For this week’s Intern Picks of the Week here at Lightning 100, we decided to highlight some of our favorite cover songs from some of our favorite acts!
Sturgill Simpson- In Bloom- Nirvana Cover
It’s my belief that covers are most effective when an artist can capture the feeling of the original song and simultaneously elevate that emotion by making it all their own. No cover does this better in my opinion than Sturgill Simpson’s take on the Nirvana Classic “In Bloom”.
Coming off of his critically acclaimed 2016 album A Sailor’s Guide to Earth, Simpson flips the grunge track on its head completely. From the piercing lap steel guitar to the driving horn section, the country soul aesthetics pair perfectly well with Cobain’s Lyrics and could convince even the biggest grunge head that this song was written to be a country tune. You can check out the cover below, accompanied by the gloomy music video that really drives the track home.
Harry Styles – “Girl Crush” – Little Big Town Cover
Harry Styles could play the theme song to “Succession” on the piano over and over again for an hour, call it an album, and I would listen to it. But he hasn’t done that yet so for this week’s intern pick, I went with his cover of “Girl Crush” by Little Big Town. He played the song live at his BBC show in Manchester, England in 2017. Since then, he’s only played it live three more times including once at the Ryman Auditorium.
I don’t need to explain all the reasons why Harry Styles lives up to the hype. I don’t need to tell you that every generation needs a rock icon, and he’s ours. You probably already know that. What I can say is that Harry Styles can cover any song he wants to and have it be a success. So for now, let’s enjoy the gift that is his version of “Girl Crush”, and then go back to listening to Harry’s House on repeat.
Khruangbin – Summer Madness – Kool & The Gang Cover
Khruangbin released their cover of Kool & The Gang’s iconic “Summer Madness” as a part of Late Night Tales: Khruangbin. This album is part of an artist-curated compilation album series released by their overseas label, Night Time Stories. Khruangbin (Thai for “airplane”) is a Texas-based trio including Laura Lee on bass, Mark Speer on guitar, and Donald Ray “DJ” Johnson Jr. on drums. Their sound is a funky, unique, and soulful blend of musical influences from all over the world. Their rendition of “Summer Nights” doesn’t change much about the classic hit, but rather adds hints of their own individual flairs throughout the piece.
Late Night Tales is a special release for the group, as their feature on DJ Bonobo’s edition to the series in 2013 kickstarted their career before they even had an album released. Khraungbin’s compilation was released in late 2020, following up their third studio release earlier that year, Mordechai. With this mixtape, Khraungbin leads listeners on an exploration of world music. Selections range from Hindi-disco, to Nigerian funk, to South Korean rock, and even some gems from their local scene in Houston. Listen to Khruangbin’s cover of “Summer Nights” below, and listen to their Late Night Tales compilation here.
Ty Segall – “Every 1’s a Winner” – Hot Chocolate Cover
Recording a cover that truly lives up to the spirit of the original song is a rarity. That’s why my pick this week is Ty Segall’s cover of “Every 1’s a Winner.” This funky disco song was originally recorded by the group Hot Chocolate in 1978. Now, it has found its way back into conversation over 40 years later through Segall’s unorthodox cover. “Every 1’s a Winner” was released in 2018 as a track on Segall’s second album Freedom’s Goblin, which Pitchfork describes as his own personal “White Album moment.”
California-based artist Ty Segall incorporates his signature distorted, punk guitar sound into this cover, transforming it from a synth-filled disco song into an eccentric brew of metal, experimental, and glam rock. What makes this cover even more interesting is the fact that Fred Armisen is the guest drummer on the recording. From beginning to end, “Every 1’s a Winner” is the ultimate headbanger of a song—full of grungy instrumentation, unpredictable percussion patterns, and sultry, yet rugged vocals.
Make sure to listen to Ty Segall’s newest album Hello, Hi, which is out on July 22! In the meantime, check out “Every 1’s a Winner” below!
The Japanese House- “Landslide” – Fleetwood Mac Cover
“Landslide” has been covered by iconic bands like The Chicks and The Smashing Pumpkins, but The Japanese House’s rendition of the classic track is my personal favorite.
Amber Mary Bain is the artist behind The Japanese House, and her production of guitar, synth, and vocals combine to make a soft indie version of the 1975 Fleetwood Mac song. The Japanese House’s distinct dreamy sound and multidimensional instrumentals emphasize the melancholic nature of the lyrics.
The Japanese House’s cover of “Landslide” is an exclusive Spotify release, but you can listen to it below!