Into the Cold CD Release, Rest of the Night, Duff McKagan

Into the Cold - CD coverBack in March, I was sitting on my sofa after a night of writing. It was around 10:00, and I was sipping a beer and drifting through the channels on the TV when I got a text from Billy Stover of Into the Cold. You might remember them from when I’ve done video for their shows or when I put their EP at number two in my best of Seattle/Pacific Northwest CDs last year. I’ve actually known Billy and Into the Cold singer Katy Cornell for a few years from back when I played bass in a different band with them, and as such, they actually made an appearance in my first book, though with different names.

Anyway, I set my beer down, picked up my phone, read Billy’s message. He was asking me to write the liner notes for the first full-length Into the Cold CD, said that I was the unanimous choice of the band. He wanted to know if I’d be willing to meet up and talk about it. How could I say no? Of course I’d do it, and not just because it felt good to be the unanimous choice. Simply put, they’re a great band, and my opinion of that is evidenced by my previous writings about them.

So I met Billy at the George and Dragon in Fremont and we talked about music and writing and music writing. He reminded me that they give a grammy every year for the best liner notes. A few beers in as I was, I started to have visions of stepping up on a stage in L.A. to accept an award. I had the band’s music in my head from talking to Billy, and it all seemed within grasp, the sounds, the words, the award, and we parted company with me agreeing to have something written within a week.

The thing is, though, I wouldn’t say the lengthy bit I wrote for the liner notes is grammy-worthy, but the music is. It’s everything a great rock record should be. It’s heavy. There are riffs and chunking chords reminiscent of Black Sabbath and Jane’s Addiction. There are quiet parts and stretched out parts and guitar solos and feedback. There’s a spareness that builds into layers of guitars and vocals and more vocals…and more vocals. Katy is a master a creating harmony tracks to build out the sound. Along with Stacey Meyer of Furniture Girls, she gets my vote for best singer in the city. Katy’s certainly worthy of the wider acclaim her more famous brother has. Maybe this album will finally bring it to her.

The opening track, “Rest of the Night,” starts with a keyboard. It’s just a few notes repeated. It’s quiet. There are light cymbal taps, a little bit of guitar feedback. It drones on. Live, I’ve seen this carry out a bit to open a show. It’s a mood setter. It slowly builds. You know it’s coming, those first big chords, but you get sucked in anyway and then jolted when that first big chord hits, a Gm. It’s energetic and a little sad all at once with the keys still doing their thing underneath. When the vocals come in, the guitars fade, and there’s Katy’s voice.

Fall down from heaven with black and white vision
Rely on the judgements that shape our opinion
Learn to adapt to the cages we live in
Swim to the deep end to find our religion
Hide our pleasures where no one can see them
Sidestep the laws that control all our freedoms
Feel the escape take control of all reason
Fend for yourself stay awake for the rest of the night

It’s a little angelic and a little desperate. There’s still a bit of sadness singing over that Gm, but there’s a defiance too, a power. And then the guitars are back with the male background vocal, Gene Devereaux, Katy’s husband.

See if we have what it takes to just barely get by

And then Katy over top.

Rest of the night

I imagine them doing that at home, harmonizing when the sun has gone down, maybe while doing the dishes after dinner or on the couch late at night with the TV on and the volume down.

Stare out the window and wait for the clouds to collide
Rest of the night
Maybe we shouldn’t be so complicated at night
Rest of the night
Maybe we shouldn’t be so complicated at night

At this point we’re only three minutes into the song and the CD, or slightly longer for a live performance, and we already know that things are just beginning, that they won’t let up, that the other seven songs will continue to kick us and delight us at the same time, that they’ll draw us in and not let go. That’s what great music does. It’s a kind of brutal intimacy. The first time I saw them live I went home singing to myself on the bus, “Maybe we shouldn’t be so complicated at night.” And that was only after one listen, a live performance that was followed by another forty-five minutes of music, but there I was more than an hour later on the bus from West Seattle back to Fremont, “Maybe we shouldn’t be so complicated at night.” It’s the same with the CD.

Put it on. Listen to those first three minutes. You’ll be listening to it for the rest of the night.

And if you need any further convincing, listen to Duff McKagan:

Into the Cold - Duff McKagan

Official CD Release:
August 28 — Live Performance at Easy Street in West Seattle
August 29 — Live Performance at the Feedback Lounge in West Seattle

Pre-Release on Bandcamp:
Stream and/or download the CD

Links:
Into the Cold Website
Into the Cold Facebook
Into the Cold Twitter


davemusic

Dave O’Leary is a writer and musician living in Seattle. The Music Book, his second novel, was published by Booktrope in September 2014. In addition to writing for Northwest Music Scene, he has also had work published in The Monarch Review and on Slate.com. Visit his website at http://www.daveoleary.net. Photo by Stacy Albright, stacyalbrightimages.com.