Covers is out now in North and South America through Sub Pop.
Marika will be performing with her full band tonight in an abandoned swimming pool. Tickets for the show available here - the show starts at 8.30pm GMT with a second stream at 9pm EST/6pm PT.
During the extended stay-at-home orders of the last few months, Marika felt that creating a covers record was a way of exploring new sound ideas and expressing herself without having the pressure of the blank page. She recorded and produced Covers between home and her parents’ house, then got David Wrench to mix it. In contrast to her last two albums (including 2019’s Any Human Friend & 2017’s I’m Not Your Man), this collection of songs is more akin in tone and feel to her debut We Slept At Last, with a darker and more introspective sound. On Covers, we hear Marika’s emotive voice set against sparse arrangements of guitars and strings with the occasional synth or scattered drum groove.
Breathing new life into the songs she’s chosen, Marika reimagines work by some of the world’s most beloved artists, such as Radiohead, Grimes, Beyonce and Elliott Smith. It’s a suitably varied collection, but Marika’s intimate delivery and soft, nuanced and atmospheric touch to production, thread them all together effortlessly.
Marika explains how she came to choose the material:
“When it comes to covers, I like to pick songs which I have been listening to obsessively for a while. It gives me a natural understanding of the music, and lets me be more innovative with how I transform it.”
For Covers, Marika turned to her musical heroes to get her through the year’s weirdness. The album is a new way of hearing some familiar things, and some less known, through the lens of this formidable artist.
“Realiti” is a stripped back piano and guitar based version of the Grimes classic from her most celebrated album Art Angels. Marika’s take is a total reinvention and yet it feels wholly her own. Muna’s ”Pink Light” from their 2019 record Saves The World is a slice of dark pop, reminiscent of The Cure. In Marika’s hands, it’s a remarkably seamless switch-up to convert these into slower, brooding soft jams.
Marika was obsessed with the Shins growing up and cites their songwriting as a major influence. ”Phantom Limb” the track she chose to cover was always a favorite and, whilst looking up the lyrics she discovered that the song was written about a “hypothetical, fictional account of a young, lesbian couple in high school dealing with the shitty small town they live in.” Finding this out created an even deeper connection with the song and band.
Marika’s version of Air’s ”Playground Love“ is one of the highlights, taken from the soundtrack that Air composed for Sofia Coppola’s coming of age The Virgin Suicides, the result being a moodier, disorientating reworking of a classic modern moment.
Final track ”All Night” sees Marika tackling one of the standouts from Beyonce’s Grammy nominated Lemonade. Again, Marika flips the song on its head. Joined by a choir of stacked vocal harmonies, Marika’s voice transcends to conjure a deep emotional resonance.
Adventurous and versatile, Covers continues Marika’s lineage in turning each body of work into a new take and perspective on her creative vision. She twists and turns, always surprises, and is never afraid to wear her heart on her sleeve. It remains anyone’s guess to imagine where she will head next.
Covers is now available through Sub Pop (the Americas), Marika Hackman’s official website, and Transgressive Records (ROW). The LP will be available as a limited edition Navy Blue/Purple colored vinyl.
1. You Never Wash Up After Yourself (Radiohead)
2. Phantom Limb (The Shins)
3. Playground Love (Air)
4. Realiti (Grimes)
5. Jupiter 4 (Sharon Van Etten)
6. Pink Light (Muna)
7. Between The Bars (Elliott Smith)
8. Temporary Loan (Edith Frost)
9. In Undertow (Alvvays)
10. All Night (Beyonce)