Comfy, or Needs Must Admiring The Best

Anyone in a band knows that making an album is a taxing process, albeit one that is fulfilling and gratifying in a way that most other things aren’t. And at the end of it, chances are, you’ve listened to it so much that you have to set it aside.

Recently, I went back and listened to the Billboard Sun EP we released last year. It’s amazing how those tunes really call back some hilarious memories that, luckily, repeated listens will continue conjuring.

There are so many little pieces I hear when going through the tracks, but one thing that continues to stand out is a tune called Comfy (needs must). It was one of, if not the, first songs Matt and I worked on way back in the day while he was working with Scotland Yard Gospel Choir. It’s always been a favorite of mine, and it’s a unique one in our catalog—with a drummer like Sam, it’s hard to even entertain the idea of a drumless acoustic tune!

Have a listen:

And if you’re wondering where that needs must subtitle text comes from, here’s an excerpt from one of my favorite books, All The Kings Men, by Robert Penn Warren, where the line Needs Must Admiring The Best came from.

“The Friend of Your Youth is the only friend you will ever have, for he does not really see you. He sees in his mind a face that does not exist anymore, speaks a name – Spike, Bud, Snip, Red, Rusty, Jack, Dave – which belongs to that now nonexistent face but which by some inane doddering confusion of the universe is for the moment attached to a not happily met and boring stranger. But he humors the drooling doddering confusion of the universe and continues to address politely that dull stranger by the name which properly belongs to the boy face and to the time when the boy voice called thinly across the late afternoon water or murmured by a campfire at night or in the middle of a crowded street said, “Gee, listen to this–’On Wenlock Edge the wood’s in trouble; His forest fleece the Wrekin heaves–’” The Friend of Your Youth is your friend because he does not see you anymore.

And perhaps he never saw you. What he saw was simply part of the furniture of the wonderful opening world. Friendship was something he suddenly discovered and had to give away as a recognition of and payment for the breathlessly opening world which momently divulged itself like a moonflower. It didn’t matter a damn to whom he gave it, for the fact of giving was what mattered, and if you happened to be handy you were automatically endowed with all the appropriate attributes of a friend and forever after your reality is irrelevant. The Friend of Your Youth is the only friend you will ever have, for he hasn’t the slightest concern with calculating his interest or your virtue. He doesn’t give a damn, for the moment, about Getting Ahead or Needs Must Admiring the Best, the two official criteria in adult friendships, and when the boring stranger appears, he puts out his hand and smiles (not really seeing your face) and speaks your name (which doesn’t really belong to your face), saying, “Well, Jack, damned glad you came, come on in, boy!”

How to play Good Kind Of Crazy

A little while back, we got an email asking if we had the sheet music for Good Kind Of Crazy. It’s always been a tune that people respond to, so it didn’t come out of nowhere, but still, we were surprised that someone would want to learn a tune of ours. Since we’re a band full of dudes who are constantly learning other people’s music for our benefit, we thought we’d put together a little How-To video to help any aspiring finger-pickers out there listening. Maybe we need to get Sam to do a masterclass on all the drum variations he does!

Here’s the Good Kind Of Crazy sheet music to go along with it.

Requests? We’ll be happy to put together a How-To video of any tune you’d like help with. Drop us a line and let us know.

Oh Lost liner notes by Matt Kerstein

We’re a band of guys who loves the liner notes on old LPs. Dylan has some of our favorites, often rambling stream-of-consciousness sorts of stuff that on one level seems to have nothing to do with anything, but on another level, helps bolster the overall themology of the album—or in Dylan’s case, the themology of his strong persona.

We have largely set aside the thank you’s and other such notes in favor of letting the music speak for itself. But Oh Lost was a little different. It was the culmination of a lot of work we’d been doing for a long time. Then in one big and short burst, we had a record—and man, does it feel good when it’s that easy.

Matt wanted to write something for this album. Something that would tie in where he was during all this, where we all were. The title itself comes from a track called World’s On Fire deep on side 2. And the liners pick up where that song left off, furthering those ideas of confusion and some sort of self-realization and validation.

Listen to World’s On Fire from Oh Lost

We hope you’ll pick up a CD at our Bandcamp page, but if you’re a digital dude or dudette, here are the liners in all their glory. Note: in the CD package that Jim laid out, he did some crossing out of text——his usual role.

Oh Lost Liner Notes

I keep wondering what it was like for F Scott Fitzgerald to write the last page of The Great Gatsby. To wake up one morning, have coffee and a light breakfast, sit down at the typewriter and type so we beat on… Or did he write that after lunch towards the end of a frustrating day gazing off into the twilight? Was he listening to music at the time? Did he have a cat sitting by him? Did his mother or girlfriend ring him before he finished? The point is someone sat down on a given day and wrote something that beautiful, unique, and complete. I want to do something great—I thought we all did. We want to build and create and be admired by our friends and peers. But when’s it going to come? When is it going to happen?

We’d been messing around trying to get at it. Messing with the 80’s again and singing over new wave back-beats, shaving the sides of our heads underneath long hair—experimenting with mullets and loud colors and it was fun but somewhat unsatisfying. So many anthems that the anthem was losing the qualites that made it what it was in the first place. And that seemed to always be the problem: everything always had that feeling of trying on your fathers clothes rather than feeling like a real movement. But maybe that’s just what the times were. After all, in the void of a signature movement, in that absence of a definitive time we are left with the opposite end of the spectrum: where we could be all times, all movements, and it could mean everything.

It feels good to be anything you want for a while—to not limit yourself to playing with the unknown. It feels good to begin sentences with the word and no matter what EB White & Strunks said. Style can come from anything—throw out the rule book, steal what you want. And for a while it has felt that way. But how to make it mine; how to make it really something to hang your hat on. You want to be F Scott Fitzgerald or the Fucking Beatles and make something akin to Gatsby listening to Revolver and dripping paint on the start of Pollack’s Greyed Rainbow. But it just never seems the day for it and the days just slipped away—ideas shimmer like love then dissappear like lust. It’s always tomorrow or something.

You stare at the keyboard and think perhaps it’s the way the QWERTY Keyboard is leading your thoughts and sentence structure, and perhaps if only the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard had won out and you didn’t have to travel such distance between letters, or if you could write in a language that moved right to left or up and down, and these letters and symbols and the finality of a dot didn’t feel so arbitrary; that it all stops making any sense and you begin to lose the thread feeling you need a better understanding of so many things in order to create this thing you only guess at. You need more depth, need a better grasp of science and history and linguistics and knowledge. And suddenly I am gripped with fear thinking of how little I know and now—sapped of my confidence and my hair—it doesn’t seem fun anymore; my clothes seem silly and I am just a boy wearing the ideas of other better men of past decades that rose to the occasion. Oh lost!

In being know-it-alls and having access to so much, stealing at will, and mashing it all together, we left ourselves wide open to the sinking feelings that could attack us at any time: that we were in fact nothing of our own making. We’ve been pushing the money around not creating anything substantial and it just hurts——like so much thieving and sarcasm and posturing coming back to haunt me.

But I step back and I breathe, and I recover a sense of humor and curiosity and look around surveying the wreckage and see that right there is something to write about because that is what is there and that is what came out and that can’t be taken from you. The people, situations, and things that went on around here during these times. That’s all you need. That’s all there is. Oh lost.

New shows announced

Thanks Austin for being so awesome. Our triple-header this past Saturday was exhaustively fun. Hope to see you all sooner than next SxSW.

Brighton MA

Coming up, we have a bunch of shows on the books, and a bunch more in queue to be confirmed.

21 Mar Omaha, NE
22 Mar Champaign, IL
23 Mar Chicago, IL
11 Apr Ann Arbor, MI
3 May Cincinnati, OH