Reviews of Son Little’s music tend to note all the genres he covers. He’s been compared to Marvin Gaye and to Tom Waits – in the same article. Though he certainly has a soulful voice, there’s a lot more to this former Roots collaborator than the limiting label “neo-soul” might encompass. And his wide tastes is showcased in the songs he’s picked to cover recently, from Drake to Led Zeppelin to, most recently, Bruce Springsteen.
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.
“It’s an old expression,” Jesse Nolan explained in an interview with MTV. “Musicians used to say you caught a ghost if you gave a good performance. Like you were possessed.”
The spirit has certainly moved Caught a Ghost, the Los Angeles indie-electro-soul musical collective headed by Nolan. They give a 21st-century voice to the ghosts of Stax and Motown, welding them to ’90s hip-hop and electronica. Nolan, who plays most of the instruments in the studio and leads a whole stageful in Caught a Ghost’s highly-praised live shows (could be four, could be eight – “We just take whoever is available when we play”), describes himself as an “imperfectionist,” making sure the music is realer by not refining it to death.
“What the world needs now, is not yet another cover of Hotline Bling, sweet lord.”
That’s Sondre Lerche, who posted that message along with…his cover of “Hotline Bling.” But, as it turns out, we did need this cover of Drake‘s biggest hit (and maybe it will help console Drake after being robbed of his first #1 by a certain someone suddenly returning to say “Hello”).
Kanye West‘s latest G.O.O.D Music signee, Chicago artist Nigel Holt, (formerly “Hollywood Holt”) releases an angst-ridden and synth-laden covers collection titled Cover Me (editor’s note: good title!) featuring remakes of artists ranging from the late Amy Winehouse to indie acts such as Florence + The Machine and the Neighborhood.
Despite what their name suggests, neither this track nor the musical duo itself points toward a waning musicality. With this cover of “Buried Alive”, originally by Canadian artist Drake, It Only Gets Worse manages to create a sublime, ambient piece that leaves the listener writhing in sweet ecstasy.