Maybe it’s just because I’d been listening to Graceland right before I first I heard it, but I get a distinct Paul Simon vibe from “Death Kids of the Cuyahoga Valley,” the new single by The Monologue Bombs, the solo-with-friends project of Raleigh’s Scott David Phillips.
There’s something Simonized in the particular combination of perky guitar, toothsome flute, dance-y hand percussion, and polysyllable-friendly storytelling, though the comparison goes only so far before it runs into the undeniably Mountain Goats-y timbre of Phillips’s voice and acoustic guitar.
As it happens, The Mountain Goats’ Matt Douglas produced the song, as well as providing percussion, additional guitar, and bass, alongside Rachel Kiel’s flute, Anne Polesnak’s cello, and Chip Crell’s harmonica. Together, they create an atmosphere poised between the tail-end of summer and the brisk onset of autumn, all skeletal branches and flat orange skies, so that the snowy cover art feels more like a premonition.
“Death Kids of the Cuyahoga Valley” is the first song from the Orchard EP, which Phillips calls “a five-song cycle about coming of age in Northeast Ohio in the 1980s.” It shows in the single’s vivid, bittersweet images of smoking cloves and stadium lights, autumnal rites and sugar highs.
To celebrate Orchard’s release on Potluck Foundation Friday, August 28, Phillips is throwing a virtual party on Facebook at 8:00 p.m. that also features live music from Reese McHenry, John Howie Jr., Bombadil’s James Phillips, Kate Rhudy, and quite a few others.
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