Friday Playlist: Covers Edition

IMITATION IS THE SINCEREST FORM OF FLATTERY

A well-executed cover tune serves the two-fold purpose of illuminating one's influences and bowing respectfully towards the source material, often sparking greater appreciation for the original version in the listener. However, the perfect balance of homage and a band's own distinct flavors is tougher to pull off than most think. This week the Playlist inaugurates a spotlight on covers that have achieved this happy yin-yang, and we'll circle back around periodically to present y'all with more killer interpretations.

We begin this super-sized Playlist with Swiss heavy metal legend Celtic Frost's WTF attack on Wall of Voodoos's early MTV hit "Mexican Radio," followed by a similarly raucous cover of Brian Eno's "King's Lead Hat" by magical punk noise purveyors The Dirtbombs. Next, it's Oneida with a ballsy take on Creedence's "Sinister Purpose." Stick around after the false ending for about a minute for a blazing, crazed organ and abused electric guitar jam that pours out for a nearly 15-minute instrumental jam. Back into proper song territory, Joan Jett gets down on all fours for a spirited take on The Stooges' "I Wanna Be Your Dog," which is followed by Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder backed by Zeke on The Ramones' "I Believe In Miracles." Then it's Mogwai's cheeky take on Sabbath's stoner anthem "Sweet Leaf," The Replacements moaning a remarkably sincere version of Kiss' "Black Diamond" and Big Sugar putting some big beat behind Traffic's "Dear Mr. Fantasy."

The last section of our baker's dozen shifts gears for a pair of reggae interpretations, namely Burning Spear's liberal reworking of the Grateful Dead's "Estimated Prophet" and Sly & Robbie's cool take on The Police's "Walking On The Moon." One good Police cover deserves another, so we give you new kids Kicksville shining an "Invisible Sun" before the nervy final jolt of the Flying Lizards' beloved New Wave version of Barrett Strong's much-covered "Money (That's What I Want)" and Roxy Music's Bryan Ferry doing Dylan proud on "A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall."

And check out last week's highly energized Playlist with Mott The Hoople, Super 400, Boston and more!

[Published on: 8/14/09]

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