When Cleveland, Ohio’s own The Lighthouse and the Whaler released their first album in 2009, they arrived with a sound that was very much derived from what “modern indie” had become: buoyant melodies, lots of acoustic work, pointed lyricism, etc. The band, formed by Michael LoPresti and featuring his brother Matthew (as well as current members Mark Porostosky and Ryan Walker), had a live energy which was immediately relatable, but their debut album did what most debut albums did: established the group and their sound, but not much happened in terms of waves.
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In our previous blog entry Lifestyle led us to the top of the mountain. Even paced and lyrically dark, Lifestyle‘s longest song, the monumental “Around the Outline”, is also arguably, for sheer weight, the album’s most rockin’-est. The shift to track ten, “Dead Air, which is the subject of this week’s entry, takes us — to borrow a phrase from “Around the Outline” — from a peak to meadow. However it is a meadow full of empty whiskey bottles, discarded fried chicken containers, and abandoned Cadillacs, a gonzo museum of classic Americana.
This is a “Then & Now” podcast pair: this conversation with Patrick Sweany from 2012, and soon a fresh chat with Sweany about his new album, Daytime Turned to Nighttime. Country Fried Rock has just returned from another amazing AmericanaFest in Nashville, this time focusing on the musicians who have previously been on the program and where their music is taking them now. We caught Sweany twice last week, with a full band and in a laid back, solo gig, where he continued to blow our minds with his versatility with his songs.
Last week our tour of Lifestyle stopped to gaze in wonder at the minor miracle that is “Raging Bull”. At only a hundred seconds long Tim Midyett’s microscopic masterpiece is easily the shortest song on the album. It is no accident then that the track which follows “Raging Bull”, and the subject of this week’s blog entry, is Lifestyle’s longest song. It is appropriate that “Around the Outline”, a song with a landscape of mountains, peaks, and cliffs, should stand just slightly taller than anything else on the album.
“‘Raging Bull’, I think, is one of the smallest masterpieces of a rock song I’ve ever heard.”
—Matt Kadane, Couldn’t You Wait?
The subject of this week’s blog is “Raging Bull”, Lifestyle‘s magical eighth track, and there is no better way to begin the entry than with the above quote from Matt Kadane, captured in the extras to Seth Pomeroy’s essential Silkworm documentary Couldn’t You Wait?. With a concision typical of his own superlative rock music, Matt gets to the crux of why “Raging Bull” is so special. Not only is it good — and that’s an understatement — but it is the scale of bassist Tim Midyett’s creation which is so extraordinary. Lasting barely one minute 40 seconds, it is easily the shortest track on Lifestyle, and like a model city carved from a grain of sand, this tiny production contains multitudes.