The Medium, The Country Westerns
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Finally Free marks Daniel Romano’s eighth long playing album in the last eight years. He has had what understatedly would be considered a prolific output of incredibly entrancing, poignant and creative records in this span of time. Recording, producing, designing and landing his records into the minds and hearts of scores of fans the world over. He has been called a shapeshifter, contrived, a chameleon, a Charlatan, the best living songwriter, an asshole and a genius. His last record, Modern Pressure received outstandingly high acclaim and praise from every notable publication out there and was acknowledged by most reputable “for-profit-prize-corporations” as well as a plethora of voguish “music-as-competitive-sport” year end lists. Despite being the bronze placeholder in most of these dogfights, he is most often noted as a person of astounding influence on all of his musically economic successors.
“No matter what he does, everything he puts out is better than anything else being put out by anyone else.”– Unnamed Subjugate.
Romano’s new effort Finally Free could stand alone as being pivotal if it were only its profound and breathtaking prose on paper. Writing now like an agnostic Whitman in his prime, Romano explores and uncovers new language and meaning for old sentiments grown tired, stating, “these poems are most certainly my finest and most principled efforts to date.” Finally Free sings like a radical revelation, exploring the concepts of music as a celestial being, flora as a consequential ancestor and singing, no matter its quality or sound, as the end most important output of our species. This record contains a vivid religious articulation despite its clear condemnation of a God as a singular ruling white male. New words have replaced old words for new meaning and the definitions have been left up to interpretation. It seems safe to say that Romano has broken the literary soil hard and ferociously to find the remaining repose in our current “danse macabre.”
This masterful record could easily transfix listeners if it were merely a collection of beautifully arranged and recorded instrumentals. Romano told me this record was recorded with one single microphone in “sitting vocal position”. He went on to say “I wrote the songs as I recorded them and I had a guitar amplifier to my right and a bass amplifier to my left. The drums were behind me and my chair in the middle. The microphone never moved no matter what instrument I was recording and the preamp settings never changed. I basically mixed the room instead of the individual tracks.” Finally Free was recorded on a 4 track Tascam cassette
recorder. This means Romano was making constant stream of consciousness commitments to everything that was being recorded in order to bounce them down to stereo and free up tracks for additional elements. A method virtually unused by his peers. “On every record I make strict limitations for myself. This was by far the most extreme, but I also believe it has rendered the most honest and liberating results.” Romano, no matter how many times I asked, wouldn’t disclose what microphone was used.
Overall, this record harks back to Romano’s early studies and obsessions in traditional folk music while simultaneously conveying a surprisingly modern and engaging aesthetic. Dense with new wisdom and blissfully encouraging in these end times.
Finally Free is available everywhere worth going November, 30th, 2018 on You’ve Changed Records in Canada and New West Records everywhere else.
Since coming together in 2015, Nashville four-piece The Medium have crafted melodic, intricate pop rock tailor-made for summer nights and sweaty house shows. On their debut album Get It While Its Hot, the band brings together their eclectic musical influences and humorous, big-hearted takes on life and love for their first proper full-length statement.
Comprising Sam Silva, Shane Perry, Michael Brudi and Jared Hicks, The Medium met by happenstance in and around Nashville, and have spent the intervening years playing live and honing their sound, which pulls from the best of '60s pop and psychedelia, '70s rock and current day lo-fi and DIY.
The band wrote Get It While It's Hot in 2016 at their shared home, the Chapel House, and finished recording the tracks in the summer of 2018 in a buddy's garage and at their own home, with production from friend and frequent collaborator Jake Davis, another Nashvillian also known for his work with Rainsticks, Teddy and the Rough Riders, Skyway Man, and others. Since then the tracks have had plenty of time to marinate, with the band playing them around town, on the road and in jam-packed house show living rooms.
Opening track "Caroline" Shimmers with crystalline vocals and gauzy guitar, turning a tale of heartbreak into a breezy sing-along that's sure to be a staple of live shows. Early single "The Groove" refracts the woozy experimentation of Sgt. Pepper through a modern indie lens. Closer "Good Ol' Days" is, as the band describes it, the quintessential The Medium song, heavy on rose tinted nostalgia and even heavier on tasty vocal harmonies.
Lyrically, the band splits up songwriting duties between Silva and Perry, with Get It While It's Hot's narratives showing both their sense of humor ("Some of it's just a bunch of gobbledygook," Perry offers) and their honest introspection. "We like to draw inspiration from real things, but there's some nonsense, some gibberish thrown in there, too," Silva says with Perry adding, "Some of the songs have a basis in reality, but then turn into spaghetti fun."
Spaghetti fun with a side dish of reality well sums up Get It While It's Hot. The album is a colorful, kaleidoscopic look at the real world as seen by The Medium, and is a hell of a lot more fun than reality ever will be.
- Btittney McKenna
1 Cannery Row
Nashville, TN, 37203