SONG PREMIERE: Blue Cactus Take on Beck’s “The Golden Age” with Enchanting Folk Harmonies

Photo credit: Chris Frisina

Blue Cactus, the North Carolina duo of Steph Stewart and Mario Arnez, make Dream Country: a blend of grit, glitz, groove, and twang that evokes a celestial soundscape of mid-century heartbreak. 

Following their critically acclaimed 2017 debut and a string of singles in 2020 their evolution is made plain on their sophomore LP, Stranger Again, released May 7, 2021 on Sleepy Cat Records.

Stranger Again is a deep dive into Cosmic American music, with the band taking their sound into ambitious new planes, where country-rock meets light psychedelia as the soaring vocals meet twangy slide-guitars and propulsive bass-lines. The otherworldliness of the music is a perfect contrast to their distinctly grounded, human storytelling lyrics. Throughout Stranger Again, they explore loss and longing, self-love and reckoning with personal, political and human struggles. 

Now Sleepy Cat Records is gearing up to release a new compilation called Cruisin’ on August 2nd and Blue Cactus are making an appearance with a cover of Beck’s “The Golden Age.” Today Glide is excited to offer an exclusive premiere of the song, which originally appeared on Beck’s highly underrated 2002 album The Sea Change. Compared to the original, Blue Cactus strip things down even more and let their harmonies shine. Relying mostly on acoustic instruments, Steph Stewart and Mario Arnez provide gorgeous vocal interplay that really captures the folk power of the original song. But what makes it especially interesting is the way they incorporate strangely pleasing instrumental flourishes throughout to make this a truly unexpected and dynamic listen.

Blue Cactus describes the inspiration behind the choice to cover the song:

We were introduced to Beck’s music as angsty pre-teens who were beginning to enjoy things our parents didn’t like. Beck’s music became part of the soundtrack of growing up, trying to carve out some identity that said ‘I fit in and also I’m different.’ In many ways, we still feel like that same kid- in our mid-30’s, unmarried, childless and choosing to continue pursuing one of the most unstable career paths during one of the most uncertain of times. Still growing up. All of the dreams we were told about being an adult – owning a house, having kids, retiring – are inconceivable for most of our generation in today’s world. “The Golden Age” gives us permission to escape the pursuit of an impossible dream in impossible times, a reminder that it’s ok to not be ok. And maybe, that’s just what being a normal grownup is.

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