Singing Other People’s Songs

As a general rule, I don’t like covers. Too often, it’s just lazy musicians trying to get attention by playing songs people already know. But sometimes, it’s just really great to hear a familiar song played by someone who was pretty awesome anyway.

St. Vincent is generally pretty awesome. Her albums are very good, and her live show is superb. And while she’s great at big, loud, artsy numbers, she’s also pretty darn fantastic when playing a single guitar. This cover earns bonus points because the original, by Nico, was used prominently in The Royal Tenenbaums, one of my favourite movies.

As a rule, the worst sort of cover is usually a cover of a song I really, really like. So you might think I’d be skeptical of Amanda Palmer’s album of Radiohead songs performed on her magical ukulele. You might also guess that I’d be particularly loathe to listen to anyone performing a cover of Fake Plastic Trees, which is probably one of my all-time favourite songs.

And yet: I love it.

I posted this a couple months ago, but I’m going to do it again because it’s just so damned good: Land of Talk’s cover of Big Star’s Thirteen. Like St. Vincent, Elizabeth Powell can rock the hell out of an electric guitar, but also has incredible grace and emotion.

A Sunny Day in Glasgow is a lovely band that has the potential to become utterly fantastic; Ashes Grammar is a beautiful, unique album. They’re also offering their new album, Autumn, Again, totally free.┬áThis cover of Fleetwood Mac’s Everywhere is very nice as well.

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