A blast from the past and a look at the future, this week’s What’s Spinning explores some of the elements of the acoustic music scene that isn’t being played at your local open mic. Drawing from personal experiences and the crippling reality of the millennial crisis, these artists have a thing or two to say in their own words.
Jonas Selander sends his music all the way across the pond from Sweden and has given his fans another album to enjoy shortly after the August release of “Shake all the Fences.”
“DECAY” is a slight change for Selander, who writes, composes and records all his own music, as it brings a more personal storytelling narrative to forefront. This album displays the artist’s talent for writing a true folk song about personal experiences and themes that everyone can relate to. From the intro of “Jingle Bells,” a song about not being totally in control, to “Words to disguise it,” a song about the feelings of fatherhood, the album quickly brings listeners in from the lyrics to the subtle guitar strums behind the poetry. “Words to disguise it” is a great song about the inner thoughts of being a dad from expressing feelings of being scared to incredibly proud and excited to see one’s child grow.
The title track for the album is an interesting take on the realization that life is ultimately out of our hands, but coming to terms with that fact. Entering the chorus with “life is decay, but I feel more OK about that as I grow older,” Selander drives home the point that you really won’t write a perfect song or play the perfect show, but that shouldn’t stop you. The song is actually a pleasant reminder that other people are going through struggles in life, but they are there to reassure you to keep going and keep trying.
“The truth is nowhere” brings back childhood nostalgia to the difficult happenings of an adult life. With a calming song about watching the X-Files and doing simple kid stuff, Selander recalls several events of a childhood where the only thing to worry about was TV character happenings and spending time with friends. It’s a great song to be reminded of simple, fun times that many of us forget about and have to be reminded from time to time.
While Selander’s vocal style might not be for everyone to enjoy, his songs and musical talent really can’t be ignored. With two swift back-to-back albums with similar sounds, but different themes, it’s is easy to see the time and effort put into this album as a follow-up. “DECAY” is a constant reminder throughout the album that our lives will come to an end one day, and that we should cherish, enjoy and make the best of the time we have here. In addition, Selander brings in so many themes from growing up as an aspiring musician to relate to a musical audience that his songs almost seem like a bit of self-reflection to the listener rather his his experiences.
Following his previous tradition, Selander adds the chords used in some of the songs on the album so that his fans can also sing along and play their favorite songs of his, a great addition to an already great album.
Check out Selander at jonasselander.bandcamp.com/album/decay“I Called the Couch!” Split
I Called the Couch
Andy Broken-The Worst Generation
Splits are not only fun to record, but they are great to listen to your favorite artist and get introduced to a possibly new band through the collaboration.
Andy Brohnen and The Worst Generation both take the cake with this acoustic punk rock split to bring a sense of minimalism back to punk rock with stories of life, self-worth and legal issues to fans of both projects. Anti-folk has been on the rise in recent years with more and more artists grabbing their guitars, learning how to use recording software and then getting their songs to their fans.
The album is a good way for those interested in the genre to get a bit of a taste of the inner workings of folk-punk, anti-folk and other forms of the genre. A song that really stands out on the album is “A song called r/Folk Punk” which describes the genre pretty much to a perfect point by including the fact that the singer has a debit card and is racking up debt interest on student loans, but still plays guitar and sings at the top of his lungs. In addition, many in the scene are on the outside in small towns, looking in at the happenings of big cities where more than five people know that acoustic punk music is actually a happening scene. This fact is displayed in the song and also the reality that an artist can work to the bone on a song, post it online and not get any attention from friends on their list for years.
Overall, both Brohnen and The Worst Generation know what they are doing and the album is definitely worth a download and a listen. Far from the Riot Folk days of the early 2000s, but close enough to the realities of modern-day millennial life to be able to hold relevance for those looking for real, acoustic music with the right feelings.
Check out the split at theworstgeneration.bandcamp.com/album/i-called-the-couch-split-ep