Blues & Roots

Dusted || The 10 Best Cover Songs Of February 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.

You’ve probably seen compilations with cover versions of songs by Todd Rundgren and Yoko Ono elsewhere, and for some reason at least 3 different artists released a new reimagination of Bruce Springsteen’s I’m On Fire (don’t ask), but there was a lot more to choose this month.

Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere || Cover: Guerrilla Monzón || Original: Neil Young
At the end of last year I wrote enthusiastically about PCH, the debut EP by New York trio Guerrilla Monzón. Now Jason Sanchez (vocals, guitars), Eric Gordon (vocals, bass), and Rey Sinsay (drums) are back with Make It Home, featuring 7 new songs worthy of your attention. There’s this telling cover on it, which I don’t want to withhold from you (this way the legacy of Neil Young can still be listened to on Spotify, sort of ;)), but their own songs are just as good.

New album: Svante Sjöblom || Before It Breaks

Fourteen years after his debut album I Guess My Troubles Just Begun, Swedish singer/guitarist Svante Sjöblom is back with his second solo LP Before It Breaks. In the meantime he hasn’t been idle. He has performed a lot – solo, with his own band, or with other prominent Scandinavian artists – and he has collaborated with Danish folk trio Twang. With this he has further developed his craft, from which we are now reaping the benefits: we hear a wonderful melting pot of blues, folk, soul, gospel, and even jazz, in 12 beautiful, understated roots songs. Sjöblom was joined by producer Magnus Nörrenberg, and a band made up of some of southern Sweden’s best musicians, including a leading horn section and the friends of Twang. Especially when Ola Åkerman (trombone), Hannes Bennich (saxophone), and Magnus Nörrenberg (keys) can be heard, it becomes more exciting than we are used to in the folk genre. Standout tracks are Devil and Let There Be Light, classics in the making from a timeless album.

Before It Breaks is out now digitally, on CD and vinyl LP through Rootsy Music.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp

Dusted || The 10 Best Cover Songs Of January 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.

We’ve already posted reviews of cover albums by Pedico (pop-punk) and The Krontjong Devils (surf rock) last month, and compilations with covers of songs by Los Campesinos! and Townes Van Zandt were released, but a lot more great new covers came online.

Time Of The Season || Cover: The Ergs! || Original: The Zombies
Technically The Ergs! broke up 15 years ago, but the American punk rock band would pop up occasionally. After a new single in 2016, they’re back again, with four-track EP Time And The Season, out digitally and on 7″ vinyl through Dirtnap Records – each side opening with an original and closing with a cover. Besides The Remains’ Say You’re Sorry they’re also playing the Zombies’ Odessey & Oracle classic in their own style.

New album: The Blues Against Youth || As The Tide Gets High And Low

Italian songwriter / musician Gianni Tbay aka one-man-blues band The Blues Against Youth has released his new (6th) full-length album, As The Tide Gets High And Low, largely composed and recorded during lockdown by Gianni himself. The new songs are mainly inspired by his countless tours throughout Europe and the US. Other than a few biographical experiences, such as standout track Particle Filter Blues, the LP is a tribute to the blues and to those who never made it to success, while their influence on blues history is undoubtable. You can see this as a traditional blues album, with fascinating but heavy stories that run deep back in time, but it’s also a collection of strong, captivating songs that fits well with today’s challenging times.

Gianni may perform as a one-man band, but he understands the added value of contributions by Joost Dijkema (bass), Meek Hokum (guitar, saw), Margherita Patrignani (awesome backing vocals), Simone Pozzi (drums), and sound engineer Guglielmo Nodari (organ, upright bass), that take the music to an even higher level. As The Tide Gets High And Low is out digitally and on vinyl LP through Escape From Today.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Discogs || Escape From Today

Dusted || The 10 Best Cover Songs Of December 2021

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.

We’ve already posted reviews of G​.​T​.​R​.​R​.​C.‘s compilation and Kepi Ghoulie & Vic Ruggiero‘s cover-rich album this month, I had to disregard Squid‘s Cover Versions EP because it is exclusive to Rough Trade shops, and I found out that I had overlooked a new, pretty good cover album by Deep Purple (Turning To Crime) last month, but these are ten other releases worth your attention.

Kiss Me Deadly || Cover: Chuck Prophet featuring Make Out Quartet || Original: Lita Ford
The most successful cover songs are often genre-transcending, with the covering artist differing considerably from the covered artist. That’s definitely the case here, where Chuck Prophet transforms Lita Ford’s 80s hard rock hit into a folk ballad with harmony vocals, acoustic guitar, violin and bells (not only the music but also the lyrics are more well-behaved now). It’s the closing song of four-track EP The Land That Time Forgot Revisited, out digitally through Yep Roc Records – Prophet re-recorded three songs of his most recent album, and this cover, live with a string quartet, on a linoleum floor on a rainy Tuesday afternoon in an empty barroom in San Francisco’s Mission District.

Music Year-End List || Dennis’ Favorite Singles and EP’s of 2021

You’ve already seen our lists with favorite albums – here‘s Niek’s list and there‘s mine – but also many shorter format releases were wantlist worthy. Below you can listen to an overview of the Top 50 singles and EPs that I thought were the best from 2021. I’ve excluded releases with songs that also appear on my album list. 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!

1. Noah C Lekas || Sounds From The Shadow Factory
[Beat Poetry, US || Blind Owl] To be honest I haven’t been able to give this one as much attention as I would have liked. Not only because I mainly spent my time on full-length albums, but also for practical reasons: only two songs are shared on Bandcamp, YouTube, Soundcloud and Spotify, and unfortunately a physical copy wasn’t available in Europe (and sold out quickly in the US). Still, I didn’t doubt for a moment whether this should be at the top, simply because this was the most impressive release of the past year in all respects. Poems and rock music form a great combination here: “It’s jazz for the mind // It’s blues for the soul.” It’s Art!

Music Year-End List || Dennis’ Favorite Albums of 2021

All year long we look forward to this moment of looking back, escaping the continuous flow of new releases for a while, taking the time to recap what really stood out these 12 months. In 2021 I took my FOMO more seriously than ever: I’ve checked out 2,200+ new albums, twice as many as last year (this hobby is getting out of hand). The disadvantage of this is that you don’t get any sleep, but still it isn’t possible to give anything that looks promising the attention it deserves. Anyway, along the way I built up a longlist of 120+ LPs that are wantlist-worthy, which I now have brought down to a Top 50.

In any post on this website, we try to put into words which artists are involved, how their instruments and vocals sound, whether their songs are catchy or dreamy or energetic or dark, where their inspiration for lyrics came from, etc., but I have my year-end list compiled as I always have, simply in order of what I loved and played the most – personal taste preference as the debatable deciding factor. My choices are all about guitar-driven, authentic indie rock, power pop, garage rock, roots, and jangle pop, plus a little bit of soul, country, folk, and alternative rock.

New album: Walter Daniels & the Del Valle Trustees || Have a Coffee Break With​.​.​.

This is an interesting debut album, that deserves your attention for several reasons. The first thing you’ll notice is the inventive, vintage cover art by Rui Ricardo, where the band is served to you on a tray. The Austin, Texas-based band itself is certainly not made up of debutants, you could even call it a supergroup, featuring Walter Daniels (Jack O’Fire, Bigfoot Chester, James Williamson, Lydia Lunch, Alejandro Escovedo, Guadalupe Plata, Henri Herbert, Barry Adamson, among others) on vocals and harmonica, Evan Whitehead (Cunto!, Black Eyed Vermillion) on guitar, Kevin Curtin (Cunto!, Pleasure Tide, Boxcutters) on mandolin, Scott Stewart (Zero Skills, Inc, Pleasure Tide, Corrine Rose) on upright and electric bass, and Matt Hammer (Strange Boys, OBNIII’s, Wes Coleman) on drums. The skilled musicians mainly combine country, blues, and punk influences, but also gospel and yodel, in 12 lively, raucous songs that evoke the feeling of a live show. Bonus points for using a Nose Flute! As far as I’m concerned, this music is much more suitable for drinks than for a coffee break, but judge for yourself.

Have a Coffee Break With Walter Daniels & the Del Valle Trustees is out now digitally and on vinyl LP through Chaputa! Records and Ghost Highway Recordings.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Chaputa! || Ghost Highway

Dusted || The 10 Best Cover Songs Of November 2021

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.

Overdose || Cover: Supersuckers || Original: AC/DC
Friday December 3rd, Magnetic Eye Records will release the 2LP Best of AC/CD [Redux], featuring 13 cover versions of classics by the Australian hard rock band. The choice cut of the experienced musicians of Supersuckers was already shared last month – their cover of Let There Be Rock‘s Overdose is a heavy, excellent tribute, where you can hear for 6 minutes that they are true AC/DC fans.

New album: Raccoons || Panic

Here’s an Tasmanian four-piece that values the American dream and British Teddy Boy music, and releases their music through an Austrian label. We’re talking rockabilly veterans Raccoons – Dave “Rocky” Hughes (vocals), Phil Grinham (guitar), Sandy Campbell (bass), and Grant “Wocko” Watkins (drums) – and their new album Panic, which features 16 original fast-paced tracks to dance to. The skilled musicians bring the sound of classic rockabilly into the modern age, guaranteeing happy smiles and enthusiastic toe-tapping. Put on your dancing shoes, pour yourself a cocktail, and press play.

Panic is out now digitally and on CD via Plan 9 Trash Records.

Add to wantlist: Bandcamp || Schnitzel Billy

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