2019 has been a huge year for covers, especially from indie bands.
There have been tons of sweet, reimagined renditions from indie giants like The Raconteurs, Kurt Vile, Hozier, Beck, Karen O, J Mascis, Mac DeMarco, and more. There were also some pretty killer covers from up and coming artists and local legends like The Dirty Nil, The Darcys, and Hannah Georgas.
Check out some of the best cover tracks from indie bands this year below.
The Raconteurs – “Hey Gyp (Dig The Slowness) (Donovan cover)”
The Raconteurs have dropped a cover of Donovan’s 1965 single “Hey Gyp (Dig The Slowness)” off of their forthcoming record, Help Us Stranger. Jack White’s gritty four-piece band have taken the twangy, acoustic original and turned it into a grungy crunch-rock banger. With a speedy drum beat, crisp and clangy guitar lines, and distorted vocals, this song is going to make you want to jump along to its heavy, bouncy melody.
The Dirty Nil – “So Busted (Culture Abuse cover)” and “Head On (The Jesus and Mary Chain cover)”
The Dirty Nil have dropped covers of Culture Abuse’s “So Busted” and The Jesus and Mary Chain’s “Head On,” which are the first two tracks in a series of cover sets called You’re Welcome. Their rendition of “So Busted” is dynamic and rowdy, packed with layers and layers of guitar that make for a gritty, distorted, squealing tune. “Head On” is more of a grainy, steady, classic rock track, with a driving drum beat and growling vocal lines.
Lucy Dacus – “La Vie En Rose (Edith Piaf cover)”
Lucy Dacus released a modern rendition of Edith Piaf’s classic tune “La Vie En Rose” for Valentine’s Day. The young American singer put a 21st century twist on the 70-year-old classic love song. “From the first time I heard it, I thought ‘La Vie En Rose’ was a perfect song,” Dacus explained in a press release. “Hearing it, I knew that, one day, I would fall in love. I want someone to listen to this while running at top speed to the doorstep of the person they adore, ready to profess their deep, undying love.”
Hozier – “Say My Name (Destiny’s Child cover)”
This year, Hozier released a cover of Destiny Child’s hit song “Say My Name” as part of the Spotify Singles Series. Hozier’s version of the iconic 1999 tune is stripped back and slower than the original, as Hozier’s deep vocals add a little more blues to the R&B original. “During rehearsals for the recent tour, the band and I would throw around a few progressions and grooves while on break,” Hozier said in a statement. “We fell into this bass line and just started singing the Destiny’s Child classic over it.”
Dan Mangan – “Losing My Religion (R.E.M. cover)”
Following the release of his latest album, More or Less, Dan Mangan shared a cover of R.E.M.’s classic track, “Losing My Religion.” Mangan’s rendition is heartfelt and stripped-back, powered by a guitar picking melody and Mangan’s melancholic, gritty vocals. “It was such a massive hit but also so unlikely a candidate to be so,” Mangan explains in a statement. “The chorus isn’t really a chorus. It’s long. It’s repetitive. It’s like a hypnotic cyclical trance of words that stick with you even if you have no idea what they’re about.”
Beck – “Tarantula (Colourbox cover)”
Netflix’s Oscar winning flick, Roma, features a soundtrack of several Spanish language radio hits from the early 70’s, and on February 8th, Sony Music Masterworks released a companion album with reimaginings of the tracks from contemporary artists. Beck’s reimagining changes the minimal electronic original to a delicate string orchestral rendition featuring his father David Richard Campbell, and backing vocals from several singers like Feist and Alex Lilly.
Hannah Georgas – “No Need To Argue (The Cranberries cover)”
Juno nominated musician Hannah Georgas released Imprints, a collection of covers by influential women in her life, on March 8th in celebration of International Women’s Day. “The Cranberries had such an impact on me growing up and is still one of my favourite bands,” Georgas says in a statement. “There is so much emotion and realness behind Dolores O’Riordan’s lyrics and in my opinion, this track is one of the most simply and perfectly put ‘break up’ songs.”
Kurt Vile – “No Expectations (The Rolling Stones cover)”
Kurt Vile has taken part in the Spotify Singles series, where he performed a cover of The Rolling Stones’ “No Expectations.” Vile has re-worked the Beggars Banquet hit in his own style, featuring his distinctive country twang, monotonous croons, and bouncy guitar lines. This rendition revolves around a new found vulnerability that the original doesn’t quite seem to have, while still maintaining Keith Richards’ passion for country as Vile downbeats the original track, bringing it somewhere new entirely.
Pond – “Ray of Light (Madonna cover)”
Australian rock band Pond, which features Tame Impala’s Jay Watson and former bassist Nick Allbrook, stopped by Triple J to perform an upbeat, groovy rendition of Madonna’s 1998 classic “Ray of Light.” The track is upbeat and danceable, as the instrumental comes riddled with laser sound effects and a catchy drum beat. The clip sees frontman Nick Allbrook letting loose in the performance, sporadically dancing along to the groovy, somewhat psychedelic rendition as he sings the Queen of Pop’s famous lyrics.
Karen O – “Bullet With Butterfly Wings (Smashing Pumpkins cover)”
The Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ Karen O has dropped a spine chilling cover of “Bullet With Butterfly Wings” by the Smashing Pumpkins. The eerie track comes off the soundtrack for Amazon Prime’s series, Hanna, which also features her previous release “Anti-Lullaby.” The hollow, yet echoing track varies pretty substantially from the original, as Karen O’s meloday is purposefully disquieting, with her wailing vocals atop a waning electronic instrumental.
The Darcys – “Ocean Eyes (Billie Eilish cover)”
Local art-rock duo The Darcys released a cover of Billie Eilish’s hit 2017 track “Ocean Eyes” this year. The stripped-back, groovy rendition revolves around a simple acoustic guitar line alongside The Darcys’ trademark smooth, raspy vocal melodies. “When Jason first played me ‘Ocean Eyes,’ I remember the line ‘I’ve never fallen from quite this high’ really got to me,” band member Wes Marskell wrote on Facebook.
The Beths – “Soul Meets Body (Death Cab For Cutie cover)”
New Zealand pop-punk outfit The Beths stopped by the SiriusXM’s studios to perform this sweet acoustic rendition of Death Cab For Cutie’s “Soul Meets Body,” adding in their quirky, endearing vocals to a simple acoustic guitar line. Frontwoman Elizabeth Stokes hits the high notes with a perfect falsetto as the rest of the band harmonizes alongside her.
J Mascis – “Don’t Do Me Like That (Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers cover)”
Dinosaur Jr frontman J Mascis has just dropped a cover of Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers’ “Don’t Do Me Like That.” The tune comes off of the band’s Damn The Torpedoes, and this year marks the album’s 40th anniversary. Mascis’ rendition revolves around his signature guitar riffs as he adds his own unmistakable twist to the classic tune, singing along with gritty, imperfect vocals and catchy background keys.
Mac DeMarco – “One Evening (Feist cover)”
Mac DeMarco recently covered Feist’s “One Evening” for Jimmy Fallon. The indie rock goofball’s rendition of the 2004 lounge pop classic is delightfully smooth, as DeMarco croons atop a steady drum beat, a slow bass line, and groovy keys. In a typical Mac fashion, the artist performs playfully, bopping around and being a little silly, while still staying true to the jazzy track. The clip sees DeMarco applauding his fellow Canadian, opening with, “This is a song by the Queen of Canada. Most of you Americans probably don’t realize that we have a queen…Well, we do! Her name is Leslie Feist. We love you, Les.”