BEHIND THE SONGS: A Carnival of Sorts: An R.E.M. covers compilation by Various Artists: 22-40

BEHIND THE SONGS: A Carnival of Sorts: An R.E.M. covers compilation by Various Artists: 22-40

A Carnival of Sorts: An R.E.M. covers compilation by Various Artists is out now, we are outlining who the artists are behind the covers and why they chose the R.E.M. tracks.

The entire album is now available to purchase for a very reasonable £6 on Bandcamp and all profits will go to Help Musicians ( who have done great work especially over the last few years funding musicians when they couldn’t tour due to the pandemic. We are thrilled that the album has been so well received – endorsed by the band themselves, it’s already made over £3000 for Help Musicians!

The eclectic 40 strong tracklist was mostly recorded for this project, featuring artists from across the globe, from Wales, Athens, London, Edinburgh, Sweden, Japan, Australia and beyond – each act taking on R.E.M. in their own distinct styles, affectionately paying tribute to one of the most important alternative rock bands of our era.

22. Joshua Caole – Imitation of Life

A decade on from touring his debut Moon Palace with incredible artists such as Richmond Fontaine, Anais Mitchell and Laura Gibson, Joshua Caole returns, via Spain and noisy band ¡Que Asco!, with his long-awaited follow up. Joshua’s music evokes American songwriting greats like Gram Parsons yet simultaneously tiptoes along the lines of alt rock, post punk and folkier climbs. What binds these disparate influences and makes Caole’s songs distinctive is his rough-with-the-smooth combination of often fragile vocals with clean, freewheeling guitar parts.

Tales of misspent nights and love not quite won made his 2012 debut album Moon Palace an impressive, impassioned collection of songs.
The new songs are thematic, reactive, striking; moving towards a Petty-meets-The Dead vibe. Caole’s music is always best enjoyed in darkened watering holes, suitably distanced, and chilled-out fields in forgotten places and he is excited to bring these stories back to the road.

23. Hadda Be – The Great Beyond

Hadda Be was formed under the name Foundlings in 2018, spread across joint hometowns of South London and Brighton. Their first two singles, ‘Misery’ and ‘Horizon’, received generous airplay on BBC 6 Music and Radio X, as well as Melita Dennett’s BBC Introducing the South. The following year saw the release of the band’s debut, eponymously-titled EP via their new record label, Last Night From Glasgow. In support of the release, the band took to the road, performing at festivals across the UK and selling out their two release shows at the Sebright Arms (London) and Stereo (Glasgow).

In 2020, with the departure of the band’s original bass player, a new member, a recent introduction to parenthood, a debut album in the works, brexit-induced political turmoil, coronavirus and a US trademark dispute to boot, the newly replenished four-piece made the change to Hadda Be. Taken from Allen Ginsberg’s poem Hadda Be Playing on the Radio , the new name reflects a fresh outlook for the band, a keener understanding of its sound and a heightened sense of purpose.

They say: “The ‘best of’ compilation that features ‘The Great Beyond’ was one of the first albums I remember listening to in my parents car when I was younger, so it felt fitting to choose a song from that record, although we’ve all dived much deeper into their back catalogue since. At the time I was captivated by Stipe’s opaque, mysterious lyricism, and I still very much am. There’s some really great live versions of this track which, I think, top the studio version, so we wanted to bring out the raw power of live R.E.M. with our cover. We’re massive fans of the band and we’re gutted we were never able to see them live – it’s been amazing to see the support shown by the band for this project; definitely the next best thing!”  


23. Japan Review – Fall On Me

Glasgow-based noise-pop band Japan Review has been through numerous incarnations in their relatively short existence. Now a duo made up of Genna Foden and Adam O’Sullivan, they will release their debut album, Kvetch Sounds, on October 29th via Reckless Yes. Building on the band’s shoegaze foundations, Kvetch Sounds sees Japan Review pushing sonically into more experimental territory, opting to embrace electronic instruments and celebrate the limitations of their more stripped back line up. The result is a truly expansive debut that twists and turns through different tempos, and even genres, without ever losing its way. Kvetch Sounds is an expansive and exhilarating debut, bubbling with invention and ideas that leave the listener wondering where Japan Review will go from here.

24. You The Living – Living well is the best Revenge

With gargantuan slabs of pitch-shifted guitar, icy washes of synth, and haunted, anguished whispers and wails, London industrial synthwave duo You The Living push the boundaries of sonic maximalism.

On their 2015 debut, “XXXI”, You The Living established their metallic, widescreen wall of sound. Later singles “Reaper” and “Gasoline” built on this foundation with new-found bombast and theatre. With their second LP on the horizon, the reins are well and truly off.
Aidan from the band explains why they chose the track: “We had quite a long shortlist, including “I Took Your Name”, “Bad Day”, and a gloomy, sardonic version of “Shiny Happy People”.

In the end, we went with “Living Well is the Best Revenge” because we wanted to do something faster and heavier – a mood we were experimenting with for the album we’re writing and recording at the moment.

It ended up being a rather serendipitous choice. Bill Rieflin – R.E.M’s drummer on their later albums, including “Accelerate” – was also part of many industrial and post-punk bands, including Ministry, Swans, and KMFDM. What we wound up with was a version of the song from an alternate reality in which it was written by one of Rieflin’s other bands!”

26. Happy Science – Man on the Moon

Happy Science are not a band in any traditional sense of the word. A collective of producers, mix engineers and multi-instrumentalist songwriters; Happy Science are a melting pot of creative innovation

27. Pocket Lint – Pretty Persuasion

Pocket Lint is the solo project of former Remodel guitarist, Mark Heffernan. The name Pocket Lint refers to the leftover ideas that formed my initial recordings. A feature of my music is a love of ‘Aural Bonbons’: sounds found or created and incorporated into songs.

Pocket Lint’s next release will be: Themes for Silcaville.
It is being released on Cassette and download from Bandcamp on the 6th September 2021 It is a soundtrack to an imaginary film and is inspired by John Carpenter’s early work, Moroder, and Vangelis’ Blade Runner soundtrack.

“In 1994 I got rid of my R.E.M, Nirvana, Redd Kross albums. I was 14/15 and britpop was raging and I was a fully paid up member. Blur, Pulp, St Etienne, Elastica. That was how i chose to define myself.
2006. I am sat in a hospital room, my dad has brought me a DVD of old grey whistle test performances. A tumble of pre-raphaelite curls begins singing moon river before a band launch into a song I don’t know. It’s melodic, driving but laid back, the lyrics partly indecipherable apart from the chorus line of ‘He’s got Pretty Persuasion’; 12 years vanish and after that 5 minutes I am an REM fan again.”

28. Richey Hackett – New Test Leper

Richey Hackett is a British recording artist and musician from Dudley in the West Midlands. His music covers many genres including alternative rock, synth pop, electronica, industrial and, more recently, ambient music.

Over the last 14 years he has released 12 albums, including his latest record A Space For Your Dreams. He is currently signed to Vulpiano Records, an independent collective netlabel, who have released all of his work since his seventh album, Void Songs.

Hackett is also the second member of industrial pop duo Us Frail Gods, who released their debut album in March 2020.

He currently lives in Birmingham with his wife and daughter.

He says: ““Of all their records, New Adventures In Hi-Fi has always been my favourite R.E.M. album. It perfectly encapsulates the band’s gift for melody, their powerful live sound and the beauty of Stipe’s vocals and poetry. So I knew that I had to choose a song from that record if I was going to cover R.E.M.

Something about “New Test Leper” has always touched me on an emotional level that I can’t quite define or even necessarily understand. It’s just a song I’ve never been able to get out of my head ever since first hearing it. I knew that I could provide a genuinely personal take on this one, where as with other R.E.M. songs the most I’d be able to offer would be little more than a karaoke cover version. It’s a bit haunting, a bit emotional and it’s from the heart.”

29. Stephen Evens – Perfect Circle

He has spent most of his days touring here and there with minor indie celebrity. He has for now shunned the tourbus lifestyle for a wander through his own songbook for a change.

30. The Pocket Gods – The One I love

With a reputation for being one of the most prolific bands in existence, to date The Pocket Gods have released 67 albums and 40 plus singles and EP since their inception. Formed by Noel Storey (keyboards & sideburns), and frontman Mark Christopher Lee, back in 1998, whilst working at Tower Records in Piccadilly Circus in London; they were originally an alt country band (and even had a pedal steel player) before they were misappropriated by bearded Hoxton hipsters into the eccentric wonders they are today.

The band’s cult appeal has infected countless quality broadcasters ever since. Picked up by BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens when they won his “Gods Of The Pod” competition in 2006, Tom Robinson fell in love with their lo-fi indie tracks and he invited the band to play a live session at BBC 6 Music in 2010.

Mark Christopher Lee says:

“They merged art rock with old fashioned pop sensibilities and Michael Stipe came across as the Dylan of his generation. I remember seeing the video of The One I Love being constantly played on the otherwise anodyne MTV and it touched something deep inside, a creative urge that ultimately led me to form a band. Us quiet arty types had found our heroes abs and we too could make sensitive slightest obtuse music. Thank you R.E.M and hope we did justice to your amazing song. Its the only cover we’ve played live and stripped it back to its guitar band basics.”

31. SYBS – All the way to Reno

SYBS’s adrenaline fulled anthems have made them one of Wales’ most exciting acts. Here Osian (Singer / Guitarist) and the band take us down a more reflective, jangly and at times bucolic and beautifully melancholic road..

32. Eureka California – Pop Song 89

Eureka California have been working in the trenches of the Athens music scene since 2010, redefining the bounds of pop music and challenging the limitations common to drums-guitar duos. On the surface, nuance seems foreign to the band, but amidst their blinding attack lies an understanding of dynamics which makes for a rollercoaster of a listening experience. On their most recent album, 2016’s Versus, the pair provided a cynical yet heartfelt deconstruction of Athens’ drinking culture and the idiosyncrasies of college town life.

They say: “We picked Pop Song 89 because it already sounded like something we’d write. We kind of chose it in like 2 seconds.”

33. Bandicoot – Fall On Me

Never missing a beat or taking time to catch their breath Bandicoot are back with a new and impressive single. ‘Worried Blues’ starts with forceful piano chords and an anguished emotional vocal from Rhys Underdown, channeling John Lennon’s Plastic Ono Band primal scream as a voice from the dark. When ‘Worried Blues’ intro releases into a riff full of Talking Heads strutting art rock/ dance punk directness it leaves no doubt, Bandicoot are ‘The Sound of Young Wales!’.

“We’ve not changed Fall On Me too much, just a bit shoegazier and dreamier, we call it a ‘desert blues’ version.”

Bandicoot Online:

34. Napoleon IIIrd – Leave

James Mabbett is a composer, musician, producer and sound artist. Releasing music and touring internationally as Napoleon IIIrd, his music is a rich tangle of sounds, experimental soundscapes and joyous melodies. As a sound artist, he produces large scale sound installations and delivers experimental music workshops. Alongside this James provides score for film and composes for large ensemble.

James says: “I picked this track because when I first heard it, when it was first released, I was like, what the hell is this car alarm going on throughout this track?! I loved it, but I didn’t know why. That sound has stayed with me, and it’s influence evident in pretty much everything I make to this day.”

The Shining Levels – What’s The Frequency Kenneth

The Shining Levels is a musical collective existing on the edge of the northern English moors using rural folk musicians, loops and electronics, the result is a heady brew of gritty landscape hymns, ethereal acid-folk, borderlands ballads, 70s folk horror TV/film atmospherics, mood pieces, echoes of the colliery bands of old, moor-top drones and much more.

Their debut album – “Music Inspired by The Gallows Pole” – was released on vinyl in 2019 by Outré Disque (home of Paris popsters Juniore) to many favourable reviews, with subsequent singles garnering international radio support – including from BBC’s Radcliffe/Maconie, Gideon Coe, James Endeacott etc.

Summer of 2021 sees them re-unite for work on a new “concept album” with details to be announced soon..

They explain why they chose the song to cover:
“Obviously everyone’s got their personal faves but given we have a lot of rural folk influence in our music just as R.E.M. do, we thought it’d be fun to try one of their heavier pop tunes starting from a folky perspective and seeing where that led.

We use a cut-and-paste approach to our music, often sampling each other and mangling traditional instruments then blending with electronic elements, so in homage to R.E.M we dusted off the old mandolin and fiddle (which REM had abandoned for this record) and asked them to come up with a warped acoustic interpretation of the song. I suppose we set out to re-imagine R.E.M fronted by 3 North-East lasses trapped in some sort of psychedelic English garden..”

36. Paul Sentz(Slowdim) – Half A World Away

Paul Sentz says: “I grew up in the small town of Warrenton Virginia.
Started playing guitar around 15 and started my first band with my twin brother and cousin. We played mostly covers and funny enough we used to play R.E.M’s Find The River and It’s The End Of The World As We Know It.

I moved to Boston at age 20 and studied music in college where I then co-founded our band This Car Up That lasted for about four years until things sort of fell apart. I then started a solo project called Slowdim. We released one full length album and played many shows in NYC and Boston. I moved to Charlottesville VA in 2016 where I currently reside and am working on writing a solo EP.

“I chose Half a World Away because it’s a simply beautiful song. The lyrics are very relatable and just slightly abstract enough. The melody gives me a sense of sincere reflection and thoughtfulness. I was around the age of thirteen when Out Of Time was released and listened to that album a whole bunch. It’s just a classic record that will always be in my rotation.”

37. The Darling Buds – Low

The Darling Buds is an indie pop group from Newport, South Wales. Since forming in 1986, Andrea Lewis-Jarvis has steered the good ship Bud through a glitter cannon of sparkling guitar pop songs over their three LPs (Pop Said, Crawdaddy and Erotica) and 2017’s Evergreen EP (on Odd Box Records). Andrea, Dave, Matt, Erik and Paul will do their very best to continue to play joyful gigs and promise to release that difficult fourth album very soon (we have a title and everything).

“When GIITTV’s Bill Cummings tweeted a request to hear more female voices on his compilation of R.E.M. tributes, we were delighted to offer our reading of Out of Time’s Low, fulfilling Dave’s dream. I don’t mean Dave had long aspired to cover Low, he actually dreamt we had. So we sort of felt obliged.

We are very happy to help celebrate 40 years of R.E.M. and their astonishing back catalogue and even more happy that profits from the album will go to Help Musicians.”

38. Piney Gir – Nightswimming

You might recognise Piney from her tours of the UK, Europe and America, and singing with Gaz Coombes and Noel Gallagher. On tour she has supported Gaz Coombes, Ride, The Hidden Cameras, The Research, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Magic Numbers, The 5678’s, Wanda Jackson, Garth Hudson and more. She’s played a lot of the major festivals from South By Southwest to Glastonbury and is a darling of the BBC and NPR. Her music has also been showcased in feature films and award-winning TV shows.

“‘Automatic For The People’ came out just one short year after ‘Out of Time,’ they came out so close together it was almost like a double album to me, both tapes played non stop, on my walkman when I was studying, on long car trips – looking out the window. I had just got my driver’s license and went on a road trip from Kansas City to St Louis (about 5 hours) I did a lot of random road trips back then, I think I was just kinda bored; being too young to go to gigs in venues that were 21 and up, the rave scene I’d encountered and enjoyed but wasn’t really ‘me’ & there’s only so many hours you can sit in a diner with your friends drinking bottomless cups of weak coffee, so I would just drive… I would drive around the midwest, finding random roadside attractions, going to specific donut shops in small towns, searching for the weirdest crazy golf courses. It was kinda lonely as I tended to do these road trips solo, I’m actually kind of a shy introvert, so this suited me & R.E.M kept me company in the car. I remember late at night, my little white jeep & the truckers being the only people on the road, I’d sing along to Nightswimming and imagine this time on the highway to be like our version of Nightswimming, an interstate ballet with the trucks and my little white jeep gliding through the night together the way the song talks about the water and the moon, it just felt like a perfect song for the time/setting/scene.”

39. Quivers – Country Feedback

Sam, Bella, Michael and Holly are Quivers, a band which make cathartic guitar pop that jangles and shimmers somewhere between 1980s Australia and 1990s America and somehow sound like the present. Started in Hobart before moving to Melbourne, the band first toured their life-damaged but hopeful debut, We’ll Go Riding on the Hearses (Hotel Motel Records) around Australia, Canada and NZ. KEXP’s John Richards described it as one of the best he’d heard “in years” and invited the band to perform a filmed live session in their studio. It also led Seattle label Turntable Kitchen to commission the band to record a song by song re-imagining of REM’s Out of Time album, which came out in October 2020.

Their life-damaged but hopeful jangle pop has only sharpened since then, and while 2021 follow-up Golden Doubt conjures up REM or The Clean there is a lyrical directness that sets this record apart as always its own.

Golden Doubt is out now and is a co-release between Ba Da Bing, Spunk and Bobo Integral Records.

40. Andrew Eaton-Lewis – Find The River

Andrew Eaton-Lewis is a singer-songwriter living in the Outer Hebrides and signed to Wee Studio records. He is a former member of the band Swimmer One and his music has found its way to daytime Radio One, a Hollywood movie and numerous festivals, short films and theatre shows. His website is at He mostly doesn’t do social media but you can follow him on Facebook at

He says: “A kind reviewer once likened my music to ‘minimalist classical composers working on adventurous ballads for REM’ so I’ve tried to channel that a bit – this is basically Michael Nyman’s version of Find the River. I tend to only do covers if I’m going to take liberties with them. I chose Find the River quite instinctively and in hindsight I think it was because I’m less emotionally attached to it than some other REM songs. I was revisiting Automatic for the People to look for inspiration and was a bit too scared to touch Man on the Moon, Everybody Hurts or Nightswimming (although good on other people for trying) but I thought I could mess around with this one and live with myself. Hopefully other people can live with it too.”

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.