Buried Treasure: Copeland – Black Hole Sun (Soundgarden cover)


Buried Treasure is a semi-regular feature that explores some hidden musical gems – the rare and forgotten B-sides, covers, hidden tracks, live versions and alternative takes that deserve some recognition.

There are a few thematic changes that mark the start of the winter season here in Montana for me.  First and foremost, snow.  This morning I awoke to the first snow of the year here in the northern hemisphere.  And for reasons I cannot explain, the first smattering of snowfall triggers my brain to start playing my collection of Copeland albums.  Snow and Copeland.  Makes sense right?  Nothing screams snow more than a band from Lakeland, Florida.  All confusing correlations aside, the colder and snowier it gets here in Montana, the more and more Copeland finds it’s way into my music listening rotation.

Curiously enough, along with the morning snow, I was asked by Joseph James to write an entry for the Buried Treasure segment.  I have made it a point to be more in tune to the signs and synchronicities in life and knew that I absolutely needed to write an entry and it absolutely needed to be on Copeland.  Thankfully, Copeland’s long musical career is full of forgotten B-sides, covers, and hidden tracks which made selecting a subject for this entry easy.

For those who may not know, Copeland is an American rock band with a uniquely beautiful quality.  This beauty can most likely be attributed to the voice of their frontman Aaron Marsh.  As a person who tends to lean toward sadder, more angsty styles of music, Copeland tends to be out of place in my record collection as the majority of their work is fairly uplifting and for lack of a better word, nice.

Perhaps it is this “niceness” that caused me to stop and look twice when I first heard the all too familiar lyrics of “Black Hole Sun” being sung by none other than Aaron Marsh.  Granted, I was listening to Copeland’s 2007 release “Dressed Up & In Line” at the time and should’ve known that it was of course Aaron Marsh singing the lyrics of Chris Cornell and Soundgarden’s 1994 hit “Black Hole Sun”.  But nonetheless, the stark contrast between Aaron Marsh’s voice and the gloomy vibe of “Black Hole Sun” was a quick head turner.

It’s always impressive when an uplifting artist like Copeland can take on a sad, dark medium like “Black Hole Sun”, which some say is slang for a particular way of preparing heroin, and turn it into something that listeners, like myself, actually prefer over the original version.  Taking on a cover with as much notoriety as “Black Hole Sun” takes a tremendous amount of courage, especially when it comes from an entirely separate genre of music.

Check out Copeland’s “Black Hole Sun” cover:

And now, with all seriousness set aside, whether or not you like Copeland’s cover of “Black Hole Sun” one must at least take the time to listen to their alternate, hidden-track version of their cover.  This “Bonus Track” was tucked roughly fifteen minutes into the sixteenth track of “Dressed Up & In Line”.  I have absolutely no clue who is singing this version (possibly their drummer Jon Bucklew?), but it’s definitely not Aaron Marsh.  However, this individuals ability to power through the entire song without losing their composure is absolutely commendable.  I challenge you to listen to the entire song without laughing.
Here’s Copeland’s alternate cover of “Black Hole Sun”:
C.J. Blessum

Buried Treasure: How To Destroy Angels – Is Your Love strong Enough?


Buried Treasure is a semi-regular feature that explores some hidden musical gems – the rare and forgotten B-sides, covers, hidden tracks, live versions and alternative takes that deserve some recognition.

I met Trent Reznor last year.

It was the day after the Nine Inch Nails/Queens of the Stoneage double bill. I was sitting in the departure lounge at Christchurch Airport waiting for my flight back to Wellington. A child in the same room was making a weird noise that sounded like a whistle crossed with a scream. Of course I looked up to see what the strange sound was.

And then I saw who the kid’s dad was. It was Trent Reznor. There was no way I could mistake it – his face was on all the Nine Inch Nails posters I’d had on my bedroom room as a teenager.

I nervously approached him.

“Uh. Excuse me”.

Trent looked up at me with a steely stare. “Yeah?”

“Are.. are you Trent Reznor?”



He didn’t roll his eyes, but he really should have.

I tried to save myself from looking like too much of a dick. “I was at the show last night. It was awesome.”

Trent looked a bit pissed off. “Thanks. Hey, I’m going to spend some time with my family, OK?” He shook my hand and walked off.

Maybe I shouldn’t have interrupted his family time, but I think I would have regretted it if I had thrown away the chance to meet one of my musical heroes.

Trent Reznor is the gothic poster boy for industrial music. He didn’t start it, but he was responsible for bringing it into the mainstream. Name any angsty alternative-metal from the 90’s onwards and Reznor is likely to be an influence.

In 2009 Reznor announced that NIN were finishing up. He started working on other projects. How To Destroy Angels was one project, fronted by his wife, Mariqueen Maandig. And following up from his acclaimed soundtrack to the video game Quake, Reznor co-wrote the scores to some David Fincher films along with Atticus Ross: The Social Network, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, and Gone Girl.

The Buried Treasure track I’m writing about today is ‘Is Your Love Strong Enough?’ by How To Destroy Angels, from The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo soundtrack.

I’ve never even watched TGWTDT – I didn’t expect the English speaking remake to be any better than the original. But I did buy the soundtrack, because I liked the work Reznor did on The Social Network. The music is eerie and unsettling – suiting the mood of a David Finch film. It’s not something I listen to often – it’s three albums worth of creepy background music – except for two songs. One is a cover of Led Zepplin’s ‘Immigrant Song’, featuring Karen O from The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the other is a Bryan Ferry cover by HTDA.

The cover is ethereal like the original, but with less of a 80’s power ballad feel. This automatically makes the cover an improvement. Maandig’s vocals are the highlight of the song – strong and haunting. Reznor also adds some backing vocals to the mix. Both have powerful voices and they contrast nicely. The song is brooding and builds up slowly. The glitchy electronic sounds are inevitable when you consider the artists’ industrial backgrounds, and the blips and beeps add colour to otherwise stark reverberating keyboards.

I read that Maandig came and sang some HTDA songs during the NIN set in Auckland on the same tour I went to. I wish that she’d done the same in Christchurch.

Joseph James