Jeff Rosenstock and Laura Stevenson are both products of the DIY punk underground, and both make fearless, ambitious, incisive music. Neil Young, a godfather of punk rock, has been making fearless, ambitious, incisive music for decades. Today, Rosenstock and Stevenson — who are both based in New York, and who have been moving in the same circles for a long time — have gotten together to make an EP of Neil Young covers. Today is Young’s 74th birthday.
Rosenstock and Stevenson have both been plenty busy on their own lately. Rosenstock released two albums last year — one on his own and one with Antartigo Vespucci, his duo with buddy Chris Farren — and he dropped the free-download live album Thanks, Sorry! less than a month ago. As for Stevenson, she released an absolutely shattering album called The Big Freeze earlier this year. But somehow, the two have carved out the time to record four Neil Young songs as duets.
On the new Still Young EP, which they released without any prior warning this morning, Rosenstock and Stevenson walk the line between reverence and reinvention. They do “Harvest Moon” with the quiet sweetness that the song really demands, but they transform “After The Gold Rush” into something giddy and synth-laced. There’s a hazy, ruminative, lovely eight-minute version of “Ambulance Blues” that features a beautifully, timed out-of-nowhere guest appearance from the Hold Steady’s Craig Finn and a hushed take on “Through My Sails.” It’s all very cool. Stream Still Young below.
The Still Young EP is out now on Polyvinyl.