The last month of the season involves a lot of irreconcilable feelings with impending responsibilities of fall looming over head.
The fear of nothing in particular except everything all at once usually brings bouts of nostalgia for “better days.” Every August past looks somehow brilliant in hindsight, when I know damn well every August of my life has been bouyed by what I call my personal bell jar. Except instead of being made of glass, it’s made of humidity and clouds of gnats.
As summer’s electro-pumped parties wane and that special August blend of frantic apathy creeps up, it feels good to go back to what feels familiar and organic. Father/Daughter Records could not have picked a better time than mid-August to release Rivergazer‘s debut LP Random Nostalgia. The lush melodies build and fall away on Porches. guitarist Kevin Farrant’s recording project, using the warm echo of acoustic guitar, driving keys and straightforward drumming to bring haunting melodies to life. The hooks feel a lot like comfort food, familiar and rich. But the album is neither unoriginal nor a sonic one trick pony. Each of the ten tracks are foreign enough to remind every listener of something different but familiar enough to help stave off the pain of an uncertain immediate future.
Listening under a sunlight and over the rotating box fan, my friends and I sit in my apartment calling out what we hear in each track. One hears Andrew Bird’s vocals on “Lonely” as I envision beaded curtains from far off deserts rippling in the lead guitar riff. One hears David Bowie in “Safari Jack” while I’m sticking to my Pop Etc. meets Wilco vibe. The pre-chorus on “Oh Well” reminds me of Farrant’s close ties Aaron Maine while my friend hears Owen’s dissonant guitar in the verse. Seconds into the swinging guitar line on “Whimper” another friend shouts “MacDeMarcoArielPink,” one word. The album cover of Kurt Vile’s Childish Prodigy flash across my mind as I hear “Tai Chi” but my friend hears Real Estate + Fleetwood Mac. “Don’t forget less-depressed Elliot Smith!” reminds my roommate from behind her closed bedroom door.
Whatever disparate influences we hear, the group ultimately agrees that the hooks are undeniably infectious—and something pretty to fill our groggy heads as we brave the nagging heat.
Stream the whole album below. Random Nostalgia comes out tomorrow, August 12, on Father/Daughter Records.