In support of the release of their new album Father of the Bride, Vampire Weekend is hot on the performance circuit. They recently appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live to perform “Sunflower” from the new album, and also delivered a stunning cover of Bob Dylan’s “Jokerman.” This isn’t the first time Vampire Weekend have performed the Dylan classic. The band performed the song on GQ Live in Los Angeles back in December, though this current performance is far more nuanced.
Some covers are more equal than others. Good, Better, Best looks at three covers and decides who takes home the gold, the silver, and the bronze.
Frou Frou is officially back! After a fifteen-year hiatus, we can look forward to new music and a tour from Imogen Heap and Guy Sigsworth. And although true fans may prefer some deeper cuts, we are all united by the nostalgia triggered by the distinctive opening bars of their most popular song, “Let Go.” Whether the song takes you back to the ending scene of Garden State, or you experience it anew in Wiz Khalifa’s “In the Cut,” Frou Frou’s “Let Go” speaks to the overworked, the overwhelmed, and the overcautious.
It’s been 23 years since Sublime released their self-titled studio album. It was their breakout record, gaining tons of airplay and new fans for the band. It was also their final album, released just months after lead singer Bradley Nowell’s death. One of the hit singles was “Doin’ Time”, a song built largely on samples and influenced heavily by George Gershwin’s oft-covered “Summertime”. Although it has aged well, it’s still a song that evokes the late 1990s. And then Lana Del Rey got a hold of it.
There is a strong early Bob Dylan vibe blowin’ in the wind of J.S. Ondara’s debut album Tales of America released earlier this year. The record, a sublime set of stark sometimes melancholy tunes that perfectly frames the boyish vocals and nuanced delivery inherent in Ondara’s voice has earned him a nomination for emerging artist of the year to be presented by the Americana Music Association later in the year.
Growing up in Nairobi, Kenya listening mostly to rock music, Ondara apparently always thought that “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door” was a Gun’s ‘N’ Roses song. After he lost a bet to a friend who told him that the song’s true origins, folk music became his passion. And so began his travels down the Dylan rabbit hole that eventually lead him to Minneapolis, in Dylan’s home state, to pursue his career.
For the new documentary I’m Leaving Now (Ya Me Voy), about an undocumented worker in Brooklyn, singer-songwriter Xenia Rubinos covered The Clash’s “Should I Stay or Should I Go.” It features all the energy and passion of the original, with a twist: with the personal approval of The Clash’s Mick Jones, she translated the lyrics entirely into Spanish.
Under the Radar shines a light on lesser-known cover artists. If you’re not listening to these folks, you should. Catch up on past installments here.
Power couple Kelly Ogden and Luis Cabezas formed the Dollyrots, a pop punk band, in 2000. The oft-quoted origin story sets the scene for their musical style:
“We were watching the 2000 presidential election results, and at four o’clock in the morning, when we found out that George W. Bush had won, Luis and I were like, ‘The world’s probably gonna end anyway, and I don’t want to go to med school,’ so we thought, ‘Let’s just do the band.'”
Honestly, who hasn’t felt the same urge recently?
If you are “fashionably socialized” you may have at least heard of The Dollyrots’ biggest hit, “Because I’m Awesome,” in one of the variety of television shows, movies, and commercials that featured it. Along with releasing original music consistently over the years, The Dollyrots have covered a wide range of songs that span genres and decades of origin. Here is just taste of what they have to offer cover-wise.