May 192018
 
grace jones covers

Here’s a stumper: Is it more correct to ask who Grace Jones is, or what Grace Jones is? The model-actress-singer-diva-icon turns 70 today, and her appeal—which might once have appeared to be a particularly long-running flash in the pan—shows no signs of abating. The documentary Bloodlight and Bami, an intimate look at the performer, came out this year, and her memoir I’ll Never Write My Memoirs was a notable book of 2015.

Jones materialized onto the dancefloors and catwalks of mid-70s New York as if dropped from a passing spaceship. Single-handedly redefining “exotic”—back in the days when that questionable term meant “non-Caucasian”—Jones brought a fierce and, for the time, shockingly confrontational androgyny to the pages of fashion glossies. Simultaneously tribal, futurist, techno and primitive, Jones and her trademark glare fairly leapt off the page, daring you to look away. Many could not, and her modeling career, launched in 1966 when she was 18, has never truly ended. Continue reading »

Oct 312011
 

Justin Timberlake appeared on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon over the weekend. As it has twice before (here and here), the occasion necessitated a look at the “History of Rap.” The duo once more busted a move dropping lines from classic hip-hip tracks with the Roots backing. Continue reading »

Sep 132011
 

No secret that we love Telephoned. The covers duo of Maggie Horn and Sammy Bananas consistently bring one of the freshest approaches to covers out there. We named last year’s Off the Hook mixtape the third-best covers album of 2010 and now they’ve released another: Good Call. It finds the duo branching out even further to redefine the “cover” concept. Their general M.O. – cover one song while remixing it with another – proves more fluid than ever and the song selection follow suit. Continue reading »

Aug 112011
 

It’s quite obvious that alternative rock band Taking Back Sunday and rapper Kanye West sit on opposite sides of the musical spectrum. But maybe it’s this very fact that makes TBS’s cover of West’s “Can’t Tell Me Nothing” such an interesting and satisfying listen. TBS lead vocalist Adam Lazzara and guitarist John Nolan manage to successfully deliver a folksy rendition of this downtempo hip hop song using only their voices and guitars. Continue reading »

Jul 122011
 

As a rapper, Nicki Minaj has many voices and characters she uses to tell her stories. There’s “Roman Zolanski;” Nicki’s twin sister that emerges when she’s angry; “Martha Zolanski;” Roman’s British mother; and her Spanish alter ego Rosa, just to name a few. However, her many characters do not include an Iowa singer-songwriter named Jason. But after Jason Reeves’ inspired video take on Nicki’s Drake-featuring hit “Moment for Life,” maybe she should consider emulating him on her next album. Continue reading »

Jun 022011
 

Boston duo Karmin has become one of 2011’s breakout cover stars, thanks to a cover of Chris Brown’s “Look at Me Now” and a follow-up Lil Wayne cover. You want proof that they’re getting huge? Check out their latest video. It’s a version of new Nicki Minaj single “Super Bass.”

At first, it features all the hallmarks of a classic Karmin cover. Amy Heidemann strums a guitar while quasi-rapping Minaj’s lyrics while Nick Noonan plays plaintive piano chords. After a minute or so, though, the camera slowly zooms out to reveal Questlove and Owen Biddle of the Roots jamming along, on drums and bass respectively. It’s just another feather in the cap of a duo who is having quite a year. Check it out below. Continue reading »