Exclusive: Hear Cults Cover The Motels' "Total Control"

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Exclusive: Hear Cults Cover The Motels' "Total Control"

Cults fans, rejoice: The dreamy, effervescent musical duo have joined Turntable Kitchen’s Sounds Delicious series and will be releasing their version of The Motels’ 1979 self-titled LP on vinyl on Aug. 17. We’re happy to premiere the first single from the record, “Total Control.”

It’s a synth-driven, hazy, slow-burning track that certainly does the original justice, and you can listen right here.

Sounds Delicious is a subscription-only series from Turntable Kitchen in which musicians cover whatever album they’d like to. Cults joins an already-impressive lineup—other records include Benjamin Gibbard covering Bandwagonesque by Teenage Fanclub, Foxygen’s Jonathan Radio covering Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run, and the forthcoming Pains of Being Pure at Heart version of Tom Petty’s Full Moon Fever.


As far as why Cults chose this album to cover, here’s what they had to say:

A song begins. A guitar is gently strummed. The slow patter of drums enters to keep the beat. A woman’s voice joins singing in a desperate tone. “Every night I sit, home alone, sitting by my…”

Sounds familiar right?

The casual rhyme of “alone” and “telephone” has been irresistible a long, long time. It’s easy and it makes sense now more than ever. But Martha Davis isn’t sitting around waiting for a call from a boy. She’s there “Sitting by my, radio. Just hoping that something good will come on. But it never does.”

This is one of the many subversions of classic songwriting that made us fall in love with this album. Whether she’s chastising (and reveling in) the idea of fashion on “Dressing Up” or unpacking the meaninglessness of instant pleasure on “Kix”, Martha Davis is kind of writer who sees clearly and never takes the obvious route to express hidden truths.

We found out about The Motels about seven years ago, when we were on tour with an amazing band called Total Control in Australia. We thought it was the greatest band name ever and later found out through googling that it was based off a song that came out in 1979 and was a big hit here and down under. After listening to it dozens and dozens of times we starting covering it to help lengthen our set (we had only one 33 minute album at the time!) and to pay homage to what we felt was a kindred spirit.

When we started talking to Turntable Kitchen through some friends, the idea of covering a whole album sounded like a blast. Luckily, we didn’t have to pour through our vinyl collection or have long debates about what to choose. It was gonna be “The Motels.” It was one of the easiest decisions we’ve ever made as a band.

Anyway, we hope y’all enjoy our take on it. We knew we could never match the punch and raw emotionality of the original recording, so we tried to get a little weird with it. We stretched some parts out, shrunk others and took some liberties here and there. We hope y’all find it trippy and fun to listen to. We certainly had fun making it. If all this this yammering comes down to one final point it would be this.




The band is also heading on tour shortly—those dates are below, beneath footage from Cults’ 2017 Paste Studio session.

Cults Tour Dates

19 – Denver, Colo. @ Velorama Festival
20 – Omaha, Neb. @ The Waiting Room *
21 – Kansas City, Mo. @ recordBar *
22 – St. Louis, Mo. @ The Ready Room *
23 – Louisville, Ky. @ Zanzabar *
24 – Pittsburgh, Pa. @ Cattivo *
25 – Cincinnati, Ohio @ BeWILDerfest at Urban Artifact Brewery
26 – Columbus, Ohio @ Rumba Cafe *

(* – w/ The Shacks)