Cults – “Total Control” (The Motels Cover)

Cults – “Total Control” (The Motels Cover)

Cults are the latest band to participate in Turntable Kitchen’s Sounds Delicious series, where an artist covers another artist’s album in full. Recent entries in the series have included Pure Bathing Culture, Gems, and Frankie Rose. For their part, Cults — whose most recent album, Offering came out last year — took on the 1979 self-titled debut from California new wave band the Motels.

“We found out about The Motels about seven years ago, when we were on tour with an amazing band called Total Control in Australia,” the band explains in a statement. Fittingly, the first song we’re hearing from their full album cover is the one that the Australian band is named after. Cults’ version of “Total Control” adds some of the NYC duo’s dreamy shimmer but largely hues to the original.

Check out their take on it and read a statement from the band on why they decided to cover Motels below.

Here’s their statement:

A song begins. A guitar is gently strummed. The slow patter of drums enters to keep the beat. A woman’s voice joins singing in a desperate tone. “Every night I sit, home alone, sitting by my…” Sounds familiar right?

The casual rhyme of “alone” and “telephone” has been irresistible a long, long time. It’s easy and it makes sense now more than ever. But Martha Davis isn’t sitting around waiting for a call from a boy. She’s there “Sitting by my, radio. Just hoping that something good will come on. But it never does.”

This is one of the many subversions of classic songwriting that made us fall in love with this album. Whether she’s chastising (and reveling in) the idea of fashion on “Dressing Up” or unpacking the meaninglessness of instant pleasure on “Kix”, Martha Davis is kind of writer who sees clearly and never takes the obvious route to express hidden truths.

We found out about The Motels about seven years ago, when we were on tour with an amazing band called Total Control in Australia. We thought it was the greatest band name ever and later found out through googling that it was based off a song that came out in 1979 and was a big hit here and down under. After listening to it dozens and dozens of times we starting covering it to help lengthen our set (we had only one 33 minute album at the time!) and to pay homage to what we felt was a kindred spirit.

When we started talking to Turntable Kitchen through some friends, the idea of covering a whole album sounded like a blast. Luckily, we didn’t have to pour through our vinyl collection or have long debates about what to choose. It was gonna be “The Motels.” It was one of the easiest decisions we’ve ever made as a band.

Anyway, we hope y’all enjoy our take on it. We knew we could never match the punch and raw emotionality of the original recording, so we tried to get a little weird with it. We stretched some parts out, shrunk others and took some liberties here and there. We hope y’all find it trippy and fun to listen to. We certainly had fun making it. If all this this yammering comes down to one final point it would be this.



Cults’ full album Motels cover will be available 8/17 through Turntable Kitchen. Pre-order it here.

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