Neil Young's "Heart of Gold" has always touched me beyond words. With every listen my chest seems to half-melt and make an opening to breathe in the lyrics and soothing guitar. Now upon hearing a wondrous cover of it, my chest is going to have to half-melt a hole more often. Birds & Batteries (experimental indie rock foursome from the San Francisco Bay Area) covers Neil Young's classic with such emotion. Sitting at the edge of a forest on a mossy log today, I listened to this and it seemed as if the trees were swaying back and forth to the erratic chimes and twirls of the piano (sounding like something from another planet) and the plucking warmth of the synth filling the background. The subtle intro almost fully convinced me that I was listening to something by Dntel, but then the cavernous falling vocals came in and I was in for a sweet treat. The vocals are reminiscent of alt-country, only at times, and really go hand in hand with the occasional twangy guitar and the sandy drum beat. No melody is present from the original besides the vocals. The track finishes itself off by drowning in a mess of windy noise and fading vocals and an abrupt end. This version pulls a lot from you and really brings out the emotion of the song. I highly enjoyed it and look forward to hearing more from this San Francisco group in the future. You can get yourself a copy of their 2007 release, I'll Never Sleep Again, right here. Please, please do.
Birds & Batteries - "Heart of Gold" (Download)