Best covers of 2014 so far: Skaters, Temples, Brothertiger and moreBy Erin Browne | August 15th, 2014 | 1 Comment »
They say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery. And for musicians, the best way to pay homage to their peers is through a cover song. On rare occasions, covers even become more popular than the originals (see: “(What’s So Funny About) Peace, Love and Understanding” originally by Nick Lowe but popularized by Elvis Costello.) Covers can be a way for emerging bands to gain a wider audience, it is a way to show appreciation to the bands that inspire you and hey, everyone becomes a cover artist the second a karaoke mic is in their hand.
This year has had a pretty phenomenal output of cover songs. So, with all the good stuff out there, we felt compelled to pick some of the best covers of 2014 so far.
Skaters covering The Ramones “Judy is a Punk”
New York five piece Skaters dropped their debut album earlier this year and have been generating a buzz for themselves ever since. They’ve toured the country, tried their hand across the pond, and even scored themselves a slot at Governor’s Ball. Their sound is deeply rooted in 70s punk, and some of the tracks on their album “Manhattan” sound like B-sides from The Clash’s “Sandinista!” so it only makes sense that when they visited Triple J in Australia for “Like a Version” they covered The Ramones. “Judy is a Punk” is a classic, and while it is hard to mess up The Ramones, Skaters do a pretty incredible cover. Also they’re wearing matching track jackets.
Brothertiger covering Talking Heads “This Must Be the Place (Native Melody)”
There are quite a few Talking Heads covers out there. Some, like Kishi Bashi’s cover of this same song, take the music in a completely different direction. For New York musician and producer, Brothertiger, he almost made the popular Talking Heads song sound more eighties. The synths swirl in all the right places, and his pensive delivery of David Byrne’s vocals hint at a more modern chillwave sound. And getting back to what we were saying about a cover putting an artist on the map, Brothertiger’s “This Must Be the Place” has become one of his most-played songs on Soundcloud.
Tokyo Police Club covering Wheatus “Teenage Dirtbag”
In 2010 The A.V. Club launched “Undercover” where they would have a list of songs and bands would come in and cover them one by one. Tokyo Police Club was the last band to come in, and they covered Billy Squire. This year they returned, a little earlier in the game, and chose to cover Wheatus’ one and only hit “Teenage Dirtbag.” If you don’t love this song, you’re wrong.
Temples covering The Kinks “Waterloo Sunset”
You know a band is good if they are revered by Johnny Marr as one of the best emerging bands. Temples gained themselves that title, and after the release of their debut album this year “Sun Structures”, it seems as though they will hold the crown for a while. Covering The Kinks is ambitious, but James Bagshaw’s vocals do Davies’ justice.
Drowners covering Lou Reed “Hangin’ Round”
Drowners first performed their cover of Lou Reed’s “Hanging Round” at a tribute show for Reed shortly after his death. However, they brought it back for a session with gigwise. Their nostalgic sound fits Reed’s music so well, that if he wasn’t so prolific, Drowners would be able to easily adopt this song as their own. Which just shows how influential Reed was.
Jukebox the Ghost covering Shania Twain “Man, I Feel Like a Woman”
Jukebox the Ghost have always embraced covers. Fans of the band have come to love their renditions of “Temptation” originally by New Order and Donna Lewis’ “I Love You Always Forever.” In fact, their covers were so enjoyed that they have even been known to play double sets at shows. A cover set, and a set of originals. To promote their forthcoming album, Jukebox the Ghost recorded a Sawyer Session, where they delivered the best cover of the year so far. Shania Twain’s “Man, I Feel Like a Woman” and they totally own it. There is no shying away from the femininity in this cover.
Erin Browne is a New York-based writer and a new contributor to Reverb. Follow her on Twitter.