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Between The Covers

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Punch Brothers cover The Strokes' “Reptilia”

When you think of The Strokes, banjo and mandolin are probably not instruments that first come to mind. But Punch Brothers added acoustic guitar, violin and upright bass to that mix when they covered The Strokes’ “Reptilia” on WNRN 91.9FM in Charlottesville, Virginia a couple years ago. Already bundled in wool hats, sweaters and scarves, the band also added layers of their signature progressive bluegrass to put a little swing in the song’s step. Although the original frantic electric guitars are replaced by plucked violin tiptoeing over upbeat banjo and bass, singer/mandolinist Chris Thile retains Julian Casablancas’ vocal intensity, shaping a sustained melody that makes for a rich cover.

Becca Stevens Band Covers Animal Collective's  “My Girls”

Becca Stevens Band takes the melodic bones of Animal Collective’s “My Girls” and fleshes them out in a charmingly folk-bare sound. The multi-dimensional, feel-good rhythm and melodies of the original are preserved, but acoustified: the synthesizer arpeggios are replaced by little accordion swells and the echoey vocals are stripped down to Becca Stevens and the band’s male-female harmonies, which get a spine-tingling spotlight toward the end of the song.

Butch Walker & The Black Widows Covers Nirvana's “In Bloom”

Butch Walker starts off this Nirvana cover edgy enough to resemble the heavy drive of the original – but this is then contrasted by the harmonized chorus and upbeat rhythm of the rock song. Butch Walker & The Black Widows’ version exploits the inherent poppiness of the original’s structure, highlighting Nirvana’s intended irony in using a catchy song to address the issue of audiences blindly liking the band’s catchy songs without understanding them. And it’s hard not to catch yourself singing along to “He's the one/Who likes all our pretty songs/And he likes to sing along/And he likes to shoot his gun/But he knows not what it means…”

Check out VSQ tributes to: VSQ Performs The Strokes

Available at iTunes and Amazon

Per_Versions (Feat. Animal Collective) Available at iTunes and Amazon

VSQ Tribute to Nirvana's "Nevermind" Available at iTunes and Amazon

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