One of the best parts of Nirvana’s continued relevance is how versatile their discography has been shown to be. There are countless possible reimagings of works they’ve made, from metal to UK garage, Now, as Florida act Gravel Kings has shown us, there’s Americana. Flipping “Come As You Are” into a brightly-lit yet melancholy piece of rock-band folk, the band shows that Nirvana’s overwhelmingly sad ethos translates well into the often overwhelmingly sad realm they inhabit.
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The pop chart is a fickle beast, and taming its heights can be a notoriously Sisyphean task. If there is any strategy in conquering it, though, O.L.A.’s “Best That I’ve Felt” is certainly taking as many notes as it can from similar songs that eventually made it to the top. It’s a sugary slice of tropically-infused pop house, bouncy synths drawing equally from Kygo’s “Firestone” and Edward Maya’s “Stereo Love” with just a dash of ZHU’s percussive melodies. Screaming “summer” visually and aurally, it may have studied its predecessors hard enough to commandeer radio airwaves before long.
The Country Blues is exactly what it sounds like: gently lilting country, occasionally veering into rippin’ territory but largely staying in a more pensive mood. It’s downcast, but it’s downcast in the nevertheless optimistic way the best folky country can be. It’s fiercely focused on both tribulations and overcoming them, much like the music of the greats covered here—there’s some Merle Haggard, there’s some Sonny Boy Williamson. It broaches the divide between emotional complexity and simple joy and pride, and for that it should be commended. PopMatters’ Sarah Zupko wrote that “Ickes and Hensley can seriously burn up the fretboard with some of the most amazing country playing you’ll hear anywhere. In fact, they are so good that they could almost take on Ricky Skaggs with their passion and precision.
Stop Light Observations make stompin’ Southern-fried rock, toasted to a crisp under the heatwaves of driving guitars and overwhelming drums. If “Aquarius Apocalyptic” is any sign, their upcoming Toogoodoo should come packed to the gills with dusty saloon jams along the lines of Cage the Elephant’s more psychedelic work. It totters around on a folk-rocky acoustic riff before roaring forth on the strength of bone-crushing power chords before opening up further on top of a calamitous guitar solo. “Aquarius Apocalyptic” takes its time to start rocking, but when it finally bursts forth, its tremendous horsepower is well worth the wait.
Loch Lomond makes a very instrumentally complex offshoot of folk, their strings and synths a nice counterpoint to the bare-bones guitar and drums much of the rest of folk has to offer. “Pens From Spain” twirls steadily through bells, ecstatic vocal harmonies, and careening strings, anchoring itself on plain fingerpicked guitar in the meanwhile. It’s sedate, carefully expanding folk, slowly but surely allowing light and color until the whole thing is in bloom.
// Moving Pixels
"Our foray into the adventure-game-style version of the Borderlands continues.READ the article