Wednesday, March 28, 2018
"Leave Little Room"
When pressing play on a cassette, often times I do not know what to expect. Sure, I "screen" my cassettes before I request them (Because if I listen to something digitally before requesting it on cassette and it's just terrible I won't request it) and I also get submissions that people say "Hey, can I send you this?" without my hearing it first, but wow, Tender Mercy is that level of you don't know what to expect when you press play and that's a good thing.
The music on "Leave Little Room" can be broken down into two elements: a voice and a guitar. Now, that does seem quite vague as a description because not only can that cover various different names it can cover various genres. That could be anywhere from Johnny Cash to Dashboard Confessional, right? But the guitar here is electric, the notes are slow and they tend to drone at times as well which gives off an ambient vibe. Pieces of these songs are familiar but the fact that I can't say "This sounds like" and name the two or three most popular artists in this genre is sad because more artists should be doing what Tender Mercy is only, you know, in their own way.
To say the songs are sad feels like an understatement. The first song is called "The Year I Burst Into Tears" and, yeah, I was there. A song such as "Disaster" asks "Do you know disaster" and as such, yes, these songs have a sadness to them but they are also somber. In many ways I feel like they have more of a serious tones, a relaxing one even, versus being something you give to someone else to listen to and they immediately start sobbing (which is how I think of Elliott Smith). Maybe my sense of emotion is off, but regardless, I find these songs to be relaxing, somewhat soothing even.
In a musical sense you have to go with what you know. I always tend to trace music back to Onelinedrawing and I've compared so many artists with him it can't be accurate anymore. I remember seeing Onelinedrawing open for the band Thursday once and people started yelling- they got upset because they wanted to see the headliner and felt like the music of Onelinedrawing was not at the same tempo. Jonah basically stopped the song and told them that they want to see Thursday but people were also there to see him so just chill the fuck out and I always thought that was cool and is probably one of the reasons why Onelinedrawing is always someone I go back to.
There also exists this Foo Fighters acoustic album called "Skin and Bones" and when you listen to some of the more stripped down songs on there that get minimal ("Friend of a Friend" for example) I can hear bits of that in Tender Mercy as well as that Bush song "Alien" from their first album. But, again, it is kind of sad no one else is trying to do what Tender Mercy is doing musically or at least if they are it's not something you can point to and go "This sounds like The Killers" or whoever. Though now I suppose if I hear something else similar to this I will point it to Tender Mercy.
I never know how much people know about me personally through these reviews but one thing people may or may not know is that I don't drive-- I don't own a car. So I spend a lot of time walking. It's incredible how much music can affect you while you walk. I was listening to The Offspring album "Americana" the other day and then more recently put "Leave Little Room" on and it's just such a different feel. With The Offspring, I feel like I'm moving at a faster pace, that I'm running even though I'm still walking. And it doesn't take me any more or any less time to get where I'm going, but Tender Mercy makes it feel like what is going on around me is in slow motion and, well, we all need to slow things down sometimes.