12 O'Clock Track: Screaming Females, "Cortez the Killer" | Bleader

12 O'Clock Track: Screaming Females, "Cortez the Killer"



Screaming Females singles collection
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By the time this blog post is published, I will have seen Neil Young. It's been all I've been able to think about today, to be honest. I'm not usually the kind of person who gets too psyched up before shows, but with the concert only hours away, I find myself filled with childlike giddiness. Maybe I'm so jazzed because this will be my first time seeing him, or because Crazy Horse is on the road for the first time since 2004, or because the set lists for this tour have been looking God damn brilliant—whatever the reason, I simply can't contain myself. I already warned my fellow showgoers that if Neil breaks out "Cortez the Killer," I'll most likely start crying.

To me, "Cortez the Killer" is the perfect rock 'n' roll song. It paints a picture, it tells a story, and it's brimming with beautiful, melodic guitar solos. Covering it would be bordering on sacrilege; you shouldn't tamper with pure excellence. But today's 12 O'Clock Track is Screaming Females' take on Young's classic, and their 90s-leaning alternative-rock version is actually really awesome. The rhythm section kicks up a nice groove, but the star of this jam (as with pretty much every Screaming Females tune) is front woman Marissa Paternoster, whose quavery, chantlike singing and explosive guitar here aren't all that different from old man Neil's.