Take us back to the time of smoking indoors, having beers and casually taking psychedelics, and retro living rooms allowing us to boogie to the 1970’s hits blaring from our vintage radio. Thanks to Kevin Morby, we are transported back to an era of colorful lyrics, innate passion, and permission to trash all the shittiness getting in the way of life.
Los Angeles-based Morby recently released City Music, via Dead Oceans, and essentially has formed a collection of Metropolitan experiences across America, promoting a raw travel diary for us to listen to. Throughout the new album Morby own his depth and uniqueness; he is no novice to getting deep thanks to his experiences in bands like the Woods and The Babies, both of which exude a dynamic, emotive, noise-folk sound. Morby undoubtedly embodies certain characteristics that greats like Lou Reed and Patti Smith became known for, such as poetic simplicity. Morby truly gathers genuine artifacts from real-life plateaus and falls, interjecting them into his songwriting, and surrounding his meaningful lyrics with rallying shakers, hypnotic guitars, and edgy drums.
As I continue to listen to City Music, I legitimately find myself relating to its underlying motifs of self-discovery, fascination, and traveling; perhaps something we all tend to dwell on and inquire about ourselves, especially in our twenties. Morby has the ability to touch our hearts, while making us want to head bang, chug a few beers, and twirl around in our tiny studio. No track does this for us more than “Tin Can,” which fantastically tells the story of being in an unfamiliar place with unknown people. You get a sense of uncertainty, a sense of infatuation, yet at the same time, a sense of clarity, which is quite clearly displayed throughout this record.
Halfway through the record we hear an endearing woman’s voice enchanting us with a short vignette mentioning “the big city” — glorifying the magic within an alley of brightly lit skyscrapers. “Flannery” is the name of the quaint, yet intellectual poem that furthers the enlightening nature of the album. The 30-second awakening engages those who are distant from reality and yearn for a sense of belonging; a kumbaya type of rally drawing listeners from all over and represents transformation, rejuvenation, and a self-actualization we may overlook, but is within all of us. “Pearly Gates,” which promotes anticipation for success or change fuming from our motives to get out of our old-fashioned ways. Morby shares with us the reality of moving to a city where your family is absent, and what it’s like to face the struggles that may haunt you in the lonely realm of independence.
Reminisce and accept the brilliance of Kevin Morby, for he is a voice of our time and mind of the past, on a mission to lead us somewhere glorious. In order to get the full effect of the Morby experience be sure to listen in order, track by track, and by yourself to extend your thoughtful avenues of judgement. Kevin Morby will be playing Los Angeles at the Teragram Ballroom on September 21. Looks like you got a hot date with Morby, so don’t forget to mark your calendar.