Death and Daddy Issues: MELODRAMA MINUTE

Let’s rewind the clock, go back in time, to the good ole days. The 90’s. Now everybody who says they’re a 90’s kid, didn’t really experience the 90’s. Pokemon, Nintendo 64, Fox Kids, Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, and roller skate rings that was my experience.

I was born in 1992, so I didn’t experience Grunge. I kind of experienced 90’s Hip Hop through my Mom because she liked that music. But other than that, everybody who is nostalgic about the 90’s is really nostalgic for their discovery of the 90’s. Where they heard Smells Like Teen Spirit on the radio, youtube, or MTV (back when it played music). Everybody cherishes that discovery, because it was so meaningful. To hear music that isn’t garbage, that’s not only sincere and angsty, but also incredibly popular. It’s still mind boggling that it even happened.

So when a millennial hears something that is “Grunge inspired”it means a lot to us. Because it was something that was always in the background, that we never paid attention to. Yet when we did it was at an emotional period in our lives, where we were receptive to Grunge music.

So when reviewing Death and Daddy Issues, it’s like when a widower dates a woman that reminds him of his late wife. Do you date someone who reminds you of what you lost? Obviously it’s hyperbolic, yet it’s a question that has to be asked whenever a throwback to an earlier sound is heard. Grunge has avoided the burnout that most music genres have felt, mainly because the bands from Seattle were REALLY THAT GREAT. And secondly, when the voice of a genre, and a generation commits suicide, it takes the breath out of the room. Yet with all of that baggage, does Death and Daddy Issues make something worth retreading old ground? And the answer is yes.

Now because I’m at heart a romantic person, I’m going to frame the album review as the widower who dates a woman who reminds him of his late wife. The first track on this album, O//X//Y//G//E//N is the first date. The grungy guitars, angsty lyrics, and borderline punk vocals is the first impression. If you wanted to listen to a great modern take on grunge this would be the song to go to. This would be dating a woman who reminds you of your late wife.

Nearly everything is perfectly done. From the dripping wet reverb of the bass, to that Weezer-like lead guitar, to the soft verse and loud chorus structure, to even the nihilistic vocal performances everything is perfect. It’s so perfect that it reminds me of a really great comedian who makes such an astute observation, parody, or imitation–that both gets both awes and applause from the audience.

The reason for that kind of reaction is because it takes a lot of knowledge on the subject matter. You gotta do your homework. You have got to be a fan. It’s in this track that you see how much Death and Daddy Issues are fans of music. If you don’t believe me, try to listen to other bands with “Grunge” in their titles. Nearly all of them will sound something like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, or Soundgarden. Or maybe a combination of all three. Yet it’s the details that are in this album that separates Death and Daddy Issues, from an Alice In Chains cover band like Godsmack.

Yet as I’ve said before this is a first impression. Back to the widower metaphor, this is the first date. While the woman exhibits the same superficial similarities, it’s only when you spend more time with her that you see her own individualism. While this album is influenced by Grunge it doesn’t mean that it defines them. Which is why it would be insulting to say to the woman, “You’re my Dead Wife.”

Which brings us to our next song, 3:09 AM which is where we see the individualism of the artists begin to flourish. But before I get into that, let me bring up an old clip of Alice In Chains.

Now notice how the drummer in this video says, “We’re not just a rock band. We’re country, and western, and a rock band.” Yet what do you think of when you hear about Grunge music? You think of a very hyperspecific sound. A sound that was heavy like metal, melodic like the Beatles, and with the intensity of punk. Yet here’s Alice In Chains saying that they’re country, and western. Straight from the horses mouth, they are stating something that we as listeners don’t comprehend. We don’t comprehend it, because as humans, we all want to label things, we all want to give things neat little categories, so it makes sense to us.

Yet within every band there are two goals, one is to sound like the music they like, and the other is to make music of their own. 3:09 AM is where you see the larger picture with Death and Daddy Issues. That this is a band that is made up of people who REALLY do love the music they are influenced by. Yet they are creative enough to make something completely different from it.

Immediately from the beginning where the track forms this kind of groove, you immediately know this isn’t Grunge as we know it. From the sweet guitar tones, to theĀ RHYTHM of the track (which is something rock bands have forgotten to do), to the bittersweet vocals, to even the faint organ keys. This isn’t grunge. This isn’t a song you can neatly categorize. It’s just a great song.

Which is really the ultimate compliment you can have for a song. It doesn’t feel like it’s stuck to the past, it doesn’t feel like it’s something strange and foreign from the future, it just sounds great. Which if we go back in time, isn’t that what made Grunge so successful? We can all say it was because it sounded futuristic, it stripped down rock n’ roll to it’s bare essentials, etc. Yet if it didn’t have great songs, then who cares?

Another reason why I think this song sounds so great is because it does an excellent job of capturing being fucked up. It can be on drugs, alcohol, or whatever vice. Where, at the moment, everything feels absolutely great. Yet in the back of your mind your conscious gnaws at you that this isn’t great. It’s sad. The lyrics, vocals, and music does such a great job of capturing this very specific feeling that you don’t have to have synesthesia to see this picture so clearly before your eyes.

Then finally we get to No Fear where all preconceived notions of this band being “Grunge, “Indie”, or whatever label is stripped away. It’s where the widower comes to peace with his dead wife, and to love the new woman he’s with as the person she is, and not the person he wants her to be.

Before I mentioned how 3:09 AM had a great groove. Yet it’s in this track where the groove morphs into a waltz. Which gives it this theatrical edge that most rock bands seem to miss out on. This coupled with the distorted guitars/synths in the background, circus like piano keys, the sinister lead guitar notes, and distorted vocals gives this track a creepier feel. Like imagine a 19th century ballroom filled with ghouls, and that’s the kind of vibe you get.

The comparison seems campy, yet the song is anything but campy. It’s got enough style and substance where every decision enhances the song. The subject matter is about a person who feels isolated in depression, only to be rescued by their fiance. Which the waltz kind of beat fits so well with. Because if you hear a waltz that romantic picture of dancing in a ballroom with a pretty girl/handsome guy flashes in your mind. Then with the distorted vocals, angsty lyrics, and sinister production it culminates in a song where the lyrics, and music coalesce in such a harmonious way.

So in the beginning I mentioned how as a millennial, I, like many others had to discover this background music of Grunge. That the reason it resonated with me, and so many others was because it hit me in the feels. We can all look back and see the flannel shirts, greasy long hair, goatees, and teenage angst. But really, if the songs didn’t speak to a generation of kids, then it wouldn’t have gotten as popular as it did.

Death and Daddy Issues, is a band that WILL hit you in the feels. Nearly every single lyric, guitar, and production choice was made in such harmony to create this wonderful emotional landscape that I cannot recc this album enough. When people bemoan the death of Rock, modern music, or whatever. They are oftentimes not looking hard enough. Because there are bands who are out there, making real music, that is sincere, honest, original, and an absolute joy to listen to. And Death and Daddy Issues is one of those bands.

j a b o b o: Fire Makes the World Go Round

I’m not giving going to lie here. As soon as I was done listening to this group, I immediately had to ask myself, “How is this not the biggest band in the universe?” Maybe I’m being hyperbolic, maybe it’s because I’m so used to hearing people making music on DAW, or maybe this song just hit me in the right mood.

Regardless, this is something that has to be heard to believe. There isn’t any flaw with the music. I’ve said that before about another band, but I believe in each case it’s when you separate the amateur, from the professional. The kid using a DAW, to a band professionally recording. There is a world of difference.

Take for instance this Fred Armisen bit about Musicians.

Now of course it’s all comedy, and in jest. Yet when listening to this song, you can’t help but feel as though the musicians in this band treated each instrument like they were going wine tasting. Every single instrument, from the bass, the guitar, the drums, the cymbals, the snare, the kick, etc. All of this unique and varied texture. It’s like when you go to a 5 star restaurant and order a burger. You’ve had a burger before. Yet when you go to this restaurant, and bite into this burger; things that you weren’t aware about, you’re suddenly conscious of. The crispy freshness of the lettuce, the juiciness of the meat, the ripeness of the tomato, how the bun has this flakey sweetness that you’ve never encountered before, etc.

This band has made me aware of much of an impact musicianship, and mixing can have on a track. Everything is done perfectly, from the groovy bass that is panned over to the right, that amazing distorted guitar on the left, and the clash of each cymbal. All of these things combine, and make you understand when older musicians complain about how much soul is being lost in making music using a DAW.

Then there’s the vocals, which have this pitch perfect sound. It’s the ideal of what everybody wants an “indie” vocalist to sound like. Not too professional because then it becomes too cheesy, and sounds like a musical. Yet not off key, to where it becomes unbearable to listen to. What these vocals excel in is pure charisma. It just oozes off of this track, and if you don’t like it then–I’m sorry–you don’t have a heart.

I don’t know how long these guys have been out on the game but this track is good, and so promising that you’d be insane not to check them out. So go do it before everybody else does!

 

Thomas Dooley: Two Years

One of the great things about being a modern musician, it that we have at our disposal, a nearly infinite set of tools to which to express ourselves. Yet most of the time the majority of artists squander that possibility. Artists get too caught up in the rat race and forget why they made music.

Whenever an artist creates a song they invite you into their world, and you catch a glimpse of who they are. Maybe you see something that relates to you, an instrument you love, or a stylistic influence you can hear in that artists song. Whatever the case maybe, this song is one of the most beautiful, lush soundscapes, I’ve heard on soundcloud in a very long time.

From it’s beautiful upbeat guitar, that has just the right amount of jangle rock influence. To the phenomenal bass that just doesn’t trudge along by playing the root of each note, but is complex and is just a blast to listen to. Combine that with the beautifully done vocal reverbs, the fantastical percussion, and the layered synthesizers it’s a song that is just fantastic.

Then there’s the guitar solo which has the most perfect guitar tone I have heard in such a long time. It’s one of those guitar tones, that as anybody who love guitar pedals can tell you, you just want to go out and buy every pedal that made that tone.

All of this combines into this whimsical kind of song that can even melt the coldest of hearts. It’s what happens when an artist guides you to a land of wonder, awe, and whimsy. This is a song that you gotta check out, and definitely give Thomas Dooley a follow.

 

The New Pollution: Pushing Back

There’s a reason why there seems to be a generation of kids “Born in the wrong generation.” Turn on any Rock station and if it’s not Dad Rock it’s the exact same band you’ve heard a million times. That Nickelback pseudo grunge sound. Where every guitar sounds like pristine sludge, and every vocal sounds like a guy taking a shit.

Rock music used to be the experimental genre. It was the genre that kept pushing boundaries, going to new strange places that you’d never imagine music would go. Yet here we are stuck between, “I couldn’t make it as a poor man” and “There goes my hero.” Ad nauseum until either we, or the radio industry dies.

Yet there’s still hope. Rock music, as Neil Young sang, “Can never die.” Even though it’s stagnating, there are still bands out there pushing boundaries, trying new things, and approaching music with modern sensibilities. And this, ladies and gentleman, is where I introduce The New Pollution.

So to begin with, let’s rewind to the best period of rock music, the 60’s. Every Rock band you look up to in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s etc. All revere the 60’s and there’s a good reason why. It was a period of unprecedented experimentation. A period where the torch was passed from the experimental avant-garde composers of the 50’s to the up and coming rockers of the 60’s. Where tape loops, layered instruments, distorted vocals, genre bending, etc. were the norm.

Yet something happened, and that period of unprecedented growth soon stagnated. As each decade went on rock music became more and more confined. And who better to explain how this happened than Frank Zappa?

This extends to even the micro-level of music blogs, underground music, producers, etc. Where people are afraid to step outside their own little box, because they don’t want to upset the “taste makers” in who actuality know as much as you or I do about music.

So imagine my surprise listening to this band, a band who is completely unafraid to experiment. The first track Pushing Back is an incredible start to an amazing album. To begin with track opens up with this wild buzz saw of a guitar. The kind wild and crazy sound that you would imagine some band in some rough dive bar in the middle of Arizona playing. From just the tone and how treble-y it is, it immediately distinguishes itself from most of indie rock.

Yet what captivated me was what happened next. Usually with such an in your face aesthetic that the guitar tone provides, a band usually sticks within that narrow sound. If this was any other band, there would be this thick fat bass, distorted guitar, lo-fi vocals, and that’s it. And the rest of the album would all sound like that. Maybe there would be an acoustic guitar here and there. But I don’t have to describe it that much, since you already can hear what I’m talking about, because you’ve heard a thousand times.

So now let’s go to where the song deviates from the norm. You can hear this from the vocals. The vocals are drenched in reverb, and this doesn’t fit that kind of dive bar aesthetic I was describing earlier. Yet it does work extremely well with what follows. And what follows is these synth flourishes, you hear it now and then in the beginning. It adds a little quirkiness but doesn’t really change the song. But slowly and surely everything changes. The dive bar becomes this psychedelic journey as the synths take over, and then it’s at that point everything clicks. The reverbed out vocals fit perfectly and now you understand the song.

It reminds me of really great Jazz. Jazz can be a cacophonous nightmare, if the people don’t know what they’re doing. But when you see a really great Jazz Improv, it blows your mind. Because you will hear the most exotic, fresh, and innovate sounds that you’ve heard. This song like really great Jazz Improv has that since of exploration. The synths are so well musically structured, and are so well paced out. Like in a really great jam session when you just know to show off, or to let someone else show off. The sound just gels together and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if this was all recorded live. It just has that energy.

Next we get to Pushing Back-Chinese Hackers Remix. This track has a tongue and cheek feel to it. Since it’s titled as the last song, except it’s a Chinese Hackers remix, and it almost sounds nothing like Pushing Back. It’s one thing to experiment, yet it’s another to have fun with it. When people usually think of experimental art, they think of these super intelligent people who have these crazy ideas. Who work super hard to perfect that crazy idea into something that resembles art.

It’s another to listen to someone just have fun and experiment. Better yet imagine a band onstage playing Improv Jazz. The audience is super serious, the band is incredibly serious, pompousness swirls around in the air like cheap cigar smoke. It’s all very tedious. Then imagine, say Metallica, after they play one of their sets, and they’re getting their guitars tuned they decide to play the Pokemon theme song, because why not. Immediately there’s a tonal shift. I want to go listen to that Metallica song, and I don’t want to listen to that jazz improv group. Because one is incredibly fun, and the other is incredibly pompous.

So when I compare, don’t compare The New Pollution to Improv Jazz. What I mean is that they are able to have the musical complexity that you would find in really heady music. Yet the same time it’s with a tongue and cheek feel, and every track just feels so fun and energetic.

From the soulful trumpet that wails in the background, the groove bass and percussion that drive the track forward, the weird little synth and guitar flourishes, and distorted and mutated vocals. Everything about this track is just this fun musical journey. It’s the kind of song that just let’s you be free. When a song has this anything goes kind of experimentation, it carries with it an everything goes kind of attitude. Which I could imagine being absolute hit being played life. Because after all, who doesn’t want to get rid of false pretensions and just let loose?

Finally we get to Sad Pricks. Which has this Joy Division kind of guitar and bass relationship. Where the bass provides the main melody and the guitar has this more rhythmic kind role. Then the song opens up, with this psychedelic organ. Which is immediately reminiscent of 60’s music. This coupled with the double tracked vocals, provides this great throwback. And what a better throwback to experimentation than invoking the 60’s?

Then the chorus kicks in with this beautiful organ, and great guitar panned to the left. It all is just so fun. Then when the track ends it ends with this out of control guitar solo. That just has so much energy, that you can’t help but listen to this album with a smile on your face. Then of course there’s the added bonus that song is literally titled Sad Pricks. Which again is so tongue and cheek you can’t help but like this.

Yet this review isn’t over yet. Usually when reviewing a band I just plugin their music video at the end, and don’t provide much commentary to it. Yet these guys deserve a shoutout for their music video. If you don’t get the music from the album, the music video will definitely clear things up. It’s so fun, so inventive, and so unpretentious that you cannot but help but enjoy it. Like people always say, “I’ll vote for that guy because he’s someone I can sit down and have a beer with.” These guys just look like they’d be a blast to hangout with. It has that youthful exuberance that you can’t help but appreciate. So I implore you to checkout the music video as well. It’s just as great as the album itself.

So obviously with not only an album review, but a music video plugin. I am going to give these guys my full recc. The album is short and sweet, and it’s got charisma. And let’s be real, if you got charisma and you got great music, well you’re going to go far.

Bandy: The Challengers

https://underthecountertapes.bandcamp.com/album/the-challengers

Let’s begin this album review with a trip into the past. Back when all you had to do to find alternative music was go “Left of the Dial.” That period in time, that millenials only heard about, but Gen X’ers absolutely revere (from what I’ve gathered). Back when Nirvana hadn’t exploded onto the scene, and college radios played eclectic music. Well, actually they could still be playing eclectic music–but who listens to radio anyway?

Music history up to that point had kind of been like a dialogue between genres. Where Rock music said, “Fuck disco, it’s got no substance.” And Disco was like, “What?” And then Punk said, “Fuck Rock music. You guys are literally singing about the Hobbit, and playing Bach.” That’s the TL;DR version of how punk was started.

Now Punk was four chords of teenage angst. Then what happens to the punk rocker–who shredded on those four chords–when he goes to college? Gets laid? Learns to play his instrument? Well that’s when Alternative Rock comes into the picture, and that’s where we get to the “Left of the Dial.”

Which is the best way to introduce Bandy’s The Challengers. An album that has the fun and exuberance of a frat house, but with the intelligence of a graduate.

So what’s a better song to introduce this album, than Bring the Boys to the Basement? When that opening opening guitar hits your eardrums, it’s pure heaven. Then when aggressive strumming stops, it pauses for a moment, and then you hear it. That melodic plucking. Which in that brief moment in time, is all you need to really get this album. It’s aggressive while melodic, raw but sincere, lo-fi yet expertly produced. This dichotomous relationship is the force between every song. Every track sounds like the sonic equivalent of “Saturdays is for the Boys.” Yet as anybody who has been to a party knows, one moment you’re shotgunning a beer, the next you’re telling a heartrending story about a girl you used to date. It’s that added layer of humanity that makes music like this really work.

The track ebbs and flows, yet retains this sense of youthfulness. Then you hear the vocals. The vocals have that masculine grit. Which makes it, oh so charismatic. Like the guy who walks into the party and everybody knows his name. They all know he’s a party animal, you expect a crazy wild night, and you get it. But then when it’s all quiet, people are asleep, and you two go out for a smoke. It’s just you two, and you just know him as the crazy wild party animal, but then he does something that surprises you. A random act of kindness, an emotional story, some endearing character flaw, something that brings him down to earth–to your level. It’s then you realize that it’s not because of his shenanigans that’s what makes him popular, it’s his humanity.

So while Need for Reefer doesn’t really sell my case for the vocals. After all it’s just a guy singing about needing some weed. Yet we’re still having a good time, and we haven’t gotten to the after hours. So Need for Reefer is one of those songs that you can’t help but smile at. Whether it’s the Little Richard guitar playing, the ole fashioned rock n’ roll vocals, or just the subject matter. Anybody who doesn’t crack a smile on this track has had some serious tragedy happen in their lives. Because unless Reefer has burnt your crops, raided your village, and kidnapped your daughter; there is no possible way you cannot smile at this song.

It’s not irony, since being ironic is a social clutch to avoid being made fun of for being sincere. No it’s pure fun. It’s the type of song you write with your friends, laughing to yourselves on how you’re getting away with it. An attitude the underground scene desperately needs. Where people are either these tortured tormented souls, or are so ironic that nothing really matters. Everybody needs to take a breather and not take things so seriously. And if you want that in music form, then this is the track for you.

Now I touched on it briefly, there’s no denying the 50’s rock feel of this track. While I said that punk was a response to Rock–I was half right. Rock music had grown indulgent, and punk wanted to strip that indulgence down to it’s bare essentials. Now how they did this, was to combine the grittiness of say The Stooges, and the 4 chord song structure of popular 50’s music. The Ramones, in particular, were influenced just as much by Phil Spector and 50’s pop music, as they were in The Stooges. So punk has always had this unconscious or accidental throwback to a 50’s rock n’ roll. And no track better exemplifies this than Need for Reefer.

Next in Tale o’ Whoa we get that homage of punk music, with it’s bizarro lyrics, energy, and short brief guitar solos. Yet one thing that has got to be mentioned is the drumming. Now while Trying to Reach You is a better illustration of the drumming prowess that’s displayed throughout the album. This is the first glimpses you get into Bandy’s drumming prowess. The drums are not just expansive, THEY’RE HUGE. They say that Keith Moon was an excellent drummer not solely because of his talent, but for his ability to use every single drum on his drum set. This whole entire album is a perfect representation of how a drummer should play drums. Yeah, brevity is the soul of wit and whatever. But if you’re going to buy a drumset you better use the whole damn drumset.

Now remember when I mentioned earlier how the vocals are incredibly charismatic? Not just because they have that rowdy kind of edge, but because they have a degree of humanity? Well Passing the Rhyme is the track to show how tender the vocals can be. As tender a charismatic singer of a “Good time rock n’ roll band” can be. The beginning guitar has this sort of nostalgic wistful kind of feel, while the vocals croon, growl, and howl. Even the piano flourishes and guitar solos, have this tinge of sadness.

Though it’s not a sadness that drenches you in melancholy. Rather it’s that kind of sadness that comes from a bad breakup. Yeah, it sucks that you’re going through a breakup, but God damn if you aren’t relieved it’s over. When the singer sings “La la la” and you hear that chorus–it doesn’t matter if you haven’t gone through a break up–because you’re already feelin’ it.

Now let’s jump into I Dream of Trash and Skin Diving in the Sea of Trash. This is the point in time that if you don’t “get” the album, these are the songs to listen to. It’s also why you should listen to albums in their entirety rather than cherry picking songs, but that’s a whole other issue. These tracks are the anthem of punk rock. If you wanted to distill punk to it’s purest element, away from all the microgenres, and bullshit–this is it. It’s that child like song lyrics that calls back from songs like “I just wanna sniff some glue.” It’s that unbridled creativity that makes you stop and think, “I can write songs about diving into trash?” It’s the track that shows you that everything is possible, and just when you get hooked on the lyrics–Bandy pulls the rug from under your feet.

How do they do that? Well they slow down the track, or just play slower and sing lower. The distorted guitar sputters out of control in the background. And it sounds like everything is falling apart. Then when it sounds like the track is about to fall into chaos. BAM. Skin Diving in the Sea of Trash starts banging away, and everything falls into place. It’s that controlled anarchy, that is what made punk great. And when I say controlled, I mean there was anarchy while music was blasting through the speakers. That kind of spirit in punk, has been dying for awhile, yet listening to this track gives me hope.

Finally we get to The Truth is a Lonely Place, the victory lap in an already great album. A song that swells up in punk energy, to then slow down and deliver some soul. Yet when Bandy says the “Truth is a Lonely Place” I think they mean that being a good old rock band is a lonely place. After all there wouldn’t be an army of 12 year olds born in the wrong generation if this wasn’t the case.

When starting this blog I was wanted to capture that “Left of the Dial” kind of experience that people had back when “alternative” music was still in it’s underground phase. This is why I started this blog. This album has energy, creativity, and just the right amount of charm–it’s something you can’t find anyway else. It’s why when I write reviews on albums, I’m almost always blown away as to why they aren’t getting enough attention. And why it’s always so exciting to hear.

So obviously, without a doubt, if you want an album that reminds you of why you like music. Or why you make music. Then this is the album for you. With that I’ve give this album my full recc.

Day Gold: Give me the Sun Forever

https://daygold.bandcamp.com/album/give-me-the-sun-forever

First let me preface this review by talking a little bit about Pensacola. I was stationed there for awhile, and it’s not one of those cities that you think about when you think of Florida. Usually people go to Orlando, Tampa, Miami, or Jacksonville. Yet this city is a jewel, and I met some of the most creative people in my life at that city.

It was all by accident. There was this chief I worked for, who was a ladies man, and was hooking up with girls left and right. Everybody who worked for him admired him, so we all tried to emulate him. He told us to dress nice, tell good jokes, get her number, and he left out other key important pieces of information–mainly don’t go to the strip club to try to get laid. Which is exactly what I did. I blew nearly $600 at Sammy’s, and when I found out that it wasn’t a magical place to get laid (“We’re strippers, not prostitutes,” a phrase I heard a lot), I decided to explore the city. That’s where I found the art scene and all the creative people of Pensacola. Every night began as a quest to get laid, only to be sidetracked by more interesting creative people.

Listening to this album for me, is just further clarification that the music scene in Pensacola, is as good as I remembered (as well as someone who was constantly drunk could remember). Let’s start with the opening track, Play in the Rain if there was any better opener to a great album, then I’ve probably never heard it. Let’s take the sample, a car passing by you on a rainy day. Immediately just by that little slice ambient noise, you already know you’re outside in the rain. It’s such a subtle little touch; kind of like when you’re reading a book, and the author provides a metaphor that you immediately understand. Then for Day Gold to incorporate that into a major part of his sound, is so creative, so intelligent, that it leaves you flabbergasted as to how someone can be so creative.

Every piece of this song (as well as this album) is so well constructed, every single element of this track from the vocals, the guitar, and even the samples are so well produced. There’s nothing that’s left up to chance, and that’s not taken into consideration. From the effects on the vocals, to the tone of the guitar–both when it strums chords, and plucks away sweet melodies. In any other song, say the production of the vocals would be the main driving point, since it’s so uniquely produced. But on this track, everything is well produced, and it’s not overwhelming or showing off. Rather everything is produced in a certain way to either convey: A. the rain, or B. that you hang on to your youthfulness and sense of wonder. Even the end guitar part, with the rain ambience in the background, on any other track it would be a real sad song. Yet with the energy and ambience of the rest of the track, it sounds less of a brooding melancholy that most songs with rain samples have. Rather it sounds like a night in with friends on a rainy day, and after a night drinking when everybody is all cuddled up someone picks up the guitar and plays a soulful tune.

This celebratory tone of this track carries through the rest of the album. By singing about the beach, being out in the sun, and living life to the fullest. But what separates Day Gold from, from say Jimmy Buffet, is how talented he is at creating a soundscape that reflects what he’s singing about. So when we take Life is an Ocean which immediately starts off with that softened reverbed out guitar, that strums ever so gently, playing this soothing melody–it’s pure relaxation. If you were to isolate that guitar, and ask someone where they’d picture themselves at, it would be impossible not to say the beach. Maybe it’s because of the wet reverb of surfer music, underwater video game music, or wherever–it’s in our collective unconscious. It’s kind of what we expect ocean music to sound like. Then when we go to the warm fuzzy guitar lead, rather than being abrasive, it’s more of a cool chilled out kind of feel. Kind of like when you’re 3 margaritas in, laying in a hotub, and you slowly start to feel the alcohol spread through your body. Then when we finally get to the vocals, which by themselves is incredibly good, yet with the production that Day Gold applies, it causes the vocals to sound more expansive. That expansiveness gives it this psychedelic edge to it, and as mentioned before, psychedelia works best as a sense of expanded sense of consciousness. So if we combine all the elements that the production provides: that you’re at the beach, you’re chilled out, and now you’re so relaxed that you’ve reached a point of enlightenment. I mean how much more can a track do for you?

Then when we get to Your Heart is a Clock the beginning guitar that swells up in volume, like when an alarm clock goes off, and when you wake up you finally realize it’s time for work. Although the guitar isn’t that abrasive, it has that forward sense of momentum that thrusts the rest of the song into action. Plus the lyrical content–that we’re all going to die, so we might as well enjoy life while we still can–needs that forward momentum for the track to work. To that effect it does. The drums and fuzzy guitar provides this nice groove, that gives credibility to the lyrics. Because if you’re going to sing a song about living life to it’s fullest, it better sound like you’re living life to your fullest. This is the kind of track, that if you were walking down the street and put on your earbuds, you’d immediately be walking with a swagger–even if you didn’t know what the song was about. It just has that kind of energy.

So next up is Rock Me to Sleep with it’s pitch perfect chord progression, and vocals that sound like a lullaby. It already lives up to it’s name. But it’s what happens next, that changes this from a well written song, to really good rock music. That is the lead guitar. Hearing the chord progression change to this unresolved melody, that’s desperate for a resolution, only for the drums to kick in, brings about this huge amount of anticipation. And like any good showman, Day Gold knows that the build up is just as good as the delivery. Then the lead guitar comes through like a whirlwind, and it’s not the heavy metal speed kind of shredding, that loses all emotion through it being so technical–no, this guitar has got soul. You feel this surge of emotion as this phased out guitar plays out this cool solo. And when I say cool, I mean the cool 90’s kind of guitar solos, back when people wore weird shit, and hung out in coffee houses. That kind of gen X coolness, that millennials associate as being grungy, when in fact it was people doing their own thing, and being sincere. Now I know it’s subjective to say a guitar solo is cool; but if there was anybody out there trying to quantify the coolness of guitar solos, this would be a good place to start.

Finally we end with Give Me the Sun Forever with this reverbed out drum beat that’s just as in your face as the fuzzy guitar tone we all love (because if you don’t like that guitar tone you are insane). With the guitar strumming in the background, and the overall carefree atmosphere this song produces, it’s the kind of track that would be played out when watching the sunset on a beach. You know when you’re at the beach with all your friends, got a bonfire started, and a cooler full of beer–and you sit there looking at the sunset, knowing that it doesn’t get much better than this.

Which is a great way to end the album review. Indie rock albums don’t get much better than this album, and for anybody who loves going to the beach (which is everybody, unless you’re all lying on your tinder profiles) then this is the album for you. For me, it’s a solidification that the artists, and musicians that I met in Pensacola were the real deal. If I were to tell anybody a story of my brief time stationed there, I’d tell them to listen to this album first, and then they’d understand why Pensacola is such a great place to live at.

With the positive vibes, and the great soundtrack for a day out in the sun, this album gets my full recc. Please if you are a human, and like listening to music, check this guy out–you are sure to be amazed.