Feb 042021
 
black pumas sugar man

For all the talk of how the Internet perpetuates falsehoods, rumors could take on a life of their own long before the advent of the World Wide Web. They could even help define an artist’s career, as was the case of the singer/songwriter known as Rodriguez. He recorded two albums in the early ‘70s that went nowhere commercially in the U.S. However, according to the Oscar-winning 2012 documentary Searching For Sugarman, in the waning years of apartheid South Africa, Rodriguez’s music found new life among young people protesting the government. His popularity was propelled by rumors of his suicide, which in the days before the Internet, were impossible to correct. After he was tracked down by journalists in the ‘90s, Rodriguez toured South Africa and revived his music career.

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Feb 032021
 
matt kim shaun of the dead

Matt and Kim didn’t plan on covering I Monster’s “The Blue Wrath.” So why did they? To fix an Instagram video they had posted with the original version of the song. That first video was removed, after getting caught up in the social media copyright monitoring systems. So Matt and Kim created a cover to use when they reposted the video. In the post, they say, “Insta took this video down before because of a copyright claim on the song, so I figured ima ‘musician…’ I’m stuck at home… I’ll make a cover of it and put it back up! Don’t try me!” Continue reading »

Feb 032021
 
Miley Cyrus Covers Fade Into You

When artists cover Mazzy Star‘s “Fade Into You,” they often seem to lean into the quietude of the 1993 classic. All the trademarks of the original make it an easy choice—Hope Sandoval’s vocals, ethereal but self-assured; the steady tambourine; the dreampop slide guitar. It’s no surprise, then, to hear Ben Harper covering the song on solo piano, or J Mascis with stunning guitar and a Neil Young twang. Continue reading »

Feb 022021
 
vaccines cover no one knows

“No One Knows” is perhaps the Queens of the Stone Age‘s signature song. Their biggest hit and Grammy-nominated, it’s famous for its staccato riff and lead-singer Josh Homme’s clashing smooth vocal delivery. The song captures both the band’s commitment to loud rock music and its facility for pop hooks.

UK indie rockers The Vaccines have gone a very different direction with their version. The famous guitar riff is replaced by a mellow electric piano that sounds like it could be in a video game. Dave Grohl’s frantic drumming is replaced by minimalist percussion that could be a click track. Lead singer Justin Young delivers the vocal almost in a hush, with one track where he is sort of singing and another track where he is just about whispering. Continue reading »

Jan 282021
 
Ruel covers Lenny Kravitz

To paraphrase The Office, “wunderkind” may be a weird word, but there are few others for the talent and presence the monomynous Ruel Vincent van Dijk displays at only eighteen. While his singles show a contemporary pop sensibility, his latest turn covering Lenny Kravitz on triple-J’s “Like a Version” suggests a more retro future. Continue reading »