With a Rihanna collab under his belt and his own woozy soul finding new ears every day (via "Pull Me Down"), Nashville singer-producer Mikky Ekko is looking at a very promising 2013. Especially with hotly tipped beat weirdos like Clams Casino and Ryan Hemsworth in his corner. All things considered, this slick-tongued sensualist has got that whole tasteful mercurialism thing on lock, and he surprises us yet again with his new cover of the xx's "Chained." Recorded for DJ Annie Mac's eponymous BBC Radio 1 show, Ekko's version of the purgatorial Coexist highlight is strange and spare, built atop a breathy loop and fleshed out with Knife-style vocal warps and the man's own unadorned, always stirring singing. He also recorded a live version of "Pull Me Down" that eventually sheds its goopy atmosphere for crisp drums and languid guitar strum. Listen to both below.
"Chained" (the xx cover):
"Pull Me Down" (live):