Christian Lopez Band’s “Stay With You” is a lush beauty, warmth seeping out of every pore. Recorded live at Mississippi’s Thacker Mountain Radio Hour, it rolls serenely between full-throated tenor and careful falsetto, guitar and mandolin bursting forth behind Christian Lopez’s stalwart vocal command. Its tones are gorgeous, its crescendo explosive; it’s a song that soars. Folk, at its best, is truly triumphant, eventually cresting whatever Sisyphean hill its author climbs; “Stay With You” certainly thrusts through the clouds at the top.
Latest Blog Posts
When listening to Juliana Wilson, it’s hard not to think of Cherri Bomb, a Los Angeles rock band who dropped one excellent LP in 2012 before going through a bit of lineup turbulence and re-forming as pop-punkers Hey Violet in 2015. The obvious comparison is age—Wilson is 13, and the oldest member of Cherri Bomb was 16 when This Is the End of Control dropped—but there’s also the cheerily misanthropic perspective best encapsulated and presented by the art and works of teens. And that’s to say nothing of Wilson’s debut single itself: like Cherri Bomb’s best, “Blah Blah Blah” starts spacious and looming before kicking into gear with loud distortion and a carefully cured “rawness” which is, in this case as many others, preferable to truly low-quality recording. It’s a promising start to a very young career, and its well-composed maelstrom of angst, swirling guitars, and atmospheric expansiveness is a treat to hear.
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.
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.