Song of the Day

Show Preview/Song Of The Day: Sarah Shook & The Disarmers, Good As Gold

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It really does come as something of a surprise that Sarah Shook didn’t grow up immersed in country music. Listening to the North Carolina based singer-songwriter’s sophomore album Years, you’d be forgiven for assuming that she grew up in honky-tonks and started mainlining country sounds from birth rather than coming to it later in life as she apparently did. Shook’s catchy, relatable songwriting embodies the spirit of country music so well and throws in a touch of punk rock for good measure too. I could go on about it, but who better than Sarah Shook herself to describe it? As she puts it:

This record is about finding a way. A way through exhaustion, depression, betrayal, hangover after hangover, upper after downer after upper, fight after never-ending fight. It’s about picking yourself up and dusting yourself off after years of being trampled and beaten down, jutting your chin out, head high, after they’ve done their worst, and saying, “Still here.”

This record is shouting “f**k you, I do want I want” from the rooftops to the mother******g cosmos.

Really, what more could you want from an album?

The album is full of gems such as “New Ways To Fail” (with its skateboarding-themed video that we wrote about here), “Parting Words” and album opener “Good As Gold” which features one of my favourite lyrics on the album (“No, it won’t be long ’til the wrong song comes on at the right time”).

Sarah Shook & The Disarmers will be playing a show at The Legendary Horseshoe Tavern on Saturday, August 25. It should be a good one. If by chance you can’t make it or you need something to tide you over until the show, you can check out the lyric video for “Good As Gold” below:

Song of the Day: Israel Nash, Rolling On

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I remember 2013’s Rain Plans like it was yesterday.

No, really. While I listen to it quite frequently, it had also made me erroneously peg Israel Nash as a gritty, melancholy country songwriter. And I haven’t touched country since I said good-riddance to braces/dentists in high-school. But in reality since Rain Plans, he has put out an expansive album with Silver Season, shifting more towards a more open form of Americana.

From the opening moments of “Rolling On” from Nash’s new album Lifted, all I hear is optimism. It paints an expansive ambiance and slowly drapes that landscape with strings of hope like multiple bunches of wisteria. Incidentally, that comparison is apt because the same chorus is its only vehicle besides the guitar highlights at the very end. It is really very soothing. But then again, when I listened a third time a portmanteau of “Take My Breath Away” (Berlin) and “I Will Follow Him” (Little Peggy March) materialized. Now I can’t get those 5 notes out of my head to keep rolling on. Damn it, where has all the optimism gone?

Song of the Day: Tony Molina, Nothing I Can Say

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If brevity is the soul of wit, then the extremely brief album Kill the Lights from Tony Molina might be the wittiest kid on the block. At once fulfilling yet incomplete by design, it doesn’t just leave you wanting more folksy harmonies and miniature refrains, it positively asks you to look for more – like a purposeful intro to a long Pandora session.

“Nothing I Can Say”, the first of 10 minute-long Lego® Folk-Songs® (they even managed to include fade outs on several songs), is likely the most ear-catching. The only issue is that with so little timing separation, I find it difficult to manage the emotional feedback cycle. At the point when the jangling guitars return upon “Give He Take You”, I had over-shot and under-shot the tunes 6 times and became stuck on somewhat ambivalent, even though the music itself is well-crafted. So, it’s a nice experiment. But I would disperse them into your playlist and listen individually for best effects.

Song of the Day: Meg Myers – Tear Me to Pieces

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There are a few songs in recent memory that had me naturally reach for max volume (“The Apple” from VV Brown was one). Meg Myers’ new album Take Me to The Disco contains a good number of hugely cathartic songs, such as “Numb”, but “Tear Me to Pieces” may be the most potent of the bunch.

Starting off from a short double segment of metronome pace and robotic enunciation, it hits its human stride very quickly. Myers green-lights huge distortions and hits the top speed in less than 1 bar with a volcanic eruption of emotions – but one that is viscously restrained to repeatedly explode again and again later on (OK so a rhyolytic volcano).

Her voice is piercing, always angry and weary. This is definitely a product of the times. If it had been the liberal golden age of 2008, one might transmute this anger to the background track of an aggressive automobile commercial and be done with it. In the illiberal shackles of today, this is clearly a more urgent call to action. In fact her whole album and video carries that consistent theme. It’s a strong effort, and signs of better things to come.