The California americana rock band New Monsoon has released their new album Diamonds And Clay.
There are many reasons why you should check it out. The biggest: It’s down home drink some local home brewed wine at night in a small wooden house on the coast of California while clouds move in over the ocean.
The electric guitarist/singer/songwriter Jeff Miller was the boy i grew up with learning how to make music. We were BFFs all through high school and we swore to each other we’d be musicians. Every year we’d write an album and then rent a crappy little 4 track, get our buddies who played bass and drums to learn our songs and record the thing. Every year like clockwork we did this.
I listened to the very first album we made at age 15 the last time i was in the states. Dear lord in heaven it was painful. And not in a modest way kind of painful, i mean seriously, that shit was pretty damn awful at moments, with some good promise at others.
But each year the albums got better. And we never stopped reminding each other of our pact. To do it. To not give up and not sell out to society. To be musicians no matter the cost.
After i dropped out of college in my sophmore year i moved up to where Jeff was attending school at Penn State. We played in a band and continued making our yearly album. Our final one, which was the “masterpiece” of our youthful collaborations was Justacorp, an album that actually was pretty good all things considered. It representing a coming of age, that we were not longer teenagers dreaming of making art, we had arrive at the cusp of young adulthood able to make music we no longer had to apologize for.
After that we began drifting our seperate ways. Jeff thrived in a band setting, communing with others and jamming in live settings. I was a composer at heart with grand visions of theatrical studio albums.
Years have passed. We have grown, matured and improved tremendously. I always felt i needed more improvement than my old friend who was “ready” and achieving greatness while i was still all ambition, little maturity and not enough skills to back it. I mean, damn, that boy could PLAY. Even from the start that son of a bitch could play like a motherfucker.
So now his band New Monsoon has released a new album. As always it is a landmark for me to listen to. It represents a milestone on the road of the man who walked with me at the most crucial of times and made the promise with me that i have spent my life upkeeping, through poverty and obscurity, lots of poverty and even more obscurity, and despite this never stopped and lo and behold neither did he. He too stayed the course through his trials and tribulations, and is still standing long after most others we came up with fell to the wayside. (and by “the wayside” i mean they actually have nice homes and jobs that actually pay real money so mourn them not.)
Lots of bands release new albums, but this band’s new album is a milestone of life, a reminder of the promise we made, the distance we came and that trials we weathered, each a life apart in our own ways.
New Monsoon. Diamonds And Clay. Available here.