LISTEN: New song demo - "Diminishing Returns"
The other day, I wrote a song over Zoom with my old friend Jonathan Sunde. I first met Jon at C’est What in Toronto in 2009. I’d been billed with his band The Daredevil Christopher Wright at the NXNE festival.
They were incredible. Constant three part harmonies dancing throughout wildly unique and creative melodies. The vocal arrangements were mind-blowing. Clearly they’d been singing together since they were kids.
Underneath the singing was abrasive, complex and jubilant musicianship. Upbeat and sad. Indie rock with an African-inspired Talking Heads flair, but it all came from Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Turned out Justin Vernon had been involved in recording their debut album.
I believe this show in Toronto was their first outside of Wisconsin or Minnesota. They’d grown up in a very insular rural community, and hadn’t travelled much. I loved their performance so much that I later asked them to support our entire Canadian tour the following year. I sent their music to File Under: Music, who’d put out my album Nice, Nice, Very Nice in Canada. The label signed the band and released their second album “The Nature of Things”.
Jonathan and I have kept in touch over the years. He’s supported some shows in Minnesota and Chicago in recent years. He’s got a powerfully emotive and unique voice, and his guitar playing is wonderful. He’s a great songwriter and it was lovely to spend a few hours catching up and throwing ideas back and forth.
We drummed up a song called “Diminishing Returns”. It’s a love song masquerading as an anxious folk ditty about exhaustion from the political landscape and the inflation of urgency.
Have a listen to this voice memo recording of “Diminishing Returns” I made at the end of our session:
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