BEST NEW MUSIC: VOX - SWIM GOOD (FRANK OCEAN COVER)
If I were a young musician, covering Frank Ocean would be one of the more daunting tasks I could ever imagine taking on. How could I, an unknown quantity, possibly compete with his hopefully oblique cadence and weary worldview? It just all seems so untouchable in a ‘artist of our generation’ kind of way. There’s a reason Ocean shot from the kid who wrote “Thinking About You” to festival headliner in the blink of the eye, is what I’d tell myself, giving up before I even got started. Why even try when Ocean has got a sound so unique and honest that it transcends any and everything out there? How could anyone possibly tackle that challenge?
Competing with Ocean’s sound, by covering one of his jams and trying to grab and hold on to a little bit of the magic that is his songwriting is a ballsy move for any artist. One that deserves mad props to anyone with the confidence to give it a go.
Our favorite artist to take that challenge head on is Los Angeles based, Europe bred, minimal-operatic-drone-pop multi-hyphenate (singer/songwriter/producer/genius), vōx.
VOX - SWIM GOOD
While vōx certainly isn’t the first artist to cover Ocean, or even “Swim Good” for that matter, she certainly nails it in a way that no one else has, making it her own in a way that the other covers I listened to, could not. Most artists just try to ape Ocean’s cadence and come off as fourth-rate copy of the great, like trying Sinatra at Karaoke but really just sounding like Dean Martin. Maybe it’s the stark production from vōx and Josiah Kosier that does this one so good. Maybe it’s vōx’s world-weary energy matching, if not topping, Oceans. Or maybe it’s the fact that vōx is a fully realized artist in her own right and not some fresh-faced singer/songwriter just trying to steal the thunder of an amazing talent to give her some cred and establish her as a voice worth listening to. That her sound has been developed and curated over enough time and patience and effort to add the kind of love, care and dedication to a cover this unquantifiable. It takes an artist who knows themselves to turn a song out like this, and make it worth our while. You know, or maybe it’s all those things.
vōx has a number of other tunes that help round out her Soundcloud, showing that she ain’t just some one trick pony. She has a cover of Kanye West’s “Runaway,” a number of collaborations with LA beat-wizard Daedelus, and I Was Born, a haunting 5 song EP of original music that really paints a picture of the kind of artist we’re dealing with.
If it takes a cover to bring our attention to an artist like this, so be it. She assuredly nails it, which is more than I can say for all the other versions of “Swim Good” out there.
From deep within the murky depths of the Los Angeles River emerged a creature: 50% raver, 50% comedian, 10% Robotcop. Kurt Kroeber doesn’t own a dog, operates Soundbleed (the world’s only dance party comedy talk show rave), and is down to party with you. Come up some time and say “Hey dude!” But definitely make sure to casually drop the secret Illuminati password.