by edited by Erik van Rheenen
The most remarkable thing about coming home to you is the feeling of being in motion again; it’s the most extraordinary thing in the world.
“Going to Georgia” — the best Mountain Goats song not named “Up the Wolves” — revels in a sense of placid simplicity, its melody as light and crisp as a zephyr sweeping off the Atlantic, spanning the coastal state, a breezy tailwind at singer John Darnielle’s back as he triumphantly crosses the Macon county line. But “Going to Georgia” isn’t the classic that it is because of the beauty of its simplicity — the tangle of emotions and characters that Darnielle lyrically weaves shines as brightly as the “Going to Georgia” narrator’s Southern-bound odyssey. Like Darnielle’s often-sung-about Alpha Couple — a married couple always a few steps from the brink of complete disintegration — the narrator and his significant other in “Going to Georgia” are also marked by ambiguity, which makes the song’s sense of romanticism imperfect and beautiful.
You smile as you ease the gun from my hand; I am frozen with joy right where I stand.
It’s telling, then, that Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties bookend their debut record, We Don’t Have Each Other, with a cover of the Mountain Goats’ standard. In his album-long character study of Aaron West, a Brooklynite stuck with a failed relationship, there’s something altogether Darnellian about Dan Campbell’s songwriting — a sense of coming to grips with religion (We Don’t Have Each Other abounds with Catholic imagery), a lyrical portrait of a flawed protagonist, and a slow, sad kind of cathartic triumph make Campbell’s character sketch a truly emotional gut punch of a listen.
I’ll shy away from sharing more lyrics than I have to here, since, as is a hallmark of Campbell’s discography, We Don’t Have Each Other rewards repeat listens as much as it floors listeners on initial impact. Unlike some concept records that weigh themselves down with needless exposition and meandering interludes, Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties cut the chase and get right down to the long and short of it all. I won’t say much, for fear of ruining the sense of discovery and exploration that comes from a keen ear for Campbell’s lyrics, but West’s story is as captivating as the taut musical arrangements that surround it.
Soupy Campbell of The Wonder Years will be releasing a new album called We Don’t Have Each Other under the moniker. Aaron West And The Roaring Twenties. The release will come out on July 8th via Hopeless Records and was produced by Ace Enders of The Early November. Check out the artwork and track listing for the release below after the jump.
No Sleep Records has announced A Comp For Mom, a tribute to the late Linda Hansen, founder Chris Hansen’s mother, who passed away in April. Featuring unreleased songs from The Wonder Years, Into It. Over It. and many more, all money raised will go into the Linda Hansen Memorial Fund to help pay outstanding medical bills. Pre order the album here and check out the track list as well as a message from No Sleep below.
Europe is a crazy place, guys. Bands that are huge in the United States or even in the UK often struggle in the Mainland, and boy does this show ever prove that. Small time local acts Brand New, Saves The Day, Bayside, and The Wonder Years are supporting an Alkaline Trio and Ignite 500 cap club show tonight. Check out a poster below after the jump.