Monday, December 11, 2017

10 Favorite Cover Songs of 2017

A Giant Dog

Year-End Coverage

New Jersey. Jersey Shore. Asbury Park. Covers, baby!

10. Yawn Mower, "Margaritaville" (Jimmy Buffett)

The first time I heard the guys do this one, I think, was at Trenton's Millhill Basement. It had to be a nod to Jimmy Buffett superfan, Chris Dickman, who was there because Little Dickman Records and I were co-presenting the show. The song was barely recognizable then. Now, it's recognizable as both Buffett and Yawn Mower. It has that Yawn Mower drone that's, weirdly, doomy and fun at the same time.

9. SLEEPiES, "I Wanna Holler" (Gary U.S. Bonds)

I love SLEEPiES. Jersey loves Gary U.S. Bonds. This one is from about 20 years before he started collaborating with The Boss, and SLEEPiES give it a western-y vibe for 2017.

8. Jonathan Rado, "Thunder Road" (Bruce Springsteen)

C'mon. This had to be here. It's a pretty faithful rendition of a song for which I have every little vocal inflection from the original committed to memory. It comes from Rado's full-album cover of Born to Run.

7. Low Cut Connie, "Controversy" (Prince)

This one falls into that category of a cover that's a perfect match for the artist (See below). Prince is a clear influence on Low Cut Connie's Adam Weiner, and this is a fitting tribute.

6. Well Wisher, "Teenage Dirtbag" (Wheatus)

Well Wisher, the project of former dollys drummer Natalie Newbold, has been covering this one since they began. The song is like an O. Henry story with that cool twist ending. You can find the studio version featuring Newbold (vocals / guitar), Erik Kase Romero (bass), and Mike Lindardi (drums) over at Well Wisher's website. This is a video shot by YouTube user Nathen Hutchison.

5. Sharif Mekawy of Looms, "Hummingbird" (Wilco)

"Hummingbird" is, by far, my favorite post-Jay Bennett Wilco song. Mekawy did this as part of the I'll Be Around Wilco tribute album (on which, amazingly, nobody covered "Jesus Etc.," the song from which the comp takes its title) to benefit The Project Matters. I could listen to this version 1000 times, and I probably have.

4. dollys, "The Way You Make Me Feel" (Michael Jackson)

I first heard dollys do this one at the Indie Pop Winter Formal I threw at The Saint to start 2016. To kick off 2017, they released this on the Covers tape they put out with Little Game Records to benefit Planned Parenthood. dollys do an amazing job here of translating this very 80s pop classic into their own three-piece format.

3. Charly Bliss, "Steal My Sunshine" (Len)

I went to the release show for Charly Bliss's Guppy back in May, and they busted out this cover of Len's "Steal My Sunshine." I remember thinking back then that the combination of bubblegum pop and 90s nostalgia was a perfect match for Charly Bliss. I guess it was an easy choice for them when they went in to do an A.V. Undercover session.

2. Daddy Issues, "Boys of Summer" (Don Henley)

This is a great, great song. I went to the second or third ever concert of my life (Don Henley / Katrina and The Waves) on the strength of this song alone. Daddy Issues dirty up the pristine, 80s cool of the original.

1. A Giant Dog, "Angst in My Pants" (Sparks)

Confession: I didn't know this was a cover until after I'd been listening to Toy for a while. That's kind of inexcusable considering that I think it's on the Valley Girl soundtrack. Anyway. I loved this one even before I knew it was a cover. It's done kind of double-time when compared to the original, and the building tension and release are cathartic.

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