It’s a fine line, really. While most can agree there are few things in music that are more loathsome than watching a true blue cover band perform earnest bastardizations of other musicians’ material on stage, sometimes a well-executed and adventurous tribute to another artist’s work can function to both honor the original act and showcase the talent and versatility of the covering party. This year, Milwaukee saw Midnight Reruns pay respect to The Mistreaters with an excellent cover of “The Other Man” and WebsterX re-imagine part of Radiohead’s Kid A with his Kid X release. Now it’s Greatest Lakes’ turn add to the Milwaukee cover canon.
Citing the band-wide love for The Beach Boys, Greatest Lakes decided to chase its great self-titled 2014 debut with a tremendous rendition of the iconic rock forefathers’ “All I Wanna Do,” a lesser-known song from the oft-overlooked 16th studio album, Sunflower. It manages to remain identifiable to the original while showcasing the Lakes’ unmistakable indie-tinged folk sound.
“It’s pretty chill and has a lot of vocal layers, which is how our songs tend to turn out,” Greatest Lakes guitarist Brian Steinseifer says. “We also knew we could expand on it a bit and have some fun with the psychedelic vibe that already kind of exists in the original. We have been playing it live for a while now and ended up tracking the drums on a whim while we were in the studio doing a couple of other new ones.”
The drums were recorded at Renwood Messenger Studio in Kenosha. The rest of the parts were laid down at the band’s practice space. A Portland-based engineer named Beau Sorenson mixed it, and Justin Perkins of Mystery Room Mastering mastered it. Steinseifer tells Milwaukee Record the song will be on the band’s next album, which will come out next year. Stream the song below and see Greatest Lakes play at Thursday’s Radio Milwaukee Music Awards.