American singer-songwriter Father John Misty has produced a stripped down version of Arcade Fire‘s iconic title track from 2010s The Suburbs for CBC Music. The former Fleet Foxes drummer has covered everyone from Nirvana to Leonard Cohen, but this time Father John has managed to make a track about the bleakness of suburbia sound even bleaker, but in the best way.
Persian artist Raphaella has covered one of my favourite songs of this year, (keep an eye out for the 2014 list) Sohn‘s Artifice. Based in North London, Raphaella has managed to add something unique, a fresh edge to the original. The Middle Eastern spin is not entirely obvious a first, but works in harmony to flesh out the lyrics and create an entirely different, yet still potent, atmosphere. Raphaella is gearing up to release her first single, In The Dark, in January next year.
Teaming with spacious acoustics and a delicate edge, Ben Howard‘s reworking of Kiesza‘s summer hit Hideaway pulls the original out of pop land and into Howard’s soul-stirring, folk world. Both are brilliant, take a listen above.
It’s really hard not to love Sam Smith. Not only does he seem like an alright bloke, but his voice really is to die for. For BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge he tasked himself with covering arguably one of the most beloved songs of the twentieth century. Not only does he do Tracy Chapman‘s 1988 single complete justice, but the easy-listening, stripped back atmosphere solely draws the ears and the heart to the poignancy of Chapman’s lyrics, executed with passion and emotion within Smith’s touching vocal performance.
Alice Jemima is a 21-year-old singer/songwriter from Devon, and until this cover I doubt I would have given her much attention. With her domineering vocals and stripped back musical style, Jemima has completely owned alt-J’s Breezeblocks, creating a breathy and entirely seductive cover of the experimental rock hit.
Check out the video.
10 seconds in and I am in love. James Bay, who are you, and how have you broken my heart like this? This cover of Haim‘s Forever is one of the most incredibly simplistic and soulful cover songs I have heard in a very long time. It’s turned the original on its head, drawing on the lyrics in a way that entirely tugs at the heartstrings. I will be keeping tabs on you, Mr. Bay.
The gorgeously talented Marika Hackman released her Deaf Heat EP last week, including a devastatingly maudlin cover of Lykke Li‘s ever popular I Follow Rivers. Hackman’s breathy chorus and deep, languid bass leaves a ghostly imprint on the indie dance floor classic.