Los Colognes

Los Colognes

“Only the living feel the flow/only the loving let it go”
- Unspoken

One of the highest and rarest aspirations in popular music is to reach for the transcendental, to access the spirit. On the third album “The Wave” by Nashville based Los Colognes, they succeed just this- in breaking through the confines of everyday pop song lyricism to tell a sort of holistic story. It’s not a concept piece, but it’s a brooding and still joyful song cycle filled with philosophical rumination, effortless hooks, inspiring musicianship, and expansive arrangements. It’s an album perfectly suited of the current zeitgeist of unease and hope.

“The Wave” is an album about archetypes and about the everyday. There are illusions to the Great Flood, to Plato’s Cave, to Poe, to the hero’s quest so iconically defined by Joseph Campbell. There are recurring metaphors about the water, about the vastness of the ocean and the delicate balance between riding the wave and being pulled under. There is struggle, there is dread, there is hope, there is ultimately the knowledge only gained by a journey. It’s an album about attempting to gain acceptance with the flow of adulthood, life in the music business, the changing awareness that only time and maturity can hand to someone.
Guitarist/singer Jay Rutherford opines in the album’s initial single , “Flying Apart" Nobody believed/We’re all just hoping/Floating down streams”. It’s a song that repeatedly invokes the wave metaphor of the album’s title while churning through its own sonic sea of shimmering keyboards and guitars anchored by drummer Aaron Mortenson. The music evokes any of the best moments of late seventies or mid eighties FM radio while never being weighed down by the specter of influence. Los Colognes are a young band who have managed to forge their own sound while channeling the best sonic worlds of the decades past. Unlike the live approach used to record the group’s previous records, “The Wave” was built from the ground up so to speak and with attention to each track, each part. There is a certain economy of space in the songs that feels deliberate while never ceasing to be warm and inclusive. Guitar and keyboard lines drift off each other in between lyrical exchanges while Mortenson propels the beat, sometimes meditative, sometimes driving. Each song passes into another with a thoughtful pause- a passing keyboard chord, a drone, a bit of noise, a breath before the next reflection. Like any fully realized album, there is a cyclical wholeness to it that beckons the listener not just to hear it in its entirety from the outset, but to hit ‘play’ again or lift the needle as soon as the last chord of “Can You Remember?” subsides. Rutherford sings on “Can You Remember?” - ‘When you were young/there was a flood/ almost drowned’, but with the understanding that the journey didn’t end in tragedy, we didn’t drown, we are still navigating the waters and with new perspective. The journey to finish the recording of “The Wave” was its own quest of sorts for Rutherford and Mortenson, a more deliberate process of creation and craft that shows a band becoming fully aware of its voice and its vision. As current events in the world breed anxiety and unease, as the accelerating paces of the hyper information age make it yet harder to deliver contemplative messages in the arts, and as we all struggle to accept the uncertainty and mystique of ‘living in the moment’, Los Colognes have given us a singular collection of quietly anthemic tunes, held together by philosophical reflection and damn fine rock and roll chops. The Wave is coming.

Written by William Tyler - Merge Records

Clint Roberts

Brevard native, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Clint Roberts, released his first full length Album “Hamlet Blues,” in the winter of 2018, his second solo effort following his EP in 2015.

Many may know him from his appearances at Mountain Song Festival and White Squirrel Festival and as a founding member of the folk-rock band The Fox Fire. Clint first discovered his love for performing in local theatre productions and several high school musicals. After graduating from Brevard High, he spent several years attending Appalachian State University before eventually dropping out to pursue a music career full time.

Shortly after leaving The Fox Fire, Roberts put out his first solo EP “Where The Heart Is.” The EP was well received amongst fans of progressive folk and would help him begin to get his footings as a touring Singer/Songwriter.

Having recently returned from Nashville, Tennessee continuing his career in music, the release of “Hamlet Blues” is an album that he describes as “proudly Southern” in it’s musical roots. Drawing on influences from the likes of Ryan Adams, Shakey Graves, Jason Isbell, and The Wood Brothers, Roberts has shifted from a folk artist to a much more refined songwriter and performer sitting squarely into today’s Americana.

“It’s been really fun to watch Clint develop as a songwriter and performer. His talent is obvious. He has a golden voice, he’s a multi-instrumentalist and he has a real gift for writing songs that are not only catchy but contain real lyrical substance that you would only expect from someone who is much older and has experienced the ups and downs of a life long-lived,” says John Felty of Mountain Song Productions.

“I’m not alone in the value I place on doing things how they used to be done. I’m lucky to have a lot of friends who make music in the Americana/Folk/Country realm as I do. And I think what we do will have a place in the world for a long time to come,” says Roberts.

“There’s a clarity of vision and total honesty in Roberts’ music that is almost scary coming from someone so young.” Steve Matteo, SCENES Media, Nashville

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