Andrew Jackson Jihad / Cobra Skulls - Under the Influence Vol. 6 [7 inch] (Cover Artwork)

Andrew Jackson Jihad / Cobra Skulls

Under the Influence Vol. 6 [7 inch] (2009)

Suburban Home

In the blue corner, we have Andrew Jackson Jihad covering Neutral Milk Hotel, which is an obvious influence of theirs. But will Cobra Skulls, in the red corner, be able to compete covering Bob Dylan?

To put it simply, Neutral Milk Hotel's "Two Headed Boy" is an acoustic song covered acoustically. Andrew Jackson Jihad does a good job of changing the pace of the riff ever so mildly (more of a punk chugging sound) to fit the song's slight speed increase. Sean-Claude Bonnette's vocal styling couldn't be more different NMH's Jeff Magnum: High-pitched and almost meek versus Jeff's bassy delivery. The vulnerability of the song is accented with Sean, but it's not a surprise he needed to double-track his vocals during the choruses to equal the power of Magnum. The song fades out with what could be anything from a bass synth to a sedated didgeridoo which complements the acoustic guitar nicely, but it seems like the main goal of this cover was an homage to an influence rather than a cover that could stand up over repeated listens. After a few spins I was ready for NMH's version becoming the sole version of that song I will listen to again and again.

I wasn't the only one to raise their eyebrow when they heard Cobra Skulls was covering Bob Dylan's "Subterranean Homesick Blues," but they do such a bang=up job I'm sure everyone's eyebrows were subsequently lowered. The cover sounds like, well, a rockabilly band covering "Subterranean Homesick Blues," but they do it as a complete rock and roll rave-up that's irresistible, rendering the Red Hot Chili Peppers version completely obsolete (if it wasn't already). Above all, Devin Peralta does a good job of fitting the odd vocal meter into the speed of the song, and speeding up the song exponentially during the fade-out was a nice touch to go out on.

On paper Andrew Jackson Jihad had the advantage but Cobra Skulls won via knockout in the 5th round.