Beat Happening -- Indian Summer
Not too long ago, Brandon mentioned that standards (an esteemed song, sung by many different singers over time) don’t play as big a part in pop music as they used to; but in the indie/alt/whateveryouwannacallit world, there are certain songs that for one reason or another seem to have taken on a similar life -- they get covered a lot, AND a lot of those covers are fairly good, which says something about the underlying song.
One is “Indian Summer” by lo-fi pop primitivists Beat Happening.
Up top is the original. Its simplicity makes it a tough song to mess up; that VU-ish two-chord drone and childlike melody lend themselves to many versions (often by singers whose vocal stylings are less-divisive than Calvin Johnson’s artless stentorian baritone).
For example, from VU-enthusiasts Luna:
Luna -- Indian Summer
And Eugenius/Captain America, which featured members of the Beat-Happening-simpatico Vaselines:
Eugenius/Captain America -- Indian Summer
R.E.M. -- Indian Summer
And Spacemen 3 co-founder Sonic Boom, in his Spectrum guise:
Spectrum -- Indian Summer
And Death Cab For Cutie frontman Ben Gibbard, whose clear boyish tenor suits the song’s nostalgic teen themes well:
Ben Gibbard -- Indian Summer
And Italian dream-poppers Be Forest:
Be Forest -- Indian Summer
And a fuzzed-out noisepop version from C86-fetishists the Manhattan Love Suicides:
The Manhattan Love Suicides -- Indian Summer
There’s a couple other songs I can think of that have achieved similar status, but we’ll save ’em for another post.