Wednesday, July 31, 2013

31 July 2013 - Paramore - Use Somebody

I can't believe I totally forgot about this wonderful acoustic Kings of Leon cover by Paramore. I was actually going to post this video in December but decided to go with this version by Pixie Lott instead. At the time I liked Pixie's version better (plus I had recently posted Paramore covering Jimmy Eat World), but now, I'm not so sure. There's just something about Hayley's voice that always gets me.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

30 July 2013 - Lily Allen - Heart of Glass

I've always loved this cover of Blondie's classic as done, very simply and earnestly, by Lily Allen.  I can't believe I never posted it until now!

Even Debbie Harry liked the cover.... which is why they performed the song together on The Today Show.

Monday, July 29, 2013

29 July 2013 - Foster The People - Say It Ain't So

A year ago I posted a live video of Weezer covering Foster The People's uber-hit Pumped Up Kicks. Well here's a live video of Foster The People "returning the favor."

Friday, July 26, 2013

26 July 2013 - Dixie Chicks - Landslide

I guess last week's Court Yard Hounds release and the recent Natalie Maines' solo debut have me in a Dixie Chicks frame of mind. So I thought, why not find a someone covering the iconic country trio? I found Taylor Swift's version of Cowboy Take Me Away, but the intro was a bit too long for my liking. Then it hit me, why not actually post the Chicks' gorgeous cover of Fleetwood Mac's Landslide? Sure, I could have posted the actual video, but this live version is pretty darn sweet.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

25 July 2013 - Snow Patrol - Ray of Light

I love Snow Patrol's sublime cover of Madonna's high point.  It's respectful and quiet, but still is clearly not a carbon copy.  Please enjoy!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

24 July 2013 - Capital Cities - Holiday

Here's a live video of Los Angeles indie synth-poppers Capital Cities getting into the groove with some Madonna. Something tells me that these guys would be a whole lot of fun to see in concert.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

23 July 2013 - Zebrahead - Girlfriend

A note-for-note remake of an Avril Lavigne modern classic (which we took care of over here)..... deserves a note-for-note remake of the video.

And it's a cover that doesn't lose the original's energy.  Which is an achievement.

Monday, July 22, 2013

22 July 2013 - Lana Del Rey - Chelsea Hotel No. 2

I really don't have too much to add. What you see (and hear) is what you get. And what we have right here is Lana Del Rey doing a slow-burn version of Leonard Cohen's Chelsea Hotel No. 2.

Friday, July 19, 2013

19 July 2013 - She & Him - Sunday Girl

So I finally checked out Volume 3 by She & Him a couple days ago. Basically, if you liked the first two records, you'll like this one. And, if you didn't like the first two records, then you won't like this one. I know, I'm so freaking deep. Anyway, this true to the original Blondie cover on Volume 3 certainly caught my ear. Here's a live version of it for your viewing pleasure (you may need to turn it up a bit as it's kind of quiet).

Thursday, July 18, 2013

18 July 2013 - Julieta Venegas - Otra Cosa / Lovecats

For those who don't know (and therefore never read our other blog post about her), Julieta Venegas is a brilliant Latin alternative singer/songwriter - born in the USA, living in Mexico now - who just happened to become a huge hitmaker.  She refuses - REFUSES - to write songs in English, a language she speaks natively, because of the beauty of the Spanish language (which, admittedly, she also speaks natively).  I frankly don't blame her.

That doesn't mean she refuses to cover songs written in English.  At about the 1:50 mark of this video, her original song "Otra Cosa" suddenly transforms..... into "Lovecats" by The Cure.  Brilliant transition, and an engaging performance.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

17 July 2013 - Yellowcard - E.T.

It's been a while since I posted a Katy Perry cover. I think. Like it really matters. Here's Jacksonville pop punkers Yellowcard playing Teenage Dream's third single.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

16 July 2013 - Motorhead - Louie Louie

Sure, the Kingsmen didn't intend for their song to be metal.  And yet, it seems like this song, an icon in its own right, was written just for Lemmy's raspy growl and the straight-ahead metal guitar that made Motorhead so famous.

I must add that, although this version of the song was from 1978, I didn't know this existed until this past weekend.  It's been sitting out there for 35 years and I had never heard it.   Amazing.

Monday, July 15, 2013

15 July 2013 - Sugarland and Sara Bareilles - Come On Eileen

Sara Bareilles' new album The Blessed Unrest comes out tomorrow (you can watch the video for the first single right here). I'm definitely looking forward to checking it out as she's been a favorite of mine ever since I first heard Love Song. Here she is teaming up with Sugarland (another favorite) for a fun Dexy's Midnight Runners cover.

Friday, July 12, 2013

12 July 2013 - Belle & Sebastian - The Boy With The Thorn In His Side

I'm seeing Glasgow indie poppers Belle & Sebastian tonight. I saw them a few years ago and was shocked at how much fun they were live. Don't get me wrong, I've been a B&S fan for years, I just didn't expect the "party" that was happening on stage that night (I figured that they would simply play motionless while staring at their feet). Hopefully tonight's show will have that same vibe. If not, it's no big deal, because the music will be great.

Here they are playing The Boy With The Thorn In His Side by The Smiths. Not the greatest song choice for them (Stuart Murdoch's vocals seem a bit off...or maybe I'm just so used to hearing Morrissey sing it), but it's certainly spirited.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

11 July 2013 - Special "Smells Like Teen Spirit" Edition

There are some songs that you're not supposed to cover.  Songs that are iconic, that defined a generation, usually fall into this category.

"Smells Like Teen Spirit" by Nirvana is the textbook example of a song you aren't supposed to cover.

Not like that stops anyone.  Like Miley Cyrus.  Sure, she does an admirable and faithful cover of the song.... but she's Miley Cyrus, not Kurt Cobain.  She kind of pulls it off.... but not really.


Perhaps I am not ever more annoyed than when someone mistakes Nirvana's song for cheesy rap metal. Here is my message to Fred Durst: You did a good job with "Faith."  Stay the hell away from this song.

I'm not really a fan of the Paul Anka lounge version either.  I think he was going for homage, but it seems more like parody to me.  YOU DON'T PARODY AN ICON!


The rare exception is when an artist can take such an iconic song and make it their own while still highlighting the lyrical strength of the songwriter.  Such is the power of the Tori Amos version of this song, which takes the power way down, translating the song to piano.  However, her voice, while nothing like the wail of Kurt Cobain, puts a beautiful focus on the lyrics as written.   I bet you didn't all know all the lyrics until you heard this version!

Tori Amos's cover was so good, IT gets covered! Here is the unique Yael Naim covering Tori's version, but still making it somewhat her own.  Frankly, it starts off like Tori, but ends a little closer to Nirvana. And I have to admit - it's pretty good.  Even if she can't pronounced "albino" correctly.

That leaves us with Patti Smith.  Ah, the great Patti Smith.  I don't know what to think of this version.  She enunciates too much - "dan-ger-ous".  She turns the song into a slow and angry song, almost lazy.  And it still kind of works.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

9 July 2013 - Josie Charlwood - Electric Feel

It was time for YouTube Artist Series #2.  I chose young UK singer/songwriter Josie Charlwood, who combined three of my current favorite things into a great package:

1. Looping, which allows a solo artist so much depth.
2. "Electric Feel", one of my favorite songs.
3. Picture-in-picture technology, which gives you a little glimpse as to how all the magic happens.

Josie's voice is near pixie-like, but still shows a proper amount of power to keep up with the song.  Plus, she doesn't just do simple looping here - she mixes up the tracks and harmonizes with herself brilliantly.  I'm simply in awe.

Please go check out Josie's Bandcamp page and support her and artists like her, who are doing innovative musical stuff, often with little support.


Monday, July 8, 2013

8 July 2013 - Alanis Morissette - Basket Case

After Billie Joe Armstrong's 2012 freak-out at the iHeartRadio Music Festival and subsequent trip to rehab all of Green Day's obligations obviously had to be canceled. Among them was a performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Never fear though as 90s alt queen Alanis Morissette stepped in and played a stunning version of Green Day's Basket Case (the very song where Billie Joe lost it in Vegas) as a tribute to her friend.

Friday, July 5, 2013

5 July 2013 - Leona Lewis - Hurt

I clicked on the link to see this video almost as a joke. I mean no disrespect to Leona Lewis, who happens to be a fantastic singer, but the thought of her covering Trent Reznor's achingly powerful song about heroin addiction was laughable to me. But it didn't take long for me to realize that she found her own "connection," because she nailed it. (please note: that pun was completely me, I'm NOT that clever).

Thursday, July 4, 2013

4 July 2013 - Julia Easterlin - Break My Body

As you probably know by now, I am a fan of loop machine song building. I based the first YouTube Artist Series post to just that type of music.  This doesn't quite qualify for that series, but it's the same type of idea.

This song is a complete and beautiful reimagination of the Pixies song "Break My Body", built live.  It's a very very different song than the original, but it works perfectly with the lyrics.Give it a listen, and maybe one of you can get me a loop machine for Christmas.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

3 July 2013 - Jimmy Eat World - Only Girl (in the World)

Short and sweet post today as the beach beckons. Here's Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World playing a solo acoustic version of Rihanna's pop smash Only Girl (In The World).

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

2 July 2013 - David Bowie (& Moby?) - Cactus

I've seen both David Bowie and Moby live.   Both of them were excellent in their live shows.  I've also seen the Pixies live.  They were better.

Still, this is a really really solid cover.  It says a lot when a legend like David Bowie is covering your song, and the Pixies can say that.  It says even more when David Bowie calls you out during a live performance - and with "B-L-A-C-K, Charles", he called out Black Francis, aka Frank Black, aka Charles Thompson.  Give it a listen.

Monday, July 1, 2013

1 July 2013 - Lights - Behind Blue Eyes

Behind Blue Eyes has long been one of my favorite songs by The Who. I used to play the hell out of that 45 as a kid (it was my dad's if I'm not mistaken). As for this acoustic version by Canadian electro-popper Lights -- I simply love it.