The path for Swedish recording artist Moa Holmsten was never quite laid out. After having fronted an international heavy-metal band Meldrum for a few years, then releasing a few solo records of her own, the badass songstress teamed up with fellow musician Tony Naima to record a cover album of Bruce Springsteen tracks, fueled by their mutual, respectful ambivalence towards the revered artist. Though they acknowledge their respect for his artistry, Moa says that not being such faithful, passionate fans has allowed the duo to treat the songs with an unbiased intimacy, saying “We could be brave and courageous, while not letting old emotions or presumed expectations stand in our way.”
After already having released one collection of Springsteen tracks in 2013, Tony and Moa are celebrating their early August release of Bruised Arms & Broken Rhythm (the title a nod to the Springsteen track “Incident On 57th Street”), their second collection of cover songs. One track off the record is perhaps one of Springsteen’s most well-loved tracks, “Tougher Than The Rest”. Channeling his classic enthusiasm and deep grit, Moa carefully and tediously contorts the typicality of the track by using her voice almost as an instrument, crooning softly or gliding over the modern, repetitive percussion beats. Though her own heavy-metal influences aren’t apparent on the cover, she still transforms “Tougher Than The Rest” from an untouched, revolutionary Springsteen track into an accessible, playful, and poignant version. With straight, soft rock rhythms, pretty but strained vocals, and contemporary beats, Moa Holmsten’s take on “Tougher Than The Rest” is a successful, respectful, and unique tribute to The Boss.
Listen to Moa’s cover below and grab yourself a copy of the full record. First, see her at the Living Room in Brooklyn at 10:30pm tonight for free.