There’s something that seems innately stilted about country music. Maybe it’s the conservative politics, or the fact that they dress like they’re still in the 1800s, but I can never shake the feeling that country singers, and country music by extension, just can’t be “modern”. But in putting together this week’s radio show (WHICHYOUCANLISTENTOONSUNDAYATTWELVEPM) a couple of the tracks I included made me feel the keen sting of folly.
Other Lives’ first single from their upcoming album, Tamer Animals, ‘For 12’, is a whirlpool of a track, dark acoustics and strings shimmering into the centre of your attention before being sucked away again, but amonst all of this lies a constant guitar and percussion hoofbeat, amended by occasional electric twangs – almost art-country in its own peculiar way. Milk Maid’s ‘Girl’ on the other hand marries an unbelievably memorable melody with an undulating country rock guitar to supremely catchy, cool effect; making a lo-fi garage track that dares to be comprehensible. In choosing to pick up stale tropes and freshen them up, it’s bands like these that force me to realise that music will always reinvent and that originality stems from innovation rather than inspiration most often.