Love them or hate them, people are always talking about them. I have yet to notice anyone else make a 2k11 list covering covers. My selections for the best songs from previous recordings are as follows:
13 Real Estate – Barely Legal (The Strokes)
I could not be any more pumped up for the upcoming Strokes cover album Stroked. If the rest of the disc stacks up to the first single from Real Estate, we are all in for a real treat. Congrats, Real Estate, on making this song your own–no small task.
12 The Black Keys – Dearest (Buddy Holly)
The Black Keys work wonders on their take on this Buddy Holly classic. Short, sweet and fantastic. The Keys at their simplest, which is always a good thing.
11 Morning Benders – Lovefool (The Cardigans)
Hand claps, acoustic guitar and three part harmonies. Rarely do I say that a cover surpasses the original, but this sure as hell comes close. A helluva rendition of the classic guilty pleasure from Swedish rockers The Cardigans.
10 Friendly Fires – I’m Good, I’m Gone (Lykkie Li)
What better way to add buzz to their latest release, Pala, than to put out of cover of a song that people can’t hate. These guys have a formula and it is continuing to work.
9 She & Him – Oh Boy (Buddy Holly)
When I heard that a tribute album to Buddy Holly was going to be dropped this year I thought “Oh Boy”! Unsure of what to expect I found exactly what I was looking for with this track.
8 Fitz and the Tantrums – Arthur’s Theme (Christopher Cross)
This is a silly cover from a silly movie by a band getting a lot of buzz this year. I love it.
7 Hooray for Earth – Lewis Takes Action (Owen Pallet Cover)
This band has caused me to take a step back ever since I started listening to them. No Love, True Loves, and Sails make their full-length debut stand strong. This cover makes me think they are going to be around a while.
6 Bat for Lashes – Strangelove (Depeche Mode)
Natasha Khan continues to be the mark for indie innovation. This pairing just makes sense to me.
5 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – Higher Love (Steve Winwood)
After Dodge posted the video of them covering this at the White Cabaret in Indianapolis I was extremely jealous for being out of town. If this does not win you over, I am not quite sure what will. Their cover of The Beach Boys “God Only Knows” deserves to be on this list as well.
4 James Blake – A Case of You (Joni Mitchell)
James Blake and the Dub-step movement has been one of the hottest topics of 2k11. This song makes me believe there is some legitimacy to it.
3 Mr. Little Jeans – Suburbs (Arcade Fire)
Sometimes groups get popular after they have maxed out on buzz via a cover (i.e. First Aid Kit – Tiger Mountain Peasant Song). I thought it would be impossible to cover anything off this album. I was wrong.
2 Bon Iver – I Can Make You Love Me / Nick of Time (Bonnie Raitt)
Justin Vernon’s release this year deserves to be album of the year, win a Grammy, and be talked about for the rest of eternity. Opting to play this to national audiences instead of a track on his latest release tells you how good he thinks this is and I would have to agree.
1 Dum Dum Girls – There is a Light That Never Goes Out (Smiths)
This beats out Bon Iver because of the happiness it brings to the table. This cover has given me a newfound respect these four Californian garage poppers. This is number one because I do not think of it just as a cover, I consider it one of my favorite songs of the year.
Written by Brett McGrath
“People dancing, people laughing
A man selling ice cream
Singing Italian songs
Eh curare! Itza nice Ey!
Can you dig it (yes, I can)
And I’ve been waiting such a long time
Saturday in the park”
My experience from Lollapalooza was just that: A Saturday in the Park but I was wishing it was Pitchfork instead of the Fourth of July. DO NOT get me wrong. Lollapalooza is a grand time with a myriad of bands to chose from, but the convenience of a Saturday stroll is out of the question.
The distance between the Music Unlimited and the Bud Light (two main stages) is costly. Game plans and band map out sessions need to be considered very strategically. At Pitchfork you could see the completion of a set and do not have to worry about stressing over missing the beginning of the next. The beast that is Lollapalooza controls you and causes you to make quick decisions based on if you are “feelin’ or not” because of location. I have been going since the beginning of college and enjoy how big the crowds are but intimacy is cherished after a day in Grant Park.
I drove up to Chicago on Friday to catch the Local Natives / Walk the Moon set at Lincoln Hall on Friday and my only ambition was to catch Saturday at Lollapalooza and head back to Indianapolis before My Morning Jacket on Sunday. One and done in the festival scene and believe me….I got all I needed.
Comfort and convenience aside, I had a splendid time seeing some great live bands. Many of which I had been waiting to see for a long time which was an added bonus.
1:00 PM – J Roddy Walston and the Business – Playstation Stage
2:30 PM – Phantogram – Sony Stage
3:15 PM – Friendly Fires – Bud Light Stage
4:30 PM – Dom – Google+ Stage….side: Only saw a song or two. I saw their after show on Saturday night so it was not priority. Food and bathroom were paramount at this point
5:45 PM – Drums – Google+ Stage
6:30 PM – Local Natives – Sony Stage
8:15 PM – Lykke Li – Google+ Stage
9:45 PM – Beirut – Google+ Stage
I just realized I saw more bands than I thought after compiling this list. Totaling out at 8 is a very good day. I will bet my life I would not have been able to do this if I had gone on Friday.
- The crowd at Local Natives was the biggest crowd of the day that I noticed. It brought a tear to my eye that a band I had been following since the beginning was finally it.
- The Friendly Fires show was a sweatbox. They came with energy and I was thrilled they delivered. A dance circle was created by my crew. It took off. About 20 strangers participating in a jig fest to a band we all love – Can’t beat that
- Sarah Barthel from Phantogram might be the hottest Alt chick out there
- Beirut was not as cool as I expected
- Lykke Li owns me
Thank you Lollapalooza. It was another Saturday in the park but next time I’ll be waiting for July (Pitchfork Festival 2o12)
Written and experienced by Brett McGrath