Listen to Tracks from Cassandra Jenkins and Peter Bjorn and John From Our “Covers of Covers” Album | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Friday, August 19th, 2022  

Listen to Tracks from Cassandra Jenkins and Peter Bjorn and John From Our “Covers of Covers” Album

Jenkins Covers Animal Collective’s “It’s You” and Peter Bjorn and John Cover The Divine Comedy’s “Songs of Love”; Covers of Covers Due Out March 4, 2022 via American Laundromat

Jan 31, 2022 Photography by Wyndham Boylan-Garnett (Cassandra Jenkins), Johan Bergmark (Peter Bjorn and John), Wendy Lynch Redfern (album cover)
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In December we announced Covers of Covers, our first album, and today we are sharing two more singles from it: Cassandra Jenkins’ cover of Animal Collective’s “It’s You” and Peter Bjorn and John’s cover of The Divine Comedy’s “Songs of Love.” Covers of Covers is due out March 4, 2022 via American Laundromat (preorder it here). Listen to both singles below.

In honor of our 20th anniversary we approached some of our favorite musicians and asked them to cover any song by any artist who had been on the front or back cover of our print issue over the years. In December we shared its first two singles: Grandaddy’s cover of Metric’s “Blindness” and EMA’s cover of Modest Mouse’s “Trailer Trash.” The album also features Alex Lahey, Hatchie, Nation of Language, Cults, Kevin Drew, Black Belt Eagle Scout, Sondre Lerche, Girl Ray, Piroshka, Strand of Oaks, Oceanator, C Duncan, NZCA LINES, Ora the Molecule, James Yorkston, and Water From Your Eyes.

Covers of Covers will be available on CD and digitally, with cassette tape and vinyl releases in the works too. We are also donating $1.00 from every physical album sold and every full album download purchased to Sweet Relief Musicians Fund (www.sweetrelief.org), which “provides financial assistance to all types of career musicians and music industry workers who are struggling to make ends meet while facing illness, disability, or age-related problems.”

Cassandra Jenkins was the first artist to say yes to the Covers of Covers project. Her 2021 album, An Overview on Phenomenal Nature, was on our Top 100 Albums of 2021 list and also landed on several other best albums of 2021 lists. Its single “Hard Drive” also landed in the Top 10 of our Top 130 Songs of 2021 list and was one of the most acclaimed songs of last year. “It’s You” was originally found on Animal Collective’s Prospect Hummer EP, from 2005, which was a collaboration with British folk singer Vashti Bunyan. Animal Collective are releasing a new album, Time Skiffs, this Friday via Domino. They were on the cover of Issue 43 in 2012.

Jenkins had this to say about her track in a statement to Under the Radar: “I was introduced to Vashti Bunyan’s music when some Baltimore friends started playing with her in the early 2000s around the time ‘It’s You’ was released. I love Animal Collective’s music and was reminded of their beautiful EP with Bunyan when a friend put it on a driving mix for me recently. I listened to it on repeat for miles and when asked to pick a song for this compilation I was hoping AC had been featured on a cover so I’d have an excuse to record this song.

“Covers are a great way for me to experiment with sounds, palettes, and people I want to work with, without the weight of my songs being at the helm. Rebecca El-Saleh (harpist) and I did some email recording over quarantine and this was the first time we got to play in a room together with my friend Zubin Hensler (who engineered the session). I had been listening to a lot of Curtis Mayfield at the time and loved some of the harp in his recordings, and I felt like harp was one of the few acoustic instruments that could capture something similar to the original recording. Michael Coleman added some piano, and I used field recordings from the house where I’ve been living for a good part of this year, because the bugs made their way into all of my vocal tracks anyway, so I just embraced them.

“I’m psyched to benefit a good cause because it’s organizations like Sweet Relief that helped me finish my album, An Overview on Phenomenal Nature, after COVID first hit the U.S. Grant money gave me the extra push I needed to finish my record, and I’m so grateful I was able to put that out this year. Artists need as much support as we can give right now, and we need good art more than ever.”

The Divine Comedy (the project of Irish singer/songwriter Neil Hannon) was on the cover of our second issue, in 2002, although “Songs of Love” is from his 1996 album Cassanova and is also featured on Charmed Life - The Best of the Divine Comedy, which is out this Friday. Hannon is one of the 11 artists on one of the two covers of our 20th Anniversary Issue, which is out now.

We first interviewed Sweden’s Peter Bjorn and John in 2006, in honor of their breakthrough album Writer’s Block (which featured the enduring hit “Young Folks”). The band’s last album was 2020’s Endless Dream.

Peter Morén of Peter Bjorn and John had this to say about their cover in a statement to Under the Radar: “We made it to the studio (for the first time in one-and-a-half years in the same room all together) still not sure what to do exactly from the long list of potential artists to cover. We tried a song by Devendra Banhart (we booked his first ever Swedish show, so there’s a connection), we also dipped our toes into some Super Furry Animals and Feist material. Nothing really seemed to click. Elliott Smith we had covered before at our third show or something but he was already taken… Ah well… Suddenly I realized that Divine Comedy/Neil Hannon wrote the theme tune for the Irish-British sitcom-classic Father Ted, a perennial favorite of mine. This madcap mid-’90s series about three bonkers Catholic priests on a remote fictitious island called Craggy Island, hit me hard when it ran on late night TV in Sweden sometime early noughties. Apparently it’s been banned in the States and voted second best British comedy after Fawlty Towers by some poll in 2019. Either way it might be an acquired taste but it’s my taste. On a tour of (you guessed it) Ireland I got the DVD box-set and pained the rest of the band with it on the bus TV (though the British crew got it). Long story but I thought we might as well have a go at it. Bingo! A few jammed out slightly psychedelic PBJ-angled takes with some added vibraphone and tape-echo and there you have it! We then thought…well the song DOES have a lyric, looked it up and sang it. Cause why not? A good set of words too…nothing whatsoever to do with Mrs. Doyle or ecumenical matters. It’s called ‘Songs of Love.’ Thanks Neil for writing it and thanks Under the Radar for the opportunity!”

When hatching plans to celebrate Under the Radar’s 20th anniversary I knew I wanted to go beyond just producing a special 20th anniversary issue. Despite two decades of writing about albums, one thing we’d never done is actually put one out ourselves. Thus I came upon the idea for Covers of Covers.

To pull all this off we have partnered with Joe Spadaro and his Connecticut-based record label American Laundromat. As well as releasing albums by Juliana Hatfield and Tanya Donelly, American Laundromat have a long history of producing amazing covers albums, including their tributes to Elliott Smith, The Cure, Neil Young, The Smiths, and the music of Wes Anderson films. They even put together a track-by-track tribute to the soundtrack to Alex Cox’s cult classic 1984 movie Repo Man. Without Joe’s help, Covers of Covers would still just be an idea in my head. He has the know-how to get an album mastered and manufactured, not to mention how to handle all the legal stuff. My Co-Publisher/wife Wendy Lynch Redfern then photographed and designed the album cover, which features a tower of all our print issues.

Purchase a copy of our 20th Anniversary Issue, our new double print issue, for an article on the making of Covers of Covers, including quotes from all 20 artists who recorded tracks for the album. The issue’s downloadable MP3 sampler also includes Piroshka’s cover of Grandaddy’s “The Crystal Lake.”

And once again, you can preorder Covers of Covers here from American Laundromat and here from Bandcamp.

Also read our 2021 interview with Jenkins.

Covers of Covers Tracklist:

1. Grandaddy: “Blindness” (Metric)
2. Piroshka: “The Crystal Lake” (Grandaddy)
3. Peter Bjorn and John: “Songs of Love” (The Divine Comedy)
4. Cults: “Bourgeois” (Phoenix)
5. Nation of Language: “Stars and Sons” (Broken Social Scene)
6. Kevin Drew: “The Loose Ends Will Make Knots” (Stars)
7. Hatchie: “FUBT” (HAIM)
8. Sondre Lerche: “Townie” (Mitski)
9. C Duncan: “Acrobat” (Angel Olsen)
10. Cassandra Jenkins: “It’s You” (Animal Collective)
11. NZCA LINES: “Debra” (Beck)
12. Oceanator: “The Biggest Lie” (Elliott Smith)
13. Black Belt Eagle Scout: “Calculation Theme” (Metric)
14. Strand of Oaks: “’81” (Joanna Newsom)
15. Ora the Molecule: “The Fox in the Snow” (Belle and Sebastian)
16. Girl Ray: “Another Try” (HAIM)
17. James Yorkston: “Smoke Signals” (Phoebe Bridgers)
18. EMA: “Trailer Trash” (Modest Mouse)
19. Alex Lahey: “New York” (St. Vincent)
20. Water From Your Eyes: “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” (R.E.M.)

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