Unplugging: Wye Oak covers The Kinks and Danzig

Closing out the year is a number of great covers by influential musicians, showing that there’s no harm in a little collaborative fun. Happy New Year from MXDWN and TG Daily!

Folk duo Wye Oak from Baltimore recently released a special edition EP with the AV Club during this year’s Black Friday Record Store Day. Made for the “Undercover” series, the EP features performances of The Kinks’ “Strangers” and Danzig’s “Mother.”

The EP was released via Merge on November 22, and Wye Oak said they have “had a blast participating in the AV Club’s Undercover series . . . ” Wye Oaks stopped by the AV Club’s Chicago office in the spring of 2010 to perform “Strangers” with Jonathan Meiburg of Shearwater, and then a year later to perform Danzig’s “Mother” with Don Godwin of Callers. Wye Oak’s performance of “Strangers” was voted as a top choice for “Best of the Series” in AV Club’s Undercover performances poll.

Last month, former R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe made an appearance on The Colbert Report to be forever memorialized on Colbert’s “Rock and Roll Shelf of Fame.” After Colbert physically lifted Stipe onto his bookshelf, Stipe suggested they sing a song. Joined by English artist Brian Eno, Colbert and Stipe went on to perform an a cappella rendition of Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me.”

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Following an encore performance at Madison Square Garden, Joan Jett shared the stage once again with Foo Fighters for a performance on Letterman. With Dave Grohl taking over lead vocals midway through the tune, Jett and Foo Fighters performed Jett’s hit “Bad Reputation.”

With Foo Fighters’ signature heavy guitar sound and Jett’s sassy rasp, it was a collaboration made in rock heaven. The Foo Fighters’ background vocals were lively and fun, to boot. 

As announced via Pitchfork, Franz Ferdinand has recently released Covers EP on this year’s Record Day. The album features a range of bands covering songs off Ferdinand’s 2009 LP Tonight.

LCD Soundsystem covered the track “Live Alone,” and additionally, there is a pretty interesting corresponding music video for their cover. Directed by Lustix, the video can be described as very electronic, featuring close-ups of wires, lights, electronic equipment and cityscapes backed by the track’s quick beats and pulsating hi-hat.

One collaboration that will not happen any time soon is The Black Keys and Spotify, as the popular duo recently pulled their latest album El Camino off the streaming music service. In a recent interview, drummer Patrick Carney explained why The Black Keys are hesitant toward music streaming: ” . . . It still isn’t at a point where you’re able to replace royalties from record sales with royalties from streams…”

Other popular bands like Coldplay have also declined to make their music available for online streaming due to its significantly lesser support in terms of royalties than that of physical record sales. While many musicians embrace social media and the music streaming phenomenon, many bands like The Black Keys and Coldplay figure that if their music isn’t available for online streaming, fans will be more apt to go out and but the actual record. As the debate storms on, we’ll see if music streaming sites like Spotify are a passing fad, or if they’re here to stay.

Unplugging in Brief:

Wye Oak Releases AV Club “Undercover” Series EP – As part of the AV Club’s “Undercover” series, Wye Oak has performed covers of The Kinks’ “Strangers” and Danzig’s “Mother.”

WATCH: R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe, Brian Eno and Stephen Colbert Perform Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me” – Former R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe stopped by The Colbert Report to perform Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me” with Brian Eno and Stephen Colbert.

WATCH: Foo Fighters Perform “Bad Reputation” with Joan Jett on Letterman – Following a huge encore performance at MSG, the Foo Fighters and Joan Jett shared the stage to perform “Bad Reputation” once again on Letterman.

Watch: LCD Soundsystem Cover Franz Ferdinand – For Ferdinand’s recent Covers EP release, LCD Soundsystem has covered a track off Ferdinand’s 2009 album Tonight.

The Black Keys Choose to Block El Camino Stream on Spotify – Due to royalty complications and the inability to see music streaming as a useful tool for album sales, The Black Keys have taken their latest album off of Spotify.

* Lily Angelle, MXDWN