I like to think of cover songs as a gift from a band. In the holiday spirit I decided to put together a whole mix of gifts, and to carry on in the tradition of a previous Bitchtapes, make a playlist of gender-bending covers.
The Raincoats - “Lola” (original by the Kinks) - I read an old Sleater Kinney interview where the reporter asked Carrie Brownstein “Beatles or Rolling Stones?” Her answer? “The Kinks.”
Grass Widow - “Black Hole” (original by the Urinals) - Southern California Mao-punx the Urinals wrote this affecting, simple three-chord bash, but Grass Widow turn it into an atmospheric piece that manages to stay true to the original but sound wholly like themselves.
Dara Puspita - “To Love Somebody” (original by the Bee Gees) - Dara Puspita, the world's first all-female garage band, take the Bee Gee's hit and turn it into a garage wonderland. Also, might I suggest Nina Simone's excellent take as a chaser?
Reigning Sound - “Stormy Weather” (original by Harold Arlen and Ted Koehler) - Alright, this one's kind of a cheat–“Stormy Weather” was written by two dudes, but first sang by Ethel Waters and made popular by Lena Horne and Billie Holiday. Gender-bendy or not, Greg Oblivian and his Reigning Sound take the low-key classic and turn into a bar chord riot.
The Slits - “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (original by Marvin Gaye) - Ari Up took the soul standard and turned it into the Eight Minute Abs workout it was always meant to be. Punk's not dead, it just turned fun.
Yo La Tengo - “You Can Have It All” (original by George Mccrae) - In an album full of heart-stopping love songs, who would have figured that Georgia Hubley's stab at a disco song would be the one to make everyone's jaws drop? Also, this video.
Electrelane - “The Partisan” (original by Leonard Cohen) - Electrelane spin Leonard Cohen's rendition of a French Resistance anthem into a forceful drama, recorded in direct protest to the tense leadup of the 2004 American presidential election.
Xiu Xiu - “Fast Car” (original by Tracy Chapman) - Love 'em or hate 'em, “Fast Car” shows Xiu Xiu at their best, taking an already bare song and stripping it to the bare essentials. Open up to Xiu Xiu and you won't regret a thing.
EMA - “Kind Heart” (original by Robert Johnson) - I loved Past Life Martyred Saints, but this b-side to the “Grey Ship” single is where it's at. “Kind Heart” turns the original into a sprawling wasteland of guitar feedback, replete with galloping drums and Erika Marie Anderson's aching voice conducting it all.
Previously: Gender-Bendy Covers