I love a good cover as much as anyone else, and the following four are shining examples of what talented artists can do with each others' songs. My personal favourite is Iron & Wine's version of Such Great Heights, one of those tracks that can be made to sound entirely different yet equally beautiful as the original. I advise you to seek out more Iron & Wine, especially the track Woman King, available on the Woman King EP. His hushed, powerful voice combined with striking lyrics and beatiful guitar makes it one to cherish. Buy it here.
Iron & Wine - Such Great Heights (Postal Service cover)
If you are a regular visitor to mp3 blogs you may well be familiar with The Postal Service. Slightly less well-known is Iron & Wine aka Sam Beam, the Florida based songwriter originally brought to my attention by 3Hive. His low-key bearded approach to this indie classic gives it an entirely different feel. With just a voice and an acoustic guitar he pretty much makes you want to find everything from his back catalogue. Maybe don't listen to it after a break-up, but on a spring afternoon with a cup of tea it becomes a ridiculous pleasure.
Johnny Cash and the Original Tennessee Two - Rock Island Line (Lonnie Donnegan cover)
One of Johnny Cash's first TV appearances yields this version of Lonnie Donnegan's classic. As Cash explains at the beginning of the song, songs in the 50s were often covered by many different artists, especially in the country genre. Apparently never released by Cash, this version is a rare gem. Steady as a rock, sharp like a razor.
Klaxons - My Love (Justin Timberlake cover)
Klaxons, and indeed this cover of JT's (He likes to watch it going in...) strangely hypnotic track have been all over the place recently. If you're not sick of them yet and/or haven't heard this version, then let it waft around your ear-holes for a few minutes and you may be pleasantly surprised. Most of all it sounds like a new band having fun and that is what it's all about, right? All together now, 'Now if i wrote you a symphony..."
Young Knives - Kids in America (Kim Wilde cover)
Young Knives have taken the SXSW festival by storm this month, which fits mightily well with the title of this cover of Kim Wildes popular 80s track. Thankfully the Knives idiosyncratic ways have raised the standard of their version way above anything that Kim could manage back in her day. Complete with spiky guitars and a few na-na-na-na-na-na-nas thrown in along the way, it makes me wish that this had been the original and Kim Wilde had never existed, if only to make a poor attempt at covering the classic Young Knives track. Wishful thinking.