Starting off the week on a pensive note with today’s find, “Julie’s New Windowpane,” from the new live album Untitled, Easter ’19 by Portland, ME band Rory Strong and the Standard Candles. It’s not exactly a sad song, but after listening, I wouldn’t say that I now want to hop up and jauntily stroll off to work and stay there for 12 hours, which is exactly what I’ll be doing shortly either way. It’s more like the kind of song that you listen to alone at midnight while pondering your mistakes and regrets while softly weeping into a glass of scotch. But, hey, a good song’s a good song no matter the context. “Julie’s New Windowpane” finds guitarist/lead singer Rory Strong striking a self-reflective note, reminiscing on experiences from a rehab facility in Baltimore. In a particularly vivid sequence, Strong describes meeting a fellow client’s family on Christmas Eve and receiving a gift from the other man’s daughter. As he puts it, “She gives me this crystal hanging from a string/To be honest I don’t really believe in that sort of thing/But I’m never as right as I’d like to be.” The intensely personal level of detail present in Strong’s lyrics reminds me a lot of Patrick Stickles’s work with Titus Andronicus, one of my favorite bands. The song begins with a quiet, repeating guitar riff and builds in intensity from there, with a jarring, atonal (in a good way) instrumental interlude included midway through. Things wrap up with another memorable line: “Don’t you know you can be just as strange as you like/But don’t be a stranger.” Again, not sad, but not happy, either. Recommended for fans of Titus Andronicus, Bright Eyes, Sun Kil Moon, etc.
Listen to more Rory Strong and the Standard Candles: https://rorystrongband.bandcamp.com/