first impressions are important. this is like a first date. we're at some taco truck because you love mexican food and i'm poor and we're trying to get to know each other. you tell me you love music. i tell you i love music too. so much so that i spent three years and all the money i have making an album. three eps really, five songs each. you're like, "wow, why did it take you so long, loser?". i'm like, "a little soon to be calling each other names but you're not wrong". and this is when you see the first of many red flags, and let me just tell you now, this date ends up looking like a communist rally. so anyways, i say, "well, it took me so long because i'm not really happy unless i'm biting off more than i can chew and even when i'm halfway through fifteen songs and about thirty accompanying videos, i'm still flogging myself for not doing more, faster". at this point you're checking your phone looking for some reason to excuse yourself from this dumpster fire but it's only 8:30 and you're somewhat intrigued so you're like, "what kind of music do you make?". and i say, "all kinds really. i'm super into writing and producing but would rather be eaten by a starving circus lion than sing my own songs so i wrote fifteen different songs in varying genres and got my super rad friends to sing them". choosing to ignore the unnecessarily dramatic circus lion comment you say, "that's actually pretty cool. you sound like a piece of work and i would very much like to not see you again but i'm definitely gonna go home and listen to this". so you go home, in whatever shitty car you drive because you're not exactly the most popular guy in school either, and you go into your room where the walls are plastered with concert posters and album artwork because you're a "music guy" and you open your computer and plug in your speakers and put on my first ep, "blood".
here's what you hear.
1. I CAN'T LIE (FEAT. HUXLEE)
first off is huxlee.
WHO?: huxlee is caitlin notey. she's one of my best friends. she's also one of the most incredible musicians i've ever heard. she writes, produces, and performs almost every note of her recordings. which is kind of an annoying thing to have to say but everyone hates women and assumes that all we can keep in our girl brains is the ability to hold a microphone or write a melody. caitlin does both of those really well but like i said, she's a rad producer.
SOUNDS LIKE: garage-y, psych-y indie rock. the black keys with a better singer. hell, ANY band with a better singer.
2. SOLID GOLD (FEAT. REN FARREN AND KATIE SKENE
WHO?: ren is one of the smartest people i've ever met. you know how you'll be talking to someone you've just met and you're like, "wow this person is fun as hell, i've found a new friend and for once it didn't feel like sticking my hand in a nutribullet" but then as soon as you spend a full hour with them you realize they're absolutely nuts and a pathological narcissist and that every problem they complain about is actually caused by their terrible personality? that's not how it is with ren. she's beautiful, she's intelligent, she's got one of the raddest voices around, and she's a voracious reader so good luck ever being as amazing as her.
how many times have you been in a bar trying to enjoy yourself while some horrendous all male, all white, gluten free bar band performs and proceeds to ruin your entire life in the span of one unendingly boring five-minute song? that has personally never happened to me because i've never been in a bar trying to enjoy myself. but if i were to ever go, i would only go to bars where katie is performing. as cool off stage as she is on, you'd probably be the luckiest sad-sack in the place to hang out with her.
SOUNDS LIKE: rhythmic, left of center, indie pop. like lucius.
3. THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS (FEAT. ROSIE TUCKER)
you're two songs into the ep. your heart is pounding. you remember what it feels like to be alive. let's change that with a sad song about how fucked up friendship is. time for rosie tucker.
WHO?: rosie's the best, dude. like hands down the best. for some people it's like, a herculean effort to put intelligible words over music that doesn't sound absolutely insane. but rosie just is like, "hey, here's this song i wrote in 20 minutes" and then she plays you the coolest, catchiest, most clever song you'll hear all year. damn, rosie. how do we get to be like you, rosie? she's also very nice which is a quality that i hear a lot of people enjoy.
SOUNDS LIKE: melancholy basement rock. waxahatchee, speedy ortiz.
4. THE APOLOGY SONG
so now you're bummed. that sucks, i'm sorry. but as long as you're bummed you might as well upgrade to depressed. so here's "the apology song".
i sang this one because it didn't feel right making one of my lovely, sunshine-faced friends sing "i want to stick a knife in my ribcage".
SOUNDS LIKE: a folkier julien baker, a folkier dashboard confessional.
5. WASTED ON THE YOUNG (FEAT. HUXLEE AND AMAN ALEM)
now you're just flat out sad. maybe you've shed a tear. call your girlfriend and tell her how much you love her. oh, you're single? kill yourself. huxlee and aman alem have a love song for you. a fucking love song.
WHO?: you've met huxlee, now let's introduce you to aman. zoo-wee-mama, aman. stop singing like that or we might just fall in love with you. aman is one of those dudes who just unassumingly walks up to the front of a crowded room, picks up a guitar, and then proceeds to play the most engaging, interesting, misty-eyed song you've ever heard. an aman song never goes where i think it will which is the best compliment in the world especially because i think i know everything. obviously i don't but obviously i also kinda do because i was smart enough to ask aman to sing a song for me that will simultaneously break your heart and put it back together a million times per second which is a scientific fact. sunny sad songs from the poster child for good-looking longing.
SOUNDS LIKE: hearts-in-eyes folk, belle brigade, dawes, blake mills.
ep's over. 18 minutes and 42 seconds.
all jokes and irreverence aside, music is a sisyphean task. i spent two and a half years out of college alternating between periods of manic productivity and periods of self-flagellation for not having achieved any of the things i set out to do, namely put out this ep. to make matters worse, i was so stupidly and earnestly excited about it that i couldn't stop telling everyone i met about the music i was making which in turn made me more and more embarrassed as almost three years passed before i had anything anyone could even listen to. at my best, i felt like the world's most amazing cyclist climbing a hill in the wrong gear. at my worst i felt like the biggest, most embarrassing fraud it has ever been the world's misfortune to meet. but i have two comforting thoughts as i release this ep. the first is that it's not a fraction as embarrassing putting this out as i thought it would be. i've finally accomplished the singular goal that's been dominating my life for the past three years and that feels like a victory. not to mention the fact that there's no logical reason as to why i should be embarrassed sharing these songs. i'm incredibly proud of all the jaw-dropping, heart-pounding performances my friends have shared here. the second thought i have is that no one thinks about me nearly as much as i think they do and when they do happen to remember that my stupid songs and i exist, the worst they can think is something i've already thought before: