I met Bryan from Paper Garden records at a Bowerbirds show at Mercury Lounge a few months ago, randomly we started talking out on the sidewalk. Turns out he releases records and I write about them.... so it kind of worked out. He told me about a 7" from a band called Peasant that they were putting out soon, and I got this email the other day about the Peasant 7" preorder.
'The End' features Damien DeRose playing an acoustic guitar. It's a quick strummed acoustic track that ranges from really quiet chords barely touching the strings to strumming as hard as possible. I'm getting all kinds of indie folk heartbreakers references....Elliott Smith, Jose Gonzalez, Ben Gibbard....he has that same vulnerability and emotion. Not to mention lyrically:
Are you alone / tonight?
Are you alone / every night?
Forget it.... track one, side one, of bummer mixtapes everywhere are being created as you read this.
At first I was thinking he's got that high falsetto of Elliott, but it's not... he's strong vocally even at these high registers, more like the James Mercer of the Shins. The produced, album version of The End messes a little with the vocal quality...it sounds a little like it's run through a tin can, it's a little flat, like he's singing in a tiny metal box, crawling through an air conditioning duct. This only adds to the sadness of course. Complete this with backup harmony vocals, little quiet ah's in the background, and an egg shaker, and you'd think you'd have the soundtrack for any breakup scene ever. But that's the thing with anyone who attempts this, it's never that easy, to walk that line between heartfelt and just underwhelming overemotional.
The B-Side 'Thinking' is a fuller sounding piano based track that slowly keeps building, measure by measure. Full of back and forth vocals and harmonies with himself. Slightly more uplifting, but there's an inherent sadness to the feel of everything Damien lays down to tape I'm afraid.
The knock out punch however, comes with the Daytrotter Session version of The End. When he starts straining to get the vocals out instead of the hushed, intimate introspective narrative voice, I'm getting the opposite feel here. It's more emotional, in an angry way....now I'm thinking this person deserves to be on their own a little bit. It's a different animal all together.
Paper Garden records is accepting preorders for this single that will be released September 1st. Peasant also happens to be playing Monkeytown here in Brooklyn August 20th, I'm going to go check that out.
“The End” is near! Currently adding the final touches to the 2010 album, “Shady Retreat”, Peasant is giving us a sneak peak of what is to come with a brand new single entitled “The End”. Alongside another breathtaking new track, “Thinking”, and Daytrotter’s live session version of “The End”, Peasant has compiled a charming appetizer to tide us over for the coming months – available as a limited edition 7” vinyl and digitally throughout the U.S. on September 1st.