As I sit here in not-so sunny New Jersey, the wind outside is making noises that could best be described as ominous, if not all together frightening. The government shutdown is approaching never-ending status, that Lincoln Memorial confrontation story won’t go away and for all of the wrong reasons, it’s still four days before the next episode of True Detective and for some reason, no one else is coming out with a documentary about the Fyre Festival. So in short, things are somewhat problematic here in this country of ours.
How then, would we go about fixing this? Good question. For the most part we can’t. And that’s not meant to sound defeated or anything. I’m just being realistic. True Detective airs on Sunday nights. It’s Thursday. Can’t change that. Unless you’re a magician of course. But even then, I’d say it’s a tough task. And if you’re reading this and somehow in the position to actually do something about the government shutdown, then what the shit man, stop reading this and do something. I really don’t feel I need to say that. As for another Fyre Festival, your move HBO or Amazon. Don’t even think about it, podcast person. That story is best told in a visual medium. If you’ve seen either of the docs, you would understand. You would also understand why a third is needed.
So back to my question: how do we go about fixing this?
I say that while we can’t fix all of the aforementioned problems, we can find ways to cope with them. And one way to cope with troubling, turbulent seas is to remain calm and stay level. The best way to do this is to soothe your uneasy and unsettled nerves with the right kind of music. The wrong kind of music is the new Weezer album because that jawn is all covers and half of them will make you question way too much about your life and past decisions. The right kind of music is the latest EP from the San Diego folk outfit Golden Howl, Blue Space. It’s peaceful and soothing and meditative in all the best possible ways. It’s like tea, but not the kind of tea you drink when you have a cold. No. More like the kind of tea you drink when you need piece of mind. That kind of tea. It’s also like a nice warm blanket or well-worn hoodie. Comforting. All kinds of comforting.
This is the second release from the band, following up another EP, Mighty Mighty, which was released last year. Whereas that album was the product of the band feeling themselves out and learning who they were, Blue Space is tighter and more focused, an exercise in a band harnessing their powers and figuring out what works and what doesn’t. The opening track, “Colorado,” is from the jump, a step up from the three songs on Mighty Mighty and that’s not just because it includes horns (provided by Andy Geib of Slightly Stoopid) and I’m an admitted sucker for horns. The horns help of course, but so do the backing vocals behind Christopher Balcom’s lead vocals and the subtle movement of the percussion that is the song’s engine.
Marlo Smith takes lead vocals on the second track and her voice is haunting and ethereal. Balcom comes in halfway through as the song feels like a long-distance dance between two estranged lovers. On the third and final song, “Waterfall,” the opening reminds you of Local Natives before those friendly harmonies come back to remind you who you are listening too. And really, it’s the harmonies that is the hallmark of this crew. No disrespect to the rest of the band, they do their job and do it well, but when the harmonies come in, it makes you stop and take notice. Weirdly, on “Waterfall,” the harmonies kind of sound like a waterfall. But like, a gentle waterfall. I don’t know. That could be the coffee talking. Hard to say at this time of day.
What’s not hard to say regardless of the time of day is that shit’s straight up madness right now and while that madness will no doubt continue, you can combat it by helping your personal state of mind. Golden Howl can help do this. So can the right kind of drugs but hey now, that won’t fly for all of us. Golden Howl will. One out of two is more than acceptable.
Just like Golden Howl.
To learn more about San Diego’s Golden Howl, check out their website.
Gave this EP a listen. Didn’t totally dig it, but I did really like “Hold Tight”, with the female lead vocal. You’re right, though, they go down pretty easy.