By Roman Salomone, Contributor
[Polyvinyl Records; 2022]
Key Tracks: “Razor Love”, “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere”
Being the unstoppable and prolific machine that he is, Jeff Rosenstock has teamed up with longtime collaborator Laura Stevenson (both formerly in Bomb the Music Industry!) to bless the world with another release at the tail end of 2022. Younger Still is a brief collection of Neil Young covers, and is the duo’s follow-up to 2019’s Still Young EP.
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This time around, Jeff and Laura chose to record a more diverse crop of tracks across Neil’s discography. Tracks like “Razor Love” from 2000’s Silver and Gold and “Hey Babe” from 1977’s American Stars ‘n Bars (a criminally underappreciated album) are some of the deep cuts featured in this collection. Meanwhile, “Comes a Time” and the title track of Everybody Knows This is Nowhere are about as “classic Neil” as it gets.
The duo’s take on “Razor Love” substitutes the rustic drumming of the original for a peppy drum-machine beat. Jeff’s vocals here are particularly Wayne Coyne-esque, and the track overall sounds like it could have fit snugly on Mac DeMarco’s This Old Dog.
“Comes a Time” scraps the hokey fiddles with some watery guitars and another peppy drumbeat. It’s got an indie rock flare to it through the verses are an excellent touch. “Hey Babe” has some of the most gentle and sincere vocals Jeff has ever laid to tape. While minor details, the bell kits and Laura’s companion vocals are very Velvet Underground inspired.
The final track here, “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere”, is one of Neil’s most essential songs period, and Jeff and Laura chose to stay fairly faithful to the original. Songwriting wise, they keep it pretty much the same, but they approach this revision with a punk direction that, for a lack of better words, is pretty sick. The clanky, bluesy guitar licks laced throughout the original are replaced with some subtle, zany synth sounds and beyond-fuzzed out power chords.
Overall, this is a cool little release. If you’re a fan of either parties involved, this is absolutely worth a shot. The covers here don’t completely try and one-up Neil’s work, but that’s not the point. It’s just a cute, fun, and light-hearted EP by two people that clearly have a deep passion for one of the greatest songwriters of all time. Plus it’s got a Corgi with a toy in its mouth on the cover. What’s not to like?
Listen here: https://jeffrosenstock.bandcamp.com/