Somewhere up in Yorba Linda, a cassette scene based around releases and associated blogs and shows continues along, not quite under
the radar but perhaps just off in its own universe. (Don't look for an online version of this -- there are fifty copies and that's it.) Christopher
Gordon, main man of Roman Candles, continues his own particular path
with his latest offering, seven short songs recorded on his own over the
past summer -- though a line like
This One's For Terminal Boredom
"You can see the fireworks/from the
happiest place on earth" takes on an unexpected resonance after this
past week's anger and outrage in Anaheim.
never hides the heart on its sleeve, but that's been the goal of Gordon's music from the start, already looking back on everything with nostalgia and nervous reflection even if it's just no longer being an undergrad. That Roman Candles here follow in the footsteps of early Mountain Goats
and Bright Eyes
-- quick guitar playing, wounded feelings, direct-to-boombox aesthetics -- is clear enough. With the liner notes indicating that the songs were recorded during a depressive stretch, one could almost whisper the word 'emo' -- at least in a late '90s sense.
When he's at his most strained and strident, Gordon's voice is a love it or hate it deal much like his forebears were, with the all a capella "Pancake Mountain" providing the initial taste test for any listener.
"Spring Afternoon," with its barely there arrangement, finds him finding just enough of a calm balance between his wayward impulses. At one point, he calmly sings "I want to star in an airplane movie/That only gets played in the sky." It's the kind of image that shows there's a little something there that is still in the process of coming into its
Roman Candles will be playing Friday night in Los Angeles at the Tribal Cafe starting at 7:30 pm.