May 202016
 

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.

caught_a_ghost

“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.

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Jan 132015
 

While Jose Gonzalez has a strong body of original work, he is best known for his incredible anthology of covers. The singer-songwriter is in full promotional swing for his first solo album in almost eight years and recently stopped by a game show in his native Sweden to perform this folksy cover of TLC‘s “Waterfalls.” Continue reading »

Apr 262012
 

They Say It’s Your Birthday celebrates an artist’s special day with other people singing his or her songs. Let others do the work for a while. Happy birthday!

At the age of 20, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins became one-third of one of the most successful singing girl groups of all time: TLC. Throughout the ’90s, the R&B trio — T-Boz, Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, and the late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes — consistently dominated the charts with singles like “No Scrubs,” “Unpretty,” and “Waterfalls.” Continue reading »

Jan 112012
 

You may remember that back in September we posted an interview with “Fleet Foxes.” That’s “Fleet Foxes” in quotes, since it wasn’t actually Fleet Foxes, but a guy who covered pop songs in the harmony-acoustic style of Fleet Foxes, and did so damn well. Since then, the imposter known as Fleet Foxes Sing has gotten more press, from the likes of New York Magazine and BlackBook (who claims our interview blew the lid on the farce, though it wasn’t exactly a secret). Continue reading »

Dec 062011
 

I have no hard data to back this up, but I suspect that EPs play a larger role in the world of cover songs than they do elsewhere. In the wider world, EPs tend to be an afterthought, a set of rejects or remixes that may or may not be worthwhile. People pay little attention to EPs, and artists act accordingly, saving their real statements for the full-lengths. In our world, though, we see as many EPs as we do proper albums, and they’re every bit as good. An artist may hesitate to put out a “cover album” – still a loaded term in some circles – but in the age of Garageband and Bandcamp, it’s only too easy to record a half dozen covers and toss ‘em out between albums. Therefore, in honor of the EP’s prominence in our world, we present our favorite EPs of 2011 (with an MP3 from each). Continue reading »