Sam Cohen and Danger Mouse performed a skeletal, haunting version of “The House of the Rising Sun” on Wednesday on Conan. The duo recently curated, produced and played on Resistance Radio, an LP’s worth of throwback covers that serves as a companion to the Amazon show The Man in the High Castle.
“The House of the Rising Sun” has existed in multiple incarnations over the years, recorded by Woody Guthrie, Lead Belly, the Animals, Dolly Parton and many more. Cohen and Danger Mouse opted for a stark, beat-less rendition. Cohen carried the melody with his acoustic guitar and gentle, stately croon. Danger Mouse contributed delicate bass notes alongside a tasteful swirl of strings.
As an online exclusive, the group also delivered a spare version of “Can’t Help Falling in Love,” popularized by Elvis Presley. (On Resistance Radio, Beck handles this cover.) Cohen and co. stripped the hammy drama away from Presley’s version, boiling the song down to its bare essentials.
Danger Mouse and Cohen thought carefully about how to reproduce the sound of the late Fifties and early Sixties tracks that make up the bulk of Resistance Radio. “If this were to sound super clean and super hi-fi, that would be everything you would expect from a covers album of today and it would just fall flat,” Cohen told Rolling Stone. Instead, they aimed for a “gooey” sound: “completely soft around all the edges the way a photograph is blurry in the corners.”