Grizzly Bear & Doveman Strip Down Eighties Hits

Two of our favorite ’05 discoveries tide over fans with under-the-radar releases, both of which include interesting takes on synth-heavy ’80s megahits.

First up: Grizzly Bear’s cover of Yes’ “Owner Of A Lonely Heart,” from the forthcoming Sorry For The Delay (The Early Recordings).

Never been a big Yes fan (though I own every Genesis CD — go figure). But I love this song and always had a ridiculous theory about its … uh, genesis: Yes guitarist Trevor Rabin buys a 1983 top-of-the-line keyboard and convinces the band that inane audio punctuation was the sound of the future. Somehow it works (and it was Yes’ sole chart-topper). On this cool cover version, Ed Droste drops the electro-theatrics in favor of subdued guitars and atonal harmonies, creating a haunting meditation on loneliness.

Yes – “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” (MP3 Link Expired)
Grizzly Bear – “Owner Of A Lonely Heart” (MP3 Link Expired)

Ed tells Stereogum the super-early recording is actually just him before he put the band together.

“I used to obsess the song as a kid and I remember that funny video with the crowds of bleak people walking in their business attire … Anyhow, it came on shuffle (god bless iTunes shuffle) and I just suddenly heard this really great, tragic slow version of the song. Granted, I couldn’t really shred the solo parts but I took the parts that seem to work the best and just added and added harmonies over it until it felt like how I would have wanted it. But I do love the original.”

On a similar note, a few months ago Thomas from Doveman produced an album of his banjo player Sam singing folk songs … and one Tears For Fears cover. I inquired if it was “Head Over Heels,” one of my favorite ’80s tunes, and indeed it was. The cover’s eighties-ness is peeled away, as like Ed Grizzly’s approach, but it’s a harder sell because Sammy’s vocals are an acquired taste. Incidentally, Thomas tells us this cover made its way to Björk, and she’s really into it.

Tears For Fears – “Head Over Heels” (MP3 Link Expired)
Sam Amidon & Doveman – “Head Over Heels” (MP3 Link Expired)