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Single Review: The Curse of KK Hammond’s “Heart Shaped Box”

The world of music is in a constant state of renewal and expansion. As listeners, we crave an experience that expands our musical palette, daring us to step beyond the borders of the familiar and into uncharted territories. The thrill lies in unearthing a unique sound, one that compels us to listen, wonder, and appreciate. Today, that thrill is delivered in its rawest form by the incomparable K.K. Hammond and her chillingly extraordinary rendition of Nirvana’s classic hit, “Heart Shaped Box”.

The haunting allure of blues has always found a sanctuary in the heart of music enthusiasts. It’s a genre that, despite its age, never loses its essence, continually charming its listeners with its raw and spiritual expressivity. And it’s within this timeless genre that we find the formidable K.K. Hammond, a name that has come to epitomize the best of horror blues. With her latest cover, “Heart Shaped Box,” Hammond has once again proven her uncanny ability to transform classic tunes, weaving her unique horror blues aesthetic into their very fabric.

The enchantment that K.K. Hammond bestows upon her audience is profound, to the point of bewitchment. Her ability to re-imagine and breathe new life into iconic songs is a testament to her musical mastery. With this review, we aim to dissect her latest singles, shedding light on the magic that she so effortlessly creates.

“Heart Shaped Box” is an iconic song that carries the enduring spirit of Nirvana. Hammond’s rendition, however, is not a mere echo of the original. It is a complete reinvention. She breathes an eerie new life into this rock classic, without shying away from the intrinsic roughness that cements its iconic status. The haunting ambiance that we’ve come to love from Hammond is very much present, an ethereal counterpart to the grungy, unpolished voice of Kurt Cobain.

The familiar tune is transformed under Hammond’s touch, as she infuses her signature ‘Dirty Country’ elements, injecting a sinister, almost threatening undertone to the song. This bold move pays off. It blends seamlessly with the eerie atmosphere, marking a refreshingly unique interpretation of this widely recognized tune.

Despite the many covers of “Heart Shaped Box” that exist, K.K’s version manages to carve out its unique space. Not only does she preserve the raw appeal of the original, she also adds new layers of intensity and menace. Thus, she creates a version that’s hauntingly beautiful in its own right.

Her “Delta Blues” influence shines with stark clarity, reminiscent of the 1930s era. It’s a sound that’s both timeless and refreshing in the modern musical landscape. She weaves elements of Southern Gothic Horror into her music, an aspect that adds a haunting, spine-tingling dimension to her sound. Her work is rooted in the music of Appalachia, a fusion that brings a distinct flavor to her work. There’s a unique twist to her traditionally inspired roots music, a testament to her innovative and creative prowess. Hammond’s approach to music is deeply personal and reflective of her life, adding depth and authenticity. As a result, her music is a poignant blend of gritty blues, haunting melodies, and powerful vocals that draw listeners in and leaves them mesmerized.

Hammond’s music has been well-received globally. Her unique sound has found a home on international radio stations, with airplay on the Cerys Matthews BBC Radio 2 Blues Show and the award-winning Gary Grainger Blues Show. A video of K.K. playing a slide guitar cover of “Nothing Else Matters” – accompanied by her friend Kaspar “Berry” Rapkin on banjo – was shared by none other than Metallica on their official TikTok. They described the performance as “Incredible”!

Upon its release, Hammond’s single “The Ballad of Lampshade Ed” – a collaboration with her good friend and fellow bluesman, David & the Devil – snagged the #1 spot in the UK iTunes Blues chart. She repeated this feat in 2023 with her single “Graveyard Blues”.

K.K. Hammond is not just a musician, but a creator of exquisite experiences. Her spellbinding take on Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box” is not only a tribute to the original but a celebration of her unique horror blues style. It’s an unmissable treat for any fan of Nirvana, blues, or simply good music. f you have not yet had the pleasure of delving into Hammond’s hauntingly beautiful world, we urge you to do so. The experience is nothing short of sublime. As you listen to her music, allow yourself to be carried away by the raw, gritty blues, the haunting melodies, and the powerful vocals. We guarantee, you won’t be disappointed.

K.K. Hammond’s “Heart Shaped Box” and “In the Pines” are both available for pre-order via the following link: https://music.apple.com/us/album/heart-shaped-box-in-the-pines-single/1704125219


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