dave hause & the mermaid
Life is a struggle. Even when things go our way, it’s a constant swim against the tide, kicking against the current in the hope we’ll eventually find the shore. That’s the premise behind Dave Hause’s fourth album, Kick. Kicking was the first thing he saw his newborn twins do and it’s something he himself has been doing all his life. His career as a musician has spanned two decades, and his songs have always been a quest for personal survival – about pushing through against the odds – but his perspective shifted dramatically after the November 2016 election.
This installment, out April 12th on Rise/BMG, finds Hause carrying on in the voice and tradition of classic American songwriters by tackling topics of hope, depression, global warming, a crumbling democracy, and growing old. These complex notions weave together with a joyous sing-along cadence that creates a soundtrack for the broken American dream. “The shift in American culture became really acute right as we put out my last album,” Hause explains. “All this great stuff was happening for me personally but with this backdrop of American ideals and American culture seemingly caving in.”
Those conflicting feelings sparked some deep, soul-searching conversations between Hause and his brother, whom he calls his musical soulmate, and Kick came together as the brothers worked more collaboratively than ever before, with Tim in Philadelphia and Dave in Santa Barbara. Over numerous Face Time sessions, voice notes and many, many calls, the pair found the album’s purpose and focus. “If the glaciers are melting, what’s the point?” asked Hause. “When the tide seems to be pulling you towards a black hole, what do you do? And I asked Tim that question and he said ‘You kick against it. I don’t know what else to do.’”
“There’s a duality present in a lot of these songs,” says Indianola’s Owen Beverly. “There’s a push and a pull that’s constantly going on. The music is modern and retro and optimistic and bleak and carefree and apocalyptic all at once.”
Those juxtapositions lie at the heart of ‘Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye,’ Beverly’s thrilling debut LP under the Indianola moniker. Recorded at Shovels & Rope’s studio in Charleston, South Carolina, the collection stitches together a broad range of genres and eras, gleefully toying with decades of music history in order to create a sonic collage from an alternate timeline, one in which snarling garage rock guitars flare up alongside 60’s girl group melodies and greasers and punks party with velvet-voiced crooners. Beverly mines the past like a found footage artist, seizing on unexpected moments from long-forgotten productions in order to splice them together in a wholly new context. The result is utterly engrossing and infectious, a pop culture Frankenstein that sounds like Roy Orbison fronting The Sonics or Buddy Holly soundtracking a B horror flick.