the ceiling stares, “thank you for the panic”

the ceiling stares, “thank you for the panic”

Stephen Patchan commands all attention with his new single, “Thank You for the Panic”.  

The independently released track arrives under Patchan’s artist name, The Ceiling Stares, and most certainly accomplishes his goal of illustrating the madness that has been 2020.

With a jarring start and an abrupt ending, discomfort is just one of the many sentiments that this song evokes. The piece includes overlapping vocals, pulsating synths and fast-moving brass instrumentation — creating a similar ambience to what we would expect from Alt-J and Moon Hooch coming together for a genius, impromptu recording session. It becomes clear that Patchan has a knack for building tension, as he leads us to a dead stop that no one was expecting. Suddenly, we find ourselves being prompted to, quite literally, “go insane”. 

I don’t know about you, but it’s not too often that I am encouraged to go crazy… Yet, I think Patchan is on the right path with this notion. 

What this song proves is that, from time to time, chaos is good. And if anything, listening to a chaotic song might just make the rest of life seem a little bit less chaotic in comparison. 

In “Thank You for the Panic”, the born and raised Los Angeleno uses his synth rock sound to illustrate the personal and societal angst this year has brought. Patchan takes inspiration from groups such as Wire and Yellow Magic Orchestra, and this track serves as a nod to Golden Age hip hop. 

Patchan’s debut album, Wicked Problem, was released this past August.

jeremy buck, “don’t look down”

jeremy buck, “don’t look down”

At just the time when we are in need of as much cheer as we can get, Indiana-born and LA-based indie rock artist Jeremy Buck has bestowed upon us the uplifting and empowering single, “Don’t Look Down”.  Inspired by how one may feel while walking on a tightrope and riddled with fear, the track sends the message that even though a lot of things really suck, everything will be okay if you just focus on the good things life has to offer.  

The catchy chorus is sure to satisfy any pop music fan’s quest for a new sing-along jam, and it will likely remain in your head for an extended stay after an initial listen.  Buck’s powerful vocals carry the verses, which provide a perfect sprinkle of rock n’roll.

Buck shares of the need to write a song like this:

With all of the negative energy and the constant threat of imminent doom that is being spoon-fed to use through the media, I felt a huge creative urge to share my concerns and frustrations but in a way that will hopefully spread positivity.

josephine johnson, “built to last”

josephine johnson, “built to last”

When Georgia-based indie artist Josephine Johnson realized that her love for music took precedent over her love of a person, she took that feeling to the studio and created “Built to Last”.  This is where Johnson is able to build upon the idea that what we need may not always be what we want.  The peaceful essence of the tune creates a powerful feeling of security in the sometimes uncomfortable realization that what we need for ourselves may be just a step outside of our comfort zone. 

With the help of Johnson and “Built to Last”, we are reminded that while there may be a great deal of comfort in what we want, there just may be a greater payoff for going for what we need.  At the end of the day, you just might see yourself blossom.

Johnson explains of what inspired the track: “I loved someone very much, but ultimately knew that the path I’m on—doing music professionally, touring–would be done without him, though in my heart it always felt that I was the one he needed. Funny, I know now that I don’t need him!”

talena bricker, “done no wrong”

talena bricker, “done no wrong”

I’m not sure a more poignant song could have been released during this time. As many of us wait for some pretty important results, we haven’t lost hope. Talena Bricker’s new track “Done No Wrong” meanders along beautifully with a country-laced composition just bursting at the seams with a similar attitude. Admits Bricker of the track:

I think, in the end, the song became about hope. And how hope is a wonderful thing, but can also be a little scary. It can be that extra push to get out of your comfort zone and do something scary.

While Bricker’s soft vocals dance around your current reality, allow yourself to feel the emotions that birthed the track itself. Guilt, loss, despair, confusion, love, hope. And we’ve got your first listen.

kristen schaeffer, “don’t dream it’s over”

kristen schaeffer, “don’t dream it’s over”

by: sabrina thurber

Today, Kristen Schaeffer presents us with her rendition of the classic hit, “Don’t Dream It’s Over”. 

Taking an altogether new approach to the piece, Schaeffer’s dreamy-yet-powerful cover illuminates a side to the song we didn’t even know we were missing. Compared to the upbeat original by the Australian rock band, Crowded House, Schaeffer takes the time to slow things down. The singer-songwriter proves the strength in simplified instrumentals, and allows us to appreciate her angelic vocals in their purest form. 

Behind Schaeffer’s voice there is a story encompassing a multitude of experiences. Growing up in New York City, Schaeffer’s love for music and theatre became clear at an early age. After studying at Berklee College of Music, Schaeffer developed a sound for herself — one that combined her love for theatre with a folky/pop twist. Schaeffer’s most recent successes include her track “Shadows” being featured on the television drama, Charmed. 

This cover is brought to us by Salinger Songs as the second installment in The Salinger (*not our) Songs Cover Series. The series showcases artists re-inventing various works, allowing their own interpretations and personal style to take charge. The series will continue throughout the upcoming months, featuring the roster and friends of the Virginia-based publishing company.  

Schaeffer reflects on her cover of “Don’t Dream It’s Over”, describing it as even more relevant today than she originally thought: 

It felt to me like an urgent call for hope and reflection. Are you who you want to be? Are you prepared to fight for truth, love, and optimism? Can you wade through all the noise to find what really matters? It’s never too late to ask yourself these questions and change course.

saroon, our transparent future

saroon, our transparent future

Going in to record their latest collection of “existential psychedelic soul music”, Saroon had to get the tape ready.  This is to say that every head-turning moment of their new album, Our Transparent Future, was recorded to tape.  But the method of recording isn’t the only unique part of this record.  From vocal style to the overall highs and lows that it reaches, Saroon have crafted a unique record.

“Masters of the Road” illustrates this with ease.  Here, you are reminded that despite social expectations, we are in charge of so much, yet we miss out because we are trapped in the cycle of doing things the “right” way.  Mostly consisting of soft-spoken lyrics and a gentle guitar that speeds up towards the end, it has all the elements of a classic folk song.  Immediately following is “Old Fashioned Protest Song”, which actually seems to focus on the things we as humans have less control of.  Simply put, Saroon call into question those who put money ahead of more important and worthy causes.  Seemingly calling attention to current social movements, they make it a point to reject the idea that we should just stand by and let ignorance win.  One of the final songs, “Golden Age”, is both a reflection on the past and a nod to the present, urging us to think of the current moment as the height of our lives.

Our Transparent Future makes its way to various corners of life, all which come together to form an idea for what the future may look like not only for the world, but for individuals.  It remains hopeful while not shying away from the heartbreak and struggles that come with being human.

Principle songwriter Ayal Alves explains: “There’s always the element of hope to it, and an acknowledgement that the nature of reality is that there is pain and suffering. The relationship between those two things is a transformational process.”