Two Songs From: The Garden

1. The Garden is a two person band, made up of identical twins Wyatt and Fletcher Shears of Orange County, California.

2. California Here We Go is their most recent single and was the first video of theirs that I watched. My first response was whaaaaat followed by watching a whole bunch of videos by other people and then going back to watching The Garden again because they were by far the most unusual and interesting.

Also I was trying to figure out why they were wearing clown make-up. I still don’t know, though it is a recurring theme in their recent videos.

The Garden - "California Here We Go"

3. The Garden are very much a law unto themselves. Their universe is unique and partially closed; their genre – “vada vada” – is their own invention and more symbolic than descriptive. Even with the sound on and the lyrics mostly intelligible their videos are an experience akin to watching surrealist art movies in a noisy bar.

4. When not rocking out, they’re models. Interviews suggest they have a very low-key approach to high fashion, and, sometimes, to gender.

5. They were on Burger Records, at first, but are now on Epitaph. This is All Smiles Over Here :) from their second record, called haha. It’s both inspiring and disquieting, revolting and fascinating.

The Garden - All Smiles Over Here :)

6. This is a band to follow just to see what they’ll do next.

7. I think it’s important to note that while their aesthetic may be puzzling, and at times funny, it is not nonsense.

Luke De-Sciscio, Gossamer Rose

1. Luke DeSciscio is from Bath, England. Gossamer Rose is his debut LP.

2. His bandcamp lists his genre as “post-boatcore” which at first I thought might be related to yacht music.

3. As it turns out the “boat” in question was a coal barge from Manchester which he was living on for a while, on the Kennet and Avon canal, shuttling between Bath and Bristol.

4. The “-core” part is a reference to hardcore and post-hardcore, which he was listening to while making this record. The genre didn’t stick, but the suffix did.

5. The record grew out of his experiences on the boat. It is effectively the opposite of hardcore: there is no howling, screeching, or thrashing, just sweet guitar melodies and his sharp clear voice.

6. The thing that first hooked me on this record was the cover art. The splash of soft gold light playing against the muted rose-pink of the wall hits a very specific receptor that I can’t really explain other than to say I was distantly surprised there may be a ghost of a photographer in me yet, still in love with light, shadow, and the possibilities on the other side of the door. Also the patterns cast by the glass make me think of light playing over water, so I suppose we’re back to the boat again.

7. Overall the vibe is dreamy and melancholy, which I at least found soothing. You can make up your own mind:

Ray Wylie Hubbard: Grifter’s Hymnal

Photo credit: Todd Wolfson

1. Who is Ray Wylie Hubbard? He’s Gandalf, if The Lord of The Rings had been written as a team effort by Warren Ellis and Charles Portis.

2. Once, very long ago, when I had only just begun to wander, I fetched up in a church in the center of London. There was music playing when I walked through the door, organ music, swelling and rolling and bouncing between the marble floors and pillars and filling up the soaring arches.

I drifted around, muddled by jet-lag, enjoying the music and only vaguely paying attention to the people who were with me. Eventually the music stopped, and a small, gray-haired man emerged from behind the organ, and I realized a) he had been playing the whole time and b) I had been walking quietly so I didn’t disturb the angels that I had thought were there and c) it had not seemed the tiniest bit irregular to me, that an off-duty angel should have stopped in to a random church in central London to keep the organ in good tune.

(I was really jet-lagged. About two hours later I would fall upon the only 7-11 in town like a hungry, homesick locust and eat the hot dogs of the lonesome and far from home.)

Dirty rock clubs are not (usually) churches, and Ray Wylie Hubbard is not an angel. But as the organ music contained within it the solemn peace and worn but still stately grandeur of that church, his music contains stages scratched by amps and dented by stomping boots and upright basses, mysterious unsavory puddles of liquor left by drinks gone astray, the shimmer-shine of rodeo buckles and lucite heels bathed in multi-colored neon lights, the rumble of truck engines out in the parking lot, and the sweet bite of whiskey against the back of your throat and smoke in your lungs in cold night air.

3. This is the video for Coricidin Bottle, from Grifter’s Hymnal, his most recent record:

4. And here he is at Couch by CouchWest, with Trainyard Blues, also from Grifter’s Hymnal:
Ray Wylie Hubbard @ CXCW

5. This one doesn’t come from the new record but I’m going to put it here for you to watch anyway because I like it. It is his cover of James McMurtry’s Choctaw Bingo, and appears on Delerium Tremolos:
Ray Wylie Hubbard // Choctaw Bingo


6. Other songs I’m fond of on Grifter’s Hymnal include: Lazarus, Henhouse, New Year’s Eve at the Gates of Hell and Mother Blues. They are, collectively and variously, bluesy and stompy and rambly and thoroughly delightful. Though really that describes the whole record.

7. Delightful and educational: Ray Wylie Hubbard’s Twitter feed. Young musicians, take note, there’s solid advice in there among the shenanigans.