Halloween, Alaska cover Portishead, Sade, Neko Case on new EP [STREAM]

Halloween, Alaska cover Portishead, Sade, Neko Case on new EP [STREAM]
Photo courtesy of the artist

The moody atmospherics of Halloween, Alaska have returned with an EP of covers titled Liberties. Drawing from songs popularized by Portishead, Sade, Neko Case, Pat Benatar, Journey, and Stevie Nicks, the group embrace some of the most powerful female vocalists of our time -- and Steve Perry too. "I assure you this is an earnest homage to those tunes," says drummer Dave King.

Adding to their arsenal that already includes Bruce Springsteen's "State Trooper" and LL Cool J's "Radio," these interpretations don't just play out like note-for-note homages to where they came from. They took LIBERTIES. You might laugh-cry a little, and the songs' progressions definitely pique curiosity regarding where they'll head next. The entire collection is available for streaming below.

Featuring frontman James Diers, guitarist Jacob Hanson, bassist William Shaw, and King, the songs were recorded at Fuzzy Slippers in St. Paul, Humans Win! and Terrarium in Minneapolis, and Journey's "Only the Young" was recorded across the pond while they were in tour in the U.K. A worthwhile note regarding Stevie Nicks' "Stand Back" is that it was cowritten by Prince.

A lot of the songs came from King's past duets with Diers, and he is particularly proud of the Journey song, which is an obscure hit from the Vision Quest soundtrack. "Always loved that movie," he says. "We really heightened the melancholy of the tune."

The tracklisting is as follows:

1. "Only the Young" - Journey
2. "Stand Back" - Stevie Nicks
3. "Love is a Battlefield" - Pat Benatar
4. "Machine Gun" - Portishead
5. "Middle Cyclone" - Neko Case
6. "Love is Stronger Than Pride" - Sade

The clear winner in our book is "Love is Stronger Than Pride," which was the first one of the set that they recorded. Not just because Sade crafts some of the truest lyrics of the English language, but because the Halloween, Alaska gents found their way inside, and made it rock -- gently. This collection, up for purchase here, precedes a new full-length from the band due next year.

"There's nothing more frustrating than hearing a cover with the same fucking chord progression and tempo," King says. "I was in H&M the other day and heard a fucking awful version of 'Boys of Summer' by Don Henley just redone by a female singer. What is the purpose of that? If you're not making it your own, it's a worthless concept."

See Also:
50 cool facts about the Minnesota music scene
Top 20 best Minnesota musicians: The complete list
Top 10 must-see Minnesota music videos this week

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