It’s always a bit weird for me to hear a Hall & Oates cover not recorded live in Daryl Hall’s living room. But Lonely Benson, a Nashville-based one-man “bandless band” powered by Daniel Young, decided to give it a try, cranking out an electronic cover of “I Can’t Go For That (No Can Do).” He released the song in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for a full-length album on vinyl. “These days, even the news is enough to give you a nervous breakdown,” Benson writes on his site. “That’s why I’ve set out to create music that helps people CHILL.”
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.
In Canada, and among elite musicians, it seems foolish to claim that the work of Emm Gryner flies under the radar. She has a dozen and a half releases to her name, not counting the ones with the folk trio Trent Severn (where she sings and plays bass) and the hard rockers Trapper. She’s played with David Bowie’s band and opened for Def Leppard. Nelly Furtado named her album Science Fair as a desert island disc. Bono was once asked what songs of the previous 20 years he wished he’d written; Gryner’s “Almighty Love” was one of the half-dozen or so he named.
Is there an unwritten rule that all of the best dream pop has to come from Baltimore, Maryland? With Beach House, Future Islands, and Lower Dens all hailing from the birthplace of the Star Spangled Banner, it seems like it is. Lower Islands, whose latest release Escape From Evil is making every indie critic swoon, celebrated their recent success with this cover of Hall & Oates “Maneater.”
It seems that gorgeous, soulful musicians are springing up on the Interwebs at a younger and younger age. Only a few years ago, a 15-year-old Birdy filled people with awe with her goosebump-inducing covers of Bon Iver and Phoenix. Ont’ Sofa Gibson Sessions recently introduced the world to 14-year-old Billie Tweddle with her quiet but powerful rendition of Hall & Oates’ “You make My Dreams Come True.”
Rumer is one of those performers who works for years to become an overnight success; she won Mojo’s 2011 Best Breakthrough Act award more than a decade after she started performing. One listen to her and you’ll wonder what took the world so long. Her voice is regularly compared to Karen Carpenter’s, and she doesn’t just sound at home singing the soft-pop sound of ’70s AM radio – she makes that sound matter like no one else has dared to in a long time.
Living in the S.F. Bay Area, I have had the pleasure of being in the know when it comes to Nicki Bluhm and The Gramblers. The soulful, rocking Bluhm is a regular live performer who turns up at the big festivals, as a guest vocalist and headlining her own gigs. A week ago a friend of mine, who is friends with Nicki, posted her most recent “Van Session” song to his Facebook, a cover of Hall and Oates‘ “I Can’t Go For That”.