Entertainment Music

MUSIC CHEAT SHEET: Into the Arcade Fire!

Arcade Fire's Win Butler is channeling some tunes from elsewhere these days. GETTY

Arcade Fire's Win Butler is channeling some tunes from elsewhere these days. GETTY

SARAH HANLON/ 24 HOURS

There's a lot to listen to, let our earphones do the work

ARCADE FIRE: Cover mind games and art

Covering songs seems to be all the rage these days. While some critics look down on artists reimagining someone else's work, others argue it's actually harder to make an already-established song, well, sing in a new way.Case in point: A month into the Infinite Content tour for their album Everything Now (which hit #1 on the Billboard top 200 last week), Montreal rockers Arcade Fire are in the headlines for copying too! The notoriously creative band gave a pre-Lollapalooza show at Chicago's Metro that has everyone fired up over its John Lennon Mind Games cover.Off the heels of a killer three-and-a-half-hour Foo Fighters concert, Arcade Fire brought the heat, seamlessly mixing Radiohead's Karma Police and David Bowie's Oh! You Pretty Things with the Lennon classic before finishing the epic mash-up with their own song Wake-Up. The band's previous tour, Reflektor, came with city specific cover songs: ABBA in Stockholm, the Ramones in New York City, Kansas in Kansas City, you get the drift.They're also making headlines for a marketing campaign featuring fake concert dress codes, outlandish riders and a website that will freak out anyone under 30 years old (think Windows 3.1). The Lennon cover is rare for the group (minus the Reflektor tour) and has many wondering if this will be Arcade's return to 'cover art.'Their new album Everything Now is everything we need now; fresh but nostalgic, upbeat yet emo, it's a little disco, a little dance and a little deep house - and it's pure Arcade Fire.In honour of the Canadian "cover band" and their awesome new album, I caught myself up with some other artists reinventing songs.

Catch Arcade Fire in concert: Quebec City, Montreal and Ottawa in September; Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver in October and Toronto in November.

PLAY

Ruth B celebrates Bublé

Juno Award winner for Breakthrough Artist of the Year Ruth B was back to her covering ways recently at the Governor General Performing Arts Awards to celebrate fellow Canadian crooner Michael Bublé with a moving tribute to his song Home that really should hit the studio. It was softer, sweeter and prettier than the jazzy and aggressively poppy original. The 22-year-old's first album, Safe Haven, just went gold. Ruth B is currently touring across Canada and will make a stop in Toronto to perform at the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame festivities on Saturday, September 23rd at Massey Hall, to help honour this year's four celebrated inductees, Beau Dommage, Bruce Cockburn, Neil Young and Stéphane Venne. Hopefully, we get another Canadian-on-Canadian cover out of it.

2Cellos goes Game of Thrones

Are you jonesing for a #GoT fix before the next episode? Check out 2Cellos gorgeously intense version of the opening theme, which is accompanied by the London Symphony Orchestra, which brings the heavy strings melodies alive in a way that gets your heart pumping harder than the last episode. In fact, this cover is more fun than the original. It's got a fuller and more fantastical sweeping pace. The instrumental duo is set to release a Deluxe Edition of their album Score on August 25th, including a CD/DVD featuring their live Sydney Opera House concert.Also worth your time is the duo's recent haunting release of the Luis Fonsi summer hit, Despacito - its sexy sound will get you moving. These string covers are great ways to get mileage out of old favourites. In fact, my editor actually prefers the instrumental version of Despacito than the original.Tip: they also serve as awesome background music for social media videos.Featured on Score is music from Schindler's List, Lord of the Rings, Braveheart, Breakfast at Tiffany's, The Godfather, Titanic and more.

Rihanna's Same Ol'Mistakes is an Ol'song?!

I'd never badmouth Riri but I have to say, I kind of like the lesser-known original New Pers, Same Old Mistakes, written and performed by the Australian psychedelic band Tame Impala just as much as her hit version from ANTI. They sound so similar; hypnotically high vocals paired with low heavy synth makes for a very vibe-y tune. But everything Rihanna touches turns to gold but major disappointment for producer Diplo, who recently told GQ that despite trying to collaborate with Rihanna many times, she has turned him down, saying his music is "like a reggae song at an airport."Ouch!

REWIND

Dixie Chicks cover Beyoncé's Daddy Lessons

When rumours that the Dixie Chicks would perform this funky horn-filled country track from Beyoncé's album Lemonade alongside her at the Country Music Awards this year, Billboard reported that the song hit # 1. They didn't disappoint - the quartet version has more twang, spirit and an energy you can only get from having powerful women create together. Just having the 'Chicks'for harmonies alone amplifies the track. After releasing a studio version of the song with Bey, the Dixie Chicks took it on their MMXVII world tour, their first return to U.S. concert stages in 10 years. They also took cameras with them and are releasing their highly anticipated live tour DVD, DCX MMXVI, on September 1. Pre-orders opened up last week in tandem with the VEVO premiere of the performance for Not Ready to Make Nice.

HEALTH gives New Order's classic Blue Monday a workout

For New Order fans, you can't really improve upon the iconic English '80s rock band's classic track.New Order was formed from the remaining members of the post-punk pioneers Joy Division, after the suicide of their young lead singer Ian Curtis on a Sunday night (Blue Monday references the tragic day after). It is the bestselling 12'of all time. Its mix of cold-wave angst with disco and drum machines created a soundtrack for a generation. Not an easy song to tackle but HEALTH has shown this track the respect and homage it deserves while delivering something new. It has a darker, grittier feel and an echo-y backtrack that makes it feel new while staying true.

PAUSE

Mayer/Mendes mash-up Canadian teen heartthrob Shawn Mendes is climbing the charts yet again with his hit single There's Nothing Holdin'Me Back. And there is nothing holding him back from gushing about his mentor John Mayer. Toronto brought the two together this past spring at Mayer's concert where they performed a mash-up of their songs Mercy and In Your Atmosphere. Both songs, unfortunately, lost all their power ballad strength when the two focused on harmonizing on this mix-up of a mash-up but Mendes'solo on There's Nothin'Holding Me Back is worth attention. I'll take a Mayerless Mendes any day but it is nice to see Mayer being a mentor to the 19-year-old Canadian sweetheart.

FF

Tove Lo performs Homemade Dynamite with Lorde at Osheaga Music and Arts Festival

Can you cover your own song? Swedish singer-song writer Tove Lo helped Lorde write her latest album Melodrama, including this hit. After performing her own set at the 12th edition of the Montreal music festival two weekends ago, Lorde welcomed Tove Lo on stage during her headlining set performing Homemade Dynamite together to the crowd's surprise. Both sound better in the studio and Tove Lo's Tigertown remix of her song Vibes is a much better listen. It's faster and harder than the version on her Lady Wood album - which makes a great workout track. Lorde is on the list of performers for the upcoming MTV Video Music Awards with Miley Cyrus, Ed Sheeran, Fifth Harmony, The Weeknd, Thirty Seconds to Mars and Shawn Mendes.

Wanna talk music? Tweet me @flatshanlon