Though this may be the time of year when cloying pop covers of Christmas songs are picked up from far too many supermarket checkout lines, let it not sour you on all covers completely. The ten artists listed herein are laudable exemplars of how to make the cover version an artform all its own.
Bitter Drink, Bitter Moon finds the Murder By Death paradigm in place -- tapping and merging American roots music to yield songs at once cinematic in scope and presentation and literary in their lyrical construction and themes.
For three albums and half a decade, Shearwater’s Jonathan Meiburg ventured ever further into abstract, imagistic baroque pop. Now in his seventh full-length, Meiburg turns towards a more personal, cathartic sound, written mostly in the first-person, grounded in rock and almost entirely free of bird references.
Although they initially started as a side project of Okkervil River, Shearwater have established themselves as another great band from Austin, as they ably proved themselves with 2008’s excellent Rook and the equally impressive follow-up, this year’s The Golden Archipelago.