Best High School Band? / by Anne Kreamer

  The Winner of Studio 360's Battle of the High School Bands.

The Winner of Studio 360's Battle of the High School Bands.

Studio 360's Battle of the High School Bands contest, ended up with 350 submissions spanning six decades of adolescence — from psychedelic pop to soulful hip-hop. (For a handful of the very best, check out their two volumes of mixtapes.) Rock star judges, Andrew W.K. and Thao Nguyen, had the challenging task of picking a winner, and then collaborating on a cover version of that song. Their pick was “The River,” by three young Nashville women who go by Bea, Rita & Maeve.

Listen to "The River" by Bea, Rita & Maeve and Andrew W.K. and Thao Nguyen's cover here.

“There was a very timeless quality this song had, without being nostalgic,” Andrew tells Kurt Andersen. Thao praises the “subtlety and refinement in the musicianship.” In fact, the pros admit to being daunted by the rookies. “It ruined my entire perception of myself in high school,” Andrew confesses. Where the original hews to a folk style, Andrew and Thao’s cover uses rock drums and layers of instruments for a heavier, arena-ready version.

Both versions are extraordinary