• Feature

Royal Recommends: Old City

Photo by: Blythe Kuhnhein Bundy

Royal Holland got tired of people not knowing or seemingly not caring about music from amazing musicians who don't have the marketing power to make you want to get their music. Often times, the music being posted is free, it only costs a small amount of your time, and could change the way you look at creativity. Support the ones close to you and they will sprout wings.  Royal Recommends is a way to showcase these bands. 

Old City
My introduction to Old City was when I bought the Old City LP from their band camp page. I had listened to some of their other tunes on the various EPs they had released before their inaugural long player, but once I popped the disc into my car stereo (what is this 1996? - not for me, I didn't own a CD player in my car until the early 2000’s). it remained there until I could figure out how to tell Sammy McKee how good it was in the right words.

I finally figured it out.

I messaged him and said that not only was this record good... it was You're Living All Over Me good.  

The thing about Dinosaur Jr's You're Living All Over Me is that it is not the perfectly recorded album, it is too noisy in spots, it is a mess in others, the vocals are buried etc. etc. etc. All that aside, it is one of those albums that I consider perfect. 

The songs flow in just the right order and knock you back and forth in their 1-2 punch fashion until you realize you've been punched to the very end of the thing. All the songs are good. The guitar solos are impeccable; the song structures are genius in their haphazard cohesion. The lyrics are strange and compelling, and somehow J Mascis's voice just works. It's not aurally perfect, but it is perfect. I'll stand by that. Forever.

This is not a Dinosaur Jr. review however, and so getting back to Old City, as I listened to their record, I could hear some of the same things happening. The songs flowed one into another with jagged and calamitous arrangements kicking your ass along the way. Sammy's voice overtop of these psychotic misfit structures just works. The songs are dirty and beautiful. The production is sparse at points which leaves so much space, and then super full, just like Dino Jr. at others. It's quite gorgeous. 

This album has some advantages over 'YLAOM' (That was silly), However, it was recorded better. When things get muddy and weird on this album you know it was intentional, which is a wonderful thing. You can tell what McKee is saying most of the time, which unveils some intriguing and well thought lyrics. Sometimes they still get a little strange, but hey, this is rock n roll. And Rock and Roll it truly is. 

All these songs are good. But pick one? O.K. fine you maniacs I'll pick one, but only if you promise to at least listen to two, and then give them some money. They have a new single out called “Pain” which is really great and showcases the talents of their new bass player Shannon McGee who adds a great driving force to an already wonderful group. 

Go get it HERE.