Posted by: will | August 27, 2007

Music Review – Cover Your Tracks

Various Artists “Cover Your Tracks” (Deep Elm)


This is my first compilation review since starting SAL way back in December in 2005. I guess that fact shows just how much I HATE compilations. I was actually working at Deep Elm when this idea was hatched and still think it is a pretty original idea in the world of boring compilations. Basically, the idea was, in celebration of the label’s upcoming 10th anniversary, to get current Deep Elm bands to cover songs from past Deep Elm bands. I guess the anniversary part of the album got skipped over though. Here’s my review, song by song:

1. Desert City Soundtrack performs “Marigold & Patchwork” by Appleseed Cast

– The best known band from Deep Elm’s past being covered by the band that should be known by everybody. DCS are a band that deserve so much more notoriety. This cover of the Cast’s “Marigold & Patchwork” is brilliant and epic. After 6+ minutes of DCS tearing down and rebuilding this great song, they truly make it their own.

2. Small Arms Dealer performs “Today I Discovered The World” by Cross My Heart

– By the numbers but definitely cool dark pop/punk take on the wonderful Cross My Heart.

3. Clair De Lune performs “Angel On Hiatus” by Benton Falls

– This is another outstanding track that builds on what Benton Falls did with the song. Clair De Lune’s addition of piano and their own manic energy make this cover one to keep.

4. Fightstar performs “The Days I Recall Being Wonderful” by Last Days Of April

– Fightstar take a beautiful song and turn it into a bland emo-by-the-numbers crapfest. No sir!

5. Lock And Key performs “Blindspot” by Brandtson

– A powerful hardcore rev-up of Brandtson’s energetic “Blindspot.” Lock And Key give Brandtson what they have always missed…BALLS! (Haha!)

6. Eleven Minutes Away performs “Hollowed-Out” by Camber

– I never got into Camber. EMA’s version of “Hollowed-Out” does nothing else to make me change my mind.

7. Free Diamonds performs “Go Teens” by Muckafurgason

– What a perfect match! The dancy Free Diamonds take on the humor of Muckafurgason and it works to a tee. Well done.

8. Surrounded performs “Coming From The Cold” by Starmarket

– All you can ask from a cover is for the band to embrace the song and put their own unique spin on it. Surrounded do that magnificently with “Coming From The Cold” by fellow Swedes Starmarket. The song sounds straight out of the Surrounded songbook and if you just read my review of the band’s new album The Nautilus Years, that is a beautiful thing.

9. Slowride (Dan Phillips) performs “Fishing The Sky” by Appleseed Cast

– Dan Phillips of Slowride does an impressive acoustic take on “Fishing The Sky” by Appleseed Cast. Phillips voice reminds one of Mark Kozelek here and gives the song a definite folky feel. He takes the song into uncharted waters and it suits the song quite well. This cover was the album’s most pleasant surprise.

10. Burns Out Bright performs “This Guy’s Ready For Bed” by Pop Unknown

– Columbia’s very own BOB take a stab at “This Guy’s Ready For Bed” by Pop Unknown. I remember the guys saying they were not too happy with how it turned out but I quite like the cover. I wish they would have added a little more of the BOB personality but it works for the most part.

11. Settlefish performs “Will The Violins Be Playing?” by Last Days Of April

– This is probably the most disappointing cover on the album. Such a talented and quirky band like Settlefish could have done something a little more eccentric with this song. Still though, it is well played and the band does add a little sprinkling of their personality into the song.

12. Sounds Like Violence “Noone Knows What We’ve Got”

– An original and strong song by SLV. However the fact that it is not a cover sticks out on the album like a sore thumb.

This is a great collection of cover songs that only has a few missteps here and there. The exclusion of the great Latterman is a definite missed opportunity. I would have loved to seen the band cover a song from the Deep Elm vaults and turn it into a pop-punk anthem. No covers done for older Deep Elm bands like The White Octave and Planes Mistaken For Stars are unfortunate as well. I am sure that was due to “business issues” that were out of the label’s control though. The inclusion of a Sounds Like Violence B-side just seems entirely out of place to me. If the band could not do a cover, they should have just been left off. With all that being said, fans of the label should find a lot to love on Cover Your Tracks. The nostalgia factor is worth the price of admission alone.

RIYL: Deep Elm

Listen: Small Arms Dealer – Today I Discovered The World by Cross My Heart (mp3)



  1. This reminded me I have a Deep Elm compelation somewhere – Records for the Working Class? I think that’s it. I recall it was quite good.

    As for Brandston – I thought their debut album was awesome, and what came after was utterly forgettable. Which was a shame.

  2. I like “Surrounded” very much. For hating compilations, you liked just about everything on this one!

  3. Hey Maritza! We’ve missed you!

    Yes, this is a good comp but they are usually worthless.

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