September was full of new music by amazing artists but the EP that struck me the most this month was one by American Authors (Island Records). They are a group of four Berklee college of music alumni who formed a band in 2006 (back then named “The Blue Pages” up until 2012) and are now based in New York City.
Their latest release is a 5-track indie rock EP untitled ‘Counting Down’ and was released on September 18th, 2020.
The first track is called ‘Brick by Brick’ and strongly reminds me of a Panic! At The Disco song. It has got a very energizing and anthemic production which suits the lyrics very well as the song is very uplifting and self-empowering, it’s about knowing you are going to make it in spite of the obstacles being thrown your way and all the doubts you may have about life in general. Listening to this song makes you feel like you can take on anything, especially when the chorus hits, and make you realise you only have to take it one struggle at a time, that whatever you are fighting for is coming and is worth the hassle.
The second song is the one the EP is named after. ‘Counting Down’ is a gentle track full of melancholy over missing someone you’re separated from and looking forward to being able to be with them again. It starts and ends with a simple guitar symbolising the loneliness and homesickness felt but with the first chorus appear the drums and keyboard bringing a happier sound and conveying the hope and anticipation of seeing a loved one after so long. While the original perspective is that of an artist on tour, it hits especially close due to the recent events keeping many people apart, including the band members who actually live in three different places at the moment.
Photographed by Spence Kohn
The next track is called ‘Microphone’ and was actually the first one of the project to have been released, back in January 2020. It’s made up of an upbeat rhythm and slightly distorted vocals. It’s a pretty different sound than what they’re used to doing which is exactly what they aimed to do with this song, experimenting with new styles with songwriter-producer Sam Hollander. Dave Rublin, the band’s bassist, says the song is “about owning your power and fighting to be heard in a loud world.”
‘Best I Can’ was released on February 28th and is the song that turned this project into an actual EP instead of just random singles released while they were on tour. They weren’t planning on releasing a full project so soon after their last album but this collaboration with Norwegian EDM production duo Seeb along with the situation that was setting in with COVID-19 made them realise it might be a while before they could be together and record again so they decided to put together this EP with a few of the songs they had written recently and really liked so they could share them with the world and hopefully give a little bit of joy and happiness. ‘Best I Can’ speaks about the universal topic of feeling like you’re never gonna be able to do enough for someone, or live up to other people’s expectations of what love is supposed to be, but at the end of the day you are giving this person and relationship all you’ve got and it’s all you can really do.
The last song off the EP is the very cheerful ‘Sky’s The Limit’. It relates conversations between the narrator and his parents about his fear of failing and not making his dreams come true and them reassuring him. If you ever need something to motivate you in any situation, I suggest you give that one a listen and let it remind you nothing is impossible if you believe in it enough.
‘Counting Down’ is a collection of songs that were initially written for fun following the release of their third album ‘Seasons’ last year and recorded over 4 days in a studio in Nashville in between shows. This music could have remained unknown to the public had it not been for the pandemic going on, and while we won’t celebrate the circumstances, we’re very glad we get to hear and appreciate those inspirational tunes.
Personal favourites : ‘Counting Down’ and ‘Brick by Brick’. What are yours? 🙂