Counting Down to the Static
The words honest and genuine are thrown around so often in regards to music it can be hard to wade through the sea of so called artists. But every so often, in the wading of the sea, you stumble on an album or artist that practically screams for praise without actually asking for it.
Micah Schnabel’s full-length solo endeavor, When the Stage Lights Go Dim, is just such an album. It is honest when it needs to be and never asks for forgiveness over harsh words. I can’t remember hearing anything quite like it, and I’m confident in saying that this album will stay in constant rotation for a long time to come.
When he’s not recording solo, Schnabel plays guitar and sings for the Columbus, Ohio outfit Two Cow Garage. His song writing style throughout Stage Lights is similar to what you could hear on a Two Cow record, but there is just something unique about this album allows it to stand out from previous songs he has recorded. These songs are more personal than the ones that preceded it. The record mostly revolves around Schnabel’s life as a touring musician and his experience as a hopeless romantic. In a song titled “My Blue Heart,” he agonizes over writing his crush a poem and wishing she were his Valentine. “So I handed you my heart/ ‘Like Me’ construction paper blue/ Cause I had used up all my red/ Writing poems and songs for you.” Occasionally the two themes overlap like in “God and Money” in which he professes his love for a girl despite her parent’s disapproval. That particular theme is very played out, but Schnabel adds depth to this petty fight over ideology. The album flows nicely with a well thought out song placement. The faster songs mixed well with slower acoustic beauties, “Throwing Rocks at the Sun” with its Irish pub song vibe, and a cover of the Replacement’s “Can’t Hardly Wait” make for an album where one couldn’t ask for more. The record feels complete, full and incredibly colorful.
Though it has yet to be pressed officially, I would highly recommend looking into preordering this album from Suburban Home Records’ partner Vinyl Collective. You can also check out some of Two Cow Garage’s songs at www.myspace.com/twocowgarage
Stand out tracks: “American Static”, “A Girl Named January”, “Bury the Maps”