Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Shawn Biggs
Even a casual friendship - or maybe it's a kinship - can be a very meaningful one, as we see on occasion. For instance, years ago Jonah Matranga, the lead singer for the band Far and the one man behind onelinedrawing, wrote me up out of the blue saying that he really liked Daytrotter and would love to be a part of it sometime. When he did this, it came at a time when we weren't getting a couple hundred such letters a day and without having to resort to any canned pleasantries, we told him that he was welcome in our studio anytime he wanted to come by. Years went by and it was decided that Far would reunite for a show at this past February's Noise Pop festival in San Francisco. We booked a session with them - the four members grabbing cab rides to the studio from the venue between soundcheck and showtime - and Matranga, as anyone who's ever met him can likely attest to, turned out to be as good as it gets in terms of being the kind of guy who wrote us a charming email long ago. He wanted to come back the next day and we wanted the same thing - to record a onelinedrawing session. It was looking doubtful, but some things fell and others failed to materialize and we called him up the following day, telling him that we had an opening and asked if he could make it. So Matranga dropped his daughter off at soccer practice, recorded these four songs in a hurry and left to be the on-time father at the tail-end of soccer practice. What came in that short stretch of time that he was back in the studio was a glimpse into the incredible and ultimately, unlikely way he was so easily able to make things personal and touchable. We bonded over being daddies to little girls - as any daddy is going to do - and he chose a set that addressed the place where his head currently resides. He's not a rock and roll dad - oh, he could be if he wanted to - but he's actually a dad first, someone like the many times over daddy Sam Beam of Iron & Wine, or a David Bazan, a man who releases a holiday 7-inch entitled, "Wish My Kids Were Here." He's considering the emotions and the trajectory of this precious girl that he brought into the world and what's interesting is how there's an associative property that can go along with his words. With "Every Mistake" and "So Long," two new songs heard here for the first time, we're hearing a guy sing about a girl, and while different, certainly, from the way he wrote in past times - a guy singing about a girl - there's a great many similarities too. It's as if he's been given the best perspective to write about women, after all these years. It's here and only because he now has to care for, worry like hell about and be there for a girl who will never not be his - and that's a whole other ball of wax altogether. It's there that our worrisome minds intersect and it's where we feel most passionate - in turning these little ones into sweethearts or in them turning us into the same. We're softened people, but ten times as compassioned and ten times as thoughtful as we once were. We feel like we're getting somewhere, one frazzled day after another.