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The New Lo-Finds: The Black & White Years

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Artist: The Black and White Years
Album: Nursery Myths
Sounds Like: Of Montreal, The Virgins

The Black and White Years is a band from Austin whom I had the pleasure to fall in love with a few weeks ago. Very few bands captivate me instantly in a live scenario. It’s usually the connection I built through blood, sweat, and tears that bonds me to some music and drives me to be willing to kill to see them live. I was in Austin and went to the Empire Garage & Control Room; a venue with three different stages: the inner club one (control room), a patio one, and the garage one. The B&WY played on the garage stage, which was the biggest of the three. Man, the music along with the light works made me feel like I was at an epic festival watching the most long awaited headliners play.

I had the opportunity to meet the lead singer, and leader of this music project, Scott Landon. We spoke about music (obviously, with what else do you approach a musician who just effin’ rocked out hardcore?), and opportunities. Apparently they had a decent “hit” a couple years back, which reverberated strongly in two distinct and far away regions, I can’t recall exactly what cities/countries they were, and I am too busy to do my homework to actually find this information out (geez, gimme a break). If I was threatened to be killed if I didn’t remember where this “hit” boomed, I’d have to say… somewhere in Germany and Baltimore, Maryland. I’m probably totally wrong, but it gives you a sense of how random this little overseas fame was. He was really “down to earth” (which apparently is a common trait with artists trying to make it in the music industry, but then you have Mac DeMarco, who I assumed to be very “chill,” but I just read a little story of where someone met him and he was a complete and utter penis-hole. That may very well be true, or it may be completely false, Mac does look like a really chill guy, cool to hang out with.) I gave Scott a hand carrying his gear to his friend’s car, but not before purchasing a The B&WY tee and being gifted their EP, Nursery Myths, in a CD format.
I told him his music reminded me greatly of Of Montreal, and he took it as a great compliment. Who wouldn’t? Of Montreal is so rad, I had a chance to see them live a couple weeks ago, and their visual show was incredible. It complimented their music perfectly.  It’s the bass and high pitch falsettos give me that reminiscence of Of Montreal, but with the tone of voice and disco-y guitars of The Virgins.
I no longer listen to CD’s because, like every other evolved human, I have all my music on my phone. But I am a very forgetful man, I misplace my phone very often and when I do I get in my car ready to play music through the aux cord and realize I have no phone, that’s where Scott saves my miserably quiet days, Nursery Myths hasn’t left my car’s CD player since that night.

“Raised in Books” is by far my favorite track on the EP. It contains this perfectly comforting melody which is complimented by the slow dance drums, and then you have the marvelously nostalgic lyrics. I have to admit, to call lyrics “good,” they must cater to my highly developed, and personalized, sense of “urban poetry,” which has been formed by reading and listening to Lou Reed, James Murphy, Julian Casablancas, Zach Condon, Jeff Tweedy, among others. Scott Landon, has some incredible lyrics in this EP, and his delivery makes them all much more powerful. Screaming words in a playful yet serious manner, while singing about his past life, about his “story,” just adds to the nostalgia. But this is a good nostalgia, the one that makes you smile —or smirk rather. “I lost my fear of hell, I lost my fear of hell, I lost my fear of life as well.” Man, these words just echo throughout my nasal cavities as I yell them along with Scott in while I drive Iphone-less. Those words, crush me. I want to lose that fear too, I want to feel the way you do, Scott. Listening to his music, definitely gets me closer to losing my fear of life as well.

Even though all the songs in this EP are good, the only thing I did not like was that it was hard for me to differentiate what song was playing, at times the tracks sounded too similar to one another, but still, it is a 22 minute adventure through a foreign memory lane, where you remember things you never actually lived. Maybe what you feel nostalgic for is Scott’s life. Either way, what this EP makes you feel is beautiful, and the best part is you can dance with your happy sadness. My second favorite track here was, “An Amateur Opera.”

 

Even though I talk about Nursery Myths here, that EP was released in 2009. Their latest work, Strange Figurines, was put out early 2014, which deviates a little from that dance sound into more “Art Rock,” as they say. Definitely deserving of a listen.