Today, Bodies of Water share their new “Every Little Bird” video & announce their first LP in three years via American Songwriter. Check out the premiere here. (link) The music portion of the video is immediately followed by a comedic job interview bit where things go awry. Is This What It’s Like is due out on February 12, 2021 via Thousand Tongues.
Right after the last Bodies of Water record, half of the group that made it suddenly became a diaspora; they left for Seattle, Iowa City, and (for reasons still unknown) Henderson, Nevada. Meredith and David remained, and when the time came to record new songs, they asked some old friends to help. Kyle Gladden, who had retired years ago after helping found Bodies of Water, came to his senses and rejoined the group. Alice Lin didn’t so much join up, as double down on the work she’d already been doing with us off and on for years. And the four of us got going.
It took a while to make this record, mainly because we were waylaid time and again by everything; surprise deaths, children with disease, hospital panic, all of it. Nobody really knows which happenings are good or bad, and it’s not for us to decide. All I can say is that we’ve traveled some grey spaces! Is this music a stab at shining a light into some of them? Probably. It may not be the truest way to do that, but how else could we? We already know how to write and record songs, and if you want to build, you use the tools at hand, right?
So that’s how it’s been, wading through the world without being able to see the bottom. Of course, that’s how it is for everyone, but we’ve never been more aware of how little control we have over the way of things, or more engaged minute by minute in the reality of living; grinding tedium, interrupted by moments of the sublime or the terrible.
A few notes about the music itself:
Note 1: As usual, all this was recorded, mixed, etc in David & Meredith’s garage in Northeast Los Angeles.
Note 2: We played all these instruments live, mainly because we don’t know how to use midi, sequencing, any of that. Also, to use these tools, I think you need to play to a click (a metronome). Of course, this is fine for some music, but our songs would sound stupid if they never sped up or slowed down. My friend told me that when he was in Brazil, he was surprised that nobody he played (drums) with down there expected him to keep a constant tempo. They wanted him to get fast or slow depending on what’s happening in the song. Is pushing to keep a song at a fixed tempo a cultural thing, or a personality thing? Probably a little of both.
Note 3: When I (David) was writing these songs, I was listening to two kinds of music a lot:
Arabic pop music (mostly Lebanese and Egyptian) from the ‘60s and ‘70s (when electric instruments and idiomatic rock stuff was starting to be incorporated into groups), and…
American and European music from the ‘50s and ‘60s that wasn’t rock and roll. Music adults were listening to: Shirley Bassey, Jacques Brel, Mina, Nina Simone, Nat King Cole, etc. Especially recordings that Conrad Salinger, Angela Morley, and Ray Conniff worked on.
What do these have in common? Songs of love and love lost, heightened pathos, and a type of ensemble playing hyper-focused on framing the singing. Did we do some version of all this? Yes! Or at least we tried. And of course, none of our record sounds like this music (to me), but I guess it’s in there somewhere.
Bodies of Water
Is This What It’s Like
Street Date: February 12, 2021
1. Every Little Bird
2. Back in the Canyon
3. I’ll Go With You
4. Never Call Me Again
5. Trust Your Love
6. Say Goodnight
7. Far, Far Away
8. The One I Loved Too Much
9. Women in Love
10. I Knew Your Brother
11. Illuminate Yourself