The advantage of living in different cities every few months is that you get a chance to dig your fingers into the soil for at least a little while, long enough to hear about things and meet the people that the city itself adores. The few friends that gives it’s art a name- the artists. For Toronto, I think about bands like The Wooden Sky, but for San Diego, I think of Writer. There have been a handful of acts I’ve come across in the passed few months that have really stuck with me, they meant something to me. Some of them, only with a few tracks. That’s the thing that gets me most excited about music, the music that catches you and holds on.
We watched Writer play a couple of weeks ago at a Sezio show and it was a collective understanding that things were different, the atmosphere in the room shifted. For a lot of people, these were friends, it could’ve been their hundredth time playing. For me, it was my first. It was a rare moment, in a room filled with bodies, that the rhythm coursed through all of us and we all managed to focus long enough to slip into this place, where these songs were born and we were picking up lyrics for the next time we heard them, so that we could sing them ourselves, like they were ours alone. Andy & James Ralf possess a synergy only shared between the blood of brothers, the kin of a history together, to predict eachother’s pulses and rhythms, harmonies and subtle hesitation to be picked up by the other.
I got a chance to listen to their new album, and wondered whether that feeling we all felt would translate to a recording. It did, in a new way. The droned-out echoey vocals are best heard on one’s own. The drumming is deliberate, and the lyrics are poetic, but uncomplicated, “you scraped your knee and cursed my name…don’t give up, we’re almost there” a certain narrative style of folks like David Bazan, the most direct sentences being the most impactful. The aggression of distorted guitars and vocals has always been their aesthetic, but they seemed to have graduated towards making catchier melodies, evident in such tracks as “Barefoot Art” a minimalist track led by a tambourine. I’m really excited about this band, you’ll definitely hear more about these dudes soon.
Writer- Barefoot Art
Writer- Miss Mermaid