Net Nuggets 14: One to Watch

Colin Caulfield: Rainwater File Sharing [.zip]

Colin Caulfield is some kind of YouTube wunderkind straight outta the suburbs. I'm assuming. His obvious influences are Deerhunter, Animal Collective and bears Panda and Grizzly. He seems to be a middle class US teen (early 20-something?) uploading covers of said artists onto YouTube, occasionally making it one of his original compositions instead.

As anyone who's ever witnessed a teen drama series or been subjected to the music of, say, Avril Lavigne or Jason Mraz or Marilyn Manson will know, when it comes to cultural product there are certain middle class suburb trappings. (I'm reminded of the story of how no-nonsense working class geezer Mark E. Smith simply instructed a new incarnation of the Fall to play «not like Radiohead.») Thankfully, privileged teens are—for the time being, at least—blessed with far more musically interesting hipster artists than back when I belonged to the same demographic (when, embarrassingly, we lapped up silliness like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, et al.). At least Caulfield's inspired by sonic adventurers like Animal Collective.

Although you could say Caulfield's originals are as derivative as his covers remain faithful, they don't come across derivative in a calculating sense. You know, that «let's-all-grow-beards-and-sport-flannel-and-begin-singing-whimsical-lyrics-in-harmony» oppor-tunism of someone like Fleet Foxes, who—along with the Monkees, Pearl Jam, Muse, Coldplay, etc.—only end up sounding like they've never had sex.

I don't know if Colin Caulfield has had sex, but his warm & fuzzy front lawn psychedelia is soothing, and really quite beautiful. It's reminiscent of whileing away days with a group of friends, indulging yourselves in the bourgeois luxury of «expanding your consciousness» on some lazy summer's day, while your folks are away and you have the house to yourself. Ah, th'innocence! The privilege! Spoilt Victorian children all…

I digress. These are all the mp3s I found of Caulfield's. (For more songs, check out his YouTube channel.) The majority of these tracks are covers, but although similar in style, they're not covers-by-numbers by any means. (His talents for arranging and producing are evident. Bradford Cox even preferred Caulfield's version of «Rainwater Cassette Exchange» to his own original.) But perhaps the most noteworthy track here is one of Caulfield's own.

«Do» sounds a lot like his influences (the kind of backwards phrased melody that Panda Bear specialises in). Yet what it lacks in originality the song makes up for in sincere simplicity—a light and tender sense of melody that you'd have to be one cold hearted, ghetto proletarian sumbitch to withstand. I wouldn't want to say anything rash, but this track almost makes me happy to be alive!

Once Caulfield has snatched the tricks of the trade from underneath the noses of his idols—and he's well on his way—and worked those influences out of his system somewhat (and once life's had its way with him a little), we'll probably be hearing stellar stuff from this kid.

For now, relive the protected innocence of your privileged youth. Rewind that blasé bitterness, please, as you pop these tracks into the mp3 player of your choice. Before summer's over!

  1. Winter's Love (Animal Collective cover)
  2. Bro's/Carrots (Panda Bear covers)
  3. Do (original)
  4. Rainwater Cassette Exchange (Deerhunter cover)
  5. Knees (original)
  6. Thoughts (original)
  7. Doggy (Animal Collective cover)
  8. I Remember Learning How to Dive (Animal Collective cover)

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