You know who Purity Ring is. We don’t have to do that whole song and dance. Their debut album Shrines was one of our favorite albums of 2013 and just a few months ago they released this surprisingly (well, not so surprisingly) INCREDIBLE cover of Soulja Boy’s “Grammy.” Typically when the whole indie-band-covers-rapper thing goes down it’s very tongue in cheek, but in this case we have a laughably ironic track turned into something vulnerable and pretty. The cover has received so much traction that it makes regular appearances at live shows and fits in seamlessly with their repertoire.
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Bastille may be the best band you’ve never heard about. Simply put, they produce incredible cover songs. Nothing is out their wheelhouse as they tackle artists like Seal, Frank Ocean, Lana Del Rey, Fleetwood Mac and more with a dark, electro atmosphere and the occasional movie dialogue sample. While some of the source material could be considered kitschy, the moody makeover they’re given comes across as rich, dark and powerful. Even the occasional flavors of dubstep thrown in are surprisingly welcome.
I’d posted about their City High cover back in 2011, a few months before signing to Virgin Records, but had fallen off my radar. While it may have been a one-off for us at the time, a year later they’ve grown a serious following in their native UK and amassed a treasure trove of cover songs on their Other People’s Heartache mixtapes. It should be noted that they do have a small handful of good original tracks to their name, but they are at their best with this approach. If you like the cover of TLC’s “No Scrubs” posted here, you owe it to yourself to listen to it all.
I won’t go into the similarities between jazz and hip hop music because that would go beyond a humble blog post, and a lot of it is self evident. However, if you really want to nerd out you can read this old piece on Slate about the subject. The point is, while both genres play off one another you rarely hear any overt crossovers. Which, of course, makes the interpolations of BADBADNOTGOOD simultaneously refreshing and profound.
Three young dudes from Toronto, Canada gave a collective “fuck it!” to traditional jazz stylings and began taking on hip hop tracks as prime fruit for post-bop re-imaginations. Helped by the support of Tyler, The Creator, BADBADNOTGOOD have begun appearing in everything from jazz festivals to J. Dilla tribute concerts. You can download their latest album BBNG2 for free on their Bandcamp page, but here’s a taste with one of my favorites – a dope ass cover of Waka Flocka Flame’s “Hard In Da Paint.”
I’ll keep this short, because I always post every new song that The Knocks come out with. They’re legends in the making as far as Electric Panda Music is concerned and they keep adding on evidence to support that. Bringing newcomer Mandy Lee to the mix, The Knocks take on M83′s “Midnight City” in true NYC dance pop form.
Hey, at the very least it’s nice to hear the lyrics enunciated. And the video was shot a couple streets from my old apartment. God, there are so many reasons to love this.
Smiths tribute albums are nothing new, and it’s no surprise. You’d be hard pressed to find an “indie” artist out there who wouldn’t list them as an influence. But let’s be honest, most covers of The Smiths are plain garbage. Morrissey has a voice no one could ever mimic, and most attempts to recreate their magic fall flat. And yeah, I’m looking at you too, Zooey Deschanel.
Folk artist William Fitzsimmons throws his hat in the ring on the latest tribute album to hit stores, and hits a home run with his cover of “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want.” Notes from the song translate beautifully on the banjo, carried along with Fitzsimmons’ warm voice and punctuated with majestic hums of what could possibly be angels.
While this song is usually quoted as the whiniest of all Smiths tracks, Fitzsimmons manages to give it a more earnest feel. Wistfulness without the ‘woe is me.’