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A.V. Undercover

Hamilton Leithauser covers John Cougar
About This Episode

Hamilton Leithauser has graced the Undercover stage (well, not this one, the other one) twice before, with The Walkmen. His on-extreme-hiatus band covered R.E.M.’s “Driver 8” in season one, and “Holiday Road” for our first Holiday Undercover series. Now he’s back with an excellent solo album, Black Hours, and a fully functioning cover of John Cougar’s “I Need A Lover.” (You’ll also notice Walkmen guitarist Paul Maroon rocking out while sitting down.) The song was Cougar’s first American hit, way back in 1979, and it was released after he stopped using the name Johnny Cougar, but before he went with John Cougar Mellencamp and, at long last, simply John Mellencamp. Leithauser and his band took the song as a challenge, working up a cover that includes its full-length instrumental opening passage, not just copping out with the much shorter radio edit. It’s aces. If you’re in or near Chicago, you can see Leithauser and his band at this year’s A.V. Fest/Hideout Block Party on September 5; info and tickets are available here.

Here’s where we’ve been and where we’re going with this year’s Undercover:

Wye Oak covered Kate Bush

Wild Cub covered Beyonce

Lydia Loveless covered Echo & The Bunnymen

The Men covered Devo

PUP covered Buzzcocks

Eagulls covered The Stone Roses

The Coathangers covered The Go-Go’s

Tokyo Police Club covered Wheatus

Andrew Jackson Jihad covered Stone Temple Pilots

Cheatahs covered Big Country

Pet Shop Boys, “West End Girls”

Breeders, “Cannonball”

Arrested Development, “Tennessee”

The Jam, “A Town Called Malice”

Mountain Goats, “The Best Ever Death Metal Band In Denton”

TV On The Radio, “Wolf Like Me”

Asia, “Heat Of The Moment”

Cranberries, “Linger”

Vampire Weekend, “A-Punk”

Squeeze, “Tempted”

T’Pau, “Heart & Soul”

Elvis Costello, “Alison”

Pulp, “Babies”

Green Day, “When I Come Around”

Yes, “Owner Of A Lonely Heart”

Rush, “Limelight”

PJ Harvey, “O Stella”

Wang Chung, “Dance Hall Days”

  • A.V. Undercover
  • 210 Episodes
  • Undercover: We invite 25 bands into our office to perform a cover song from an ever-dwindling list. The later a band comes in, the fewer songs they have to choose from.