Tag Archives: Cave Singers

Personal Soundtrack

26 Jun

 

The Song

Leap by The Cave Singers

The Cave Singers’ frontman Pete Quirk has a guttural, ragged voice that sounds like it was birthed in an unnamed swampy backwoods hollow.  There’s a timeless feel to his ragged vocals; it’s easy to imagine some bearded frontiersmen sounded the same way as they sat around the fire singing whiskey-fueled songs about grizzly bears and loose women in the 1800s.  The Cave Singers’ woodsy, raw sound comes through prominently with Quirk’s voice, and the band behind him utilizes  a mix of twangy guitar lines, propulsive drum stomps and the odd fiddle or harmonica to further this sonic theme.

“Leap” begins with the simple combination of Quick’s restrained vocals and a bubbling guitar line before building momentum behind some brisk drumming and harmonica flourishes.  Every part of the song picks up energy as it goes along, culminating with Quick alternating vocal and harmonica runs in one yearning ode to ‘flying free.’

The song’s title isn’t mentioned once in the lyrics, but all it takes is one listen to understand why it was named “Leap.”  The band creates the pure feeling of leaping into something – the slow build of momentum in the approach to the edge, and then the joyous, unhinged rush of finally jumping.  Whether that leap is a literal one or figurative one, it doesn’t matter.  The basic feeling is the same, and The Cave Singers would like you to feel it with them.

The Activity

This is it.  This is your last chance.  The ferry terminal is coming up on the left.  Why is your heart pounding like it’s fifth grade again?  Fuck.  Fuck.  Say something.  That you want to see them again.  That you may be in love.  No.  That’s weird.  Tone it down.  But something.  C’mon!

…..

Well that was just sad.  Capped off that amazing conversation with a simple Goodbye as the coolest person you’ve ever met just walked away and on to a ferry boat.  You only got a first name.  Will probably never see them again.  The universe gave you a gift – you both happened to be on the airport arrival curb at the exact same time, waiting for a cab at the exact same time.  Making small talk, finding out they were going to catch the ferry right by where you live.  You, on a whim, offering to share the cab that pulls up right then.  With a knee-weakening smile, they agreed.

The rest of the ride passed in a blur – connections like that are only supposed to happen in movies and trashy e-books.  And all you could muster at the end, as they looked like they were maybe, just maybe, waiting for something more, was a Goodbye.  And now they’re off to the ferry, ready to take off to another life while you head back to yours.

Now all you can do is listen to the ferry horn sound out, mockingly, as the cab sits in traffic.  This is going to bother you for a long time….No.  Not today.  The second ferry horn sounds out, and you look back – the boat hasn’t left yet.

What have you got to lose?  You either slink away or go down fighting, yeah?  The third ferry horn sounds.  It’s about to leave.  Fuck it.  You toss the driver some money, throw open the door.  Grab your bag – all you’ve got is a carry-on to worry about.  The universe knew.

Take off running.  Boat’s not moving yet, you’re still good.  What are you going to say when you get there?  No time to think now.  Through the Walk-On tunnel, heading to the boat.  Were you supposed to buy a ticket there?  No TIME TO STOP.

Someone’s yelling at you – probably the ticket-taker.  Hopefully you aren’t breaking any federal laws here.  Hop over the divider saying “BOAT FULL”.  The horn sounds for the final time.  You’re on the walkway, you can see the cars on the bottom deck of the ferry.  The walkway shudders as the boat detaches from the dock.  There’s now open air between the walkway and the boat, and it’s getting wider by the second.  You’re almost at the end of the walkway and haven’t slowed up.  Full speed.  There’s no one there to stop you – it’s just open air between the walkway and the ramp on the ferry.  They haven’t closed the gate yet.  Quick calculation – can you make the jump?  Too late to crunch numbers.  It’s just water if you don’t make it.  Time to leap.

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Doing It Live: Swanky Summer

19 Apr

Now that the first weekend of Coachella has come and gone amid a smokey haze of holograms and light shows, the 2012 music festival season has officially gotten started.  Stretching throughout the summer, the festival scene has been around for decades, but U.S. fests experienced a surge in popularity several years ago that took things to a whole different level.  While there have been several one-and-done fests that have failed to make an impact, a few well-planned and organized festivals have built up loyal followings in their respective regions and have even expanded to draw music/party lovers from all over the world.  Coachella, Sasquatch!, Bonnaroo, Lollapalooza, and Outside Lands are spread out over the country and have become destination dates that fans circle on their calendars months in advance.

Even though they are beloved by many, the festival scene is obviously not for everyone.  It’s easy to find vocal critics of pretty much every fest out there, and these skeptics do make some legitimate points.  So, before you jump into a major festival for the first time, you should know some things.

Yes – there will be tons of hipsters (although that term has become far too ambiguous and now gets thrown around haphazardly by people who should try harder, but for lack of time and space we’ll go with it for right now), there will be anxiety-inducing crowd sizes, there will be people on drugs doing things like rolling around on the grass looking at light shows or jumping up and down while hugging and looking at light shows, there will be people spending the entire festival on their smartphones taking and posting Instagram pics, there will be said pics all over your social network feeds the following week consisting mainly of vintage palm trees/city skylines/sunsets/pretty lights/Ray-Bans, there will be beautiful girls in bikinis followed around by huffing dudes wearing tattoos for shirts, there will be $10 beers and only $10 beers in the beer gardens.

There will be all of this, but there will also be amazing artists doing potentially once-in-a-lifetime kinds of things in surreal environments.  If you find the right acts at the right venues it will be an incredible experience in your musical life that you’ll hold on to for a long, long time.  So, if you feel like some amazing musical experiences are worth a little griminess, exhaustion, and lack of personal space – then summer is your time to shine.  And here at DS, we don’t want you going into this Swanky Summer without a little preview on what’s in store.

Coachella Weekend Two [April 20 – April 22]

– We’re still sneezing out glitter and desert dust from last weekend, so it seems a bit strange that everyone out there will be doing it again in a few short days.  It will be interesting to see how the festival organizers and the acts approach this new second weekend – a lot of the excitement with Coachella comes from the unexpected, either in regards to what set list your favorite bands will play, what special effects they’ll bust out, or what surprise guests will emerge mid-set.  A perfect example is the Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg show.  The Tupac hologram loses its HOLY SHIT feel when you know its coming, and so do the appearances by Eminem, 50 Cent, etc.  Will they just do the same show all over again and pretend the first one didn’t happen?  Will the guests even show up again?  Will the artists lose some of their fire from the first week?  This will be an interesting experiment, and hopefully it won’t have disappointing results.

– Parents of young daughters going to Weekend Two and any future Coachellas: Stay away from the Sahara Tent.  Stay far, far away.  You won’t sleep for weeks afterwards.

– M83 was great the first weekend, and should not be missed this time around either.  Their music is perfect for the dreamy, ethereal, outdoor feel of the Coachella side tents, and they played a passionate set.

– SBTRKT was also great, and played a much more high-tempo set than was expected from their somewhat muted (but great) recent album.  Don’t miss the dance party.

– Swedish House Mafia and Radiohead showed the great potential behind the Event-level spectacle of the Main Stage – definitely not to be missed.

Sasquatch! [May 25 – May 28]

–  There’s a special place in my heart for this festival for two reasons.  One, its located at The Gorge Amphitheater, which  is the most beautiful venue in the country.  Two, this was the first music festival I ever attended, way back when it was two nights and I had no idea what I was doing.  And it was awesome.

– Being located in the great Pacific Northwest, the weather can be a bit more unpredictable (read: cold) than some other festivals, so come prepared with blankets or cuddle buddies.  Even with the sketchy weather, though, it is again a beautiful place to spend a weekend, and if you have any kind of chance to catch a set on the main stage while the sun is setting, then you better take it.

– Pretty Lights definitely stands out on the lineup, especially because they aren’t part of the main group of artists making the typical festival rounds this year.  Pretty Lights’ main stage set on opening night will be amazing, with their grooves echoing out in the night over the Columbia River.  Find somebody to dance with/hold you.

– The northern locale of Sasquatch lends to its general atmosphere being more laid-back than some of the other major festivals, and that will be a welcome thing when Days 3 and 4 come around.  The quirky vibe of the fest is reflected in the huge variety of acts playing this year.  Definitely worth the trip.

 

Bonnaroo [June 7 – June 10]

– Although started roughly around the same time as Coachella in 2002, Bonnaroo has always felt like the O.G. show that started the recent festival revival.  It’s maintained a mystic feel to it – to someone all the way out on the west coast, the swampy Tennessee locale seemed like a mysterious place where revelers danced about to lawless jam bands.

– There have been some amazing images and scenes from Bonnaroo over the years, which have added to its mystique.  The first thing that comes to mind with the festival is My Morning Jacket’s 2004 set, in which the mighty rockers played through a storm and cemented their status in live show legend.

– For the 2012 lineup, there are definitely some interesting choices that stand out as different from the other fests.  The Beach Boys could be great or could be disappointing, but it will be awesomely weird either way to see them in the Bonnaroo setting.  It’s good to see The Cave Singers get some love here too, and their brand of folksy, rough-hewn jams would seem to fit in perfectly out in the Tennessee woods.  And on the whole other side of the music spectrum, Ludacris and The Roots look primed to bring the the beats.

– Final word of warning to any Bonnaroo attendees planning on checking out Skrillex this year – his ‘special guest’ at Coachella last year was Korn.  So….

Lollapalooza [August 3 – August 5]

– Out of all the other big U.S. fests going on this summer, Lollapalooza seems to have the most big ‘name’ bands in their lineup.  The acts going on underneath the headliners go pretty deep as well – maybe because this fest locale is the closest of them all to the musical hub of NYC?

– The festival is set right in downtown Chicago, which offers up a distinctly different atmosphere than the more rural venues like Bonnaroo and Coachella.  This doesn’t mean there won’t still be ample ways to get sweaty and dirty, if that happens to be your thing.

– Regardless of the reason, amazing bands like Washed Out, War On Drugs, Tame Impala, Bear In Heaven, Star Slinger, Toro Y Moi, Little Dragon and Macklemore give Lolla an incredibly strong undercard.

– Black Sabbath is taking the stage in Chicago this year, and it is probably smart to temper expectations for an old Ozzy rockfest.  But if they can still bust out a 12 minute long “War Pigs” then it’s definitely worth a watch.  Get a glimpse of the pit, circa 1970.

Outside Lands [August 10 – August 12]

– Outside Lands is similar to Lollapalooza, in that it’s set within the big city – in this case San Francisco.  In the right place at the right time though, Golden Gate Park can feel like a world away from any city, which gives this fest a distinct mix of urban and outdoor flavors.

– The festival is bringing in some classic rock flavor this year, with Jack White’s vintage shredding, Metallica’s thunder, and Neil Young’s bluesy riffing.  And if all that gets too loud for your tastes, Stevie will be there to gently soothe your soul.

– Outside Lands has a bit smaller profile than the other fests on this list, but it’s been able to thrive by keeping things a bit simpler and more local.  It has a distinct SF feel, which is a good thing.

– I’ve spent some time at Outside Lands before, but unfortunately it was the year that Black Eyed Peas stumbled into the headlining spot.  It was disquieting to see that many people at one time go wild for the Peas and led to some soul-searching – but I have faith in the festival that they won’t go down that frightful road again.

Personal Soundtrack

11 Jan

The Song

Swim Club by The Cave Singers

 

Sometimes, the best way to endure the post-holiday blues and dark days of winter  is to sit back and daydream about summer.  In a few short months, there will be long, lazy days where shirts are optional, and even longer nights where pants are frowned upon.  It’s easiest to glide off to these hypothetical golden times when you’ve got the help of music, and The Cave Singers are well suited for such a mental vacation.  The Singers have a lived-in, rootsy sound whose rough edge is softened a bit by the undeniable melodies the band frequently locks into.  Lead singer Peter Quirk has a voice with just the right mixture of gravel and twang, and in “Swim Club,” his vocals lend a bit of heft to the airy, head-in-the-cloudless sky guitar picking.  The song drifts along behind that guitar line, and finds a laid-back groove that fades away almost before you realize it, leaving behind some good vibes and a hint of campfire smoke.

The Activity

It’s Friday afternoon on the first real weekend of summer, and you’ve taken the opportunity to tell your boss that you won’t be coming in for the next three months – you’re missing something, and the office you’ve been chained to for the past five months just isn’t giving it to you.  You’ve been able to work out an understanding: you don’t mind forgetting about the Christmas Party Incident, as long as they don’t forget to keep the vacation pay coming.   So maybe you’ll be back in September, but for now, there’s a lakeside cabin calling your name, and your ride’s waiting.    You give the Man one last thumbs up for posterity and hop in the passenger seat of the nearest car, where a few of your friends and your intriguingly cute new neighbor are waiting, along with about 60 cold ones, an American flag, and a bundle of fresh firewood in the back.    The window goes down, the seat goes back, and the shirt comes off as the Cave Singers carry you down the interstate.