Welcome to the second part of Smashed Vinyl's look at the best covers around! It is has become far more common place since the game-changing rise of YouTube for bands to cover their contemporaries on shows like Radio 1's Live Lounge or Tripple J's Like A Version and with it, has been some absolute peaches. From Tame Impla covering Massive Attack and Catfish and the Bottlemen covering Kanye to Arctic Monkeys covering Girls Aloud and Portishead covering Abba. There are so many wonderful examples of bands tipping their hats to their heroes by covering them superbly.
George Hicks – 212 (originally by Azealia Banks)
George Hicks refers to himself as Lord Hicks on his YouTube account where he covers various pop songs with his ukulele. Although that sentence may have already turned you off, do not threat, it is not what it seems. In this cover of Azealia Banks' controversial hit 212, Hicks changes it up a bit with his well spoken vocals and comical ukulele melody. Hicks' character is just as ludicrous and exaggerated as Banks which is what makes this cover so amusing. In this cover, all is revealed as all of Banks' lyrics are included and this time you WILL understand what she's actually saying. The colliding of these two worlds is extremely entertaining to watch and listen to.
James Vann – So Real (originally by Jeff Buckley)
Being able to expand and control your voice the same way Buckley could is an immense achievement in itself, but being able to convey such strong emotion at the same time is another thing. Buckley was able to move you with his music, making you feel the emotions portrayed in his songs. The songs lyrics are incredibly poetic, so when sang with as much strength and passion as Vann does, it really intensifies the performance, making it a personal and intimate experience.
Portishead – SOS (originally by ABBA)
A dark and ghostly twist on what we think of as an iconic pop hit. Here, Portishead have used the lyrics to create a much darker and unsettling atmosphere, which works well with the message that they are possibly trying to send. At the end of the video, Beth Gibbon reaches her hand out whilst a quote by late politician Jo Cox appears across the screen. It reads "We have far more in common than which divides us". Regardless of how you see it, that message is hugely relevant to the growing number of tragedies that are currently separating and turning people against one another. For example, the events in Syria, the Paris attacks and the various shootings in the US. Save Our Souls.
Father John Misty – The Suburbs (originally by Arcade Fire)
It's hard to believe that this isn't a Father John Misty song, due to the fact that he totally owns it in this cover. With such a talent for telling stories through his music, this was a perfect song for him to work with, as he effortlessly makes it sound so sincere and heartfelt. He sounds so genuine in fact, that it makes Arcade Fire's version sound like a cover...
Father John Misty
The Automatic – Gold Digger (originally by Kanye West)
A brilliant rendition of the Kanye West hit, adding a flute, a tambourine, a guitar and a kazoo... What could go wrong? To be taken lighthearted, The Automatic sound as if they're having a right laugh covering this song and the laughter will definitely spread when listening. Whether it's a piss take or not, they definitely give it their all in this performance. 10/10.