The 15 Best Nirvana Covers You May Not Have Heard

If you haven’t gathered as much from the rash of think-pieces and tributes (we suggest you read these instead), tomorrow marks the 20th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death. While the many words you may read in the next few weeks about Cobain’s legacy demonstrate his importance to generations of listeners (and music journalists), it’s also pretty clear that Cobain and Nirvana are a heavy influence on the bands that followed in their footsteps — and even some of their contemporaries and predecessors. It’s a ballsy move to cover a classic Nirvana song, and there have been some famous artists who have tackled the obvious ones (particularly Tori Amos and Patti Smith, who have both recorded famous version of “Smells Like Teen Spirit”). There are also, however, plenty of musicians who came before and after Kurt Cobain who have successfully put their own spin on his words.  … Read More

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The 6 Best New Songs We Heard This Week: Sia, tUnE-yArDs, Jay Electronica

Another week, another onslaught of new tunes. We’re loving lots of fresh-sounding pop ladies this week, from songwriting juggernaut Sia focusing on herself again to the Afrobeat energy of tUnE-yArDs. Get listening, folks. … Read More

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tUnE-yArDs Return with ‘Water Fountain,’ First Song off New Album ‘Nikki Nack’

Every music critic’s favorite semi-popular art-freak, i.e. Merrill Garbus of tUnE-yArDs, is back at it again after three… Read More

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A Selection of Great Duets We’d Love to See

As we’ve written here in the past, the duet is an inexact science — some of the collaborations that you’d think should have been roaring successes proved to be disastrous, and vice versa. We’re still on the fence as to which group the new St. Vincent/David Byrne collaboration Love This Giant, which is out today, falls into — but either way, the fact that two of our favorite artists have made a whole record together got us thinking about other dream duets we’d love to see. We’ve started the discussion with a bunch of suggestions. Who would you like to see in the studio together? … Read More

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The Morning’s Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

1. Filmmaker Harmony Korine’s super weird new video for the Black Keys’ “Gold on the Ceiling” (a song which already had a music video) features Patrick Carney and Dan Auerbach as adult babies who are lugging around tinier baby versions of themselves. Really, you just need to watch it to understand.… Read More

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10 of the Most Outrageously Talented Multi-Instrumentalists in Music Today

Andrew Bird’s new album Break It Yourself is out this week, and while we’ve never been huge fans of the whistlin’ violin-totin’ Midwesterner, we certainly appreciate the diversity of his talents. Bird is one of the most impressive multi-instrumentalists in music today, and with both he and another musician who can apparently play pretty much anything he picks up — namely Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood — releasing new music this week, we thought it’d be a fine time to survey a selection of similarly outrageous talents. We’ve tended to focus on contemporary musicians here — after all, it gets a little tiresome to hear about Paul McCartney, Stevie Wonder, and John Paul Jones all the time — so let us know if you have any other suggestions. … Read More

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Scott Biram and the One-Man Bands You Should Know

Tattoo artist Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins was a poet, a prankster, and an innovator, who picked up the art form while hopping freight trains across the US. He became a legend for his dedication and creativity — traits mirrored by the musical acts featured today by Sailor Jerry Presents. Scott Biram, who performed in the series on November 8 in Aspen, Colorado, plays guitar and harmonica, sings, yodels, and, in the blues tradition, stomps his foot. Using a stompboard, he sends that sound through two giant 18-inch subwoofers. Biram is part of a tradition of musicians who, with their innovation and freakish talent for performing on multiple instruments (often simultaneously), carry forth the spirit of the one-man band in new ways. We got together with him to compile this list of our favorite “one-man” acts. … Read More

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10 Great Female Musicians Feist Fans Might Enjoy

Feist’s new album Metals is out this week, and although it’s already getting a slew of good reviews, as we confessed earlier this week, we’ve never been massive fans of the Canadian singer/songwriter. We don’t think she’s terrible, but we do think there are plenty of other great female singer/songwriters out there who are deserving of your attention. In view of this, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to bring together a selection of our favorites — if you like Feist, we reckon you’ll enjoy the work of the artists after the jump. On a related note: what do they put in the water in Sweden?! … Read More

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10 Indie Rock Acts Your Dad Might Enjoy

Here’s the deal: It’s the Wednesday before Father’s Day. You need to get your present to dad in the mail stat, but you haven’t even found out yet. Since it’s probably too late to order one of the items from our gift guide, why not go down to the music store and thoughtfully pick out an album you think your old man might like? Instead of resorting to yet another Beatles box set, we think it’s high time to get Dad interested in something new. So, after the jump, we’ve put together a quick guide to finding a current indie-rock band your father will enjoy, based on the ’60s and ’70s acts he loves best. … Read More

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Gift Guide: 10 Meaningful Albums for New College Graduates

All over America, the hallowed halls of academe are pouring forth their yearly bounty: a new class of college-educated 22-year-olds clamoring to find their place in the world. The fortunate ones will have money or vacations lavished upon them by relatives, easing the transition from student to responsible adult. But you don’t need to be rich to buy the new graduate in your life a meaningful gift. A great album, for instance, can be more life-changing (or, for those who need it, comforting) than a couple thousand dollars in the bank. After the jump, we suggest the perfect record to buy ten common types of grads. … Read More

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