We’ve been having more fun than ever with our PropertyOfZack Friday Discussions lately with The Best Album Openers and Closers, so we thought we’d throw one more rad category out there with The Best Cover Songs. Covers can be tough; Some fans like the covering band to spice up the original’s song in their own way, and some fans don’t. To each their own. We put a list of covers from bands in our scene that we love in an Rdio Playlist to listen to as you read the Discussion as well (though not all covers were present). Check out our list below and feel free to reblog with some of your favorite covers!
The Ataris - “The Boys of Summer (Don Henley)”
Okay: raise your hand if upon hearing The Ataris’ cover of “The Boys of Summer” back in 2003, you thought it was actually their own song. You can’t see me, but my hand is definitely up. In fact, I had no idea it was a cover for a whole two years, until one fine morning when I was in eighth grade and my mom made a comment about how much better it was than the original. Without question, it absolutely is.
Everything from the sped-up tempo, to the progressive, much-improved instrumentals, to Kris Roe’s smooth-to-rough vocals, sounds like this is an Ataris original. Even though So Long, Astoria also boasted “In This Diary,” another mega-hit, this cover certainly did the album and band an entire world of good, receiving oodles of radio air-time and even making it to the top of the ever-infamous MTV music video countdown TRL (R.I.P. childhood). This song is a pop-punk classic, and by far outdoes its original not-so-pop-punk predecessor’s classic status. It’s hard to even think that someone before this band uttered, “My love for you will still be strong/after the boys of summer have gone” into a microphone. No offense, Don Henley, but this cover is so good that it pretty much puts the original out of existence. - Brittany Oblak
All Time Low - “Umbrella (Rihanna)”
It can be a little hard to remember nowadays, but there was a time when All Time Low brought the pop and the punk in equal measure, and they never did it better than on this cover of Rihanna’s mega-hit “Umbrella”. Marrying snarling guitars with sticky-sweet vocal harmonies that only soar bigger and brighter as the song progresses, “Umbrella” is such a natural fit for All Time Low’s strengths that you’d be forgiven for thinking Terius Nash helped pen it with the clown princes of pop-punk in mind. It’s a prime example of what can happen when a great song finds its way to a band at the peak of their creative powers. - Jesse Richman
Bayside - “Be My Baby (The Ronettes)”
Bayside has always produced good covers – so good, in fact, that the songs are sometimes mistaken for originals by less knowledgeable fans (see: “Megan” by The Smoking Popes). With their first covers EP, the band stepped into new territory, choosing to cover songs they had grown up listening to, and perhaps introducing a whole new generation to the likes of The Ronettes, Elvis Costello, Del Shannon, Van Morrison, and Billy Joel.
Of the five tracks on the EP, “Be My Baby” by The Ronettes, is the only one originally performed by a female band. However, between Anthony Raneri’s distinctive vocals and Jack O’Shea’s gripping guitar solo, the transition into a Bayside song is all but impeccable. Though Bayside has never been particularly known for love songs, the harmonies and vocal overlays that give this track its old school, swoon-worthy feel suggest that maybe the band should try it more often. - Becky Kovach
The Early November - “The Power Of Love (Huey Lewis & The News)”
I’m a sucker for cover versions that are truly transformative, and I’m not sure I can think of one that flips the script as radically as The Early November does on their cover of Huey Lewis & The News’ bombastic pop-cheese classic, “The Power Of Love.” By trading the skronking synths and pulsing drums of the original for laconic, hypnotically repetitive acoustic arpeggios and whisper-thin vocals, Ace Enders and company gingerly excavate the love that’s long been buried underneath all that power. I’ve written about it before, and I’m sure I’ll write about it again; it’s an obscure gem that deserves to be heard. - Jesse Richman
Kevin Devine – “Holland, 1945 (Neutral Milk Hotel)”
“The only girl I’ve ever loved was born with roses in her eyes / But then they buried her alive.” If I didn’t know any better, the cinematic lyrics to “Holland, 1945” could have been written by Kevin Devine. It’s no surprise that Devine chose to cover this Neutral Milk Hotel song, but what is slightly surprising is how he could change so little about the arrangement and still offer a completely different spin on the tune. Devine has a knack for making woeful songs sound like a celebration, and this cover is far from being an exception. - Alyssa McKinley
The Wonder Years released the first single off of The Greatest Generation yesterday, and it’s called “Dismantling Summer.” We have a Single Review for the track here.
After seven years as a band, Your Demise have called it quits. There will be a farewell tour for fans.
Deftones commented on the death of bassist Chi Cheng following his death after a long battle of medical problems following a car crash years ago.
Fall Out Boy are hitting Boston this fall at an arena date, and the band will be donating proceeds from the show to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing.
Relient K’s first update scared fans, and this one has seemed to calm them. But does anyone actually believe the three members will ever be joining the “band” on the road again?
Kevin Devine started working on album eight with Jesse Lacey in…wait for it…a church. You may now daydream about the sinister possibilities for this album.
Fans got their first taste of The Maine’s Forever Halloween last night with “Happy.” The dates for the 8123 Tour are also up, so make sure to check them out.
Kevin Devine has finished LP seven and has confirmed that Isobel Campbell, formerly of Belle & Sebastian, will be doing guest vocals on a song called “For Eugene.” Check out a message from Kevin below by clicking “Read More.”
Miracle Of 86, Kevin Devine’s old band, are reuniting for two more shows this summer at Maxwell’s on June 14th (tickets) and Mercury Lounge on June 15th (tickets). PropertyOfZack is very excited to be streaming an unreleased demo from the band’s Every Famous Last Word writing and recording sessions today called “Sweet Helmet, Olerud.” Make sure to head out to the shows if you’re in the Northeast area and to stream the unreleased demo below by clicking “Read More!”
The Weekly Tour Round-Up
Winter - Spring
From Indian Lakes on Steve Miller
The Industry With Jesse Cannon
Behind The Booths
It’s time for The Weekly Tour Round-Up! There are a ton of great tours going on this winter and more are getting announced each week! Below you’ll find all the tours going on over the next few months, with newly announced tours listed above previously announced tours. So check out all the tours if you’ve missed any of them and make sure to mark them down on your calendars!
Set It Off, I The Mighty [04/11-04/26]
Anberlin, Make Do And Mend [04/11-04/29]
He Is We [04/17-04/30]
Streetlight Manifesto [06/14-07/18]
Andrew McMahon, O.A.R. [06/20-08/03]
Previously Announced Tours:
Kevin Devine and Andy Hull treat PropertyOfZack better than we could ever ask for, and they always give us incredible interviews. I was able to catch up with the duo at Bad Books’ Philadelphia, PA tour stop for one of POZ’s best interviews of all time. Kevin, Andy, and I discussed Bad Books’ new found cohesiveness and success, all the details you could ask for for Kevin’s Kickstarter campaign and two upcoming albums, Manchester Orchestra’s reboot with a new split and album, and so much more. We couldn’t be more excited about the interview and all the great details within it, so check out all of it below!
So this tour is going really well, it seems. This is the fourth tour for Bad Books right?
Andy Hull: Yeah. We did a few short ones so yeah, four.
How many was it, like a thousand in Ohio?
AH: Yeah its nuts, I think we could have done that easily in New York from what we were told; in New York and Philly and Boston as well. Yeah totally nuts. The reception is really cool. Nobody’s asking for anything other than Bad Books tunes. People are actually enjoying the songs.
You can play a full set now, that’s awesome. No filler.
AH: There’s still plenty of bullshit, but yeah.
Kevin Devine: It feels like the balance is… there is one. It’s definitely more… the bullshit is an accent, as opposed to potentially being the main thing.
AH: Half if not more than half of the show…
I know that for the first record, or even for those first shows, there was always talk of, “This is really cool, but it still feels separated between two parties, rather than one band.”
AH: Dude it is so much different now. It feels like a real thing. It feels exactly like a real band. We’re all developing identities. It’s really cool because it’s going to be sweet to see what happens with the next record now that we have an identity. We all have things that we do in the band now. Rather than, “You do this. You play this.” There are members that are doing things. We can only go up from here.
KD: I think an interesting thing about how that live experience can translate into that next record too is that in carving out those identities, I feel like even though it’s a band it’s been something of a studio project for us in the studio. Like me and you [AH] end up doing a lot.
KD: And I feel like it’s nice to have that as an option. But I also think what this enables us to do in the comfort level we’re reaching here is that the next record can be more like a rock band playing songs; rather than building songs in the studio.
There’s been some satellite radio play too, right?
KD: Amazing response there. Like the number one song the last couple weeks on there.
AH: Yeah, nuts.
Especially because it’s four months out since the release.
KD: Yeah four and a half or so.
AH: There’s two different ways a record can go, you know? You could put a shitload of promotion behind it and then have a really big first week and then everything will trail off, or you can try to do it organically where it will continue to grow and just steady as it goes. It feels like that’s what’s happening with this record. It’s starting to connect more and more the longer it’s been out. It’s cool.
I assume you guys are going to be really busy this year. If the record’s doing well and tours are doing better than well, is that something that you now want to try to carve out more time for Bad Books?
KD: Yeah we were having that conversation last night. Like how it’s kind of…
AH: Short answer, yes we do want to. It’s just about making that decision. And hopefully finding some sort of time for it. It’s a timing thing really. I would love to do it more though, especially since it’s going better.
Have you found that with this touring and the band being more cohesive, that you actually have wanted to do a record sooner rather than later?
KD: We haven’t really talked about that yet. We’ve talked a little bit about doing it, but not about a timeline for it. Because I don’t really know, realistically, what that would look like.
AH: That’s the thing is when we could do it. But yeah, I certianly am in my head, being on this tour like, “Yeah we should be writing and we should go in immediately and go make another record.”
It’s a good problem to have.
KD: Yeah. It’s a luxury problem; it’s awesome.
In terms of Bad Books as a separate entity, do you think there are people now that are just Bad Books fans?
KD: I kind of do. Or I kind of feel like there are people who are more… there are definitely people who like it of it’s own merit. And I think that maybe there are some who even like it more than they like either of our things. Probably not the majority. The majority is probably still kids that are coming from Manchester’s world and my world. But I think it’s built itself into it’s own formidable entity. It’s totally amazing, yeah.
AH: It helps a lot that the second record is just such a… in my opinion, stronger album than the first record. The first record is kind of your perfect stereotypical first album for a band. It’s rough and a lot of loose ends. It’s going in all directions, we hadn’t really found out who we are. I’m stoked that we started with something that, you know, I’d saw was a three star record. I’d say this one is a four star record. Now we’re going to try to make a five star record.
Will Bad Books be going to rest for now until there is more time?
KD: Yeah I guess we’ll figure out what happens.
AH: Hopefully going to try to play as many festivals as we can and get some… We’re down to work. And honestly working with Kevin is a lot easier than working on my own. Not that I’m working on my own with Manchester, but just being the sole front guy, it’s just half the work. It feels nice.
KD: It’s totally noticable. It’s lovely. I feel like Bad Books tour is like… It’s still in a van and a trailer and all that stuff, but the fact that it’s other people doing this stuff sometimes, I’m like, “This is sick. Just hanging out while someone sells the merch… that’s amazing!”
Are we cool to talk about prospecitve projects?
KD: I really wish you wouldn’t… Yeah I don’t care.
AH: What do you mean?
KD: Like Manchester and me.
AH: Oh yeah.
KD: But I have to answer all of the Manchester questions and he has to answer all the the…
AH: That would be cool.