Single: topanga breakfast – you were saying

Having travelled from the deserts of Arizona to Brookyn, Ian Graham, who is Topanga Breakfast, makes sounds that hover between the dusty crackle of the country and the streetlight hum of the city.

You Were Saying, which Topanga Breakfast self-released in March, is an enigmatic lo-fi folk gem where Graham’s delicate playing seems to echo and glitch as though hampered by fax-static. Beautifully arranged, played and mixed, You Were Saying is a lovely song strengthened by well-chosen lyrics which snag and stay in the mind. Graham – joined here by John Lisi on bass but otherwise playing everything – doesn’t concern himself much with being explicable, but the snatches of conversation, declarations, vivid phrases and panicky thoughts of environmental collapse combine to evoke a powerful mood.

It’s introspective stuff, contrasting childhood innocence with adult complexity: “Like, am I still the one-faced child”, Graham asks, “who broke his mother’s backbone dancing to The Deftones / unaware of all the cracks, fragments, and ash that are setting on me?”. Elsewhere his thoughts slide from romantic fulfillment (“A kiss beneath the streamers”) to thoughts of mortality, (“turned to skulls”), and in the song’s best verse he’s looking for a way to “sow pillows” into a world dangerously full of sharp edges. The song builds, melodies weaving in and out of one another, into a wistful, circular dance which is fraught with anxiety, brimming with warmth. I definitely identify.

Warmly recommended.

Written by Jonathan Shipley