Sunday, December 30, 2018

NFT's Got You Covered 2018

2018 has been a rollercoaster if rollercoasters had more trials and tribulations than thrills and excitement. I had high hopes of bringing Nostalgia For Tomorrow circa 2010 back to reality, but again the rollercoaster of life had an open seat for me in the front row. Despite all that, I won't apologize. Instead, I'll write about some things that make me happy. So, here is a list of my favorite cover songs from the year 2018. For listening and enjoyment purposes only.

Always Crush Me - Wreck and Reference

Wreck and Reference take Guided By Voices' lo-fi recording and all its roughness, amplify it by 100, and project it into twisted industrial metal. The monotonous guitar strumming is traded in with synths and slacker vocals become panic-induced yelling. "Always Crush Me" is the perfect little cover for a perfect little song in Guided By Voices' giant-ass catalog.

Agony - Beach Fossils

Yung Lean's under the influence love song from last year gets an upbeat treatment thanks to New York rockers, Beach Fossils. "Agony" is an ice cold number about tripping balls that seems indulgent at first, but give it a few listens and you will discover a haunting song that boarders on claustrophobic. With Beach Fossils' addition of light guitar and a steady bass, the walls seem to move even closer in on you. BF's version might be a bit more upbeat than the original, but it's far from the most rock n' roll rendition of a Sadboy-type song; that award goes to a similarly named band, Beach Goons, who covered Spooky Black's "Without U" back in 2015.

I Started a Joke - Marissa Nadler

A number of songs from Marissa Nadler's second cover album could have been posted here. There's one of my favorite Leonard Cohen tracks ("Avalanche"), a heartbreaking Daniel Johnston track ("True Love Will Find You in the End"), and a somber Danzig deep-cut ("Blood and Tears"). I have to give the spotlight to Nadler's rendition of "I Started a Joke" by Bee Gees though, since the original turned 50 years old this year. Plus, it's really good.

Bark at the Moon - Integrity

Integrity haven't slowed down a bit since releasing their barn burner, Howling, For the Nightmare Shall Consume last year. This year, the metal/hardcore crossover vets released a split with American black metal outfit, Krieg, and for Halloween released a cover of an Ozzy Osbourne classic. Despite the essential choice, Integrity's deliver is anything but tongue-in-cheek. Yes, it's still clearly an Ozzy track, but Integrity's signature sound breaths new life into the old beast. Take a listen above and go off the rails of the crazy... err, bark at the moon.

The Book of Love - bedbug

A few years back, a work friend invited me to his wedding and mentioned that the wedding song would be "The Book of Love". He asked me if I had ever heard of the song in hopes that I would guess The Monotones' song by the same name. Instead, I did my best Magnetic Fields impression without drawing too much attention to myself. He was impressed but also a little confused. I never ended up attending the wedding, but I did learn that "The Book of Love" is a very popular wedding song. The twist, of course, is "The Book of Love" by The Magnetic Fields on the album, 69 Love Songs was later covered by the more-known-by-co-workers, Peter Gabriel. Flash forward to this past Halloween, I'm attending one of the 8 Halloween cover shows the Boston-area had to offer, and bedbug was performing as the Scrubs Soundtrack, a medley of songs from the hit show. One of the songs bedbug played happened to be "The Book of Love", which appears in the season 8 finale a la the Peter Gabriel version. I joked about whether bedbug covered The Magnetic Fields version or Peter Gabriel to myself. Flash forward to a few days ago, when a 69 Love Songs tribute album was released by Living Statue Records. There, waiting for me among the 69 songs, was bedbug's "The Book of Love". This recorded version might be missing the Scrubs samples that were weaved into the rest of bedbugs' Halloween set, but it's still really awesome to see my pointless anecdote about "The Book of Love" grow each year.

By My Side - Ben Walsh

Ben Walsh of Tigers Jaw's cover on Don't Stop Now II: A Collection of Covers is a perfect example of a gateway song to the original. Without clicking on Ben's cover, I would have never given much of a thought to the new Porches album. Now "By My Side" is among one of my favorite songs of 2018. As for the compilation itself, if you got the cash I highly recommend grabbing all 33 covers which benefits RAICES (Refugees and Immigrants Center for Education & Legal Services). RAICES seems like a great place to throw your money at; throw your money at anything and everything that is not a giant fear-mongering wall.

Havana - Superorganism

Superorganism's intoxicating rendition of "Havana" feels like it manifested via a long night of partying at a local karaoke bar. Something that could not have been duplicated at the karaoke bar, however, is their candy-coated production that has been ever-so-carefully melted into digital goodness for the ears. There might not be as much going on as there is in every other facet of Superorganism's recordings, performances, and wild Spotify music videos, there's still no mistaking the dedication to their commitment to ultra quirkiness.

I Wanna Be Adored - King Woman

A major appeal to the Stone Roses' hit number, "I Wanna Be Adored" is the misheard chorus which I always sing as "I Wanna Be A Door", while others mishear it as "I Wanna be a Dog" or, similarly, "I Wanna be Your Dog". King Woman's version adds a new layer to the already misunderstood lyrics by draping the song in doom-y drone atmosphere. "I Wanna Be Adored" seems unrecognizable at first, until Kristina Esfandiari AKA Miserable's wispy vocals come in. Eventually the song picks up and echoes the aforementioned line that sounds especially like "I Wanna Be A Door" until coming to an untimely end. It might not go down as smooth as the original, but give it a few listens and let it grow on you like a small rash or black mold.

Infinity Guitars - Sunflower Bean

What better way to celebrate a record label's 10 year anniversary than taking a swing at a song that is surprisingly almost 10 years old. Sunflower Bean manage to shed some of the over-amplified guitar work without losing any of the energy that rarely is heard from Sleigh Bells these days. The result almost sounds like "Pepper" by Butthole Surfers, but maybe that's just me wanting something to sound like "Pepper" by Butthole Surfers. Either way, I highly recommend playing this cover full-blast in a beat-up 90's Volvo just as the original was meant to be played.

Moon River - Frank Ocean

Despite being a day late, Frank Ocean's "Moon River" is this years' Valentine cover song. Channelling his inner Audrey Hepburn from Breakfast at Tiffanys, Ocean delivers a poignant rendition of a timeless classic only the way he could. "Moon River" is just a reminder how incredible Frank Ocean is even if this wasn't his best take.

People / Halfsleeper - CJ Boyds

CJ Boyds has been traveling all over the country for 10 years playing with all sorts of wonderful talent. Boyds' cover album in honor of 10 years on the road might not be the biggest, but it's definitely the most ambitious cover album on this list. Not only are Boyds' covers carefully picked to reflect the bands and musicians he has shared stages and spaces with, all the covers are by musicians he has played with covering all 50 states plus Washington, DC and an unknown bonus track for US territories. Along with that, Boyds recorded each song in the respected state as to which the song is associated with. Currently, only "People / Halfsleeper" is available for listening, but judging by this drone-y Dilute meets Chelsea Wolfe combo-cover recorded in California, Boyds ode to the US is going to be mighty impressive.

Pontiac 87 - Preoccupations

A few bands seem to loose some steam when they change their name. Preoccupations, formerly Viet Cong, however are keeping the hype train going. This year they released an album called New Material (Which might be there new name next year) and a split with top-tier post-punkers of the '10s, Protomartyr. Preoccupations prove they are here to stay with their spaced-out rendition of "Pontiac 87". The cover might not be the most challenging, especially since both bands are so similar, but maybe not appropriating someone else is a good thing for Preoccupations right now.

Same Drugs - Free Throw

With a band tackling Chance the Rapper's "Same Drugs", one might think that Free Throw are putting a special spin on a hometown favorite. However, Free Throw are not a Chicago emo band. Hell, they're not even an East Coast emo band. Free Throw from Nashville, Tennessee already take on the task of being a long shot, a surprisingly not "southern" emo band. Free Throw aren't defined by where they reside, but rather by how moving their music can be. It's a surprise to most, and a cover of Chance seems like the biggest surprise Free Throw could have come up with, yet here we are. "Same Drugs" comes as a surprise at the end of Missing Pieces, a small compilation of re-imagined songs from their 2017 album, Bear Your Mind.

Playlist w/bonus covers:

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Maniac - War & Insanity

Maniac - War & Insanity (2018)

Maniac instantly takes charge, blasting raw energy at the frontline that is your poor ears. Every track comes in hot and every track ends like a smoking gun. When the smoke settles, War & Insanity leaves you with that pelted with 200 pounds of hardcore shrapnel feeling. It's a feeling that leaves no weight on your chest but, rather, leaves you content.

Maniac understands the war we all fight; the fight with sanity. Listen below and feel a little better:

Similar acts/sounds: Pummel, Antagonize, Magnitude, Restraining Order, Mindforce, hardcore.


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Buddusky - Some Quills Caught

Buddusky - Some Quills Caught (2018)

Anxiety-riddled ditties about hunting Coyot, 12 point bucks, riding dirt bikes, drinking 'Gansett? That's the messy juxtaposition to be expected from Peru, Maine's Buddusky, guy.

Buddusky's Some Quills Caught brings me back to my time living in Downeast, Maine. Particularly going to school in a town locked in by trees, a small bay, and only one road in or out. No where to run or hide, I took a short story writing class and remember reading a lot of stories about first time hunting trips, working on dad's F150, and learning to drive a tractor at age 10. These stories were sloppy and brief but they were also brutally honest and confessional. One kid got teary-eyed when he had to read to the class that Pa finally accepted him after shooting his first deer. It was no 12 pointer, but it would do.

Growing up in and around the more rural parts of Maine, you hear the hunting stories or the dirt bike stories time after time. Yet, there's something about hearing these stories without the puffed out chests, or the macho prowess. Instead, the stories are told through the truthfulness of a frightened kid again. That's what Some Quills Caught is all about; the feeling of being a kid again, lost in the woods behind your grans' house, being scared to death and begging to go home. We all eventually grow up - but we never forget our childhood fears.

Associated acts/sounds: Mouth Washington, Greasy Grass, Captain Hollow, Fon Fon Ru, Lunch Cult


Monday, July 16, 2018

Kidnapped - Hungry

Kidnapped - Hungry (2018)

Kidnapped from CT play quick and violent grindcore. Charged with tight drums and start-stop blasts of chaos, Hungry is meant to be listened to 6 times in a row as loud as possible in your parents' basement.

At 2 a.m.

Similar acts/sounds: Iron Lung, Spazz, Exposed as Rot, Dropdead, SIEGE, Jarhead Fertilizer, Mind Eraser


Vaulted - Disaste

Vaulted - Distaste (2018)

Vaulted have been sharpening their teeth since I went on hiatus and are only getting heavier and more pissed off. I first caught wind of Vaulted back in 2016 with their Better Days EP and was really impressed - so impressed that they were on my must-see list when I moved to Boston two Summers ago. A few months back, I finally caught Vaulted open for Fórn and I knew that this new 10-track ripper, Distaste would be on constant rotation.

Disaste is about giving the big fuck-you middle finger to Fox News, Big Pharma, and the punch clock. Disaste is also about staying afloat despite all the bullshit in life. Simply put, Disaste is aggression; aggression through stomping hardcore and riffing metal that actually helps you get through the day.

Similar acts/sounds: Lunglust, I Have Become Death, Converge, Integrity, Phantom Glue, All Pigs Must Die


Monday, July 9, 2018

The Guiding Wave

The Guiding Wave - To Dance Around Love (2018)

Featuring members of Fiddlehead and Glory, The Guiding Wave share the same driving force while taking a sharp right down Suicide or Television memory lane. The Guiding Wave wear their influences on their sleeve, but they also have a dark, almost cold, sensibility to the post-punk being played today. Think more straightforward Protomartyr or a non-tongue-and-cheek Ought. Either way, take a trip and let To Dance Around Love guide you through these hot summer nights.

Similar acts/sounds: Fiddlehead, Glory, Big Bite, Alexander, Glitterer, Praise, Spiritual Cramp, Protomartyr.


Tuesday, July 3, 2018


Ultimate - Ultimate Demo 2018 (2018)

Ultimate is a new DC drug free hardcore project from members of Rashomon, Never Relaxed, and Corrective Measure. Frontman Zechariah Ghostribe previously of Never Relaxed keeps the raw energy going while upping the ante on in-your-face aggression. Plus, the boxing gloves are no joke, this is Jiu Jitsu fueled, takedown and drag 'em out hardcore.

Not for posers. Not for punishers.

Similar sounds/acts - Never Relaxed, Rashomon, Kombat, Corrective Measure, Strung Along, Line of Sight.


Monday, July 2, 2018

Knife Worship - Targeted Individual

Knife Worship - Targeted Individual (2018)

Knife Worship, hailing from Bangor, Maine at the time of this release, have been tinkering away in sound recording classes and dirty practice spaces on and off again for a few years now. In that time, the sounds coming from those rooms have evolved. What once was powerviolence became post punk, then industrial and back again. At the end of the day, there's one thing that Knife Worship have always focused on - testing the limits of punk rock music. Targeted Individual is a synth-y, post-punk-drenched 4-song release that ends before you can even think of another sub-genre. Enough said. It's a quick trip, so dust yourself off and listen to it again.

Similar acts/sounds - Ceremony, Uniform, Caust, Limbs Bin, Night Life, Street Sects, So Stressed.