“Every song is a cover song,” a sage man with whiskey breath once told as some band in Echo Park was onstage destroying Blondie for the umpteenth time. “A song is only original at the moment it’s written.” A worthy thought, that, especially given the raft of cover songs we’ve seen released this year, some as keep-the-promotional-machine-churning devices, some as heartfelt tributes and others as invigorating exercises in artistic interpretation.
The current campaign by L.A. indie-rockers Lone Kodiak falls squarely in the latter. The band, helmed by Daineal Parker and Daniel Alden (formerly of the acclaimed Portland band Emberghost), makes widescreen indie-rock (a commenter on their social media had a description we’ll swipe here: Explosions in the Sky with vocals). They leaked the chill-inducing “Disaster” this spring and promised an EP later this summer. The EP has been pushed to the fall, and this month they ventured into the sometimes-treacherous waters of cover songs with Parker issuing this mission statement: “I think unless a cover dramatically sets itself apart from the original (Ryan Adams’ “Wonderwall” is a great example of that), what’s the point?”
Lone Kodiak’s “Ladies We Love” is comprised of five songs, released each Tuesday this month, by “female artists they adore, admire, respect and are inspired by.” Their objets d’affection are interesting; today came their third, a version of Lorde’s “Ribs,” which adds some depth to the notion of “reeling through the midnight streets.” Their cover of Daughter’s “Smother” treats the beautifully aching and sparse original as a sketch, to be painted over and over with layers of atmospherics. The highlight so far, though, is a remake of the indie gem by Maria Taylor, “Leap Year,” which is skeletally the best song of the five they have chosen. Coincidentally, as they ratchet the song toward epic heights, Lone Kodiak sound not unlike Andy Lemaster (Now It’s Overhead), who co-produced that 2005 Taylor album.
Still to come in the covers project are “Pendulum” by FKA Twigs and “Dorian” by Agnes Obel. And, of course, that Lone Kodiak EP.
||| Stream: “Ladies We Love” covers:
||| Live: Lone Kodiak performs Saturday night at Chinatown Summer Nights (6 p.m. set time).