2019 was a year of triumph for Sydney-based, ARIA Double Platinum-selling six-piece funk/hip hop group Winston Surfshirt. The band dropped their eagerly awaited sophomore album, 'Apple Crumble', to rave reviews globally, played packed out shows from Melbourne to Amsterdam and closed a memorable year with a show-stopping headline set at Splendour In The Grass that achieved immortality via triple j’s Live At The Wireless. Then, the rise of the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020—as it did for many others—brought Winston’s seemingly unstoppable momentum to a screeching halt.
Rather than focussing on abrupt endings, Winston Surfshirt instead channelled their energy into new beginnings—most notably frontman Winston, who welcomed his first child into the world, while still finding time to collaborate with friend Angus Stone on the Dope Lemon track ‘Every Day Is A Holiday’. The collaboration amassed over 8 million streams, became an alternative radio hit and was voted #107 in triple j’s Hottest 200.
Alongside a stirring livestream from the Sydney Opera House at the height of the pandemic, Winston Surfshirt opted for a less salubrious setting as the leisurewear-clad six-piece performed from their respective Sydney loungerooms to deliver a series of ‘Live from Lockdown’ sessions. The band paid homage to some of their biggest influences via a series of cover versions, designed to bring some light to fans who were desperate to experience the buzz of live music once again.
“During lockdown we wanted to keep busy and keep people happy by covering some of our favourite artists. Jamiroquai, MF Doom, Madlib and George Michael are all iconic artists that helped shape the Winston Surfshirt sound- so it was fun to pay homage to these legends in our loungerooms and release these covers online, now they’re available wherever you want to listen” said Winston.
'Cover Your Mouth' opens with a uniquely smooth take on the Jamiroquai classic ‘You Give Me Something’, followed by a rousing rendition of George Michael’s ‘Fastlove’, before closing with Winston’s trademark silky flows atop a classic horn refrain on a new spin of Madvillain’s iconic track ‘Curls’. The 'Cover Your Mouth (Live From Lockdown)' EP proves that there is nothing else that sounds like Winston Surfshirt, even when they are covering other artists’ songs.
While never intended for formal release, a groundswell of support in comments sections across YouTube and a barrage of DMs on social media has led to a global release for 'Cover Your Mouth (Live From Lockdown)' via Sweat It Out/BMG, out now on streaming platforms everywhere.