If you’ve ever heard J. Mascis perform Dinosaur Jr. songs solo on acoustic guitar, he goes about it in what could be described as a lazy way. He’s sloppy, which is part of who he is, or his brand, if you will. As one music critic once said of his cover of the Cure’s “Just Like Heaven,” when he says, “‘I must have been asleep for days,’ you really believe him.” A recently released live album actually has him singing “blah, blah, blah,” on one of the songs when he forgets the words. Though he’s a much revered guitar player, his acoustic guitar playing is rough on live recordings.
When Nick O’Keefe covers “Little Fury Things,” he is more precise. He does the song (one of my all-time favorites and maybe the best album-opener) justice with a straight take on the Dino Jr. classic. YouTube recommending this to me shows that someone is creating good algorithms over there.
O’Keefe also covers other indie darlings, such as Sufjan Stevens and The Microphones.