Beat Happening – Indian Summer

Not too long ago, Brandon mentioned that standards (an esteemed song, sung by many different singers over time) don’t play as big a part in pop music as they used to; but in the indie/alt/whateveryouwannacallit world, there are certain songs that for one reason or another seem to have taken on a similar life – they get covered a lot, AND a lot of those covers are fairly good, which says something about the underlying song.

One is “Indian Summer” by lo-fi pop primitivists Beat Happening.

Up top is the original. Its simplicity makes it a tough song to mess up; that VU-ish two-chord drone and childlike melody lend themselves to many versions (often by singers whose vocal stylings are less-divisive than Calvin Johnson’s artless stentorian baritone).

For example, from VU-enthusiasts Luna:

Luna – Indian Summer


And Eugenius/Captain America, which featured members of the Beat-Happening-simpatico Vaselines:

Eugenius/Captain America – Indian Summer

Indian Summer – Captain America

And R.E.M:

R.E.M. – Indian Summer


And Spacemen 3 co-founder Sonic Boom, in his Spectrum guise:

Spectrum – Indian Summer

Spectrum – "Indian summer" (Beat Happening cover)

And Death Cab For Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard, whose clear boyish tenor suits the song’s nostalgic teen themes well:

Ben Gibbard – Indian Summer

And Italian dream-poppers Be Forest:

Be Forest – Indian Summer

Be Forest – Indian Summer (Beat Happening cover)

And a fuzzed-out noisepop version from C86-fetishists the Manhattan Love Suicides:

The Manhattan Love Suicides – Indian Summer

The Manhattan Love Suicides – Indian Summer

There’s a couple other songs I can think of that have achieved similar status, but we’ll save ’em for another post.

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13 thoughts on “Standards!

  1. I’ve been enjoying the heck of out of bands that cover contemporary (or contemporary-ish) songs in an old-fashioned style, such as The Puppini Sisters doing “Walk Like An Egyptian” or nearly everything by Scott Bradlee and Post-Modern Jukebox.

    There’s always the Sex Pistols cover of “My Way”.

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