Basement Required Listening No. 8: 12 Tales From Winter City by The Young Republics

Photography by Rita Lino

You know, genre-hopping can be a difficult shrew to tame, you can do it from album to album ala my Crash Test Dummies, but that tends to alienate fans who want the sound they first heard you with. You can do it throughout an album, doing a song of country, a song of rock, etc, but too often that just confuses people. You can do what my dear Islands do, and change up mid-song, change back, and change again, and eventhough you may end up as my No. 1 of the year, for the other “more important” lists out there in lala land, you may not be so appreciated.

So down in The Basement of our beloved Society when grafista posted 12 Tales From Winter City for his turn for our 8th week in our Basement Required Listening series (8 weeks, 9 albums, and an infinite amount of kicking ass and taking names), adding that “there’s country, indie-pop, rock’n’roll and even a little rag in amongst the various styles in this record”. Well, you kinda squint your eyes a little, push play, and hope for the very best…

Well, first off, it took one time through to shake off the ridiculous Bromst obsession still clawing at my head, pulling me toward it’s additive mouth, to eat my soul whole, but after that (and a quick re-listen of “Snookered”) it was time to buckle down and listen, I mean, really listen. What I found was nothing short of beautiful. Basically, you have a young group of classically-trained musicians who have figured out how to blend their training with that indie-pop, bright-eyes-esque country, and yeah, as grafista said, even some rag! So does this make them chamber pop (sorry, I haven’t practiced my genre flash cards in a long time)? Regardless, what matters most is not what it’s called but how much you like it, right?

Unfortunately for The Young Republics, the first listen or two, you are quick to make comparisons to other more known bands, like Bright Eyes, Belle & Sebastian, etc, etc, (lard knows I did) and they are definitely there and it helps to put something tangible to what you are listening to, but I wanted to hear what grafista heard, hear what he loves about this album, why he chose it for his pick (as I do with all the BRL albums).

It’s one thing to play cute indie-pop, lean it toward another style or two, and layer it with a bunch of stings, it a whole other thing to do take a small orchestra, chock full of ideas and sounds and build beautiful songs. Does that make sense? Probably not. How about this… It’s like a whirlwind of strings, woodwinds, flutes, whatever, flying through the air, through the city, going from apartment to apartment, seeping into any open window in it’s path, and the music of the room, the music of it’s inhabitants, gets pulled into the wind, into the symphony, becoming one with it. Yeah, sometimes the wind is quiet, but most times it’s not (it’s Winter City after all), and the result is, like the album cover above and album name, a bunch of simultaneous stories filling the city with life!

There, is that better? Probably not, but it will have to do.

So thank you grafista for a new love! Next up is center52, can’t wait to see what he brings this weekend! But for now, I got the Young Republic to carry me through the day. You know, you can come join up and be part of the love & discussion of all things music related, we got something kinda special going on in our little society of music freaks & geeks, but we are always looking for more oddballs to join our brigade!

Hope to see you in there, but for now… Enjoy!

The Young Republic – 01 Girl In a Tree
The Young Republic – 02 Modern Plays
The Young Republic – 03 Excuses to See You

I give you 27 reasons
why i’m coming home
but they are all just excuses to see you…

The Young Republic – 04 Girl from the Northern States

Go show The Young Republic all your love here, here, and here now…

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