Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Josh Niles at Big Light, Nashville, Tennessee
Sitting in this quiet, East Nashville house of five, on a damp Monday morning, I put on a new record that the family who lives here loves. There were photographs of them loving it the other day - a handful of little boys and their mom and dad, going crazy for LEAGUES' "You Belong Here." They were dancing across these old, wooden floors, swinging akimbo and letting themselves immerse in some undeniable pop music - the kind that you can wait to hear, the kind that turns you into a different person a little bit. LEAGUES, the band made up of Thad Cockrell, Tyler Burkum and Jeremy Lutito are affecting and effective. They arouse those feelings in a person - young or old, experienced or not - that make you feel as if suffering for that first or that right love is what you were here to be doing. It's what feels the best, to take pains in the search, to persist and to believe that weird cosmic shit is going to happen and you're going to feel it all fall into place, when the day is right and the time has come.
Oddly enough, this sort of thing can be sensed by everyone, for we're all immediately struck by love. Even in the worst of circumstances, when things go awry early, there is some version of powerful and definitive love surrounding you, from the first days we're all here. If we're lucky, this continues on and then it gets clouded when we start looking for secondary love - the kind that we have to construct for ourselves, the one that's tailored specifically for us. We get ourselves into all kind of snares and binds during this process, but it's a need that we follow, for better or for worse because we are aware of no other way to get by. We struggle with being in the wrong place at the right time or always being a day late, with all we wanted slipping by. We're never where we should be, until we are.
LEAGUES songs are inspirations. They are booming and clanging odes to the slipperiest parts of love - ie. the ones that we're seeking the hardest. They deal with the mind games that everyone likes to play in getting there, for one can never be too sure with all that tricky, imposter love being floated. Cockrell sings, "Everybody got a heart worth breaking/Everybody has someone that got away/Everybody has a love they're looking for," on the song, "Haunted," and it's a lesson that the three young dancing boys from this house and everyone else will glean soon enough from these enchanting, dark, light, sugary streamers.