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Summer, after by Giant Waste of Man

I have a small, purple bruise on my left arm. I don’t know where it came from or even how long it’s been there. I noticed it the other day and pressed my thumb onto it just to see if it was real. A warm, pulsing ache emerged from the spot. But then, I felt strangely comforted as the pain receded. So I pressed on it again, and enjoyed the sensation of the pain dissipating, being absorbed by the rest of me.

In the same way, Giant Waste of Man‘s new track Summer, after presses on an ache I didn’t know I had and then offers a kind of subdued comfort. Relaxed, steady, melancholy guitar rhythms invite a soothing sadness. I adore the approach of the piano in this song. It doesn’t play a leading role at all, yet its meandering in and out of the guitars and vocals, with its melancholy voice, seems to echo something familiar inside. And just when we’re in a moderate state of introspection, long, beautiful pulls on the bow of the cello pull us to even deeper places.

The classical instrumentation is woven like colorful threads into a tapestry of muted 90s indie alt-rock, dreamy guitar reverb, and an ambiance that will appeal to fans of Modest Mouse and Broken Social Scene. The textured and perfected vocal harmonies add yet more depth, richness, and variety to the palette of sound. The vocal work is subdued yet stirring; crafted with care; yet not artificial in any way.

There’s a kind of poetic, artsy, stream-of-consciousness style of lyrics that I find both engaging and kind of obscuring. Maybe that’s what keeps it interesting. On my first few listens, I heard a connection with pain, heartbreaking mistakes, cigarettes and despair, hope and longing.

Everything normal just burning away/ what’s left over is clearer/ cuz what you do/ it matters

It all made sense when I read the songwriter Ben Heywood‘s description of the conception of Summer, after:

“I wrote the song the day after my birthday. I was hungover and, frankly, pretty bummed after watching yet another protest be cleared by militant force while simultaneously having no idea when my job as a bartender would return. The world felt more viscerally terrifying than ever, but also connected: we were all going through it together.”

Okay. Yes. I might have been watching the same news story. I wonder what I did in the moments afterward. I love that Giant Waste of Man has extracted from that moment the beautifully human sadness, and the certainty of purpose and goodness within it. The final line sings: “But you love me anyway.”

Based in Los Angeles, Giant Waste of Man spent time touring the U.S. & Europe and has opened for acts such as Billy Corgan, Pedro the Lion, Young the Giant, Dead Sara & Explosions in the Sky. Summer, after released on May 17, 2022 and follows Jumpsuit (April 2022) and Swim (February 2022).