To what we’re listening: Root Glen’s Fall EP

Does being post-Thanksgiving mean we’re post-autumn? I’m sure the star charts have the answer, but I’m too busy not wearing white and listening to the latest offering from Root Glen to care.

Earlier this year, these New Jersey rockers released their first of a planned year’s worth of seasonal EPs, Summer. Now comes Fall, a collection that, from the first track, feels very different from their earlier work. Opening with the edgy, hard-hitting “Battle Cry,” Fall  has a darker, tighter feel than anything I’ve heard before from Root Glen. Outside of Summer and a few miscellaneous demos and singles, I’ve known Root Glen as a live, dance-friendly act, and to my ears, Summer was a successful attempt at bringing that live feel into the studio. By contrast, Fall sounds like a concerted effort to prioritize songcraft, leaving the details of the inevitable live presentation of these tunes for a later day. This isn’t to say that fans won’t recognize this EP as Root Glen– David Moroney’s signature vocals and Andres Gonzales’ bass work ensure that they will– but Fall definitely is a new chapter for this band, and a welcome one. Of the five songs, only the second, “Detective Porn,” immediately registers as one of Root Glen’s familiar live jaunts.

The fourth cut, “Red Lines & Spinning Wheels,” is the best single song I’ve heard from this group. From the lead-in interplay between Gonzales and drummer Eric Blank, the chorus’ vocal harmonies, and the driving, confident guitar work by Ross Griswold, this song is a well-composed, well-executed ensemble effort.

The final number, “The Salty Pepper,” is a Griswold guitar workout that mixes textures and speeds and sets forth some of the best playing I’ve heard from him.

As with Summer, Fall is available for streaming or name-your-own-price purchasing at http://rootglen.bandcamp.com/album/root-glen-fall. Live dates and news of their work on their next seasonal EP are available at http://rootglen.com/blog.

PTI Friday

I played nonstop, year-round soccer growing up, so outside of the Braves, I never really got sports fandom until college.  At that point, there were three things more than any other that turned me onto a culture that I’ve never since let go of.  First, Georgia football and all the accompanying tailgating, partying, and girls in sun dresses.  Second, and less obviously, NCAA Football (in particular NCAA Football 2003; we ended up buying 2004, but they screwed with all the passing settings, so we ditched it and went back to Joey Harrington); it literally taught me football — from post routes to defensive schemes (although anyone that teaches you that running a 7-man blitz package on every play will work is a poor teacher; I think my roommate put holes in the wall throwing the controller in frustration:  “THAT WOULD NEVER WORK!!!!”).  Third and finally, PTI, or Pardon the Interruption for the uninitiated.  PTI taught me how to “talk” about sports.  I could ask and answer questions about sports before then, but I was never conversant, never really part of the discussion.  But every afternoon at 4:30 (DVR was many years off), the roommates and I would plop down, turn on the TV, and the discussion began.  And here it is, continuing unabated.

So, it is with tremendous gratitude that I wish PTI a very Happy Birthday, on its 10-Year Anniversary (which is technically tomorrow, but who’s counting).