A.V. Club Undercover: Music you know played by indie bands you should

Rock music is so rarely mainstream anymore (and Dave Grohl cheated). Instead it has splintered off into a hundred-thousand swell indie rock-pop-groove-dance-jam bands who tour relentlessly and grow increasingly spectacular mustaches just to gain your attention.

But AVClub.com (The Onion’s sister site – I may have previously mentioned them over and over again) has a great way to bring these bands to your attention – making them do cover songs.

But it’s not that simple.

Readers vote on and editors compose a set list of older songs – some good (“Just What I Needed”), some novelties (“Tubthumping”) and some are the kind of songs you say you like ironically, but listen to with headphones on in the middle of the night after the bar (“Tubthumping”). Once a song is played it gets crossed off this increasingly narrowed list.

“25 Bands, 25 Songs, one small round room.”

So on their ways through Chicago (Motto – “Yes: we have a venue small enough for your band”) indie bands stop by the A.V. Club studios and give the list songs a try. The room is really small, the songs are fresh and off-the-cuff and, quite often, miracles do occur.

Some of the covers are straight-up, some get a little odd when styles collide, some do a whole lot better than you’d expect (They Might be Giants radically covered “Tubthumping” with an unusual backing chorus) and some are wildly different, yet gorgeous renditions that stick in your head and send you back over and over (in the middle of the night after the bar), all the while introducing you to a cool new band (Sharon Van Etten’s slow-burn cover of “She Drives Me Crazy” (from last year’s group) absolutely smote me (smit, smite, smote?)).

Having just discovered Young the Giant’s rad single “My Body” (Think I’m a little late on that one… Yes, you’ve heard it in a commercial) I highly suggest checking out their “Ignition (Remix)” vid (the link adjoined to the title; also the link at bottom). It’s…. Groooovy. It’s also a rock band covering R. Kelly.

If you go to the archives you can check wild stuff like Rise Against covering Nirvana, Ted Leo doing Tears for Fears, The Walkmen doing REM, Kate Nash, Badly Drawn Boy, Fruit Bats, Against Me!, The Hold Steady, The Get Up Kids, Peter, Bjorn and John, The Decemberists, Of Montreal and plenty of bands even more indie than that (and with more indie names).

Other bands that have stopped by the studio for Undercover 2012 – Series Three: Trampled by Turtles, Cursive, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Nada Surf, Hospitality, The Head & The Heart, Shearwater, Punch Brothers (awesomely bluegrassing-out The Cars) and Lucero.

The link adjoined to the title is, again, Young the Giant’s “Ignition (Remix)” cover.. http://www.avclub.com/articles/young-the-giant-covers-ignition-remix,71123/ ..which I have featured because it is so very awesome.

But so is this entire venture.

Rock and/or roll, indie kids.

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