the long winters

John Roderick is not your average songwriter. The average songwriter with any popularity tends to rest firmly on the side of over saturation as opposed to taking three years between releases. Most songwriters don’t take 6-months to hike from Amsterdam to Istanbul and strive to challenge friends, fans and themselves with every song they write.

Ironically, I didn’t think I was really all that much of a fan of the band. I have a cd or two, and loved them when I saw them in TO opening for Nada Surf/DCFC, but I blame my friend Tyler for my undeserving blasé to the bands work. When the band released the Ultimatum EP, his description was – “It’s good, but it’s no car parts.” Realizing that Car Parts is not really one of my favorite tracks, I kind of assumed the release wasn’t going to wow me, and gave it very few listens (which is a shame, because the first track - the commander thinks aloud is a gripping narrative of John’s thoughts of what went through the mind of the commander of the space shuttle moments before it exploded). It’s weird that both bands (and bands like Harvey Danger) opening on that set fall into the same category for me; I never think to put them on, but whenever I do I wonder why I don’t listen more often.

TLW’s are releasing a new album on Barsuk – Putting the Days to Bed – and after one listen I realized I was selling the band short. It’s amazing. John’s songwriting is interesting to me. His lyrics are a series of questions and observations nestled into catchy pop songs. The structured piano, guitar and plucky bass lines keep you happily listening to the questions John is asking.

This is never more evident than on the track, Hindsight. The choral harmonies, the cymbal crashes and the organ compliment the gentle strums of an acoustic, but it is only when you really listen to the lyrics that you get the full effect of the song. Lyrics like, If you’re my anchor than I’m throwing you over the side and are you still training for the big race by hoping the runners will die and more home-hitting to me is this new move just to keep moving challenge the most common fears of bad relationships, insecurity and the human nature to watch life pass you by.

This album is going to thrust the band into the blogosphere spotlight, but I wonder if they band even cares? The timing and subject matter of this release really show that this band is proud of their work and aren’t writing for the masses, which will probably help it reach just that crowd.

Charles @ ashcanrantings just finished an interview with John.
MP3:: Pushover
MP3:: Hindsight – via awardtour

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