TuneDig is an in-depth and informed conversation between two lifelong friends about the power of music — one album at a time.

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Episode 43

Catch For Us the Foxes

mewithoutYou

A misunderstood wise man once said “Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds.” In our most personal and vulnerable episode yet, we do some seeking through the lens of songs that fill us with the bravery and sincerity to love ourselves and others fully. Dig deep with us as we fish for words about our tiny place in the universe and dance with gratitude for our ability to do so.

Transcript

Note: our transcripts are mostly AI-generated for now. 

Cliff: You’re listening to TuneDig, a conversation between two lifelong friends about the power of music, one album at a time. I’m Cliff Seal.

Kyle: And I’m Kyle Stapleton. Each episode we talk about a single album in depth, unpacking it through conversation to understand what makes it worth appreciating and learning a little bit about life along the way.

Cliff: If you’re listening for the first time because we’re covering an artist or a record you love, we promise you’ll learn something new or gain a new perspective by the end of the episode.

Kyle: And if you’ve stuck with us for multiple episodes, you know by now that you’re bound to expand your horizons. As we share a clear entry points for artists you may never have tried to get into before.

Kyle: Today we’re talking about mewithoutYou’s “Catch for Us the Foxes”.

Cliff: We sat on mewithoutYou for a while, primarily because I personally could not unwind myself enough to calm down enough for a decent conversation about this band or any particular record. But I think we finally landed on something we can do because I’ve had a lot of time to process the fact that this really great band is perpetually ending their own existence.

And that’s been 

Kyle: as are we all, 

Cliff: Yes. Uh, they’ve been kind of on their last farewell tour since 2019 or something like that. Uh, and even this last time that they came through Atlanta where we got to see them together, which I think is the first time we’ve seen them to. 

Kyle: I think it’s only the second time I’ve 

Cliff: it 

Kyle: them ever. Period. We were talking about that the show is like, I’m not sure if I’d ever seen them before.

And then my wife and I had determined, or maybe you and I did confirmed by her that they were the very first opening band for like thrice and brand new or some show, um, many years ago. But so kind of after this record, probably two albums cycles after

Cliff: they were on a Coheed and Cambria tour. That might’ve been it too.

Kyle: That’s interesting.

Cliff: A long time ago.

Kyle: full. 

Cliff: Okay. 

Kyle: I think the point is that I miss them in all the contexts where like all the big me without you fans that we know would have seen them. Right. I just, I was never kind of, of that scene in that depth. I feel a lot like, you know, we talked about Norma Jean very early on in this podcast and I feel like we’re going to hit on some of those same themes of a little bit of, you had to be.

But on the flip side meet without you is still going and in a lot of ways has honed their thing better than ever. So this is an interesting sort of almost time capsule for us and especially for you. And, and also there’s a lot of universality I think, to pick apart and I’m kind of psyched about,

Cliff: yeah, I think the time that this record came out specifically and why it’s worth going back early in their catalog, because there’s a lot of great records. Um, and I think one thing that we’ll probably say a number of times, it’s just like, this is one of those bands worth giving a try because it’s something pretty unique, uh, and definitely catches you off guard if you’re not ready for it.

But there’s a lot of progression inside their career arc so far, but it still utilizes the same, you know, kind of basic formula that sets them apart to begin with and being able to go back specifically to catch for us the. Coming out in 2004, you know, you’ve already mentioned the context of like Norma Jean and the kind of solid state in tooth and nail stuff.

I mean, that, that bless the martyr record was coming out in 2002. The, you know, this was me without you second record, which meant, you know, a to B life had just come out before that. And those were a couple of contextually speaking, dark records, um, kind of coming out. What could loosely be defined as a scene of music.

And I think it’s really helpful to go back and spend some time in this discussion to thinking about how not only this band has changed in the time since they wrote these songs, but also just how things have changed and how the people who 

wrote. 

Kyle: have changed. Yeah.

Cliff: Yeah. I mean, yeah, so, so much has changed. in so much of the trajectory of the way me without you approaches music, seems to correlate with how the world has kind of changed and progressed.

And to me personally, like one of the reasons I think it’s so, or it can be so intensely personal is Aaron, why specifically the lyricist here and the vocalist has always been kind of like unbearably sincere, I mean, from the very beginning,

Kyle: staring into the sun of feelings

Cliff: And there’s no, there’s no like ramp up for the type of like vulnerability that kind of comes with this record in particular.

I mean, starting right off the bat first song, first track. Um, yeah, I kind of wrote down when we were, when we’re talking about this and thinking about this, like, we are all unprepared for undefensive sincerity and vulnerability and the combination of the style of this music, the style of the lyrics and how things are written and delivered combined with their sort of inherited the context from being a part of like tooth and nail and solid state and all that.

Uh,

Kyle: The subtext. When you say those label names, by the way, is, Christianity, religion, like sort of being couched or maybe even being a Trojan horse for this music being allowed to be made and released by repressed parents everywhere.

There, there is a lot to unpack with tooth and nail and solid state, but I also, if you had weird antennae go up when, when I said Christianity and they’re like, well, eject on this episode.

Cliff: I would

Kyle: Urge you not to as to two people who have had very complicated journeys with all that stuff growing up in the south, um, you will totally lose the thread if you think that’s what this episode is about.

Cliff: but also we’ll make the case for why that’s true, right? Like why it’s worth listening to me without you specifically, not just anyone related to me without you, but no, like this particular band, uh, in, especially this record, because there, you know, we’ll talk some about it, but the signing a record deal, especially with that group in particular, just comes with a lot of implications and what you’ll see, no matter how many interviews you go back and read from this.

I mean over the years, it’s been pretty consistent, really at no point, did they ever care one way or another, how you really felt about or received them as a band or like they, they would kind of repeatedly say both as individuals and as a band, like, I don’t know, man. People put us in these buckets.

That’s fine. I don’t, I don’t really live in a bucket myself. So like I can be in whatever bucket people put me in. It doesn’t bother me one way or another. And I think a lot of that, I mean, I don’t think a lot of that comes from, you know, we’ve got two brothers in the band, of a vocalist and a guitarist, you know, setting up this band together.

They grew up together, uh, and they grew up in a sort of interesting religious context that sort of took in more religions at once and more histories at once. I don’t think anyone would describe anyone. Pseudo religious upbringing as perfect, but it was more accepting of, uh, kind of different perspectives on stories and meaning and teachings.

And so that’s worth kind of putting in the forefront of your brain, especially if you haven’t heard this band before, and especially, especially if you haven’t heard this record before, because the early ones and especially catch for us, the foxes are Aaron Wise always uses a metaphor and more specifically like directly apes, like authors and philosophers and

Kyle: especially allegory and fable, that sort of device.

Cliff: Yeah. And we’ll just sort of bring them in as references, use them as plot points and then kind of move on. And so there’s just like a ton of these, right. But,

Kyle: And, and jams a bunch of weird ones together, uh, you know, Bible verses and Sufi mystics and Herman HESI, and like four or five things sort of stands at a stanza where anyone from purists camps of any of those things would be sort of more morally offended.

Um, but a lot of the point of his writing is it’s sort of all the same man. It’s Aristotle seven stories. Like there’s only so many ways to skin

Cliff: Exactly. Yeah, exactly. That like even you can’t even get three songs in this record without putting two religions kind of side-by-side in the lyrics that would oppose being side-by-side in the lyrics themselves.

And so I think one of the reasons it hit people, including me at a particular time in the, you know, the mid aughts or whatever for people who felt that there was. Um, and if I can explain this succinctly, there is a depth and a beauty to. Religion. Isn’t really the right word, but our spiritual approaches over history to understanding what the fuck is going on, what is happening?

Why are we here? Who cares? What’s going to happen? All that kind of stuff in there. There’s so much beauty in the way that we’ve attempted to figure it out time, over time, time after time across history. And then we translate old versions of what we used to think into new versions, which changed the original meanings, because language can’t just equal language.

Right? And so we end up with these like spider webs of ideas that borrow from one another and kind of overlap in.

Kyle: so

Cliff: If you’re a person who was able to grow up in a religion kind of, of any type, and you felt that you had that connection to what you were studying. Um, so, you know, so in, in my childhood, sure, that would have been the Bible, but in a lot of others, it could be any number of spiritual texts or older texts or history books or whatever.

And what I was able to connect with, especially when this record came out, was the nonchalance with which he was using all of those as devices, because the whole kind of thing is like, everyone’s kind of taken everything way too serious. Okay. W we, even if we had, uh, some sort of good historical record of any sort of religion, much less, you know, Christianity in particular, just translating it language over language changes things, just moving through time, changes things, just moving through culture changes, things like we’re not looking at the same thing that people were looking at whenever they wrote this stuff.

Right. And so to be able to have a more open hand about like history is history, thought his thought story, his story, I’ll pick them out and put them together and make my own thing, because it matters just as much as it ever did, whether this makes perfect sense or not. This is me painting with my life and trying to explain what it is that I’m feeling or going through and trying to make connections with other people.

And so to me, that’s, that’s one of the more interesting premises. Um, um, I’m now realizing mid podcasts along with the plural of premises, per my prima C. But one of the key reasons that like this record is worth thinking about and listening to, I think, or at least giving an earnest try, it’s like, you know, even when we saw me without you recently, you know, Aaron mentioned when they were playing an older song, he was like, you know, I wrote the song a long time ago about a woman that I loved, and that is no longer in my life in that way whatsoever.

He’s like, you know, like married somebody different I’ve moved on. And you know, he didn’t say anything negative, you know, kind of as usual went out of his way to say something positive about this stranger who would never hear about it. but he was talking about the way that he, you know, he felt like, well, ma maybe these songs and these lyrics, or he was kind of implying like, well, maybe this is like passe at this point, maybe this doesn’t.

Kyle: it.

Cliff: And I know that I wasn’t the only person hearing this human being talk and thinking to myself, you know, I never really stopped to consider that this was about a woman at all, because actually, like what connected with me in what you wrote was less really about the objects that you were relating your narrative to.

Yeah. And it was more that you were willing to have this narrative at all. Um, you know, that you were willing to say things like, I want to shoot myself just thinking about it. And then the next line in your lyrics would be like, I mean, what I say, like, but it’s not clever. It’s it’s not intended to be clever.

It’s not intended to make you laugh or smirk. It’s 

Kyle: intended to.

Cliff: Well, w who knows if it’s intended or not as such, but it certainly connects with me in that way of, you know, my heart and my brain as a person is constantly pitching contradictions to itself and finding its own boundaries. And to me, that’s what I hear in this music.

And in this like vocal delivery style, especially this constant, like I’m going to wrap myself up, I need to calm myself down. I want to go really far out. I need something more realistic, like in this back and forth and push and pull with yourself. Um, even just inside of the lyrics, I think connected with me and probably a lot of other people who just wanted to experience some nuance in like anything.

And we’re probably in a context where I love everybody. I grew up. I love, I love my family. Okay. I love my family that I grew up around. Uh, but like, I didn’t necessarily feel that I could experience all of the nuances. I had in my head and in my heart, and I didn’t know who to talk to about it or what to do.

And to me, this was a band that made that nuance and uncomfortability. Okay. You know, you’ve sat on multiple podcasts episodes, Kyle, the, the, using the phrase like I contain multitudes, this was the first time that I felt like something kind of reflected that about me out in art, because here was somebody willing to just say it, you know,

Kyle: that’s at the core of what is interesting to me about this band.

And I had to struggle a little bit to find the thesis or like my perspective on it, Cause they’ve sort of always been there for the past 20 years of our lives together as friends. And there’s always been kind of a barrier to entry because they struck me as almost like an indie U2. Right. Cause it was like, oh, religious ban, dude, that kind of yells or rants or whatever.

Immediately. It was like there’s too much emotional Haft happening on purpose. And I didn’t get that. I think I saw the inverse of what the angle was, right. What I have come to see in forcing myself to look directly at this band and investigate one is that the music is incredible and nobody talks about it, right.

That the thing outside of Aaron and the lyrics and the vulnerability and whatever. So that’s, that’s its own conversation that I can’t wait for us to get into a little bit. Uh, but two is like, just because it has, it pulls in religious reference points. It’s it’s doing that in like a craving way. Not in a telling it for anybody else way. 

Cliff: And, um, 

Kyle: I need as many reference points as I can to make an informed sort of guess about what I think the world is. Right. And it makes a lot more sense to me as an older person. And now that I’ve read man’s search for meaning by Viktor Frankl and this, this band is like that book made sentient a little bit. Um, but there’s, there’s such a like humble the thing about Aaron and the way that he goes about all of this, that is really intriguing to me. And there’s still not a band that I would like casually pick up on a Saturday morning. Like I can’t ever, I think cold start my day with a band like me without you. But I, I have found them to be a really incredible band for, for these unprecedented times. You know, now two years into exhausting, Emotional and physiological life, you get existential and you think about why we’re here and what’s going on.

And to have a band like this and a record like this, especially neatly tucked away where it’s a guy searching for meaning and craving something deeper from his life, sort of at the spiritual abstract, what’s it all mean level, but also to the point you made about the girl, like just very visceral personal stuff.

And those two things are like concentric circles that go around each other. Right. So he’s, he’s just trying to make sense of all of it at the same time. It’s an incredible record for introspection, I think is, is my like TLDR takeaway. Uh, And having just recently moved houses, I’m doing a lot more driving than I was previously.

And just having good open road time, where it’s just you and your head, this is a phenomenal record for that. And it works on a level before you even really get into Aaron’s lyrics on their face, or certainly the context of where a lot of these references came from. I was telling you just before we started recording, if this were an instrumental record, it would just about work on the same level for me.

But Aaron, Aaron is so often the focus, of the lyrics are so often the focus of the conversation around this band. And to me, they’re just the icing on a really Hardy cake around, like, just, just take this thing and go think about your life in the universe and, um, have a little more gratitude for your ability to like, even be able to do that as a creature on this earth, just the, to be able to struggle and grapple and whatever sure can suck to get existential.

But the flip side that was renewed for me and listening to this record is the, the hope, you know, just, just to be able to struggle, uh, and to long for something greater, it gives you is itself evidence of a God or of something, you know, that, that it’s even implanted in us to try. So anyway, here we are.

Cliff: I mean, the eight thinking about it in terms of, uh, not nonchalantly putting on this record or this band expecting to have the same type of, you know, passive experience doesn’t really work well here, but it gets us close. Like uh, it’s not that you can’t listen to it in the background in fact you’ve kind of just said the opposite.

It’s decent background music, potentially.

Kyle: Yeah. 

I’ve, I’ve tried very hard to make it that because it’s a lot to be present with this man for the entirety of one of these records.

Cliff: But if you want to, this is a really good way to do it. And before I, because I was a literal child before I had enough therapy to understand that, oh, it’s not that I don’t have emotion, it’s that I process them differently than most people do. Or that people who tell you how to process emotions, do you?

So I didn’t really understand that what I was doing when I would reach my wit’s end with anything. And I needed to put on headphones and put on a record like this and just sit and not have anybody talk to me that that was an absolutely normal thing to do. And that this in particular, like this record would help me just shift into a space where I could feel more comfortable feeling.

Yeah, just period, because I’m not a person who really loves to, I’m getting better about it these days with people I trust. Right. But like, I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve is such an overstatement. Like I don’t even like to indicate to people who might not be safe to me, what I might possibly be feeling positive or negative Cause like you didn’t

Kyle: That’s why I didn’t wear sleeves for so long for fear of having to put my heart on

Cliff: how’s he feeling cold very pale, but this can get used that way. And I think, you know, maybe even in digging a little bit deeper into like why it became a personal connection for me would kind of help, but we can do it. I think in the context of like even consuming this whole album with intention may be a little too much. If you, if, if you’re not familiar with this band or just feeling really up to it, um, And you can, in my opinion, have kind of a microcosm of the whole experience just on the opening track itself.

And I think that thinking about that track will kind of help relay a little bit more about it. At least for me, what, what unlocks, what changes in me about this and, you know, you, uh, you mentioned earlier, Kyle, or you mentioned to me before we started recording, I had, uh, decided to try to throw together a personal Twitter thread to celebrate this band a little bit.

Because once again, I, I thought that they were done playing music. I’m glad that they’re not. Um, but they were, you know, I, I thought they were playing their last Atlanta show and just kind of like, um, you know, another friend of ours went to the show and I was talking to him beforehand. Um, I’m trying to be better about not name-dropping people before.

I know if they want to be named, dropped on a podcast. Um, but like we were talking about,

Kyle: he would, when we released this episode, he’s sure going to be the first person I send it to.

Cliff: Fair. But we, we, we, we both had a long-term connection with this band, you know, I’d say he was, he was probably kind of a, a bigger fan of, we have to measure it that way, but like, w we both love this record, the early records, especially, and kind of everything this band has done since then. And we were talking about that even when we thought that this was going to be the last Atlanta meet without you show it, like my day was ceremonial, um, in preparation for this, because I just, I just cried when the span plays. I, I, 

Kyle: i, 

Cliff: I don’t love it about myself necessarily. I, I don’t mind, I guess. Um, but it’s also, it’s not just like a single teardrop felt like no, I’m kind of Sabi over here for a sec. Um, and I, I knew that that would happen and I knew it would happen extra in like one of the first, like, really meaningful encounters with me without you, that I had, um, That kind of drove home a whole of the stuff that we’re talking about, but just

Kyle: God. Are you going to tell the cornerstone story? Is that what this is about to be?

Yeah. 

Cliff: Well, I, I honestly can’t remember if I had seen them before this, but I want to say yes, but at any rate it had not kind of,

Kyle: 2007. 

Cliff: it should have been 2007. I went to please, if you’ve made it this far, please make it through this phrase. Okay. I intentionally went to a Christian music festival in Illinois.

Now I did that because yeah. Uh, we, me and the friend that I went with, we, we made it fun in our own non Christian festival ways. Um, yeah, but there were, there were just some really good bands, um, including like, uh, friends, like becoming the archetype we’re playing and Like, it was just, it was a cool scene, man.

Like I wanted to go see basically a handful of bands in a really different atmosphere. And so, um, I got stoked about.

Kyle: did the showdown play that year?

Cliff: Oh, yeah. Yeah, that was the year they got booed off the stage.

Cause they, 

Kyle: cause they’re so strong,

Cliff: they, they had stopped existing sober at that point.

Kyle: to paint a little bit of a picture about this scene and the kind of bands you would get to see, seeing that contain multitudes under the loose banner of like, we want to play exactly the music we want it, but like mom and dad, it’s for Jesus.

We say a little thing about Jesus before the end of the set and they’ll let us go do our thing. The showdown was this wild sort of sort of pan Tara, sorta death metal, kind of varied album now.

Cliff: album.

Kyle: We went and saw them, uh, Josh Skowhegan from the chariots venue in Douglasville, Georgia in the corner of a strip suburban strip mall.

And this man had been to the dollar general and gotten a bag full of rubber snakes. Cause get snake bit was like a phrase of theirs. And during one of their songs, he threw out a bunch of rubber snakes with the tags still on them. And I like had one in my apartment in college for a long time, just like hanging up at my desk.

Um, so all every show with any band anywhere near the cornerstone orbit was always kind of an experience like they were always trying to do. I think of bands. Like showbread when I think a cornerstone where it’s like, they’re going for something there’s a lot of also ran sounding bands, but you can count on. Bands that are trying to like stand out and do stuff that’s different. So I guess I give a lot of the band of those bands that, that credit.

Cliff: Yeah. Yeah. It was definitely a case of going well out of our way to see 5% of an entire festival lineup. Um, but it was worth it for like, so for moments like this, so me without you more than likely. And if I remember correctly, 

Kyle: they were 

Cliff: heavily involved in cornerstone that year. If, if I remember it correctly in years, by this year, 2007, they had actually convinced Aaron Weiss himself to do a seminar, uh, separate from any like shows or whatever, where he was just literally like talking to people about what he thinks.

Kyle: an Aaron Wise PowerPoint

Cliff: Yeah. And, but to something,

Kyle: or like, or he’s playing the accordion. And one of the buttons advances, the slides.

Cliff: That is an amazing idea.

Kyle: That joke was for us and literally only us.

Cliff: Oh my God. I love that. Um, I really want to do that now. It’s something you mentioned earlier though. And I even like Metta fell bad about when we started talking about this stuff in the podcast, like, it is important to note that it’s very easy to talk about the vocals of this band and really only talk about the vocals of this band and that is wrong morally.

Okay. Because not only is it good music in general, but it works together. It would not work without this correct. Push and pull, like, I don’t know what word to use other than

correct, 

Kyle: take away the music and it’s just a very intense slam poetry reading

Cliff: Yeah. Which we wouldn’t listen to

Kyle: would not be tight.

Cliff: Yeah. It Would not be tight.

Kyle: It’s like the people that their whole Spotify listening is stand up and you’re like, why, w w who may do this way?

Cliff: sit down please. So, what, so, okay. So this story kind of like draws that out, right? Because the, the, reason I’ve gone to so many meet without you shows over the years and in. Affection for these guys I’ve never met. Is there, there’s just a feeling when they play shows and it’s communal and it’s shared, and you don’t really have to talk about it with anybody and it doesn’t really get played up.

And, but, but it, it, it feels different. It feels specific and special in the right meaning of that word. And so cornerstone was an example of this. So they played to the best of my not entirely, fully sober recollection. Um, but I have video to validate the most important parts. So I know I’m right. Um, but I saw them in a tent.

It outdoors, you know, this was, this was literally on a farm. You know, this whole festival is there.

Kyle: in a tent.

Cliff: Um, it’s at night or dusk or something like that. And first of all, this is, you got to think of like, you know, I don’t know where you, the listener or listening from. If you’re from the south, think of a 10th, the size of like a revival tent, if you’re from somewhere else, imagine just like,

Kyle: the biggest outdoor wedding you’ve ever been

Cliff: Yeah. Like a tint that is abnormally large. Okay. Like a building size tent.

Kyle: a trust structure.

Cliff: Yeah. So these were set up because obviously we’re in the middle of the field and who knows what’s going to happen, but they had completely front to back side to side, packed out this entire tent full of people who were like smiling, like eager to see this band in particular.

Um, and there was something about it and I don’t really know how to explain it beyond that. And I was in the very back and. I ended up when I finally found some of the YouTube videos for the stuff to, to validate these things that have lived rent free in my brain for 20 years, or however long, 15, um, one of the comments I saw, which, which really reconnected me to what I remember was I think it was from torches together.

Being played in the set in the comment was like, I have never seen a more rhythmically adept crowd ever. And that’s what I remember was like, all these people are clapping on beat. They’re dancing. Like this is an entire vibe that I’m normally kind of not okay with. And I can’t look away and it doesn’t bother me for some reason.

And I felt connected to it. And anyway, the whole show was just great. They did a great job and it was, you know, it’s, it’s just really cool seeing a band that you want to see. Who’s a smaller band play to a larger audience. That’s just always magic. Um,

Kyle: which very similarly we’ve had recent moments with turnstile and That, oh my God. This is about to be a lot more people’s thing very soon. You know, this has been my little secret, but I’m happy to finally give it away that that’s one of those feelings of music that like, you just can’t put a price on, you know, it feeling connected to a bigger thing than, than ever possible.

And then you take the material of me without you show. And you’re like, everybody is engaging with these things specifically and feeling this way. Great. That’s sick.

Cliff: The turnstile is probably the best possible, uh, example you could give right

now. Yeah. 

All 

Kyle: at furnace. Fests is like, we don’t, you know, the, the moments are harder to come by as we get older and I’ve seen thousands of shows like that was, uh, I was overwhelmed and that being our first live music back in a year and a half or whatever, that was like, I, I had my meet without you under a tent.

Like I cried a little I got, I got a little tear on my mask.

Cliff: So in the same way that turnstile, I think you’ll agree with me on the scale. We can and will love that band, but it’s almost not quite for us. It’s almost like four people, a little bit younger than

Kyle: us. 100%.

Cliff: So to me, and in, I, think a lot of people would agree with this who would have liked to spend at the time, like me without you was was often that for those of us, from the generation who for better or worse, pumped out further seems forever.

Okay. Like sunny day real estate, uh, like early Jimmy eat world stuff. Like w w w we were distinct from gen X who would rightfully mock us for being emotional,

Kyle: we older millennials?

Do we count as that? Are we tight? Cool, cool, cool, cool.

Cliff: But it was like, if you can go from think of the cartoonish version of emo and then walk back in a crowd band director, This was sort of like the destination that a lot of people could reach without feeling too like far field, if that makes sense.

And so me, without you sort of operated as this constellation, um, that connected these other scenes that were exploring the idea of being emotional in music, um, but would often go like just, it, it was just cringy. Yeah. Full crunch, which, which is an uncool thing for us to say at this point, to which I, uh, reasonably learned.

So that friendly places us in

Kyle: don’t give a shit.

Cliff: I know that’s what also makes us us. So, but anyway, like the whole show was just incredible. And then at the end, it will make sure to like link up this one, the only video of ever found of this we’ll link it up. But the whole show had been great and they play an Encore, which in itself was kind of cool.

And like encores we’re not showdown. Didn’t get an Encore. Okay. These were not given. So they were, they were

Kyle: encores are not a thing at a festival on course. We’re not a thing in that scene. So it’s yeah. Out of step immediately. 

Cliff: Yeah. So,

so they’re finishing up and as they do, you know, still kind of to this day, they’ll often wind down at the very end of either the Encore or the set itself.

And we’ll end up back with like, you know, a guitar or an accordion or a piano or something really simple that kind of ends it. And in this one, you know, Aaron is up there.

Kyle: like was a really interesting choice the other night. And, uh, a lot of times on these shows, apparently they’re the very last song. It’s a solo song. I didn’t know. That was like a thing they did. And that’s such a bold choice. You bring people all the way up to this place, and then you close on like a quiet, reflective note to send everybody home on.

If that’s bold, it’s a bold strategy cotton,

Cliff: especially for this band, which if you, if anyone gets the chance to see them again, and you’ve never paid attention to this wash the drummer, the drummer goes from a normal human being to, I have never been so excited to be alive in my whole life, over the span of every set that I’ve ever seen them play by the end of it, he is like John Bonham level, smashing the drums in pieces, like occasionally going off for them.

Cause he gets stoked. Like just so much 

Kyle: I didn’t know that was going to be my end with this band, but drumming was absolutely the end, the end. Uh, Like really sounds super crisp live. They got their mixed dialed in really beautifully, but then you go back and listen to this record and you have songs like the Soviet where there’s just like incredible drum patterns that aren’t overdone.

I, I, when I was talking about Aaron as a humble searcher earlier, I, if I didn’t say it explicitly, I think of them as the anti U2, like were Banos always palletizing and like, it’s, it’s big and messianic and whatever. And I think of them as the anti U2 now, but the, the thing applies because so much of the, the music is textural and tension and release type of stuff. Yeah. Uh, and, but it, but it has, they have sort of the same approach to space and. Sonically. I think there’s a lot of similarities there because you’re working around a character at the center that occupies a lot of space. Um, but that drummer dude, he gets up and he was wearing suspenders, uh, during the sentence, just look like a down-home dude that I’d like go to waffle house with. 

Cliff: probably literally true. 

Kyle: That’s probably literally true. I don’t know if they have waffle houses and Philly. Um, but like musically, I think that’s the end. There’s a lot of cool guitar stuff. And we can talk about that, but it’s a great drumming band and a great drumming band in a way that people don’t seem to talk about as much, because it’s very low key.

There’s a lot of like, sort of pockety stuff or, or he’ll hit these loops or, or whatever. It’s always in service of the song, but not in like an ACDC beat keeping way. Right. There’s a lot of interesting patterns and fills and, and whatever, but it’s not. Especially showy drumming. So I think you’ve got to dial into it first to be attuned to it.

Cliff: So with all that, with all that context.

Kyle: did we finished the cornerstone story? Did you 

Cliff: Oh, listen, I never forget. I never forget a story. You know, this I’ll follow up weeks later, like brought in to tell you the end of this. Um, so yeah, so with all of that buildup and like everyone, I mean really like the energy was really great. And, and I say that in as a person who has seen literally hundreds of shows since that time, um, the, the energy was really, really positive, hard to describe and winding out, uh, into the set.

Aaron is just playing the accordion and plays, take this hammer, um, like, uh, uh, uh, traditional railroad song whose that’s been done by a lot of really awesome folks, but. There’s kind of a lot, you could explore about that song and the fact that he’s playing it at all, it was a good example of it kind of being a little meat without you microcosm of like, does this mean a lot or nothing? Um, 

Kyle: but 

Cliff: w I think more important was what happened and it’s such a good example. So he’s singing any sing. I mean, it’s just him and an accordion.

I mean, it’s, it’s pretty slow and wound down and just like, not sad, but almost an exhausted type of delivery, which I would expect him to be exhausted at that point.

Kyle: and when the video definitely confirms that, like, this is literally all I have left to give you guys, I’m so grateful to be here, but oh my God.

Cliff: Yeah. And I mean, if, if you don’t know, take this hammer, like it’s just kind of simple versus like, take this hammer ticket to the captain and tell him I’m gone.

Like, it’s, it’s the working song that’s about being free from working, um, and. At some point, you know, kind of into the song, Aaron is kind of like, he starts to fall apart a little bit. He can’t, he can’t, he is visibly losing steam and this dude walks up and I can’t tell, cause he’s in face paint, which again was a thing I thought was a fixture of my imagination only to later be confirmed by reality.

Um, but I think there was some guys who had like painted their face to like dance for part of a song or something like that. Anyway, the point was Erin’s up there all by himself and this dude comes from side stage or whatever, just wraps his arm kind of around him, puts his face to the mic with him and start singing.

And like the response that you see in Aaron, like. But it broke me in the back of that tent, dude. It broke me in half because it was this moment of like, it doesn’t have to be any more complicated than I was really trying to do this. And I couldn’t. And you helped me and I love you. And like, they, they barely finished the song together.

The T the tins is full of weeping people who don’t like don’t even know any meaning behind what they’ve seen, but feel it. Yeah. It’s so visceral in, like, at the end of the Aaron, just kind of like reaches over and hugs him, and then everyone is kind of done and it’s, it’s hard to, for me, I can remember places in thoughts in often like songs I was listening to in my life.

I’ve got like a real, like memory palace out of reality, but I don’t have a lot of times where I was like, boy, I felt I felt there. And right then, and like, I just remember feeling like. I’m not sure what else there is or isn’t outside of this moment. Like, and it was easier. Cause I was just inside of this tent in the middle of nowhere and it was just easier to conceptualize.

Like I’m not sure that anything really matters beyond what we just experienced, even though we talked about because of the lyrics and whatever else we talked about. So many things tonight, so to speak and none of them mattered except for this in, that has, that has stuck with me and sticks with me. I think when I listened to this record in particular, because it was pretty fresh back then too.

Um, I think brother’s sister had maybe just dropped right before that. Um, so this was still pretty recent record and that is the type of urgency and connection that I get out of listening to this band, trying to relay whatever it is that they’re doing,

Kyle: You know, we’ve, we talk a lot on this podcast or it’s an undercurrent about how we’ve been friends for a really long time. Right. And that’s how we can keep just coming and talking about our record again and again, and again. And we joke a lot. People don’t get to see our text messages, but we joke a lot about how, like you’re the brains and I’m the heart and, um, um, pure ID you’re, you’re above the neck, I’m below the bell, all that, you know, we, we see two characters who are like hilariously written as flat contrast. And we’re like, oh, you’re that one?

And I’m this one, right? We’re, we’re like an Abbott and Casella friendship. And then a lot of ways I think having such a foil to each other has taught us a lot about ourselves over the years. Just like constantly seeing that contrast with an underlying set of shared values and things that we love has, has made it work and has helped us both grow.

Right. Um, I also just watched the, um, series finale of insecure, uh, which is like a hilarious, hilarious place to take this episode.

Cliff: Um,

Kyle: but that shows all about growth, right? And the, in the last season is all about celebrating how those friends have grown into this version of themselves. And like the older we get, the harder it is to come by those sorts of things.

I’m trying, I’m trying to arrive at a moment of universality for a very personal thing. So like, prior to that show, you, you just alluded to these tweets. Um, and you said the, you, like you said that these are songs that fill me up with bravery and love and sincerity. And they make me say, I love myself and others with my whole chest. And I never thought we would have a moment on this podcast where I would even like, think about crying. I don’t know if it’s just dad shit or what it is, but to know you, as long as I’ve known you and to like sit and hear you tell stories like that, Uh, fuck, I guess what I’m trying to say to like anyone sitting in listening to this thing is use this album as a vehicle to find and appreciate your people that had that like hug you while you’re playing the accordion moment.

Um, ’cause in, in man’s search for meaning that’s kind of to your point all there, all there is it’s, it’s like I I’m at a loss for words, for how it makes me feel to like, have been on that journey with you and not really known it all this time. Um, and it’s just the point, I guess, is it’s good to feel it right.

And it’s good to like struggle with it. And it’s good to have watched you become this person and that’s, I don’t know, probably apropos of nothing, but that’s. prob that’s the thing that I’ve carried underneath. It all is that listen to this record that I probably would have never made any attempt with.

Otherwise, it’s just like, it feels good to feel until it until like let yourself feel and to feel others feeling, you know, um, to just talk all this feels therapeutic somehow, and I’m not exactly sure how you know,

Cliff: well, dude, when you start a thing talking about outcasts, you’re eventually going to end on something therapeutic between France

after, after like we were different 

Kyle: We were, I mean, I just feel like we were such different people sitting in our den at the old house. Not really knowing what this thing was going to be. And now here we

Cliff: Well, we certainly couldn’t have walked up with it and gone to the other person with a, Hey, let’s do like an emotionally intense thing where we grow our friendship. We have fun, but like you get the fuck outta here with that right now. I’m not prepared.

Kyle: will never, I just want to shit on Husker du, that’s the point of this podcast? 

Cliff: can be part of our friendship too buddy.

Kyle: mutually assured.

Cliff: yeah, in now to kind of like push into the songs a little bit better because that really gives me a good segue. Like, I, it was always hard for me to express what did, and didn’t connect with me emotionally because as a person who loved music, I hate the take of all takes here on a music podcast. 98% of all vocalization makes the music worse.

Oh, just terrible. I hate it personally. I hate it. Lyrics are generally terrible by everyone.

Kyle: by the way, the feeling that you’re feeling listening to this right now, this has been a, this has been such a thing in our friendship for so long and I’m just like, wait, wait, what do you mean? You’re wrong? I like, I have just been, I’ve been so, so going so hard on they’re like, no, you’re wrong.

You’re not allowed to have that take. I love you. I will still go to shows with you, but also fuck you. Absolutely not.

Cliff: I will explain myself. I will take it upon myself to explain

Kyle: Well, I’m mostly mad because now the feeling has started to seep in where, like I agree with you a little more and I’m, I’m mad at that. I

Cliff: just like, I don’t know. I don’t know what was broken me, but like as a child, when I heard songs like hooked on a feeling and I was like, does this not sound like dumb shit to everybody else?

This is like, this is a good song. But like, was he talking like for someone to love me music so much in like, I hate like love songs. Okay, so, okay. I promise I’ll connect

Kyle: And we’re back.

Cliff: And we’re back

Kyle: Oh, gee, cliff seal in the building. I hate love songs

Cliff: yet, and yeah, I’m a person who’s been in a monogamous relationship with someone that I love more intensively than anything else in the whole world for 15 years.

Okay. 

Kyle: going to sing about it.

Cliff: And, but it was, it was odd to never feel like w like why doesn’t music connect with me in this particular way? Like, love songs kind of barely get to it.

Like, like, I, I would enjoy sending her John Mayer songs and be like, listen to the guitar solo, you know?

Kyle: Am I a serial killer? The cliff seal story.

Cliff: Um, no, or not yet. We’ll see. But, so, so torches together, the very first song on this record. W like the phrase hits different does not quite begin to encapsulate like how I receive this song and just to like really put the direct pin on it so that I can defend myself.

Like 

Kyle: I, 

Cliff: I, whatever you call the, is it recessional song or whatever? Like, I, I was in a marriage ceremony.

Kyle: married and you be walking out.

Cliff: They do the fake thing where like, it’s not actually related to you signing a marriage certificate. It’s just show for everybody who’s in the building. Who’s there to give you presence. You know, they announce you, you walk down the aisle.

Generally people walk down the aisle to terrible music. Cause everyone has terrible taste in music is bad. Uh,

but 

Kyle: is almost universally so dumb.

Cliff: so towards us together is what played. And that happened with the full, you know, a full throated, positive endorsement of my partner. Um, and for me, this. This song combined with all of the reasons that I want to convince you the listener to listen to me without you, at least once is all kind of like wrapped up in a moment like front to back the lyrics connect with me directly, the music builds and compliments it directly in perfectly. It, it allows for the expression and this is why we can come back to this idea of the, the band as a whole has to exist. Or none of it works. Erin Weiss is only able to keep going up to these places he’s building emotionally and then tears them back down, over and over.

And it only works because he’s able to do it kind of on top of the pallet of this backing stuff. That just works. And so for me, as as someone who just generally can’t connect with lyrics, to be able to go directly to music that I like from people who seem like good in kindhearted, people who, you know, who write things like, Uh, it’s, it’s important for me to at least be able to say here that, like, I don’t have a ton of animosity towards the context I grew up in. Okay. But obviously I’m a child. I did not get to pick my context. Okay. So what I had to work with were like biblical texts a lot of the time.

And then however far out I could explore beyond that, but like, that was always an acceptable launching point, if that makes sense. Um, and so to me, as, as someone who needed more intellectually,

Kyle: are a lot of things that we can’t talk about in this household. The Bible is not one of them. We can always talk about the Bible,

Cliff: but I wanted to connect intellectually with the Bible, which no one likes to do very much. Uh, so, but I want it. Um, nothing changed my outlook on religion, more than reading the Bible front to back in order and going, oh my God, this has totally different stuff. Um, but like, it was always an interesting launching off point for me.

And so I could in fact connect on occasion with a verse or a premise more, you know, more often than not something directly attributed to Jesus and not just some whatever. Um, so to start a song like us together with this like very clear illusion, right? Why burn poor and LUN lonely under a bowl or under a lampshade or on the shelf beside the bed, where at night you lay turning like a door on its hinges.

Like these, these are literally just Bible verses stitched together. And so he’s kind of setting it up, but then by the time that we get through, not only does the second verse pickup believe me, I would happily do a performative interpretation of this right now. If it wouldn’t be miserable listening experience.

Kyle: Just go listen to the record.

Cliff: Yeah. Yeah. But to be able to keep building back up and come down to just things like why pluck one string? What good is just one note? Oh, one string sounds fine. I guess it’s like the way that he delivers it. And like that’s the way my brain moves through things and I’d never heard anyone much less do vocals this way, but I’d never even heard anyone talk this way where it was constantly okay.

To say here is my here’s my example. Let me talk about why this example matters to me. Well, now that I think about it, that example really doesn’t get me there. Example two, and just kind of constantly processing things and going like, Hmm. That allegory gets us there, but not quite, we’re going to need to add another one, but on top of it to be combined in this verse, especially where he’s talking about, why pluck one string, when you can strum the guitar

Kyle: in 

Cliff: in isolation.

Find mildly poetic, I guess. Right. But when you combine, but like, again, you hit, you got the snare hit right before it drops in. He builds up in any, he yells, it’s not screaming, it’s he just literally like hollering. Um, and, and to be able to bring that energy, like, I was always much more moved by the, um, I hope you’ll hear me in this connection.

And, but like, I was always more moved by the cadence of speakers, like Martin Luther king Jr, than I was written or song notes. If that makes sense. Like the cadence brings me in and tells me what’s important and pumps me up and gets me excited, but reminds me of things like so much is being communicated.

And so to be able to go at this idea just inside of this song,

Kyle: where 

Cliff: At once we’ve got, we’ve got traditionally religious texts kind of being turned around and flipped around and put in other places than it should be. So at once we’ve got this kind of like questioning of underlying things. And then the topic of the thing itself connected with me so much at that time where I was like learning how to love a human being.

Like I don’t, w we spent so much time in a context that told us we were going to become one. That’s never sounded right. It never, that never made much sense to

me. 

Kyle: the other half of me,

Cliff: Yeah. But like, when you say one, it feels like that’s carrying a lot of weight, like Hmm. But is it both of us put together, are we supposed to shave off kind of parts of ourselves?

Like, what does this look like? And don’t want to talk about it because the spoiler alert, no one fucking knows. Um, th they’re just saying stuff, they’re just repeating it to stave off existential dread. So they say stuff like you’re going to become one, but what I want to become like is two people who are dramatically on fire for whatever reason that we are and just reach across. Yeah. I just like. Kyle brings the heavy topics and we’ll cover that in a bit, but no, w like I wanted to know, like, why, why, why aren’t we just thinking of this? Like, as being together, we’re, we’re two people together. We should always be choosing to be together. And I had to unlearn a lot of unhealthy stuff around some of that, but like, just this idea of like, it’s not just like, oh, two people are better than one, or like, we’re great when we’re together.

So, no, um, I, I want to explode with life beside another person in, in doing so by being there with one another, we can heal each other in specific and special ways that no one else can do. Like, I want to do that. And then if it stops working, I want to stop doing that because we’re no longer doing the thing that makes us be together.

And so like, so just to round it out again, I promise this was like a microcosm just in this.

Kyle: song

Cliff: Again, for a kid who grew up in a church, the outro is you played the flute, but no one was dancing and you sing a sad song, but no one was crying. This is again, straight biblical stuff, but it’s the use of it here is so like chef’s kiss for someone who wants to see nuance out of the Bible, because even where this is originally written in the text, it comes from the whole idea.

Here is you’re talking to people who are expecting you to perform in the way that they want you to. And what’s being pointed out

Kyle: uh, 

Cliff: is like, you play the flute, but no one was dancing and you sing a sad song, but none of us cried, basically. You can’t just change our emotional state by telling us how we should behave.

And they expecting us to conform because you have power like. As a person who was able to conceive even a slice of that at that age, when I read it in the original text to hear it placed again, here is so perfect. Like that was exactly what I wanted playing at the end of my wedding ceremony, as a reminder to everybody that like, whether you want this to go well, or whether you want this to go poorly in either case, you really shouldn’t have that much of an opinion about my life.

Why don’t you move on with what you have? And I’m going to do the best I can with what I’m doing. And it will not matter if I meet your expectations ever, ever again. Like in it doesn’t matter now. And so to me, like, I know we’ve spent so much time even just kind of navigating through this one, but, but for, for me to connect, especially at that age and time with someone who was willing to bring out and be unafraid of their.

Kyle: you know,

Cliff: Pseudo religious context, unafraid to just borrow and attribute, whatever it is that they want inside of their lyrics. And one be brave with that and not apologize for it to be nuanced about it and explore ideas that run counter to what people think about the sex he brought it from. And then three to kind of finalize it with here’s one more bit from these texts that you’re familiar with, but they’re actually designed to remind you that you have a lot less power than you’re trying to exercise like that.

That’s how I feel like when I have a whole ass feeling like I go through all of those phases, uh, and so to be able to connect with a singular song that way and to have it spoken and like kind of yelled at me is, is kind of what cuts open my chest and just like puts this index finger on my rare heart.

Um, and, and there’s just nothing quite like it.

Kyle: I need to parse out to the best of my ability, a little bit of nuance, cause I know all, all lyrics are poetry, so to speak. It’s it’s hilarious. I think about like Motley crew being a poem, but this pretty, it’s pretty easily identifiable as this guy says, I made the joke earlier. It seems like he’s at a slam poetry reading, right?

This reads on its face. Whether you read the writing or especially if you listen to it, it’s like, oh, he’s doing poetry. He grew up well read. Right? And I,

when I 

listened to this band, it takes me back to in, in middle and especially high school. One of my favorite things in class was, was like reading poetry and having a really good teacher who would sit and break down things like rhyme, scheme and word choice and structure of the poem and whatever. And I think it’s warranted that we just talked about that one song for that long, because it feels a lot the same when you go to genius and you try to read these words.

Cliff: man, I’m glad you brought that

Kyle: I’m, I made a note early on, um, that one of his errands devices is when he falls out of the rhyme scheme or he goes back to, you know, it’s like a BBB BCC CCC.

And then he goes back to an a, uh, that’s. He’s like really trying to land a thing either, either syncopated with the music that’s going on, or just like trying to really emphasize an image or something he’s really thoughtful about not only the word choice and the references and the, the illusions, which can seem sort of chaotic and hard to parse out because he does stitch together, a lot of stuff.

Uh, The structure and the cadence. I think it’s really interesting that you brought that up because that was the first thing that grabbed me was the only way to make sense of this, like Tempest of ideas and words and images and allegories and fables that are coming out of this guy’s brain at a mile a minute is to kind of sit with the rhythm and the way that he does it, you know, it, at first it does seem like 21 jump street where it’s like loud emphasis on the things that I’m doing. And it took me probably 10 lessons before I started coming back around to, oh, this is where he does that thing. And the moments that I was like starting to lean forward and feel for, uh, w became some of the most interesting stuff on the record for me. So I, I think if you’re having a hard time, like I was with the, this comes from the Bible, or this comes from.

This old Sufi prayer, or this comes from this, you know, uh, cause it takes me a really long time to get into anything lyrically on that level. I come from more the Iggy and the Stooges level of just say no fun, 47 times in a song, right? Uh, like don’t, don’t intellectualize this too much. Uh, uh, I think the moments that he chooses to ride above the music, or like really go in with a hit, um, are, are some of the things.

And they’re very different for, I think for everyone. Um, but it’s another moment where I also appreciated the music because the space around and I put a note in that you remarked on and our notes that, um, it’s very intense and it’s like,

Cliff: it’s,

Kyle: It’s hard to find your own thoughts in interpreting his thoughts because there’s a lot going on and it warrants a lot of listens.

So I was using the, between moments of just instrumental passages to kind of collect my own thoughts and do reflection and would do the, the mindfulness meditation of, you know, am I aware, what am I aware of? And I would catch myself like looking at the fall leaves, trying to like grapple with the things that he’d been talking about and just trying to catch every between moment and a me without you song that I think they pace out really intentionally, uh, were really helpful for me.

Like sort of starting to fall in love with the. Tension and release the expression and introspection thing. That’s going on. Like, it’s all about understanding your own brain. I that’s the first time I heard you say that thing about it being iterative, like here’s an idea I’m sort of throwing that idea out a little bit, but here’s a different source material for that same idea.

Like that’s really real. That’s the way that our brain works. And that’s also the way that I was listening to them in real time. So like, by the time you get to the end of January of 1979, which was somewhat of a single on this, uh, I, there was one time I specifically remember like coming over a hill and seeing the trees and just breathing that song out. Cause it’s a, it’s a real driver, it’s a real Ford song. 

And then there’s a middle section and four letter word and four letter word it’s like pretty heavy on the religious illusion and stuff. And it’s, it’s about, uh, His relationship with his spirituality versus his family’s relationship with it and, and all that.

Right. So there there’s a lot embedded in that they can get personal fast and there’s a, I was listening to it in my backyard and there’s an ambient middle section where you kind of get a chance to, okay. Deep breath, like let’s, let’s pause it there for a second and flip the tape over, so to speak. Um, so I appreciate the way that those two things work in concert with one another

Cliff: Speaking of the end of January of 1979. Uh, also if you want to put it on a playlist, uh, with the next song being digged by incubus, um, they’re the same, it’s pretty nuts. Um, that, that record from incubus came out a couple of years later. So, um, we’re going to call it that they ate it. Yeah, it’s pretty wild,

Kyle: the thought of them being on a business radar is pretty interesting to me, but I was also pleasantly surprised at first and then not surprised when I thought about it to learn what a big fan of me without you Hayley Williams of paramour is, um, and she did a track by track for, uh, pedals, for armor for her solo record.

And there’s a song that Mike Weiss, the guitarist plays on and the person from Pitchfork ass was me without you, a formative group for you. And Haley said, absolutely. They were one of the first shows I went to by myself when I was 13, my mom dropped me off at a venue in Nashville and I was like, was rocket town around then probably.

Uh, and let me go in with the money I’d made working at my dad’s shop. I bought an album, a shirt and I tipped it was a big moment for me, like, hell yeah, I remember those shows experiences. Um, And she said they have an interesting relationship with faith as well. Growing up as a little kid in a Southern Baptist church, I had a lot of questions and Aaron Weiss was very forthright in his questioning of authority and God and the church as a young person in the south, that was very impactful not to mention they were playing this incredible angsty food Gazi shaped music that I needed.

People are often shocked at the paramour guys and I didn’t grow up on pop punk. We listened to heavier darker things, Deftones failure year the rabbit Thursday. And we’re interested introspective stuff like Kent and sunny day real estate. So that in me, without you was the stuff that made me, that shit speaks to me still.

Cliff: ” Food Gazi shaped. I like that description.

a lot.

Kyle: I, I, spent a lot of time trying to be like, where would this music have come from? Um, so there’s two definite parallel tracks. I think the obvious intersect is Fu Ghazi on every level. And you nailed it with sunny day real estate, like the kind of emotional stuff. Aaron, I think they probably listened to two different kinds of punk, you know, minor threat in there.

Um, Aaron mentioned Inkin dagger being an influence. That was a cool one. I was like buried way back in the back closet of my brain. Um, but then Aaron also mentioned, and this shows up in the later records, um, Radiohead and especially neutral milk hotel. So it’s like the singer had ideas about where that wanted to go.

But Mike did an interview where he talked about. You know, I had my dad’s record collection, like the same trope as you had me. Right. It was like Abbey road, electric lady land, highway 61 revisited. Right? So this sort of classic Americana rock vinyl collection thing. And then when I started deciding what my own music was, it was heavier.

It was punk and hardcore. And then by the time we really started playing and finding our own identity, I had looped back to being tuneful, you know, the, the song craft that those classic rock roots taught me. Um, and it’s still hard to parse out what some of that stuff is, but like at the core of it, it’s, they’re, they’re trying to do like tight tuned, full stuff with, uh, a punk undercurrent.

And that’s a, that’s a hard nuance, I think, to parse out. It’s like, I wouldn’t classify them as a punk band, but. They’ve they’ve been pushed. Like their boundary has been pushed by growing up in, in a punk scene, so to speak.

Cliff: Yeah. And if you’ve made it this far into the episode, please know that future records become a lot more sings hanging from the span Two, Like errands are singing a lot more. Um, and it’s, it’s got more of a folk feeling. Uh, I think that’s probably the best overlay to put on the music to think about it. Um, in future

Kyle: one, one interview that same interview with Mike, the interviewer described it as campfire songs, which may recoil some people, but it’s like, what’s the something, something Crow and a cookie. And the name of that song title?

Cliff: Yeah, he got pretty burnt out on using religious texts because everyone kept projecting onto it. So then he just started using like animals and nature. Like there was an interview where he talked about that. He just like, I don’t know, man. I just started having to use this other yeah. The Fox, the CRO in the car.

It was like I had to start using less, uh, less heavy objects in my

Kyle: but that was like full on neutral milk hotel. Like, oh, this is like tweeze shit. Oh my God. Um, but I think the, the best me without you for my money are the moments where they find that middle ground, where there is still kind of a heavy, textural thing going on with the band, but it is singing song. The last song on the record sign of a widows, probably one of my favorite songs on the record and then disaster tourism, early mid record, um,

Cliff: that

Kyle: in with this clean tone guitar that reminded me of yawning, man, who I love. And will try to get people to listen to you as like I’ll work our yawning man, reference into any episode humanly possible.

Uh, but there’s, there’s killer clean tone guitar work on that. And, um, There’s a song on the first meet without you record, everything was beautiful and nothing hurt where it’s like more melodic, but still do me heavy, whatever stuff going on behind it. They, they do something interesting there that a lot of bands I think, try to tap into and can’t quite get it in the place that they get it in.

It’s a, it’s an interesting sound that carve out with that stuff.

Cliff: Yeah. Yeah. And to that end, I think some other kind of musical tentacles that come out starting on leaf, especially, you know, you’ve mentioned that the rhythm section is killer here. So I think it really starts to show starting on leaf where you’ve got some moments where pretty much nothing else is happening, except for whatever they’re doing.

And they are making the, they’re doing almost like bandleader type stuff, actually making the shifts and driving everything forward and everybody’s catching up afterwards, but there’s also some interludes and guitar parts in there that reminds me of, uh, the sound of animals fighting, which to me is, a, a really good.

Kind of, uh, really overdoing the word microcosm. So I need to like a synonym.com, this shit, babe. Uh, but like, uh, they were. Not only like a supergroup of circus survive in our expanded it’s. And I can’t remember the other one who themselves were, kind of making up a collective scene at that time. Um, but they were doing this kind of space between Fu Ghazi and emo and then whatever was kind of shaping up next, where things were starting to feel Mars, Volta II on the horizon, just a little bit where, you know, nothing.

So leaf does not begin to approach being a Mars Volta song. And, but the sound of animals fighting kind of does. And you can sort of hear some of that music in this where the, the guitar parts start to just space a little bit more. That’s not so much of a lead line. You know, someone is discovering an Ebola or something else that’s like really trawling out sustain.

Um, but that was, I think that was another kind of musical moment from the mid aughts. That’s kind of hard to capture now. Most of those bands don’t exist anymore. And didn’t evolve. Circus survive is still around And they’re kind of the only other example I can think of, of like taking the music that this sounded like in finding a way to perpetuate it in a way that felt fresh enough over the 

Kyle: but using it in a similar, like knowing that that kind of sound goes with big.

Ideas and lyrical concepts because sound of animals fighting used to wear animal mask. They had people that like did live painting during their sets on the side of the stage. Just very, very sort of high concept, oh, we’re going to do this and this and this, uh, sort of creating an experience a moment, you know, the, the doesn’t matter what we say, this is the thing that matters.

Um, I I’ve never thought about this. I really don’t ever think about saying that sound of animals 

fighting, but 

Cliff: I know I bring it up every 

Kyle: but the two. Yeah. But the, the two do really go together in that way,

Cliff: Yeah. And, and to your point to that band, uh, you know, the vocalist is Anthony Green, who’s the vocalist of circus five and say it was him before that, like he is his own vocal concept. I mean, he, his range is ridiculous. Um, so he sounds, I really like in a positive way, he sounds ridiculous the first time you hear him too.

Um, and I,

Kyle: here’s a strange voice.

Cliff: yeah, very high pitched, um, but it’s good and it fits and he learned how to work with it. And to me, yeah, another good example of like, if someone knows how to work with this palette of kind of like ambient post hard core type stuff, you could really shape it around a vocalist without making them the eccentric center of attention without it being the hair metal type stuff.

Um, instead of you just know, it just is a different instrument. It’s like adding a Hartford. For no good reason.

you know? 

Kyle: Yeah. Aaron’s voice is definitely an instrument. You, you certainly get that sensation after three or four songs of it and you see the dynamics and the different ways they work around it.

Another favorite. Base song. Um, cause every instrument kind of has a moment to shine. You mentioned leaf. Like I definitely would encourage people to listen specifically to the guitar layering on leaf there’s two or three or four different parts happening halfway to two thirds of the way through that song That’s really sick.

Um, seven sisters has a great baseline and that was one of the first moments where I started thinking about like, oh, they’re like, they’re doing music stuff on this. And it feels almost insulting to try to reiterate again and again, like, no, this is a music band that makes music, but it tends to melt away somehow, but it’s super dynamic.

But one of the things that I love about this record after close listen is there are definitely different leaders on different songs. Like the Soviet is a drum song. Like I mentioned, seven sisters really strikes me like a bass song. Um, and the. Th there is an ego listening to the purpose of the band that I think shines through in the way that they approach. So like by contrast guns and roses is a guitar band, right? Sure. Maybe if you’re a classic rock person, you can name every person in that band. But like that’s a band where it’s like big riff guitar solo, big riff guitar solo. That’s a guitar band. And to have bands that have very strong, instrumental personalities, but different instruments really shine through for different whole songs.

It’s like

Cliff: I,

Kyle: that, to me, speaks to an interesting approach to songwriting where it’s like, let’s lead with this thing instead.

Cliff: I agree with all of that and that, that continues to play out song by song, through like, especially the latter half of the album.

I think that’s a great way to look at it that people are taking different leads at different points. And I think listening with that lens on specifically of listening for the musical lead helps you to put. Like a diffuser on the, your brain’s tendency to focus on the vocals. If that makes

Kyle: sense.

Absolutely. 

Yeah, 

Cliff: because it’s good sometimes, but there’s so much goodness underneath it that you got to get to you and you can’t do it until to your point.

Like you talked about listening 10 times and then it felt different. Like it’s, it’s got to get in your bones a little bit differently so that you can get past what you feel might be the kind of trophy parts of it, because there are different feelings underneath that one. Once you kind of recognize this approach to music and what they’re doing.

Yeah. It kind of feels like the acquired taste type thing. Almost.

Kyle: I finally found a summation of it in the lyrics of, of what that, that sensation, ma I think it’s in paper hanger. I can’t remember. Um, but there’s a pull pulled from averse.

If they ask you, what is the sign of your father? And you say to them it’s movement and repose it. Aaron says it’s movement, movement movement three or four times. Um, and they are a band where he Tetons to dance a lot. And the other guys, you mentioned the drummer is very propellant on stage. It was like swinging sort of three 16 with on his.

Around his small kit.

Cliff: They’ve told him no to having a gong, at least 20 times.

I feel like we can be sure.

Kyle: Oh, bang a gong. Get it on. Uh, but there’s, uh, 

Cliff: okay, 

Kyle: you alluded at some point in conversation I met like the genius notes and the annotations for this record and this band in general, are like your eyes roll all the way back into the back of your skull. Cause it’s just like

Cliff: just don’t do

Kyle: the kid in your English class or it’s like, that’s not what that meant at all, dude.

That’s you? 

Cliff: just don’t 

Kyle: Wow. You tried, somebody told you you were smart once. having said that there’s a very good. Annotation about it that says the fact that movement exists is self-evidence of God. It coincides with the idea of biological life being inherently sacred. So taking all this on the whole, like, thinking about how the music does invite movement for me, or it serves something up in me, or I think about this being an instrumental band for most intents and purposes.

For me going back to the point I made earlier. It all reaches upward toward something like trying to grasp at meaning and finding peace. And that’s an extremely 20, 21, 20 22 thing to be doing. Um, but I think the thing that I appreciate about all of it is that it’s, it’s digging deeper in a way that invites you to do the same thing.

Like the music asked you to go inward. The lyrics are really studied. It reaches for the Gnostic gospel instead of the Bible verse, that’s embroidered up at your aunt’s house. Um, and to just uncover some gratitude in the process of carving out your place in the universe. Um, so I guess now that we’re in February 20, 22 or whatever, I, I hope you can.

My new year’s resolution hope for you is that you can find a little movement and repose like this has done for me.

Cliff: on one of their later records. Um, it’s all crazy. It’s all false. It’s all a dream. It’s all right.

Kyle: um, 

Cliff: They the last song on it. Um, I feel kind of like speaks to what you just brought out, even though it yet again, uh, relies on references that might make some people uncomfortable, but spoiler it’s different people at this time

or,

at this point, right.

Um, or it’s offending the original people who were happy. Um, but in a lot, a lot law, which became is a very impactful song for me to hear song as a group, um, when this band plays it, because it has a cadence and a feel of being a church song and church music was some of my only connection to artistry.

And so I have it like a deep and meaningful connection with it when it this is probably where my hatred of lyrics comes from I’ve really just, I really just

solve that puzzle right here real

Kyle: wish y’all can see the look on his 

Cliff: Oh my God. 

Kyle: That was a genuine light bulb Ladies and gentlemen, we don’t get to see them often, but when we do, they are great.

Cliff: yeah, no, I think about it. Anyone who says, look at these creed lyrics, probably shouldn’t be telling us what to 

Kyle: looking at this phone up ground.

Cliff: Um, but so, so hearing a song that people can sing together, uh, is an emotional experience for me, you know? And so a lot, a lot, Ally’s a song kind of written in that way. And so there’s just a lot of repetition in the verses or whatever. But anyway, to your point about this idea of like, come be a part of this, whatever this might end up being for you, we’re doing a thing and you are welcome to join us.

Um, like one of the verses was, uh,

Kyle: to to be clear, it’s not, to me, it’s not about the community thing. It’s like, we’re all searching our own individual way through this together. Like you talked about you, you and April doing your things separately and being better because you’re doing the, to your individual thing together.

This is that that stale, that speaking of nuance, it’s a very big

Cliff: Oh, totally. Dude. The, the, the magical tent I was in at that me without you shot, I didn’t fucking meet any of those people afterwards. I didn’t even hang out with them. Like it was that we had had a shared experience that was genuine, that we could go back to our separate lives and use that in. Um, so yes, fully agreed.

And I love that you brought that out. Um, so, but one of these, these verses in their later songs just says like, if your old man did you wrong, well, maybe his old man did him wrong. And if you care to sing forgiveness songs, come down and join our band. We’ll cut you like a sword and we’ll sing forgiveness songs.

And like that’s in the ads and don’t worry. It’ll heal just fine. Okay. Whatever that’s talking about is what draws me into this band and especially into catch for us the foxes, not only from the time it caught me, but kind of continues to take me back to this place where I was only beginning to learn that it was okay not to be okay.

And that it was okay. Not to know. And that it was okay. Not only not to know, but that if you didn’t know, how could you start telling other people and you know, like just this concentric circle of like, oh my God, what have we been saying to one another? And what, how have we been treating each other and 

Kyle: this is how we got here.

Okay. Yeah. 

Cliff: And, but just this, especially that verse that I just read about this, like, you know, Even the word forgiveness is a big hangout for a lot of people, but like, if you can hear it in, in this more open sense, like if you want to sing for forgiveness songs, as in, if you want to live your life and not constantly be thinking about other people and reassessing everything about yourself and instead of being present in the moment, if you would like to be able to forgive yourself and other people come down and join our band, we’ll cut you like a sword and we’ll sing forgiveness songs.

Like it’s still not okay to treat people like shit in our magical band moment, but you can come and you can be a part of this, whatever that looks like. And for me personally, and what I would imagine is at the root of a lot of the light projection from, you know, people who would call themselves Christians and from a lot of that scene, uh, who really wanted this band to be a thing for them that no, no one in this band ever agreed to.

Um, and, and, and would go on to very kindly reject over and over again. But. You could never force everyone to join this moment in the way that you wanted to. It’s just this moment. Uh, it’s just being here together. And it’s just that feeling at exactly the moment in time and in life where you remember that you don’t know, and that that’s okay.

And it’s that moment of like openness and acceptance that like, for me, this record can put me in that place faster than anything else. It is, it is like a raw vulnerability that is really hard to create for a lot of people in my very sincere hope is that this band or. I thought that this band spawns helps more people to create this little space for them, because this is not an easy thing for me to do personally.

And yet I have to not listen to this record before emotional moments in my life, because it will make me too raw. And because it will put me in the wrong place. Um, whereas like we were joking about, uh, earlier, I think before we started recording, if I want to lock myself in my own closet, so I can have a quiet space and not think or feel like I exist just for a moment.

If I want something that force feeds me, that feeling, I can start with torches together and just run my way down, catch for us the foxes until the very end of the record, where even the lyrics come back around to, you know, talking about the son of a widow, um, which is making exactly the illusion, your imagine.

And it’s asking like, so, um, where did his soul, God don’t go when he died again. And then the whole record just ends. And it’s just a constant circle of like, I feel so confident and I have no clue over and over and over again. And like that, uh, that helps me to identify with life Cause it just feels like it’s humming along at a frequency I could never really harmonize with, but that one gives me, um, something different to splice into

Kyle: What was the duality that you just mentioned? I, 

Cliff: I’m present. I don’t know anything. And that is okay.

Kyle: So there’s another genius note. Um, there are two. To prayers by the same, holy man kind of butted up against each other in this one, in one of the songs. And it says these two prayers form a plea to the creator to give men a madness that is whole and to offer a resting place.

And that was one of the first notes that I captured because I was like, that doesn’t make any sense to me. And now that you say that, I think about the cycle of this record and listening to it a bunch of times and thinking about the later album title, it’s all crazy. It’s all false. It’s a dream. It’s all right. Um, and thinking about us, talking about multitudes, once again on this podcast, did not know that was a motif until you said that, but very much a motif that I try to draw out in life and thinking about contradictions and how.

Um, hopefully in healing ourselves, we learn to love others a little better, but, uh, my takeaway from this album is a madness that is whole and a resting place. Um, a madness of not knowing and a resting place of it being all right.

Kyle: Go to tunedig.com for your chance to win a free vinyl copy of the album we just covered. And follow us on Instagram and Twitter for even more info about the album, including playlist links to interesting articles and videos and even some stories that didn’t make the episode. Most importantly, though, please support your favorite local record store, concert venue, or buy merch from a band you love. Thanks for listening.

Original "Bitches Brew" Art

To celebrate the endless creativity of Bitches Brew—and especially its famous album artwork—TuneDig partnered with two incredible Atlanta-based artists to create one-of-a-kind, handpainted gatefolds.

With the spirit of the original art in mind, each artist brought their own vision to life. These pieces will spark conversation for any jazz fan.

Each piece includes a new vinyl copy of Bitches Brew. 100% of the purchase price goes directly to the artist, so take this opportunity to support the arts in the raddest possible way.

Seriously. There’s literally only one of each. Make it yours. 😎

SEASON 6

Season 6—featuring our most eclectic selection of albums yet—kicks off Friday, March 11, with new episodes every other Friday through July.

TuneDig Episode 47: Tangerine Dream’s “Phaedra”

When you think of “electronic music,” what comes to mind may not be a genre you deeply love — hip-hop, house, new wave, or even dub reggae — but all of it owes some debt, scientifically or otherwise, to Tangerine Dream. Dig in with us as we study a prime example of the band’s brand of effortful innovation, where they patiently and persistently labored at the cutting edge of electronic technology to open a portal to new worlds in our minds.

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TuneDig Episode 46: Olivia Rodrigo’s “SOUR”

Did you catch one of 2021’s biggest albums, or like us, did you almost overlook it? If you have any expectations of pop music, "SOUR" will likely subvert them. Teenage dream this is not; it’s an exquisitely universal portrait of a weird time to be alive.

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TuneDig Episode 45: Fela Kuti’s “Expensive Shit”

The story of Fela Kuti — one of the most famous people on an *entire continent* passionately struggling to liberate power to more people — is absolutely one worth deeply knowing, regardless of whether you find yourself drawn to Afrobeat or (cringe) “world music.” But once you know it, it’s almost impossible not to fall in love with Fela and Afrika 70 as their revolutionary grooves rewire your brain in magical and meaningful ways.

Read More

TuneDig Episode 44: Meshuggah’s “ObZen”

Meshuggah’s ObZen—an artifact of human creativity pushing the limits of what’s possible—will quite literally make you hear music differently. If you’re looking for a new musical adventure, and especially if you don’t think you like “heavy” or “weird” music, consider this your sign to push past your comfort zone.

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TuneDig Episode 43: mewithoutYou’s “Catch For Us the Foxes”

A misunderstood wise man once said “Let him who seeks continue seeking until he finds.” In our most personal and vulnerable episode yet, we do some seeking through the lens of songs that fill us with the bravery and sincerity to love ourselves and others fully. Dig deep with us as we fish for words about our tiny place in the universe and dance with gratitude for our ability to do so.

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FRIDAY HEAVY

For lifelong headbangers and the musically curious alike, a new podcast from TuneDig is here to push your palette with aggressive, abrasive art. Each short, fast-paced episode offers (1) a new metal, punk, noise, or experimental release we recommend, (2) a related playlist we’ve curated, and (3) a heavy issue to consider and an organization doing something about it. Join us in the void.

SEASON 5

TuneDig Episode 41: Miles Davis’s “Bitches Brew”

Let’s be clear: "Bitches Brew" is a challenging record, even to some of the best musicians in the world — but all of them say it’s worth the investment. It’s the kind of trip that, even if we *could* draw a map, it wouldn’t take you there. Let go of the need for meaning and enjoy the ride with us. We can promise you’ll be pleasantly surprised where you end up.

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TuneDig Episode 40: Fiona Apple’s “Tidal”

On the heels of one of 2020's most acclaimed albums — Fiona Apple’s Fetch the Bolt Cutters — we revisited Apple’s debut Tidal and wound up working to extract ourselves from the mostly male gazes that made its reception … much different. We arrive at a question much like writer Jenn Pelly had: “People would constantly prod Fiona on how an 18-year-old could write songs as mature as these ... Why did they not ask instead how she became a genius?”

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TuneDig Episode 39: Death Grips’s “The Money Store”

The modern world is accelerating beyond our control, shaping our reality in ways we can’t yet perceive or understand. Enter Death Grips, an art project capturing the chaotic energy and illustrating the absurdity of our hubris in trying to harmonize the surreal and extremely real — never more perfectly than on 2012’s prescient "The Money Store".

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TuneDig Episode 38: Augustus Pablo’s “King Tubbys Meets Rockers Uptown”

Reggae music is easy to take for granted, but its impact is underappreciated and massive — in the case of dub in particular, everyone from Radiohead to Johnny Rotten to Run-DMC owes it a debt. Augustus Pablo and King Tubby together created what’s regarded as “one of the finest examples of dub ever recorded.” Join us as we dive into the culture, history, and unique engineering experiments that made it possible.

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TuneDig Episode 37: Rihanna’s “ANTI”

By every measure — sales, awards, chart-toppers, global name recognition — Rihanna is objectively as big as the Beatles ever were. In fact, ANTI is so big it’s still on the charts, a record five full years later. Take a closer look with us at “the record you make when you don’t need to sell records”, and get a taste of the true freedom that comes from focusing on your inner voice when faced with insurmountable expectations.

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TuneDig Episode 36: Son House’s “Father of Folk Blues”

All American music traces back to the blues, and deep at the root sits Son House. That the recordings on "Father of Folk Blues" even exist is something of a gray area that cuts to the heart of the great American myth, but wherever you land after hearing these stories, you’ll find that what matters most is what the great Muddy Waters once said of House: “That man was the king.”

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TuneDig Episode 35: Melvins’s “Stoner Witch”

The futility of describing the Melvins has stretched critics in the direction of absurd words like “Dadaist” for nearly 40 years now. They’ve belligerently flogged any attempt to pinpoint their essence simply by being themselves, but "Stoner Witch" remains a reliable mall directory for the Melvins’ vast and wild discography. Grab yourself some pretzel bites.

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TuneDig Episode 34: Dolly Parton’s “Jolene”

We should talk about Dolly the way we talk about Prince. Her extraordinary kindness and unique kitsch both make her universally loved, but what gets left out of the conversation is the very thing that made her famous: the music. Join in as we focus attention on the sonics and songwriting of the low-key masterpiece "Jolene".

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TUNEDIG RADIO

SEASON 4

SEASON 3

SEASON 2

SEASON 1

BONUS TRACK EPISODES

Kyle and Cliff

BONUS TRACK: How We Got Here

We got a bunch of interesting listener feedback in our off-season, and it encouraged us to shed some light on why we do things the way we do ‘em. Also, we reflect on our first writeup, which was ... interesting.

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WHO WE ARE

We're Cliff (right) and Kyle (left). We’re two dudes born and raised in ATL with day jobs in tech and sustainability, respectively.

We met in middle school, and in one way or another, music’s been the thing that’s kept us close for the two decades since — whether it’s sharing and talking about new music (like this podcast, except in our texts or over beers), going to shows, or working with our favorite record stores to help them survive and thrive.

We started TuneDig as a little art project that connects us more deeply ourselves and to the world through the infinite gift of music. We hope you’ll join us for the conversations, let us know what you think, and share discoveries of your own.

More About TuneDig

TuneDig began as a little something called MusicGrid.me, which we created after realizing there was no place online to directly exchange music recommendations with your friends. Our aim was simple: to make rating albums simple, useful, and social. We got some love from places like MashableWiredEvolver.fm, and Hypebot. We managed to foster conversation between music lovers, get thousands of reviews, and meet great people.

Along the way, we realized that record stores were an essential part of the music lovers’ community. After many a conversation about how we could helpfully connect them to the people who loved them, we began helping them leverage technology to create new revenue streams and embrace streaming services without giving up what’s unique to them: expertise and curation. (Long live the counter clerk who knows exactly which record will be the right introduction to jazz fusion!)

TuneDig is our vision to connect music lovers with the music they love, because no matter how much has changed in the way we discover and enjoy music, recommendations from people you trust and respect will always be the best way to find new music you’ll dig. With this podcast, we’re channeling the spirit of trusted curation pioneered by record stores, and bringing you something to take you deeper into music you can love.