NORTH DOWNS

There’s something a little different about today’s tip. Legendary American songwriter Townes Van Zandt wrote his song ‘Nothin’’ in the early 70s straight after reading the controversial historical novel, The Last Temptation of Christ. The book follows the life of Jesus Christ, from his own perspective. “I’d been reading that book and I finished it, and I put it down and I picked up the guitar. And I wrote that song all at once. That’s…a sad song.”

Forty years later and the mysterious band North Downs have reinvented the track. They’ve turned it from a melancholy country-blues number into five minutes of slick, groove-ridden art-pop. The way in which they’ve gone about the re-work, still gives it a dark edge, with unnerving guitars and synth moving around the smooth-funk backbone of the bass. This is topped off with a reserved yet soulful vocal, giving homage to Van Zandt’s notoriously impacting and profound lyrics.

North Downs have pulled off an incredibly sophisticated sound for a first offering. Their individual sound and confidence is bound to intrigue a lot more people very soon.

Words by Tilly Dowman

Tipped by Mattia from Going Solo

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