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James Blake – “A Case of You”

When young dubstep prodigy James Blake stows the electronics and takes a seat at the piano, the results always seem to be astounding—like the soulful “DLM” from his most recent album, Overgrown. But his cover of Joni Mitchell’s “A Case of You” on 2011 EP Enough Thunder takes the cake for Blake’s balladeering. Simple as it is, his hurried vocals exude such sincerity and vulnerability that it perfectly illustrates how powerful music can be when it’s just a man and his piano. Or a woman and her guitar.


Van Halen – “Ice Cream Man”

Electing to cover a somewhat obscure blues tune would seem extremely odd for a band like Van Halen, were brothers Eddie and Alex not raised by an accomplished jazz saxophonist and clarinet player. And the suggestive lyrical content that kept the song from being released until 1969 made it a perfect fit for David Lee Roth, who opens the number dedicating it to the ladies. Diamond Dave gets things started off slow and sultry over some acoustic guitar before everything erupts into a typical Van Halen rock epic. Eddie absolutely dazzles with his acrobatic shredding and whammy bar assaults. The tribute to the Chicago bluesman is often overshadowed by the also excellent cover of The Kinks’ “You Really Got Me” on the same record, but “Ice Cream Man” stands out as more of a testament to the Van Halen brothers diverse musical background with especially noteworthy performances from Roth and EVH. Fortunately for Brim and the city of Chicago, he was able to open his very own blues club in his hometown with the royalities from the cover.


Chelsea Wolfe – “I Let Love In”

Chelsea Wolfe’s unique sound seems to stem from a wide array of musical influences, further evidenced in her choices of song covers. While she’s released a whole EP of Rudimentary Peni covers and an excellent rendition of Burzum’s “Black Spell of Destruction” that helped reignite her career, perhaps her most powerful homage is to Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. The title track from 1994’s seminal I Let Love In is Nick Cave offering up the mastery of his simultaneously mellow and melancholy crooning. Wolfe makes Cave’s cautionary woes especially haunting through her distant, reverberating vocals and somber, fuzzed-out accompaniment.


The Beatles  - “Twist and Shout”

Technically, the Isley Brothers’ “Twist and Shout” is a cover of the Top Notes’ “Shake It Up Baby”, but the Beatles’ version borrows much more from the soul classic than the original. The track appears on their very first UK release, Please Please Me. After ten hours of straight recording, with only fifteen minutes of scheduling studio time left, the band cut their famous rendition of “Twist and Shout” with John Lennon suffering from a cold, trying everything from milk to cough drops to soothe his vocal chords. Lennon gave everything he could for the first take and was physically unable to attempt additional tries. Fortunately, his perfectly scratchy vocals were spot on, despite just being able to make out his coughing in the background. The cover demonstrates the Beatles’ love of early rock and soul music as well their gift at crafting perfectly pristine British pop tunes while John’s strained vocals inject the song with a legendary rawness.


Sondre Lerche – “Bluish”

Talented Norwegian singer-songwriter Sondre Lerche seems at home no matter what type of music he’s approaching, always relating it back to mature pop sensibilities that belie his youth and experience. So it’s no surprise that when tackling one of Animal Collective’s most beloved tracks from the widely acclaimed Merriweather Post Pavillion, he’s able to strip down the song to its bare bones with just vocals and an acoustic guitar to reveal what a colorful pop tune “Bluish” is, even without the electronic and psychedelic whimsy.





AngelofDeath
01.27.14
Can some tech wizard please make the rest of my YouTube vidjas show up?

Crysis
01.27.14
done and done

AngelofDeath
01.27.14
luv u kyle

TheSpirit
01.27.14
That Chelsea Wolfe cover though

Hyperion1001
01.27.14
sick blog post

MO
01.27.14
yea awesome stuff

clercqie
01.27.14
Very nice idea and post. Good read. I should really check out that Rudimentari Peni cover EP, thanks for the tip!

Consider Laura Marling's cover of Springsteen's 'Dancing In The Dark' for the next one, perhaps? :]

AngelofDeath
01.27.14
I think I'm gonna keep it to studio recorded covers, otherwise I definitely would. I absolutely love her, and she has a few great live covers including the Allman Bros.' "Whipping Post", Neil Young's "Dance Dance Dance", and "For the Sake of the Song" by Townes van Zandt.

Relinquished
01.27.14
"That Chelsea Wolfe cover though"

yeah it rocks shush ur mouth

clercqie
01.27.14
Yeah, I feel bad I only started listening to her since Once I Was An Eagle. Fantastic record, the more I listen to it, the more I love it. A Creature I Don't Know is splendid as well. She's definitely one of the most talented singer-songwriters currently active.

I actually saw her live in September and she did that Neil Young cover. Very nice surprise.

AngelofDeath
01.27.14
She played the Townes van Zandt song here on that tour instead of the Neil Young one, which I was pretty happy about. Not that I dislike Young, but I love TVZ. She's always stellar live.

clercqie
01.27.14
I especially like that's she's touring solo nowadays. I find that her songs pack more of a punch when they're stripped to the bone.

clercqie
01.27.14
Good choice for the James Blake cover as well, btw. Great that it's not the obvious 'Limit To Your Love'. 'Case of You' is actually one of the few Blake numbers that I thoroughly enjoy.

Aids
01.27.14
Nice man, super nice.

Snice.

AngelofDeath
01.28.14
You're snice, Adrian.

DeathHilarious
01.28.14
The Pixies' "Mr. Grieves" down by TV On The Radio should be added to this list, as should Mewithoutyou's cover of Nirvana's "In Bloom".

Ire
01.28.14
wag post.

JamieTwort
01.28.14
Great stuff.

One of my favourite covers of all time is The 13th Floor Elevator's cover of Bob Dylan's "It's All Over Now Baby Blue".

AngelofDeath
01.28.14
Seems like just about everyone that has done a Dylan cover makes the song better.

JamieTwort
01.29.14
I wouldn't say that. His originals always have a certain magic to them that is often lost in the cover versions.

JamieTwort
01.29.14
Even the one I just mentioned I wouldn't say is better than the original necessarily. It's just a really good take on one of my favourite songs ever.

AngelofDeath
01.29.14
Could just be because I've never cared much for his work.

JamieTwort
01.29.14
Really? That does surprise me. Easily the greatest singer-songwriter (emphasis on the latter of course) of all time imo.

itchybutthole
01.31.14
Keep these nice blogs coming, always a pleasent read

Irving
02.02.14
I drew a map of Canada....

OHHHHH CANADAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA

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