Los Colognes / Midnight North

Los Colognes / Midnight North

Los Colognes

“Only the living feel the flow/only the loving let it go” - Unspoken

One of the highest and rarest aspirations in popular music is to reach for the transcendental, to access the spirit. On the third album “The Wave” by Nashville based Los Colognes, they succeed just this - in breaking through the confines of everyday pop song lyricism to tell a sort of holistic story. It’s not a concept piece, but it’s a brooding and still joyful song cycle filled with philosophical rumination, effortless hooks, inspiring musicianship, and expansive arrangements. It’s an album perfectly suited of the current zeitgeist of unease and hope.

“The Wave” is an album about archetypes and about the everyday. There are allusions to the Great Flood, to Plato’s Cave, to Poe, to the hero’s quest so iconically defined by Joseph Campbell. There are recurring metaphors about the water, about the vastness of the ocean and the delicate balance between riding the wave and being pulled under. There is struggle, there is dread, there is hope, there is ultimately the knowledge only gained by a journey. It’s an album
about attempting to gain acceptance with the flow of adulthood, life in the music business, the changing awareness that only time and maturity can hand to someone.

Guitarist/singer Jay Rutherford opines in the album’s initial single , “Flying Apart” ‘Nobody believed/We’re all just hoping/Floating down streams”. It’s a song that repeatedly invokes the wave metaphor of the album’s title while churning through its own sonic sea of
shimmering keyboards and guitars anchored by drummer Aaron Mortenson. The music evokes any of the best moments of late seventies or mid eighties FM radio while never being weighed
down by the specter of influence. Los Colognes are a young band who have managed to forge their own sound while channeling the best sonic worlds of the decades past.

Unlike the live approach used to record the group’s previous records, “The Wave” was built from the ground up so to speak and with attention to each track, each part. There is a certain economy of space in the songs that feels deliberate while never ceasing to be warm and
inclusive. Guitar and keyboard lines drift off each other in between lyrical exchanges while Mortenson propels the beat, sometimes meditative, sometimes driving. Each song passes into another with a thoughtful pause- a passing keyboard chord, a drone, a bit of noise, a breath before the next reflection. Like any fully realized album, there is a cyclical wholeness to it that beckons the listener not just to hear it in its entirety from the outset, but to hit ‘play’ again or lift the needle as soon as the last chord of “Can You Remember?” subsides.

Rutherford sings on “Can You Remember?” - ‘When you were young/there was a flood/ almost drowned’, but with the understanding that the journey didn’t end in tragedy, we didn’t drown, we are still navigating the waters and with new perspective. The journey to finish the recording of “The Wave” was its own quest of sorts for Rutherford and Mortenson, a more deliberate process of creation and craft that shows a band becoming fully aware of its voice and its vision. As current events in the world breed anxiety and unease, as the accelerating paces of the hyper information age make it yet harder to deliver contemplative messages in the arts, and as we all struggle to accept the uncertainty and mystique of ‘living in the moment’, Los Colognes have given us a singular collection of quietly anthemic tunes, held together by philosophical reflection and damn fine rock and roll chops. The Wave is coming.





Midnight North

It’s full steam ahead for Midnight North after an exciting year featuring major festival plays, a nationwide tour, and the release of a second live record. Midnight North headlined tours and played in support of heavy-hitters such as Grammy winners The Infamous Stringdusters. Rolling Stone hailed Midnight North as the “Best New Act” in its review of 2018’s Peach Music Festival saying the band “takes the best parts of roots music and weaves them into a tapestry of rock and Americana”. And the best is still to come.

In the summer of 2018, Midnight North released their second live record, Selections from the Great American Music Hall. This 8 track album features original live staples like “Everyday” and “Playing a Poor Hand Well”, covers like John Prine’s “Angel from Montgomery” and the Dead’s “The Music Never Stopped”. The concert album also features guest appearances by Bob Weir, Phil Lesh, members of Twiddle, and the band's hometown horn section, The Northbound Horns.

Immediately after their sophomore studio release, 2015’s Scarlet Skies, Midnight North - fronted by lead songwriters Elliott Peck & Grahame Lesh with lush Hammond B3 organ, and harmony work from Alex Jordan, and strong rhythm section work from bass player Connor O’Sullivan and drummer Nathan Graham - began touring the country in earnest, visiting the East Coast and the Midwest for the first time in Summer 2015. The band wrote the majority of 2017’s Under the Lights in the following months, and the lyrical road themes - the initial excitement, the longing for home, and the inherent need to keep moving - shine through. “Under the Lights is the perfect title for this collection of songs,” said O’Sullivan. “These songs and lyrics are about being a band of musicians on the road away from home. Songs literally performed and tested under the lights at countless venues across the US.”

2019 and beyond will continue the growth for Midnight North, as the expanding discography and consistent national touring help pave the way for more and more fans to discover the band. “These songs tell our story, at least up to this point,” said Lesh. “Our job is to sing you these stories as honestly as we can and transport you into our world for an hour or two.”