10 Bands Who’d Do a Great Job of Covering Our Favorite Artists


Bear with us here, but the fact that the new Marilyn Manson album is out this week has got us rambling off on a train of thought that’s led us to this point. Y’see, Manson’s album skates awfully close to self-parody at times, so much so that it’s almost like listening to a cover band doing Marilyn Manson tracks, just not quite as well as the originals. This got us thinking — well, what band would cover Manson well (an especially apt question considering that Manson’s own greatest strength seems to be covers)? And more generally, what contemporary bands would make a decent fist of covering some of our favorite artists? We couldn’t come up with a good answer for the Manson question — feel free to let us know in the comments if you can think of one — but we did come up with a selection of other ideas for dream covers sets.

Total Control could totally cover… Joy Division

There have been plenty of bands over the years who’ve taken a great deal of inspiration from Joy Division, but unlike some of those bands, Australia’s excellent Total Control have a swagger all their own — so much so that we could see them pulling this off without it dipping into the realms of pastiche. Frontman Daniel Stewart looks disconcertingly like Ian Curtis at times — same thousand-yard stare, same habit of grasping the mic stand as if it’s the only thing keeping him from sliding into the underworld — and his band has an intensity that’s at least comparable to Joy Division at their bleakest.

Radar Bros could totally cover… Sparklehorse

We’ve always considered Jim Putnam to be one of the more underrated songwriters of the last decade or so, and his music shares the same air of melancholy that made Sparklehorse such wonderful and sad listening. Both Putnam and Sparklehorse’s Mark Linkous take cues from the forlorn country of artists like Gram Parsons and Townes Van Zandt, and both have been responsible for songs that are heartbreakingly beautiful.

Janelle Monáe could totally cover… Prince

We’re sure that the prodigiously talented Monáe could do justice to any number of artists, but given that she’s apparently on excellent terms with Prince — as in, “visiting Paisley Park and hanging out” terms — we’d love to see her and her outrageously talented band take on a selection of his songs. We can’t think of any group who’d be able to make a better stab at rivaling the Purple One’s unparalleled virtuosity.

A Place to Bury Strangers could totally cover… My Bloody Valentine

Apparently several people who were foolish enough to turn up without earplugs to the My Bloody Valentine reunion shows in London a couple of years back actually fainted/vomited/reeled out of the venue because of the volume — an experience that pretty much approximates what’ll happen if you make a similar oversight in attending a show by PA-destroying, pedal-designing Brooklyn noisemongers A Place to Bury Strangers. Be careful with your hearing, people — you only get one set of ears.

At the Drive-In could totally cover… The Mars Volta

Only they’d cut back on all the noodly bits, so it’d actually be way better!

Jens Lekman could totally cover… Leonard Cohen

It’ll take another 30 or so years for Jens’ vocals to descend to Cohen’s subterranean range, but his songs share both Cohen’s literate style and abiding sense of melancholy — and also, crucially, his underrated sense of humor. Lekman’s witticisms are somewhat more impish than Cohen’s desert-dry delivery, but still, both men retain an ability to make you chuckle at entirely unexpected moments. We’d love to somehow be a fly on the wall at a meeting between these two — we’re sure they’d have a great deal to talk about.

Factory Floor could totally cover… Throbbing Gristle

We realize we’re not exactly going out on a limb here, considering that Factory Floor’s Nik Void has just made a collaborative album with Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti — but still, if any contemporary band could do justice to the frankly daunting idea of a Throbbing Gristle cover show, it’s surely Factory Floor. Their music perhaps doesn’t traverse quite the breadth of sonic ground that Throbbing Gristle’s output did, but it still manages to veer from thoroughly nasty to surprisingly danceable and back in the same way that TG did so thrillingly.

The xx could totally cover… Young Marble Giants

We’re not the first to note the stylistic similarities between the late-night minimalism of The xx’s debut album and the similarly spacious, dub-influenced production of Welsh post punk pioneers Young Marble Giants. But the similarities are most definitely there to see, so we’d love to see how The xx might fare taking on Colossal Youth — they could do it as a sort of faux Don’t Look Back idea!

SpaceGhostPurrp could totally cover… Tricky

The first word we thought of when we heard this new 4AD signing was: “Maxinquaye!” That’s not to say that SpaceGhostPurrp is overly derivative — his music is fresh and exciting, and we’re very much looking forward to hearing his record — but it certainly shares the same claustrophobic atmosphere that made Tricky’s best work so compelling, and both rappers use an understated, almost whispered vocal style.

The Rolling Stones could totally cover… um, The Rolling Stones

Considering that their last truly memorable record came out in about 1980, the Stones have basically been a Stones cover band for the best part of 30 years. They’re not bad, although the guy “doing” Mick struggles to hit the high notes occasionally, and the Keef is looking a bit decrepit.