Embarrassed by your love of Kings of Leon? We got you. The band has become the Nashville quartet you used to love dearly but your lamestream friends continue to love for different reasons. And that hurts your soul. The good-ol’-boy southern rock stomp they used to mix so pleasantly with garage grime has slowly evolved into an embarrassing stream of arena-pop anthems. While you may desperately try to shake your love of the Kings, you’re not alone. Plenty of us are guilty of humming “Sex on Fire,” even by accident. If you’re itching to move on, check out some better options.
Jackson, Miss., group The Weeks definitely gets the vocals right and the layered guitar gives hints of mid-career KOL. They’re even signed to the Kings’ own Serpents and Snakes Records. Don’t write them off as copycats though. The Weeks modernize the bluesy stomp and at times achieve a groovier vintage R&B feel.
Already a household name, Delta Spirit has made the transition from its folkier roots to the bigger stage, seamlessly incorporating a more arena-friendly sound while not completely shaking its original style. Much like KOL’s Caleb Followill, Delta Spirit’s Nathan Vasquez adds a signature component to the band with his sandpapery vocal style.
The Nashville garage-blues trio cook up deep-fried licks much akin to the way the Followill boys did in their “Youth and Young Manhood” days. Natural Child’s dirty mouths add a punky touch, while the guitar-riddled grooves and paired vocals make for some irresistibly badass stuff.
Under the Ozark-folk influence, these Missouri natives bring a rootsier feel than Kings of Leon, but also a grasp for songwriting and harmony. There’s a certain Holy Roller gospel touch that they share with the Kings, too.
If Kings of Leon draw from Carl Perkins, J Roddy Walston is like a modern day Jerry Lee Lewis. Walston hammers the keys with a frenetic punk style, while incorporating a vintage rock vibe that recalls whiskey-fueled good times.