The Daily Choice: Raymond Byron & The White Freighter – You’ll Never Surf Again
I never understood Ray Raposa’s Castanets, always thought that there was talent lurking in the wings of the band, but couldn’t ever really wrap my head around their sound. Which, to be honest, is hard as a music writer. I don’t want to be the guy who looks at the wildly popular indie band and shrugs his shoulders or shakes his head or raises his eyebrow. I’d like to think that if music is good I have some sort of innate barometer that regardless of my ability to “understand” just sort of kicks me in my internal groin and says, “this is good Noah, share this with the world.” Yet Ray Raposo’s Castanets, I just couldn’t get that band.
This won’t be a problem with the musician’s newest musical endeavor Raymond Byron & The White Freighter. Where Castanets felt almost wordless and melancholic, Raposo’s Byron person is the embodiment of porch-sitting blues. Twangy guitar, a well-lit compatriot chiming in with late hour melodics, detailed stories of one man’s woe – this is blues, no doubt about it. And, as much as a white hipster from San Francisco can, I understand the blues. I can close my eyes and picture Ray Raposo staring out the window of some tour van, another gig receding behind him, another one just coming in to focus on the horizon. I can picture dark bars and small stages and irritating crowd members loudly asking for another vodka and Red Bull. I can clearly imagine the strange and eerie loneliness that the touring life invites, surrounded by people, but alone beneath your skin. And it isn’t that I’ve lived these lives, but more so that Raymond Byron and his White Freighters touch that sort of universal sound, that plucked string of bluesy melancholy that resonates just below the surface of everyone. This, this I can understand.
Raymond Byron & The White Freighter’s new album Little Death Shaker is out now on Asthmatic Kitty.