Things have been a little busy here at Team GDW lately, with our ‘salaried’ jobs unfortunately demanding much more of our time over the past couple of months. And while we strive to keep content fresh here on the site, less time spent seeking out new music ultimately means less great music being shared with you, our readers. This past weekend I successfully found time to surf through the abundance of emails sitting in my inbox from the last few weeks, and stumbled across a pair of absolute gems that I could not wait to feature. No matter how much of my time is demanded outside of GDW, I’ll take that extra cup of coffee if it gives me that extra thirty minutes to muster some thoughts about some of the stunning new releases I’ve just encountered.
I must confess that the music of Vancouver singer-songwriter Titus Calderbank was completely unfamiliar to me, but just a few seconds into his new single, “Mistakes,” he had earned my complete attention. Of course, as a music fan who has a soft-spot for some great piano-based indie folk-pop, Calderbank was pulling all of the right strings to cajole me from the off-set. And lest we ignore his powerhouse vocals, that drew instant comparisons to Wesley Schultz (The Lumineers) for me – raspy one moment, and crooning the next, surely you make that connection too? Not only am I hearing similarities to the folk rock popularized by this popular US band, where piano, drum rolls, and gospel-laced collective harmonies are the core, but “Mistakes” also hints of influences from other contemporaries within this genre; notably Andrew Hozier-Byrne (Hozier) and Steve Garrigan (Kodaline) springing to my mind, in particular.
Recorded with Ryan Worsley (Said The Whale, Dear Rouge) at Vancouver’s Echoplant Sound studio, “Mistakes” is a powerful song about failure and regret. “It’s also a song of redemption and asking for forgiveness,” Titus offers. “Humans often fall short [and] at the end of the day, we have to accept that we’re all trying our best.” Worsley taps quickly into the raw subject matter, mating Calderbank’s beautifully raw and dynamic vocal range with layered piano keys and thundering drum crescendos. The end result is a climatic alt-indie pop ballad that is incredibly difficult to ignore. Yet through this single, Calderbank hopes to convince the listener that mercy and forgiveness are always an option. “We can either be slaves to our past mistakes, or make peace with them and move on,” he adds. “We can grace our enemies with forgiveness of we can die with bitter hearts.” Make no ‘mistakes,’ this is an outstanding 3:30 of music that you don’t want to miss.