Hear Bright Eyes Cover Thin Lizzy's 'Running Back' for Charity

UniqueThis 3 Jan 14

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Legendary independent record label Secretly Canadian continues its 25th anniversary celebration this week with two bangers and a backpack. Bright Eyes and British up-and-comer Kathleen Frances contribute to the ongoing SC25 Singles project with two covers, and the label has collaborated with Topo Designs on a limited edition Rover Pack Classic, all for a good cause. We’ve got an exclusive advance look and listen.

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If you’d been waiting for Conor Oberst to bring his signature quaver to a Thin Lizzy track, you may now relax. Bright Eyes’ take on the band’s 1976 classic “Running Back” wrestles the original’s twin-guitar attack into a toned-down, bedroom-recording context, making the song at once more intense and more intimate. “Phil Lynott’s vocal delivery and lyrics exemplify nonchalant cool,” Oberst says, and while his own vocal delivery is decidedly extremely chalant, the experiment works. This song was originally recorded live for SiriusXM in 2020, but is available for streaming everywhere today.

If you remember one thing about the 2014 Ryan Gosling vehicle Drive… let’s be honest, it’s probably the jacket. But if you remember two things, a close second is the song playing over the final minutes. “A Real Hero,” by Secretly Canadian artists Electric Youth and College, was a majestic slice of ‘80s synth-pop, with dreamy vocals assuring the listener, “you have proved to be a real human being, and a real hero.” Well, we human beings have been tested in the years since then, and the strain is wearing on us. Kathleen Frances covers the song with a huskier, wearier voice that re-contextualizes the whole thing. We want to be heroes, her delivery says, but God damn, it’s tiring. “I wanted to slow it down and create a moodiness to feel the sentiment of the song in a different way,” Frances says. You know those minor-key versions of breezy pop songs that they always put in trailers for horror movies? This does what those want to do.

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These are the 18th and 19th tracks on the label’s Every Light on This Side of the Town 25th anniversary compilation, which features Secretly Canadian artists Porridge Radio and Stella Donnelly alongside Jim James, Beach Fossils, NNAMDI, and more.

But if you’re looking for a new bag as the world teeters on the edge of a return to the office, Secretly Canadian and Topo Designs have you covered with an exclusive limited-run collaboration on Topo’s signature Rover Pack. In the classic Topo color blocks of navy and red, with an SX25 X Topo Design patch, the backpack has a nice, big main compartment, an internal sleeve for your laptop or tablet, and front and side pockets for your extra gear. It’s $99, with proceeds going toward Secretly Canadian’s $250,000 fundraising goal for New Hope For Families, a shelter in the label’s native Bloomington, where families with children can stay together regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity. The SC25 Rover Pack Classic is up on the Secretly Store today, alongside exclusive SC25 vinyl from The War On Drugs, Anohni, Faye Webster, Tig Notaro, and others.

Good people, good music, good cause. Be a real hero and snap some anniversary merch up today.

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