If you like this, then you’ll like that (music edition).

If you are, like me, insufferable, and recommending artists to your friends whom they have never heard of feeds into your superiority complex, then look no further as knowing these “underground” alternatives to these popular musicians will give you the bragging rights to class yourself as a true audiophile.

If you like Lana Del Rey, then you should try Weyes Blood.

Lana’s work spans over a decade and counting, and consequently her “sound” is very diverse, ranging from the dramatism of her first album ‘Born to Die’ with songs backed by whole orchestras, to the subdued and etherial tone of her latest album ‘Did you know that there’s a tunnel under Ocean Blvd’, employing softer accompaniments like that of the muted piano in ‘Paris, Texas’. This makes it a difficult task to find another artist who captures these various and contrasting energies, but I find that Weyes Blood fits the bill as she combines a sense of drama with an air of mysticism.

Weyes Blood’s music also feels timeless in the way that Lana’s does, but does so in an entirely different way. Lana does so by drawing upon vintage aesthetics as shown by her album art with ‘Honeymoon’ and ‘Lust For Life’ having hazy filters over them and colour palettes reminiscent of the 60s, ‘Norman Fucking Rockwell’ being in the style of 1950s pop art, and ‘Born to Die—Paradise Edition’ with its symmetrical palm trees and golden text aligning itself with the art-deco style of the 1920s. However, it is not that Weyes Blood’s music and visuals transport us to another time, but that upon listening we feel as though we are suspended in time, inhabiting a liminal space between this world and another, particularly by her album ‘Titanic Rising’ with fantastical songs like ‘Movies’ and ‘Andromeda’, both being personal favourites of mine. And so, while varying in kind, the timelessness of both artists is to much the same effect as it makes the experience of listening them one of sublime escapism.

If you like Fleetwood Mac, then you should try Pearl Charles.

Upon listening to Pearl Charles for the first time, the album ‘Magic Mirror’ to be precise, I had no idea of who she was, and so assumed her music was released around the time of the 1960s or 70s, but was surprised to find that this album was only released in 2021. This is evidence of how well she is able to inhabit the sonic realm of this bygone era and her success in drawing inspiration from artists from this time like Fleetwood Mac with their twangy guitars, quirky drumming patterns and dreamy vocals being heard in her music too so as to create a similarly magical atmosphere. I feel that both artists possess the same essence; if I were to distil Pearl Charles’ music into a singular image, it would be that of Stevie Nicks’ iconic twirl in her witchy and flowing garb she is oftentimes pictured as doing; it carries the same air of whimsy and fun.

If you like Jimi Hendrix, then you should try Greta Van Fleet.

Jimi Hendrix is most famed for his epic guitar solos as showcased in songs such as ‘1983…(A Merman I Should Turn to Be)’ and ‘All Along the Watchtower’, and it would seem that skills such as these were lost and gone in the modern day if it were not for bands like Greta Van Fleet. Their guitarist, Jake Kiszka, I believe, is one of “the greats” of this generation; he demonstrates a similar prowess and mastery in the songs ‘Meeting the Master’ and ‘Black Smoke Rising’ and so on, but I shall not list their whole discography, because even when he is not soloing, his playing is oftentimes intricate, and always powerful. Beyond just their use of the guitar, the band occupy a general sound world very much reminiscent of the psychedelic and blues rock genres to which Hendrix belonged, making the two sonically aligned.

The artists are also comparable in their thematic focuses upon “hippie” political causes, with Hendrix being a distinct opponent of the Vietnam war, something which he expressed musically in anti-war songs like ‘House Burning Down’, that speak to how devastating and unjustifiable warfare is. Greta Van Fleet’s lyrics also concern topical themes as they promote an environmentalist philosophy in tracks like the aforementioned ‘Black Smoke Rising’, which are essentially protests against the “New Age crisis” of climate change.

Their similarities also extend to their visual appearances, as the outfits donned by Greta Van Fleet hark back to those worn by 70s Rock legends like Hendrix with their bright colours and silhouettes, and the free-spiritedness with which the lead singer, Josh Kiszka, moves is very much comparable to Hendrix’s own magnetic stage presence. Hence, I recommend that you to not only listen but watch Greta Van Fleet; it is all the more exhilarating, and borderline empowering to witness.

Image by NEOSiAM 2021 on Pexels.

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