Good cover versions: Ambassadors (Is This It), To Kill A King (Maps)

A great cover version can do much for artists in a quest for stardom. An old, well known song reinterpreted and played in new style allows listeners to sing along with ease and also acts as a gateway to investigation – and hopefully appreciation – of original material.

The Futureheads, who famously covered Kate Bush’s ‘Hounds Of Love’, and Ryan Adams, who took on and slowed down ‘Wonderwall’, will probably attest to this. Although it’s certainly worth having a strong repertoire of your own before attempting someone else’s composition, or you could face being written off as a band whose best song’s a cover – pretty galling for any self-respecting muso. Whether or not this applies to the aforementioned acts is open to debate…

In any case – below are two interesting (and great) cover versions we’ve come across recently. Brooklyn’s Ambassadors aim to capitalise on the recent surge of interest in The Strokes by offering a soulful, late night bar-room take on ‘Is This It’, whilst London’s To Kill A King have recorded a sparse, haunting rendition of Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ ‘Maps’ (which will serve as the B-side to their forthcoming debut single ‘Fictional State’ – out via Communion Records on 30 May). Both hark back to wonderful debut LPs spawned from the seminal early 00s NYC scene – a time and place that’s no doubt a huge inspiration for many guitar wielding hopefuls of today.

If you like what you hear, do delve further into the catalogue of either artist – both are worth your time and will probably be making much more noise (of their own) throughout the course of 2011.

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