I’m designating 2021 the year of Quicksand. They have released one of the best albums of the year with Distant Populations. I seriously can’t stop listening to it. The moment the album stops I’m so compelled to listen again! It’s so damn good!!! Anyways I’ve been on one hell of a Quicksand kick. Going back through different live shows and bsides. One of the covers that I love that they’ve done is “How Soon Is Now?” by The Smiths. This cover dates back to their album Slip (which is one hell of a great album as well). The Quicksand version is exceptional. A totally different and rocking take on it.
The Smashing Pumpkins have a very interesting and awesome history with cover songs. Through all my years of listening to them, I’ve noticed that when they do a cover, it’s usually done in a manner that is tasteful, creative and a little different. I’m quite fond of their cover of Depeche Mode’s “Never Let Me Down.” So much so that it’s in my top 10 favorite covers. One of the cover songs that SP has done over the years that always was a fun one to delve into was their take on the David Essex classic “Rock On.” The Smashing Pumpkins version is a bit more experimental and artsy but, still retains the impact of the original with a new spin. If you haven’t heard this before, I’m interested to get your take on it.
The great Two Minutes To Late Night is back with a new cover from their quarantine series. This one is really, really, really, damn good. Here you have a Bjork song “Hyperballad” covered by Stephen Brodsky (Cave In/Old Man Gloom/Mutoid Man) on vocals with Sergio Vega (Quicksand/Deftones) on bass, Adam D (Killswitch Engage/Times Of Grace) on guitar, Jordan “Gwarsenio Hall” Olds (host of 2MTLN) on guitar, Ben Chisholm (Chelsea Wolfe) on keys and Tanner Wayne (In Flames) on drums. It’s a great cover and Stephen Brodsky is absolutely amazing on this track. He’s really found a whole other voice which I hope carries over to all of his musical ventures.
Ever since Deadsy announced their return, I’ve gone back to their albums and I’ve found so many awesome songs I forgot about as well as ones I’m now really getting into. As much as I dig their album Commencement, I keep finding myself drawn more and more into their album, Phantasmagore. Recently, the band released a new remastered version of the album. This version features longer versions of the songs as well as a bonus track. While on my re-discovery of Deadsy, I actually forgot about that their version of The Rolling Stones classic “Paint It Black.” This cover is tremendous. It’s got a very Deadsy sound to it thus making it its own. Stoked for the new Deadsy album, Subterfuge
Recently, the very awesome show Two Minutes To Late Night started doing something quite fun and cool. They call it Splitsville and they have two bands cover each other. The first one was Every Time I Die and Cave In. Cave In chose the ETID song “Moor” from their album From Parts Unknown. Every Time I Die chose “Youth Overrided” from Cave In’s album Antenna. While Cave In did a great job on “Moor,” I have to say that Every Time I Die absolutely killed their cover. Ever since I heard it, I’ve been listening to it like crazy. It’s so damn good. I also have to put this out in the universe, we are in need of a Cave In & Every Time I Die tour in 2022!!!
Thrice is one of those bands that when they do covers, they put their own spin on it and it usually turns out pretty damn good. A long while back during their Beggars era, they released their version of The Beatles “Helter Skelter.” It’s a very rockin version and the arrangement is definitely Thrice through and through. Take a few moments and dig into this gem!
Kerrang Magazine in the mid 00’s did a special Iron Maiden exclusive edition. This also saw the magazine ask a bunch of bands to perform certain Maiden songs for a compilation CD. Coheed And Cambria was asked and they picked “The Trooper.” The band has long been fans of Iron Maiden. Their cover is pretty rockin. I did get to see them perform “The Trooper” many years ago at a show and I can tell you it was badass. Iron Maiden are even fans of the band and had them open for them on a more recent tour. Check out this rad cover!
A couple days ago there was a huge David Bowie celebration. Tons of artists took part in this by performing Bowie’s songs. A good portion of these performances were accompanied by Mike Garson, David’s longtime piano player. Among the people performing on this night were, Trent Reznor, Billy Corgan, Dave Navarro, Ian Astbury, Gavin Rossdale, Corey Taylor, Taylor Hawkins and so many more. I saw a few of these performances floating around and there were 2 that really stood out to me. It’s no surprise that the ones Trent Reznor performed were my favorite. He picked “Fantastic Voyage” from Bowie’s album, Lodger as well as “Fashion” from Scary Monsters (and Super Creeps). He was joined by Mike Garson and Atticus Ross on both songs along with his wife Mariqueen on the latter. Both of these turned out great. I do have to say that Trent’s dance moves during “Fashion” are quite fun to watch.
During these odd strange times, there have been a slew of bands doing fun covers (check out the Two Minutes To Late Night folks for some really great ones). One cover I heard recently, that I’m really enjoying is by one of the bands I’ve featured on here many times, Interstelar. They did a version of AC/DC’s “Highway To Hell” and defintely made it their own. Singer Jason Kothman’s voice makes this very cool and unique in a very bluesy sort of way. Do yourself a favor and crank this one up and have some fun!!!
One thing I genuinely enjoy about cover songs is when bands really make an effort to make it their own. Whether it’s changing up the vibe or arrangements, the new interpretation often times can take the song to new heights. A great example of this is The Smashing Pumpkins version of Joy Division’s “Transmission.” The Pumpkins take on it is spacey, borderline psychedelic and even transcendent at times. It’s different enough yet still pays homage in a very distinct way.
The Smashing Pumpkins- Transmission (from Adore Deluxe Set):
The Smashing Pumpkins- Transmission Live 98:
The Smashing Pumpkins w/Davey Havok and Peter Hook- Transmission Live 2018: