After a short holiday, the award-winning (we assume) Under the Covers returns! Deep joy! Satellite Ravens’ Carson Rohde does the honours.
You’re on your fourth album with a major label – they insist you do a covers album, whereby you interpret your favourite works in your own style. Please select the ten tracks you’d ideally like to cover, along with a brief explanation as to why that artist or track means something to you.
You’re allowed ONE guest artist on the album to contribute to one track
MGMT – Me and Michael. One of my favorite bands, who are frequently mis-labelled and put in a negative light. I find their album tracks amazing and ahead of their time, but their hit singles warped the public’s view of them. I first discovered MGMT, ironically, at church camp in 6th or 7th grade with “Kids”. The camp really tried hard to make Jesus hip and cool. It wasn’t till a few years later, when the whole questioning everything theme came into my head, that I heavily got into them around the time of Congratulations. In college, I became completely obsessed with their strange self-titled 3rd album, probably because it was so weird, and I was a weird guy. I think its a music nerd’s album really. I honestly thought it was a masterpiece, with sounds I could never imagine before. Poetry that was both from 1890 and 2130. The track “Me and Michael” is my favorite off of their new album Little Dark Age. I sense a higher meaning in this song that almost makes me cry every time. My favorite lyrics: “The losing side may never break dividing lines, but sanctity wasn’t thinned out…Me and Michael, its not a question now”
Radiohead – Daydreaming. I vividly remember hearing this track for the first time when it was released. Funny enough, it was exactly 2 years ago today from when I wrote these very words. Songs mean so much to us because they attach to memories and feelings. I was transitioning into a new phase of life, with new creative power and a new girlfriend. That music video really resonated with us all who are a bit more aware in this world. Walking around in a world that is dead and gone mad, complacent and asleep. Lost in the supermarket. I would use Trent Reznor from Nine Inch Nails as my guest artist on this track. I think him and I could come up with a hard banging version of this sad and slow song.
Smashing Pumpkins – Porcelina of the Vast Oceans – from the epic Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness album, this track was the cure to many a crazed and lonely teenage nights. That sudden change in the song still hits me hard. “Without a care in this whole world”. Its perfect when you feel like nobody gives a rats ass about the world or other people. The first half has a Hendrix “1983…Mermaid” and Pink Floyd atmosphere to it.
Red Hot Chili Peppers – 21st Century. This track gave me the Funk for the rest of my life. The way the bass line struts and quacks like a duck in your face right from the start amazed me as a kiddo. Now being older, I love the lyrics, which talk about existence in this strange new time of the the new age, with the internet, cell phones, political chaos and what not. Everything is almost a repeat of something else before it. My favorite line is “like the Cain and Able”. I think Anthony Kiedis and Marilyn Manson actually have a lot in common, and probably influence each other
Nirvana – Pennyroyal Tea. My favorite Nirvana song. Kurt had a funny way of speaking to a whole generation of teenagers, making it feel like he was speaking to you and for you. I’m anaemic, and have bad posture, I’m still so tired that I can’t sleep. I feel like a liar and a fake. I sit a drink pennyroyal tea, both piss broke and floating in the realm of something bigger than me.
Bee Gees – More Than A Woman. I listened to this track almost every day on the way to the studio while recording the core of The Equinox. I was inspired by the production, vocal harmonies, and funk grooves. Its a great message for women too. Like you are much more than a piece of meat ya know? Lots of girls aren’t used to that, and more are standing up now than ever. But when you find the right girl, its even more than a woman. Its like a saving grace. Then afterwards they crush your soul, but at least you can feel this feeling for a few weeks right?
David Bowie – Word on a Wing. A great number about trying to change the world, and dealing with these strange illusions in your mind that can be simultaneously helping and harming your progress. Bowie’s famous Station to Station record meant a lot to me during my time in LA, where he also made this record. I felt like I was in a similar head space at the time, for many reasons I shouldn’t talk about he-he-he! Bowie also left LA after this record and so did I. He called LA demonic and I would agree. This track has a smooth Motown feel to it, and some powerful and occult lyrics.
The Doors – Waiting for The Sun. An essential Doors track that really says what they are all about. Plus it just rocks so hard. Its still very relevant today. “This is the strangest life I’ve ever known.” A bit of Doors trivia: this song is not on the actual 1968 Waiting for the Sun album, but was released 2 albums later in 1970 on Morrison Hotel. [there’s an article to be written on bands who do this ed.]
Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention – Who Needs the Peace Corps? Honestly, I’d like to do a whole cover album of We’re Only In It For the Money. Zappa is a big influence to me, from his musicianship and humor, to his intelligence and whacky theories of human society and behaviour. I hope to one day bridge rock and classical music the way he did. This song makes fun of “phoney hippies” in the 60’s that move to San Fransisco, California, do a bunch of drugs, get the crabs, and then go back to their day jobs. I still feel that its very relevant today, for SF and LA. Where’s my Coachella flower crown? Wait hold on, I need to post this darling picture on Instagram.
Jimi Hendrix – May This Be Love. This song truly moves me. It helped me so much to trust my creative voice and find serenity when I finally decided to pursue music. The solo in the outro melts into your heart and flows like a waterfall. “ I can see my rainbow calling me, through mystery beings of my waterfall.
Pink Floyd – Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun. A great track from their second album, A Saucer Full of Secrets. This track sets the direction for the rest of the post- Syd Barrett-era when Roger Waters takes over. Its really fun to play with the band, getting lost in the drone. It captures that hazy time-less small concert hall feeling of their early days in the UK.
St. Vincent – Digital Witness. An awesome song about the danger of these devices we are welcoming into our lives and the place we give them. Its funky, and has lots of cool saxophone lines. Its a banger.
Beatles – Nowhere Man. A killer track with a classic Paul bassline, and edgy lyrics from John, when they are starting to put heavy content in their songs, instead of love and holding hands. Released in 1965, it captures the transition from the suit and tie era into the psychedelic era very well.
Neil Young – Tell Me Why. A deep song that, to myself, touches on the relations of people to banks. I took out way too much money for college loans, and am in the music business. “Tell me why, is it hard to make arrangements with yourself? When you’re old enough to repay, but young enough to sell.”
Flaming Lips – Silver Trembling Hands – the kings of cover albums. I remember a great moment when I saw the Flaming Lips and Tame Impala at the outdoor Greek Theatre in Hollywood, and they each covered two of each others’ songs in between sets. The Terror, the Lips new album and name of the tour, was one of the darkest stints they’ve made. I saw this show 2 days before Halloween, and so it was quite spooky, people dressed up in costumes and masks. My friend and I were pretty high and lit up, so the carnival style concert night threw us for a loop to say the least. It was around the time of all the Edward Snowden releases, ISIS, and the deflated hope of the 2nd term Obama administration drones. Looking back, this was all sort of foreshadowing the post-2016 political crisis. Music was darker and stranger in 2013 than it is now. I guess we need more of a pick-me-up sound in today’s world. Free Radicals, The Sound of Failure, My Comic autumn Rebellion, Vein of Stars, It Overtakes Me
Sly & the Family Stone – If You Want Me To Stay– a great funky track covered by many artists, including RHCP, with an awesome bassline, and feely lyrics. A classic that never gets old. Its an essential Sly Stone song that defines an era of funk music.