One of the sad things about discovering new music in the post-Internet age is that, even with trusted recommendations, we often tend to give a new artist ten to twenty seconds to “click” with us before moving along to the next bit of input stimulus. One of the few drawbacks of having instantaneous access to nearly every song on the planet is that we tend to spend relatively less time warming up to the complex or unfamiliar than generations who grew up with an income that may have allowed for one or two new album purchases per week (supplemented with mixtapes made by friends and lovers). Access to less musical input dictated that more time would be spent absorbing a work and giving it multiple plays to sink in, even if it didn’t connect at first.
When Rat Rios’ cover of Billy Idol’s “Eyes Without a Face” rolled across my desktop last week, I might not have even given it a play at all. It was just one bit in a constant stream of mostly useless information I’m subjected to on a daily basis. It did, however, come to me from someone with a trusted opinion, and Billy Idol is a guilty pleasure—so, click I did. THANKFULLY.
Perhaps it was the familiarity of the song itself (though Rat Rios’ cover sounds very little like the Billy Idol original). More likely, it was the production and singing style which immediately brought to mind Julee Cruise’s work with David Lynch. Yeah, it was probably that. Anyway, something about this hooked me well past the ten-to-twenty-second window I tend to give an incoming soundfile. I instantly fell in love and have played this song dozens of times in the past week.
I was surprised to find that the track hasn’t racked up many views (355 as of this writing) and Rat Rios’ Facebook page has less than a thousand fans (as of this writing). I’m hoping Dangerous Minds’ readership will love this as much as I do and explore the work of Samantha “Rat” Rios.
Rat Rios live. Via Facebook.
In a recent interview Rios cites David Lynch and Angelo Badalamenti (longtime composer of David Lynch scores) as major influences. It’s fairly obvious when you hear this cut.
It’s rare that I think a remake or cover surpasses a well-loved original, but I’ve got to hand it to Rat Rios. This bedroom dream-pop version of “Eyes Without a Face” surpasses the Billy Idol original in every way.
I recommend committing it to mixtape for your next make-out session.