka Charlotte Kouklia is not only one quarter of the band Rose Mercie, the Paris-born/Brussels-based artist also has her solo project – together with three other musicians. Her sophomore full-length album La Porte is an exploration of misplaced desire and all-consuming romantic obsession, captured in ten quite idiosyncratic songs in poetic French (with a little bit of English). The main ingredient of this synth-driven cocktail is dreamy leftfield pop, but shaken with experimental noise, psych and post-punk elements. The lyrics of standout track Disparais – nice video below – reflect the accompanying mix of emotions quite well: “Tu sauras jamais ce que je pense vraiment // Tu sauras jamais ce que je pense vraiment // C’est mieux comme ça” (translated: “You will never know how I really feel // You will never know how I really feel // It’s better that way”). Expect an alienating and intriguing 42 minutes that enchant.

La Porte, produced by Valentin Noiret, is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through Disciples. Featuring Charlotte Kouklia (vocals, guitar, synths), Erika Ratti (tape loops, harmonies, synths), Quentin Chevalier (drums, percussions, synths) and Regis Turner (bass, synths), assisted by Romain De Ferron, Luca Retraite and Gianlorenzo Nardi on selected tracks.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

New album: Rory Danger & the Danger Dangers || The Age of Invention

This week’s imaginary award for most eclectic and exuberant album goes to Rory Danger & the Danger Danger‘s for their second full-length, The Age of Invention (their previous LP The Age Of Exploration was released in 2014, although they make it seem like it was 1914). We’re talking about New Orleans’ first and only theatrical stunt rock cooperative, a creative 7-piece that comes up with 22 tunes in which more happens than we can list. It’s a weird but effective melting pot of genres, styles, tempos and instruments, ranging from rockabilly and folk to musicals and soundscapes, from synths and saxophones to fiddles and flutes, from adventurous pieces of over 7 minutes to a cover of the Everly Brothers’ Bye Bye Love and advertising-like skits. Even the more straightforward songs (listen below) contain many inventive hooks and sounds, such as the organ alarm in Death Ray (“There are so many @#$$% buttons // And one of them is reddish in color, look at it”). Extravaganza rules, fun to the max.

The Age of Invention, produced by Bill Malchow, Andre Bohren and Aurora Nealand, is out now digitally and on vinyl 2LP (self-released). Featuring Rory Danger (vocals, saxophones, fiddle, flute, penny whistle), Pepe Peligroso (vocals, guitars, lap steel, cello), C-Jay Bongo Danger (guitar, percussion, vocals), Billy Digits Danger (piano, organ, synths, accordion, vocals percussion), Spike Danger (guitars, vocals, lap steel), Professor Potts (bass, screams) and D’Ranger Danger (drums), with various musical friends on selected tracks.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Louisiana Music Factory

New album: The Wanton Bishops || Under The Sun

About ten years ago, The Wanton Bishops made a very convincing debut with their Sleep With The Lights On LP, twelve tracks of irresistibly groovy blues rock laced with Middle Eastern influences. The genius behind the band, Beirut native Nader Mansour, then traveled through America’s deep south for a while, to experience the roots of Mississippi blues. That led to a freshly inspired musical vision and the long-awaited sophomore full-length album Under The Sun, both an exploration of identity and a love letter to his hometown. In the ten new songs here, the Delta swamps have made way for the Lebanese mountains, with a sound that is more eclectic and more electronic (and to be honest: less easy to grasp, which is not a bad thing). Nader explains: “It’s Lebanese rock, a new genre, a blueprint for future music. It’s not fusion, it’s confusion, it’s not world music, it’s rock music from the world, for the world.” Heavy, danceable, colorful and special at the same time. Ten years later, The Wanton Bishops manage to surprise and impress again.

Under The Sun, produced by Jules Apollinaire, is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP via gnu roam / Bucks Music Group. Featuring Nader Mansour (vocals, keyboards, synths), Jules Apollinaire (guitar, bass, keyboards) and Rene Van Diessen (drums).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Kartel Music Group

New album: Logan’s Close || Heart-Shaped Jacuzzi

Edinburgh-based chamber psych band Logan’s Close was founded in 2014 by Scott Rough and Carl Marah in order “to fuse their love of Merseybeat, British invasion baroque bubblegum and laidback Los Angeles soft psych with a more Now sounding approach to songwriting.” Together with Stuart Neil, Sean Morrison and Gavin Lamont, they have released several singles over the past eight years, and now their full-length debut album Heart-Shaped Jacuzzi is finally available. We get ten diverse, quirky songs with a vintage 60s sound and feel – melodic, warm, rich and nostalgic – that we shouldn’t take too seriously, but are seriously good.

Heart-Shaped Jacuzzi, produced by Dennis Rux, is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP (self-released).

Add to wantlist: Logan’s Close

New album: ISTA || ISTA

ISTA is the New York-based ‘psychedelic disco-rock’ five-piece featuring songwriter Rex Costello, Oliver Hart, Diona West, Theadora Curtis and Evan Eubanks. Last month they released their self-titled debut LP, and it sounds more attractive than you would expect based on its designation as ‘psychedelic disco rock’. Probably ‘groovy neo-psychedelic indie garage rock with a touch of post-punk’ better describes what you’re going to hear? It is mean guitar riffs, pulsing rhythms and electrifying harmony vocals – not atmosphereless electronics – that predominate here, and they pour wild and funky rock ‘n’ roll over us in thirteen danceable songs with a 70s feel. Their combination of eclecticism and enthusiasm is as infectious as can be.

ISTA’s self-titled album, produced by Sam Cohen, is out now digitally, on cassette, CD and vinyl 2LP (self-released).

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Ista Sound

New EP: Sanity of Illusion || Another Day

Sanity of Illusion is a psychedelic indie rock band from San Diego, California, fronted by Steven Garcia. Their new EP Another Day contains four shoegazey tracks, layered and complex, dark and hazy, but captivating and enchanting. From “Never have I heard from you before // I think it’s time to go to war // No one around to keep me warm // So I want to thank you once more” in the title track at the beginning, to “We looked at the sky // And that was the last goodbye // And that was the last goodbye // And that was the last goodbye / I cry” at the end, this is an emotional fit with a gloomy autumn. A full-length album with more of where this came from will be released later this month.

Another Day is out now digitally via Cloud Mod Records/Modern Girl Records.

Add to want list: Bandcamp

New album: Violent Change || Starcastle

Violent Change, seasoned veterans of the San Francisco music underground pop scene, have unveiled their latest record (Starcastle) in the week of Halloween. It is perfect timing. The convention-defying pop songs evoke such an haunting, nostalgic ambiance that listening to the record can be a harrowing yet enjoyable experience. Part of that is by design as the record was recorded on a series of TASCAM equipment.

While elements of psychedelia, garage, and power pop can be detected in Violent Change’s music, they are far from your typical, run-of-the-mill band. Unhindered by genre expectations, they know how to surprise you and to catch you by surprise. It makes their most pop-oriented songs (McCartney The Fox, Drivin’) only hit harder.

Starcastle is out now on Sloth Mate Productions.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs

New album: Magnetic Spacemen || Polished Minds

The members of Magnetic Spacemen are spread out across the Netherlands, with a homebase in Zwolle. Polished Minds, the band’s third album, initially grabbed my attention because of the amazing illustration on the its front cover. Then I pressed play, and found the music to match the high standard of the art direction.

Magnetic Spacemen are an adventurous band drawing from a diverse range of influences, spanning from proto punk and garage to ’60s beat and ’80s post punk and new wave. If there is any knock on Polished Minds, it’s that it’s not the most stylistically consistent record – at 3voor12 the band references Parquet Courts and Oh Sees, but that doesn’t fully cover it. To many listeners this diversity will be part of the charm of this record, as it is packed with gems waiting to be discovered. To my punk battered ears, songs like Pleasure Seeker and I love u for the love alone are worth the price of admission, but I am sure most of readers will find something to enjoy on this exciting release.

Polished Minds is out now on LP at Goomah Music.

Add to wantlist: contact your local record store

New album: Portable Radio || Counting To Three

It’s a very good week for fans of psychedelic-tinged indie pop full of sunny melodies and harmony vocals. If this appeals to you, you’ll probably enjoy the new albums from Australian DIY artist Chet Tucker aka Chet Sounds (Changes Happen To Everyone, Everywhere, Third Eye Stimuli Records), Irish musician Pugwash aka Thomas Walsh (The Rest Is History, Curation Records), Canadian singer/songwriter/drummer Jon McCann (Too Far From Here, Broadcast Recordings) and Australian musician/producer Jamie Andrew aka Druid Fluids (Then, Now, Again & Again, self-released). In the titles you see similarities in theme, and musically they are in the same section in the record store, but they each have their unique accents.

Today’s favorite, however, is Counting To Three, the sophomore LP by Portable Radio from Manchester, UK on Where It’s At Is Where You Are Records. Phil Anderson, Mof Gimmers, Robyn Gibson and Joe Wiltshire deliver thirteen quality pop songs, summery, compelling and uplifting. From I Feel Like A Dog to Fancy Like Champagne, they are all warm and harmonious.

Counting To Three, produced by Robyn Gibson, is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through wiaiwya.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

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