Thursday, July 12, 2007

Stereogum is awesome

Yep, awesome. I have been a devout 'Gum reader for years and they have really turned the corner lately from a homemade music blog to a completely professional media machine yet they haven't lost any of the personal feel that Founder Scott Lapatine instilled in it from day one. The latest in Stereogum's series of impressive features is OKX: A Tribute to OK Computer. The album, which was conceived and given away for free completely by Stereogum, features covers by such great bands as Doveman, The Twilight Sad, Cold War Kids, Dave Bazan, My Brightest Diamond, and many more. I am always so torn by the thought of covers. Some of my favorite songs of all time are cover versions (Hallelujah by Jeff Buckley and Cortez The Killer by Built to Spill being two shining examples) but the vast majority of them just leave me wanting to hear the original version. A cover should be an interpretation of another artists words and music, not a cheap advertisement for the original song. Sadly, most covers fall squarely in the second category. I'm not saying that every song on OKX is from category one but several of them fit the billing. The Cold War Kids completely strip down "Electioneering" to the bare bones and in doing so really highlight Thom Yorke's lyrics. The Twilight Sad throw layers and layers of the distortion and noise that made their debut album so good all over "Climbing Up The Walls" and really make the track their own. My personal highlight is Dave Bazan's Black Cloud's version of "Let Down". Bazan's sleepy vocals really work well with this song and it just seems like the song could have been written by Bazan. It would not feel out of place on one of the old Pedro the Lion albums.

It's definitely worth checking out, and though I doubt any of these versions will attain the lofty status of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" or Neil Young's "Cortez the Killer" in the upper echelon of the covers universe but it's still a unique project and it's free, which I fully support. Check it out.


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