Elisa Bray: Caught in the Net

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The Independent Culture

Covers have made many a musician's career, and in some cases made the original song famous, such as Kirsty MacColl's version of Billy Bragg's "A New England". Even Jose Gonzales' cover of The Knife's "Heartbeats" became mainstream when it made it on to the Sony adverts. Cat Power's last album, Jukebox, was (bar one track, "Song to Bobby") an album of covers. The cover song is definitely in fashion.

Here are a few covers from newer artists that are worth hearing. There's a heavy rock band from London's angsty take on Simon and Garfunkel's "The Sounds of Silence", which Smith 6079 are releasing as a free download from their MySpace site, www.myspace.com/smith6079, from Monday. Very different, however, is the cover of The Cure's "Close to Me" by the California trio Why? (right), at www.myspace.com/whyanticon, a melancholic, laid-back dreamy slower-paced take on the band's most upbeat pop song.

At South by Southwest festival, Peter of Peter Bjorn and John pointed out to Dawn Landes that her bluegrass cover of their hit "Young Folks" had been covered by James Blunt. You can hear Dawn's version at www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uh_8j8k39y0, and Blunt's clunky piano version at www.youtube.com/ watch?v=iWC9M4LVB7Q.

Bloggers who attended SXSW are posting their highlights of the festival and one band that keeps cropping up as a "discovery" at the festival is Fleet Foxes. The Americana five-piece from Seattle are signed to Sub Pop/Bella Union and their EP Sun Giant can be streamed from www.bellaunion.com/page.php?id=email1.