For those of you unfamiliar with the process, I ask for people to suggest songs to me from bands I’ve never heard before. Based on the band name, song title, and sometimes the album cover, I offer my best guess as to what it sounds like before I hear the first note. Then I listen and see how wrong or right I was.
I used bandcamp.com today to pick this song. Here was how I ended up with this band.
(1) Bandcamp has a new feature where they show what’s “selling right now.”
(2) Because I’m desperate to get in on the front end of new trends, I’ll follow suit.
If you want exact science, you’re at the wrong place.
What you see below is my real time review of this song….
Who it sounds like before I listen to the first note:
One of the Unknown Members of the Darling Family:I’ve only known one dude named Silas in my life, and he was about as country as they come and though I don’t remember what he listened to, I know that he was big into running jacked up trucks into muddy pits to see if he could drive farther than his friends before throwing a rod or smoking his engine. He reminded me of this other dude who used to wrestle in the WWF back in the mid-80s named Cousin Luke who was part of a movement spearheaded by Hillbilly Jim (and including Uncle Elmer). Those guys all looked like they got down to some mountain music like the Darlings played on the Andy Griffith Show. The Darlings was just a fake tv name for a real family called The Dillards. Anyway, if that’s how this works, Cousin Silas is going to be heavy on the banjo, the mandolin, a jug, and maybe a washboard. At this point if the Dillards are still playing county fairs in North Carolina, I’m guessing maybe only one of them is a blood relation, and it might be Cousin Silas.
Fishing the Sky: There’s this one man post rock band that I’ve been meaning to review on this very website for a few weeks because it’s good and more people should know about it. I don’t know if it’s because of the “Sky” reference in the Cousin Silas song (“In One Corner of the Sky”), or if it’s because of the album name, The Path Between the Trees, but both of those things sound like some serious post rock naming. If that’s the case, I’ll expect some instrumental grooves with cool bass lines, weird sound effects, and haunting melodies. In that case, Cousin Silas is going to be like Cousin Oliver from the Brady Bunch in that he’s some dude who got kicked out of his family home and had to stay with kin a few states over, but people at the new house were a little skeptical of him so they gave him a “room” back by the shed and nobody bothered him while he recorded stuff from a Casio keyboard, but at dinner when he wasn’t around they were all, “Hey, did you guys see Cousin Silas out there? He’s got lighter burns on his forearm and he keeps talking about Nikola Tesla. When is he moving back to Omaha?”
Iron Maiden: Remember how Iron Maiden had that corny ass mascot Eddie? I feel like somewhere, in a garage, there was a metal band who wanted to follow in Maiden’s footsteps and they created a mascot named Silas (shortened from “Cousin Silas”) and when they weren’t sketching pictures of Silas destroying their high school or Silas ollieing over a United Dairy Farmer convenience store on a skateboard with skull wheels, they played metal with screechy guitar solos and lyrics that tiptoe the line between a Tolkien short story and a British steel workers union fight song.
I’m going to shut off the tv, push play, and see what Cousin Silas is all about.
:11 there’s a haunting piano, and that’s always a quick way to my heart.
:40 so far this sounds more like the score to a movie than it does a standard 4/4 song. To that end, it’s effective, because it resonates emotionally. I sense loss. Heartbreak. The “oh, you just got fired and your wife is leaving you” moment in the black and white indie film.
:54 there’s all sorts of other ambient noises popping up here–static and crackle reminiscent of listening to vinyl.
1:13 the sound effects add depth and they also have a peculiar way of disorienting me as a listener (in a good way). In a way, they make it impossible to get too sleepy or too into the groove. It isn’t so much that you’re expecting something bad to happen in the way you know to get tense during Jaws when the music hits, but it’s more like when you’re just about to nod off to sleep and then a car door slams down the block or a dog barks and then you have to fight between being awake and present or drifting off to the strange world of dreams.
1:54 this is pleasant enough.
2:02 the piano bit that just finished sounds like the end of “Your Ex-Lover is Dead (Final Fantasy remix)” by Stars.
On its own, I’d listen to this song again. But I can’t help but feel that this song works as part of an album and that the whole of that album is a very lush tapestry. If I was going to guess, this album is instrumental the whole way through and would make a perfect thing to listen to while working on a novel.
Start here, then explore. Let me know what you find.