In the Darkness of My Night
2011 5D Studios
Great independent music is like a great fishing spot; it’s so good you want to tell people about it but as soon as you do then everyone shows up and fucks it up. It’s teenagers, I think, that are most often to blame for turning the simple pleasure of seeing a great unknown band with 100 people for $8 into a nightmare a year later when buying tickets to the same band’s sold-out show off Craigslist for 25% above face value and squishing into a capacity crowd of fucktards who want to sing all the lyrics to the single and record the whole thing on their fucking phone. See: Built to Spill, Weezer, Death Cab for Cutie, Kings of Leon, The Flaming Lips, Bon Iver, Iron & Wine, etc.
As I exited the party bus of my 20’s and stepped onto the commuter train of my 30’s I noticed that there were less and less opportunities to get out and enjoy a concert, especially for the bands I’d loved to see a scant ten years ago, and I’ve found myself being put off by the idea of having to fight crowds of drunken youngsters to see them again and either endure the black-hole-crush of ironically dressed bodies near the front of the crowd or stand at the back with the huddles of bored girls and too-cool dudes frantically trying to hold a conversations above the music they paid to come see. I’ve become old; old to the point where I look forward to going to a show that has fixed seating, old to the point where I’m more excited about finding good parking than I am for the encore, old to the point where I’ll wait for the concert to be released on DVD and watch it by myself on a Saturday afternoon while folding laundry. O.L.D.
But you know what, it’s ok. I’ve come to accept that the part of my life where I can head downtown at 9pm on a Tuesday to see some band in a shitty club just to say “I was there, man” has come and gone. I had a good run, I found some great tunes and I’ve got a mature and discriminating collection of music and I know what I like. Also, the internet has made it much easier to discover unknown bands without having to stand in the dark in a smelly rathole venue hoping you didn’t buy tickets to an all-synth screamo folk quartet and though seeing it live is special so is getting enough sleep to get to work on time and be awake enough to take care of your kids.
Anyway, enough about that. We’re here to talk about some music, right? The artist I want to cover today goes by the name Flight Feathers and is the pet project of one Babi Pal of Brooklyn, NY, a multi-instrumentalist who also recorded and mixed the album himself. I heard Flight Feathers during a segment break on Michael Ian Black and Tom Cavanaugh’s podcast “Mike and Tom Eat Snacks” and followed the link trail to Pal’s Bandcamp page. What I found (and bought) was “In the Darkness of My Night”: 8 tracks of brilliantly executed, bittersweet indie-folk in the vein of Elliot Smith and Mark Kozeleck with hints of Neil Young and Yo La Tengo sprinkled on top. The music is patient and confident, fully realized and ready to go; this isn’t a basement tape or a demo. Pal has created a perfect soundtrack for a rainy autumn day, you can smell the wet dirt, hear the soft wind and feel the peace that comes from staring quietly out the window at the grey sky and bare trees. From the drowsy waltz of “Afterlife” and the unhurried wander of “The Last Dance” to the more upbeat skip of “Freeze the Frame” and the slowly building cacophony that is “The Beating of My Heart” the album hikes through peaks and valleys, alternating between warm and fuzzy and… warm and fluffy? Ok, so honestly it’s not hugely diverse but it’s got enough character to really pull you in and it truly is one of the best records of it’s kind I’ve heard since Red House Painters’ “Songs for a Blue Guitar”. It’s got the tender acoustic ballads, the lazy swirling vocals and the sharp edge of rock just barely scraping across the surface, not enough to cut but enough to scratch the itch.
Chances are I won’t get to see Flight Feathers perform live, as they’re currently just doing local shows, and by the time they make it out here to the NW they may be so huge that I won’t want to go. However, as I said above, the internet is a great tool for discovery and it’s proved immensely useful again as I’d have never found this little gem.
Check out the album for streaming or downloading at: http://flightfeathers.bandcamp.com/