Low Horizon – Keep

by | Nov 24, 2018 | Song of the Day

I’ve told this story before and I’m sure I’ll tell it again. And when I’m an old man and can’t remember what I said two minutes ago I’ll probably tell it again and again and again until someone says “Wheel Uncle Raccoon off the front porch” and some anonymous young person that I can’t see because they are behind me pushing my wheelchair shoves me into a corner of the kitchen and I babble on in the company of the cartoon cherries and flying frying pans that flutter across the breakfast nook wallpaper. So here’s my story…

Eons ago, in the Cretaceous Era of my youth, I washed ashore against the rocky substrate of Spearfish, South Dakota. The town had little to recommend it, save a view of red sandstone hills and a bar called Bernie’s Tomahawk Lounge that served cheap 3.2 beer at happy hour. Encountering a member of the indigenous species, I inquired as to the opportunities for being entertained by live music. “Try the Holiday Inn out by the interstate,” he replied. “They’s a good band whats gonna play Saturday night.”

The fellow spoke as if Saturday night was a distant eventuality when, in fact, it was Saturday night. I dutifully trucked out to said interstate and settled in behind a table in a lounge that was completely devoid of other patrons. Not a good sign. As I sipped a plastic cup full of 3.2 beer that tasted suspiciously like a gassy 1.5 near-beer, four guys dressed like Mormon missionaries ambled onto the “stage,” a corner of the room without tables, sorted out their guitar-guitar-bass-drums lineup, and stumbled into “Leaving on a Jet Plane.” It was… very good. And I know that wasn’t the beer talking, because I’m not sure my plastic cup actually had any beer in it.

At that time, I fancied myself a singer-songwriter and would occasionally show up at an open mike night, figuring stardom was just a C/G-to-Fmaj7/C chord change away. And I remember thinking, sitting in the Holiday Inn Lounge out by the interstate in Spearfish, South Dakota: “These guys are a lot better than I am, and they can’t even get out of the Spearfish Holiday Inn. What chance do I have?”

Fast forward an embarrassing number of waist sizes and I find myself listening to Low Horizon’s “Keep.”

i sit and watch a movie
it costs more than i’ll ever see
i sit and listen to music
better than anything i’ll ever make

but i keep on living
and i keep dreaming

Why do people create music, refine it, record it, put it out there for the world to absorb or ignore, when people with greater talent are working two jobs, barely scraping by as a Human much less as a Musician? I don’t know, either, but I’m glad they do because if they didn’t I wouldn’t have anyone to write about. And speaking of motivations, why do I write this column, other than because I crave the thousands of complimentary emails that I receive after each posting? I suppose I do it because when you start a feature called Song of the Day, people expect to see an article at least once every other week and I hate to disappoint my fans.

In “Keep,” Low Horizon (loho to their friends) asks the existential questions that we ask ourselves when the Upper Hinge of Life creaks then pops from the door frame, swinging wildly against the pivot of the still-intact-but-failing lower hinge, as you try to control this mini-catastrophe by holding fast to a slippery brass doorknob and jerking your arm spasmodically like a cartoon cat with its tail in an electric socket.

i will always be in love with
someone who
doesn’t want to be with me
i will always love you
even if you never dream about me

i will never be in love with
someone who
needs to be with me
but i’ll always love you
even if you forget about me

Now, I hate to sound like a non-tenure track assistant professor of Russian literature who cheats by including Nabokov in the curriculum, but these are some primo lyrics. And by primo I mean Bread’s Baby I’m-a Want You album quality, assuming David Gates spent every Friday night talking to his girlfriend who works the late shift on the suicide hotline and I mean that in a good way.

Low Horizon, based in Houston TX, is John Gottlieb (guitar, vocals, synth), Brandon T. Cane (guitar, synth), David Dao (bass), and Jasmine Fuller (drums). “Keep” is from their newly released mini-album, No-fi Tape, which they describe as “somewhere between an EP and a preview of our new album… These are alternate ‘lo-fi’ mixes of some of the songs that will be on our album.” I hope “Keep” is preserved in its current lo-fi state because it sounds great. The track has a rawness, an honesty that is a perfect match for the lyrics. The track starts quietly and builds the way all of the best songs build: in that way that has you reaching for the replay button before the final fuzzy guitar tone has faded from the ether. Maybe bring the lead vocal forward a bit in the chorus.

You can support deserving independent musicians like Low Horizon by visiting their Bandcamp page, listening to their songs, and downloading your favorite tracks. And be sure to visit Low Horizon’s web page, and follow Low Horizon on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Soundcloud, and YouTube.

Charles Norman is a writer and historian. Email: reverb.raccoon@gmail.com. Or follow on Instagram and Facebook.

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