It’s enough to make you stop and say, “What is that?” It being the gorgeous melodies and lean, spellbound guitar lines of Colin Caulfield, an English/French lit major who’s about to change what it means to be a shape-shifting singer-songwriter in the YouTube age.
Just ask Bradford Cox. He knows. Why, just a year ago, the Deerhunter frontman stumbled upon Caulfield’s organ-grinding rendition of “Rainwater Cassette Exchange” and said it’s “fantastically superior to the original. It actually sent shivers up my spine, especially during the second verse.”
Believe it or not, that chilling cover was just a warmup session. As killer as he is at capturing the very essence of everything from Animal Collective to Ariel Pink, Caulfied’s true talent is in telling his own Young Man stories. The first chapter of which goes by the name Boy, a deceivingly-simple suite of songs about wanting to grow up without having the slightest idea of what ‘being a man’ actually means.
Now that’s a reason to hit rewind, from the tone-setting tenderness and psych-infused harmonies of “Five” to the restless rhythms (Caulfield was a drummer well before he became a singer/guitarist) and room-engulfing intimacy of “Up So Fast.” Both of which feature some of the most hopeful/haunting choruses you’ll hear all year.
And that’s just the beginning, of course. Since Young Man was conceived as a concept project about the passing of time, love, and loss, Caulfield already has two loosely-linked LPs on tap—a faceless collection of fragile characters that could be any one of us, really.
“A lot of it’s autobiographical,” explains Caulfield, “but it’s universal at the same time, because everyone goes through these things.”
Listen closely. It’ll all make sense soon enough. Trust us.
Since their emergence from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1996, Les Savy Fav have been building a passionate following among musicians, fans, and critics the old fashioned way: by earning it. In a world where technologies speed new music to listeners and enable young bands instant access to limitless audience, Les Savy Fav is among an increasingly rare breed of band who built their audience city by city and fan by fan. The approach has yielded something even more rare: a fully seasoned band at the peak of their skill that has not been blown out by hype and overexposure. The band’s 2007 release, Let’s Stay Friends, was their first to achieve substantial press response and found it’s place in many lists of top albums for the year. With their new release, Root For Ruin, Les Savy Fav seems poised for the kind of widespread acclaim many have felt they have long deserved.
The new album is called Root For Ruin for several reasons. Here’s one: it sifts through 15 years of musical experience to arrive at a diamond-edged sound that’s as upfront and direct as the quintet’s legendary live shows. That goes for everything from the gut-punching percussion and drunken punk subtleties of “Clear Spirits” to the moonlit melodies and restless, groove of “Sleepless in Silverlake”. “Poltergeist”, cut in one take at the band’s rehearsal space, features a downward spiral vibe that’s both delirious and delightful. Root For Ruin keeps you on your toes through 11 tracks.
The band approached their previous release Let’s Stay Friends, after over ten years working together, the way a married couple looking to spice things up might. Like the hosts of a wild swingers party, they opened their arms to embrace new players from such indie rock institutions as the Fiery Furnaces, Broken Social Scene, Enon and Modest Mouse to join them. They even went so far as to invite fans to sing on their tracks over the phone. Root For Ruin finds frontman Tim Harrington, bassist Syd Butler, drummer Harrison Haynes, and guitarists Seth Jabour and Andrew Reuland enjoying a less “open” relationship. The album features only the five Favs. “With our last album, we wanted to cavort around the world and try some freaky stuff.” says Harrington. “With this one(Root For Ruin), it turns out we enjoy making love with one another more than with a group of strangers” adds Jabour.
Weird sex metaphors aside, the tightness of the band is undeniable on Root For Ruin. For some it will signal a return to the rawer energy evidenced on their early recordings. It’s clear by the tracks on the album that the guys are enjoying their own legacy. Many songs carry the torch for some of the band’s first influences. Still, it’s not nostalgic. Root For Ruin is not stylistic pose or aesthetic conceit- it’s the real deal. Les Savy Fav’s commitment to it’s work and fans might explain why one of Brooklyn’s ballsiest bands has maintained such a cult following for more than a decade. With Root For Ruin, they’ve succeeded in distilling their interests and experiences into an album which will continue to influence the independent music scene they’ve helped build while broadening their sound towards a new world of fans.
02 “Dirty Knails”
03 “Sleepless in Silverlake”
04 “Let”s Get Out of Here”
05 “Lips n” Stuff”
07 “High and Unhinged”
08 “Excess Engergies”
09 “Dear Crutches”
10 “Calm Down”
11 “Clear Spirits”