Some of the best artists in indie music have kept busy while locked down, releasing some stunning new covers.
From Miley Cyrus covering Billie Eilish to James Blake covering Frank Ocean, we’ve put together some amazing covers that have been released in the past couple of months. Check out 10 new covers you’ve got to listen to below.
This Indie88 feature is presented with Hush.
Miley Cyrus – “my future (Billie Eilish cover)”
After performing at the 2020 MTV VMAs, Miley Cyrus helped launch BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge Month with a four-song set that featured covers of Billie Eilish and Eagles. Cyrus’ full-throated rendition of “my future” is stunning. It sees the Bangerz artist maintaining the piano ballad feel of the original, which explodes into a groovy break, but Cyrus brings some powerhouse vocals. “I love when a current artist is inspired by the past and that song has a bit of jazz standard inspiration in there which I love,” Cyrus explains of her choice.
James Blake – “Godspeed (Frank Ocean cover)”
Earlier this year, James Blake covered Frank Ocean’s “Godspeed” on his Instagram, and today he’s shared an official studio version of the cover. Blake, who produced and arranged the track, strips it back to an intimate piano performance. Staying true to Ocean’s version, Blake adds his own distinctive twist, removing the studio flourishes for a sparse, evocative rendition of the tune.
Phoebe Bridgers, Arlo Parks – “Fake Plastic Trees (Radiohead cover)”
Phoebe Bridgers and Arlo Parks have teamed up for a cover of Radiohead’s “Fake Plastic Trees” as part of BBC Radio 1’s Chillest Show with Phil Taggart. The beautiful clip sees the two artists performing the The Bends track from inside of a church, as Parks delivers a powerfully sparse piano line and delivers some soft harmonies as Bridgers takes the lead on vocals.
Moses Sumney – “thank u, next (Ariana Grande cover)”
Following the release of græ, Moses Sumney has shared a cover of pop queen Ariana Grande’s “thank u, next.” Sumney has covered Grande’s single for Amazon Music, and it sees him reworking the track into a mournful art-soul ballad. Sumney delivers Grande’s famous lines through layers of Auto-Tune, making for a sombre, sparse rendition of the hit track.
London Grammar – “Blinding Lights (The Weeknd cover)”
London Grammar recently took to BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge series, where they performed The Weeknd’s hit tune, “Blinding Lights.” The performance sees the band putting a signature London Grammar twist on the track, slowing it down and stripping it back to a simple keys line before exploding into a catchy guitar-driven riff. London Grammar’s rendition truly lets frontwoman Hannah Reid’s powerful, throaty vocals to shine, as she sings lyrics like, “I said, ooh, I’m blinded by the lights/ No, I can’t sleep until I feel your touch.”
Lykke Li – “I Will Survive (Gloria Gaynor cover)”
Lykke Li has made her return with a stark cover of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.” The new cover sees Li turning Gaynor’s disco anthem into a dark, haunting ballad. Li has narrowed down the arrangement to some trembling vocals, soft piano, and eerie atmospheric instrumentals.
Sharon Van Etten – “Hurt (Nine Inch Nails cover)”
Sharon Van Etten has shared a cover of Nine Inch Nails’ classic track “Hurt.” Van Etten covered the track for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and Sound of Saving’s “Song that Found Me at the Right Time” series. Before starting the cover, Van Etten spoke about her own experiences with depression. “It doesn’t make you a weak person for talking about your darker times, you know,” Van Etten says. “It actually makes you stronger by being vulnerable and open and sharing who you are with the people you care about.”
Beabadoobee – “Walking The Cow (Daniel Johnston cover)”
Beabadoobee has shared a cover of Daniel Johnston’s “Walking the Cow” for a special home session for Apple Music. “I chose to cover Daniel Johnston’s ‘Walking the Cow’ because he is one of my favourite songwriters of all time. Doing that song reminded me how pure and honest his writing can be,” Beabadoobee explains. “My set-up was how I imagine Daniel Johnston would have recorded his tracks. I tried recording inside a little bedroom with a four-track belonging to my boyfriend’s brother for a DIY sound. I also recorded outside to capture the nature and birds.”
Mo Kenney – “Game of Pricks (Guided By Voices cover)”
Mo Kenney has shared a cover of Guided By Voices’ classic track “Game of Pricks” that is a fittingly stripped-back and haunting number for these times. Kenney is accompanied by Joel Plaskett on the piano for this rendition of the cut from GBV’s 1995 lo-fi masterpiece Alien Lanes. “I hope Guided by Voices fans enjoy my take on the song. I slowed it right down and set it to piano. You can really hear how cool the lyrics are,” says Kenney (via The East Mag). “Joel Plaskett and I produced it. We sat on opposite sides of the studio, Joel at the piano and me sitting in front of a mic. It was one of the best moments of making the record.”
PUP – “A.M. 180 (Grandaddy cover)”
Toronto punk outfit PUP have shared a cover of Grandaddy’s “A.M. 180” from their 1997 album Under the Western Freeway. The cover was recorded by PUP bassist Nestor Chumak and mixed by Dave Schiffman. “Grandaddy are one of the unsung hero bands of indie rock,” says PUP’s drummer Zack Mykula in a release. “A best kept secret. I mean, forgive me for going ham, but this song is like a lily in an otherwise barren valley. An outstanding piece of songwriting, doing more with less than most any other song of the same caliber. So, that’s why we decided to cover it.”