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Greg Laswell - Covers EP Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8.5
Musicianship 8.5
Lyrics 9
Production 8.5
Creativity 8.5
Lasting Value 8.5
Reviewer Tilt 8.5
Final Verdict: 86%
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Inside AP.net

Greg Laswell - Covers EP

Reviewed by: Gregory Robson (10/21/09)
Greg Laswell - Covers EP
Record Label: Vanguard Records
Release Date: Oct. 6, 2009


Who?
Greg Laswell is a San Diego, CA-based producer and singer/songwriter. A two-time winner of the San Diego Music Awards, he released his debut album Good Movie in 2003. His take on Cyndi Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun," was released via iTunes in 2007. His songs have appeared on a slew of TV shows and movies, including: "Smallville," "Friday Night Lights, "True Blood," "Taking Chance," "Grey's Anatomy, "90210," "Dollhouse," "CSI: Miami," "Confessions of a Shopaholic," "My Sister's Keeper," and "Damages."

How is it?
Phenomenal. One of the most underrated discs of 2006 was Greg Laswell's sophomore effort Through Toledo. Two EPs and two years later, he returned with the much celebrated Three Flights From Alto Nido. In an effort to prove that his productivity is no fluke, he has released a five song covers EP, appropriately titled Covers. Opener "The Killing Moon," is a brooding, swelling ballad that puts a creative spin on the Echo and the Bunnymen classic. Replete with horns and a plucky banjo, it's a most novel and near-perfect treat. Morphine's "In Spite of Me," is Laswell's turn to show off his folky side and he does so winningly. This is earnest, bare bones singer/songwriter fare that packs a huge emotional wallop. Listening to him sing the lines, "You seemed so close, but so cold" is definitely as bittersweet a moment as any on a disc this year.

Mazzy Star's "Take Everything" is a chance for him to pick up the pace again and its truly a terrific effort. Fueled by the lines, "Why are you telling me about everything? Why tell me about anything?" Laswell sounds defeated, angry and empassioned. The song's final refrain of "Take everything, fake everything, save everything," is a truly cinematic and sweeping 40 seconds that needs to be listened to be realized. Fourth song, "Your Ghost," originally recorded by Throwing Muses' Kristin Hersh, has some of the most biting lines, and thanks to Laswell's interpretation are truly felt here in a way that Hersh never accomplished. That is not to take anything away from Hersh's version, but something about Laswell's vocal clarity just really makes this an absolute standout.

The EP ends with Laswell's take on Kate Bush's seminal classic, "This Woman's Work." As aching, effective and poignant as the original, this cover is the sound of a man fully cognizant of his vocal limits, his talent level and his skillset. He never once goes too far, never once does anything outlandish or strange. It's just faithful to the original while giving it his own masculine bend.

As far as recording initiatives, a covers project is always an engaging and heady concept and the end results are always worthy of discussion. But what Laswell does on Covers is something else entirely. Produced by himself in a cabin in Mountainaire, AZ, Laswell also plays most of the instruments on the album. Equal parts sorrowful, soaring and salient, the Covers EP is a captivating, haunting and orchestral collection of five timeless songs about dejection. Make no mistake about it, he is most definitely at the apex of his career and putting together arrangements that rival any other California singer/songwriter currently releasing music. If he's not on your music radar now, it's not too late to pencil his name in.

Track Listing 1. The Killing Moon (Echo and the Bunnymen)
2. In Spite of Me (Morphine)
3. Take Everything (Mazzy Star)
4. Your Ghost (Kristin Hersh)
5. This Woman's Work (Kate Bush)


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Displaying posts 1 - 14 of 14.
08:17 PM on 10/21/09
#2
Jeremy Aaron
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I loved Three Flights, especially "I'd Be Lying," which still finds its way into my rotation. This was totally off my radar, but I'll have to check it out. That's an interesting set of selections to be sure.
05:23 AM on 10/22/09
#3
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
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I loved Three Flights, especially "I'd Be Lying," which still finds its way into my rotation. This was totally off my radar, but I'll have to check it out. That's an interesting set of selections to be sure.
You have to like "Sing, Theresa Says," off of Through Toledo, right? That song is awesome
07:06 AM on 10/22/09
#4
DXH
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Great reivew. And of course a really great EP. This Woman's Work is soo intense.
I really love Through Toledo and Three Flights. Sing, Theresa Says is one of my favorites. I also really love I'd Be Lying, Comes And Goes (In Waves), Embrace Me and What A Day.
Can't wait to hear his new music. He's recording an album at the moment. 10 tracks are done I think.
08:11 AM on 10/22/09
#5
ramomcferno
It Only Gets Better
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You have to like "Sing, Theresa Says," off of Through Toledo, right? That song is awesome

One of my favorite songs all time! Greg Laswell is super talented. I will have to check out this new EP.
08:25 AM on 10/22/09
#6
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
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One of my favorite songs all time! Greg Laswell is super talented. I will have to check out this new EP.
It's one of mine too. Cheers dude.
09:04 AM on 10/22/09
#7
denissuxx
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Reviewer may be biased here
09:36 AM on 10/22/09
#8
ninthandash
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Greg Laswell is awesome, but I don't know how I feel about a covers EP until I hear it.
09:41 AM on 10/22/09
#9
Gregory Robson
Under Rug Swept
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Reviewer may be biased here
All of us reviewers at one time tackle records by acts we like. I'm not the only guilty party here.
09:56 AM on 10/22/09
denissuxx
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All of us reviewers at one time tackle records by acts we like. I'm not the only guilty party here.
Your first names match ..

/lame
04:56 PM on 10/22/09
brenByah
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I'm really tired of cover albums, but at least in this case the songs chosen haven't been covered a million times over.
07:15 PM on 10/22/09
Gregory Robson
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I'm really tired of cover albums, but at least in this case the songs chosen haven't been covered a million times over.
If at all. Except for "This Woman's Work," this is entirely new ground. I mean maybe "The Killing Moon" here and there, but the other three. Virtual unknowns.
07:30 PM on 10/22/09
brenByah
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If at all. Except for "This Woman's Work," this is entirely new ground. I mean maybe "The Killing Moon" here and there, but the other three. Virtual unknowns.
True. I'm just tired of hearing Umbrella and Poker Face by a dozen different bands.
07:54 PM on 10/22/09
Gregory Robson
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True. I'm just tired of hearing Umbrella and Poker Face by a dozen different bands.
Amen. Me too.
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