by Colin Vallee (@ColinJBeard)
The Hudson Valley has been experiencing a renaissance as of late with labels like Sad Cactus and Salvation Records putting out solid and influential music by the likes of Abi Reimold and early Diet Cig. SubFamily Records is among the newer labels to call the Hudson Valley home and has recently thrown their hat into the ring with solid releases by the likes of American Film History, Hiding Behind Sound, and Battle Ave.
Their most recent release is aptly named Catskill Songs, for the rolling forested hills filled with rock folk-lore and old men who disappear for years when they run into a group of ninepin bowlers. The small community of writers have decided to strip back some of the lush production usually found on their releases to offer up 8 demos written during a song-a-day challenge undertaken this past August.
The real standout here for me is the breathtaking middle track “Core” by Battle Ave. Jesse Alexander is the main creative force behind Battle Ave, who hasn’t had a proper album release since 2015’s excellent Year of Nod. “Core” is moody and resolute, and sounds more like a softer version of an Ovlov track than a typical Battle Ave song. Alexander’s voice wavers asking, “Meet me on the prison floor / I need something to keep warm / put my hand on top of yours / carry in the apple core.” The lyrics reflect the mood of the track: shimmering and beautiful, but tinged with a tragedy that’s unable to be seen, only felt.
The whole record can be found streaming for free on Bandcamp, with all proceeds going to operation costs for the label. Shop local.