Winterpills Releases Original Set of Indie Covers

12 Nov

Most of the time that I hear the word “covers,” I run for cover. (Pardon the pun.) I’m just not a big fan of bands doing songs that other bands have done well and made famous.

I do have a few exceptions. I like Billy Idol’s cover of Tommy James & the Shondells’ “Mony Mony,” even if the two versions do sound a lot alike. (I once had a listener ask me after I played both versions why I played the same song twice.) Going way back, Ike & Tina Turner have an incredible cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Proud Mary.” If you haven’t heard that one, you may be able to find an MP3 of the studio version online — the live YouTube versions don’t quite do it justice.

More recently, I really like Benyaro’s rendition of Procol Harum’s “Whiter Shade of Pale.” I’m sure there are other good covers — and you probably have a number you personally enjoy as well. But today’s blog is about an album full of covers that I think you might really enjoy.

Winterpills is a five-piece band out of Northampton, Massachusetts — two hours west of Boston. The band has previously released four albums of indie folk-rock and chamber pop. The new album of covers, Echolalia, is largely a side project of two band members: Philip Price and Flora Reed, with only one track (#11 “The Wolf Is on the Hill”) on which the full band performs. Nevertheless, it is labeled as a Winterpills album.

These aren’t your father’s covers, however. The artists’ covered are mostly indie — from Sharon Van Etten to Damien Jurado and The Go-Betweens — with only a few true “name” bands (The Beatles, Beck, Buddy Holly, and XTC, for example). And the artistry and creativity on this album are exquisite, making this not simply a bunch of cheap copies, but rather a set of originals really worthy of your attention.

The album opens with a cover of Sharon Van Etten’s “One Day.” Flora sings the lead backed by acoustic guitar, with layers of piano, tambourine and more added as the song progresses.

“Time of No Reply” is a cover of Nick Drake. This track is droney psych-rock, with fuzzy guitar and crashing cymbals. On “Bye Bye Pride” — originally done by The Go-Betweens — we get wistful and dreamy chamber folk-pop, with pillow soft vocals that could have been done by Peter, Paul & Mary.

“Train Running Low on Soul Coal” is 1960s style, soulful folk-rock in a Buffalo Springfield frame of mind. And the Winterpills even channel John Lennon on the closing number, “Cry Baby Cry”

from The Beatles’ White Album.

Echolalia took 2 ½ years to complete and it’s all blessed by the other band members, who have simply been a little busy with life lately. If you like folk-rock, folk or chamber-pop — Echolalia is worth a listen.

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