Do you have 99 cents and a pair of ears or at least one ear? Do you love Portland music enough to invest that 99 cents into a band that has lovingly crafted, over the course of years, 25 songs - 25 songs just for you? And they’re all about you. They're all about pain. Haha just kidding, I just wanted to use that link. JOKES AGAIN!! They ARE actually all about pain! What else is music about?
Great! We’ve established that you’re willing to spend a dollar of your disposable income. You big cheapskate. I mean you could consider buying the whole thing. But you won’t, so I’m coming to you. Here’s the dilemma: with 25 genre-less songs, how in the ever living fuck are you expected to spend over an hour of your precious time - which could be spent cruising facebook for old flames from high school, or digging around in netflix for something to watch that you haven’t yet, I mean, YOU’VE GOT PRIORITIES - figuring out which song of the 25 to spend your dollar on? “THAT IS UNREASONABLE, VK, this is AMERICA!” you holler, as you throw your crumpled, sweat stained dollar on the floor and stomp out of the room. Metaphorically.
You, when I ask you to listen to more than 15 seconds of music you've never heard before:
Well you’re in luck, boo boo face, because I have, for you, put together a practical buyer’s guide to SeepeopleS’ new album Dead Souls Sessions. This information has been compiled from very scientific data collected through repeated listens to the album, as well as an informal interview with band leader Will Bradford that I have been covertly conducting over the past 12 years. HAHAHA AND HE DIDN’T EVEN KNOW IT WAS HAPPENING THAT’S HOW GOOD I AM! Look, you want unbiased music journalism? Go to…. uh, heh. Yeah, I mean there’s really nowhere you can go for that, what are you stupid? Am I too close to the subject matter here? YES! But that’s what makes it fun! At least my bias is based on friendship and the fact that I’d like to maintain access to Will’s dog rather than an advertising acumen. That’s free press, kiddo!
And so grab that dollar of yours and get ready, because here I bring you Dead Souls Sessions: A Practical Buyer’s Guide for the Notoriously Cheap
The Best Bets
Imaginary Lines - RIYL the guitar playing of Glen Hansard, Kurt Vile or Phosphorescent. That pretty, clean, bell-like acoustic guitar is front and center in a similar way. If you're in a happy romantic relationship this song will make you want to grab your bae and go hold hands on the beach and PDA like cray, but if you're single, this one's a real tearjerker, get your therapist on the phone stat.
No Use As Your Bitch - RIYL if you like Quincy Jones era Michael Jackson like “P.Y.T.” or Bruno Mars’ "Uptown Funk," or Chromeo in general. A danceable, lighthearted homage to everything fun about that kind of disco-funk-pop. Except instead of singing about going out to dance or a lady love (a tenderoni, to use the parlance of the time), this song is about the observed hypocrisy of those closest to you. Never let it be said that SeepeopleS aren’t a paradox!
We Are Collateral - RIYL if you like Nada Surf, The Flaming Lips or Electric Light Orchestra. Stacked vocals and a big power pop chorus join forces with Will’s "a falsetto child?" voice and lyrics about how people abandon you when shit gets hard, which: SO TRUE. Hey, everyone who lost my number after my mom died, why don’t you buy this one. Here’s a snippet of the not so subtle lyrics:
Cause when trouble comes, everybody just disappears
Friends will come and go, and go much more I fear
And when the rain falls, they don’t know, they just have to go.
Second Worst Person In The World - RIYL The Flaming Lips or The Beach Boys or any song that ends in the world’s most addictive refrain. The reason why Taylor Swift is so catchy and likeable despite kind of being a normcore dullard with nothing interesting to say is because she uses these smart, pleasing progressions of melody and then repeats them. A lot. So much, you guys. Until you’re like, robotically chanting “I just wanna shake, shake, shake, shake, shake... “ at all times. I mean also because everyone wants to fuck her. That’s probably also why she’s popular. Anyway, buy this song, it’s actually my favorite on the album.
Used - RIYL Built to Spill or Pavement. I’ve really got nothing more for you on this one. Maybe Vampire Weekend? Help me. Go listen to it and tell me of what it reminds you. It’s the best song on the album though. I mean, it’s a guitar-driven rock tune. It’s very SeepeopleS. Sorry I can’t be of more help, I mean I’m not this guy, I can only do so much.
Solitary Water Torture - this is the instrumental track that opens the album, all cello and synthesizers. It’s very sad. Sounds like sunrise on the beach in the winter. According to Will its the “essence of chasing the dragon.” RIYL film scores.
Conifers of China - RIYL ambient, downtempo trip hop, dream pop. Massive attack or RJD2 if they were dropped into a series of secret mysterious tunnels beneath Shanghai in the 1930’s.
Heavy Goat - If there’s a funk jam on this record, this is it, but this is definitely not a funk jam. It’s been kissed, just fondled ever so innocently by funk. If you sniff the wind, you catch a fleeting waft of the Isley Brothers’ “It’s Your Thing.” RIYL Cut Copy or Ghostland Observatory. Not a true instrumental either, there's a tiny bit of singing on here too.
Gogol’s Tea Dance Dinner Mint - You're a real weirdo rebel if you spend your dollar on this one, by golly! It’s an intro track for the second side of the album and it's like, I don't fucking know, let's call it a space spiritual for lack of a better term - this is Will’s exploration of Tibetan throat singing paired with what I imagine space would sound like if planets and stars made music. RIYL being a super weirdo.
Waltz of the Damned - A true waltz in structure, but danced for an unbelievably painful reason; and only a few are allowed in to this club. RIYL dark shit like NIN, Pink Floyd or Florence and the Machines, or if you’re a steampunk cosplayer.
Fall in Rome - RIYL Roots Manuva or Morcheeba. This is an indie hip hop warning song about impending doom. You’re fucked, and if you don’t see it coming by now, you’re an idiot.
Invincibility Complex - RIYL if you like mid-century big band songs with spooky violins like “Close Your Eyes” by Al Bowlly or “A Very Good Year” by Frank Sinatra. While the song deals with the subject of trying to outrun your drug habit, the feeling is very much of a bygone era, with harps, violins and the wistful echo of a faraway place.
Test Lake Baby 4 - RIYL if you like the vast, airy soundscapes of Lord Huron’s “Time to Run” or “She Lit a Fire,” or the idea and energy behind Noah and the Whale’s “Blue Skies.” Everything’s a bit darker here since it’s a SeepeopleS record, so themes of love and relationships are replaced by themes of social alienation and violated trust. I mean I feel like I told you this was the feel good record of the year, where are you going?
Holy Ghost Charter Song - RIYL bass-driven songs like Radiohead’s "National Anthem." This song has more fervent forward-momentum, with almost tribal-sounding drums and vocals that mimic the slippage of time, or what it would sound like if a song were played underwater and occasionally bobbed to the surface for a gasp of air. Finishes up with a devastating piano refrain that drops away as you sob uncontrollably at your own reflection in the mirror. Stop doing so much acid, dude, I mean get it together already.
The Island - RIYL The Beta Band’s “Inner Meet Me.” But more electronic-y. Will says that this is a more traditional rock song about being alone, and uses a switch back and forth from major and minor keys to mimic the dynamic of changing emotions.
Downstairs - RIYL Secret Machines or Menomena. Will calls this "one of the self loathing tunes” on the album, and what we can take away from that is that there are multiple songs about self loathing on this album, then. A first listen will reveal oddly timed drums and an anxious melody with a big roaring stacked vocals chorus.
The Guns, The bullets - what kind of song even is this? This is a song about super dark times, the kind of times during which you’re pissed off that this dark conversation even needed to happen. A frog being dissected, just like they've been doing since they invented high school science class, over and over and over again. RIYL Sparklehore and David Lynch’s collaborations on Dark Night of the Soul.
The Other Side - RIYL The National. An unsettling acoustic guitar driven “ballad” with muted vocals that spends quality time in the shallows to build to a big finish.
Huxley’s Useless Garden - RIYL “Like a Mirror” by Morphine or the Verve’s “Storm in Heaven” album. Spaced out heroin soundscaping examining the emotional complexities of drug addiction. Dana Colley cameos on bari sax.
Sight for Sore Eyes - RIYL Unknown Mortal Orchestra’s most recent record or… Beck? This one’s tough, it’s mostly a straightforward pop song about carrying on when things are at their worst (the song starts with the line, “Am I a good man stuck in a bad plan?”). But then it’s eerily playful.
Coma Vacation Hostage - RIYL if you like De Novo Dahl or The Dandy Warhols, and if you like to have the refrain “you give me over the rainbow cold shoulders” stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Good luck with that. Maybe some Taylor Swift would help.
Last Friend in the world - If this album is a Six Flags style theme park, then this song is the moment you step into Western World and all of a sudden the rides are all cowboy and cactus themed and every sign starts with the greeting, “Howdy, Pardner!” RIYL if you like Bon Jovi’s “Wanted Dead or Alive.” No, I'm not joking, and also I will fuck you up if you mess with my beloved Bon Jovi, back it the fuck up.
Hide and Seek - Another dip into electronic territory, this is one of the most obscure tunes on the record. RIYL Miike Snow, Hot Chip or the handful of Chemical Brothers songs that have pop vocals.
Make a Wish - RIYL one man, one guitar, and great lyrics. A last little solo lament on an acoustic guitar comparing the one last chance you’re given to fix your big mistake to an imagined future in which the 1% have to use their wealth to buy into the proletariat because they're so lonely. WE HAVE FUN DON'T WE?!?!
Wait by the river - the big finish to this record has the band lamenting the loss of friends and family as we walk our path in life, a song about accepting and being at peace with loss and having gratitude for all that came before. RIYL - The Beatles or Death Cab for Cutie, and honestly, 90’s grunge.
OK, that's it. Buy local music! In fact, buy local as much as you can!