Not to bury the lead: Common Sage from Staten Island have released their debut album Where are you? I’m in Klamath Falls, are you here? It drops August 4th, which is — at the time of publication — tomorrow. You can find it on Bandcamp and Spotify, as well as via pre-order through Good Sadie Media.
I went to Staten Island quite often back in — I think — 2013. I say “I think” because I would hop on the Ferry quite unhinged, turn down a random road off of Bay Street, stumble into the nearest bar with a live band, and chug PBRs until I passed out, finding myself on the boat back to Manhattan with a transit worker shaking me awake. In my defense, I had just moved to New York, and I intended to live my early twenties there to the fullest. I was like a character from Girls, except lonelier, if you can imagine that.
But during my random trips to the great county known as Richmond (and also the part of New Jersey that got away), I heard some great bands, including Les Vinyl and the band with one of the greatest names in the entire universe, Pussywolf. Now another Staten Island-based band joins their ranks: Enter Common Sage, a trio with a raw sound that roars across the Upper Bay to the other four boroughs of this fine city of New York.
Common Sage springs from the ashes of Davy Crockett, a local indie band headed by Julian Rosen, a musician who’s had his hand in a few projects based in Staten Island and Brooklyn. The songs on Common Sage’s debut LP Where are you? I’m in Klamath Falls, are you here? stem from writing sessions during Davy Crockett’s last days; last year, Julian took the pieces to his friends Jenna and Phil, bassist and drummer respectively, who agreed to help him put the tracks to tape. Thus, with the departure of Phil and the arrival of Nick on drums, Common Sage took the form in which it exists today.
Klamath Falls shows Julian taking inspiration from ’90s emo and indie rock; this results in a raw, unprocessed sound that grinds against the ears but doesn’t cause pain. Rather, it accentuates the sincerity of the music; without much production to mask the lyrics or the natural noise of the overdrive or crash of the cymbals, Klamath Falls stands on its own as a fine debut work chock full of emotion released into the ether. The track posted above — called “Virginia” — is an example of this rough sound; hear the crackle in Julian’s voice over the screaming of his guitars.
The album has its share of thundering emo anthems — see the aforementioned “Virginia” as well as “oh, December”, “a Dead Tree, a Dead Shopping Mall Outlet”, and “Roadkill (hospital)” — but it also has the slower and more reflective tracks, such as the ambient-esque “Klamath Falls”, the acoustic “Bassett, NE (martha)”, and the folk-tinged “Omer, MI”. Despite the diversity in styles, the album feels cohesive, like a Smashing Pumpkins concept album from their heyday or a lost Brand New demo that Jesse Lacey left in the bathroom before a show at the Charleston back when Williamsburg was still a burned-out wonderland for future venture capitalists.
In any case, if you’re looking for a new band to go hear if you’re taking a late-night trek on the Ferry towards a binge in some backroom bar on Van Duzer Street, check out Common Sage and the new album when it drops on August 4th. Just make sure that you get home safe at the end of the night. ⊜
- I saw Les Vinyl at 120 Bay Cafe and made a fool out of myself in front of Casey Jost, which means that through him, I have a Bacon number of four.
- Casey Jost is Colin Jost’s brother; Colin Jost dates Scarlett Johansson; Scarlett Johansson was in Lost in Translation with Bill Murray; Bill Murray was in Wild Things with Kevin Bacon.
- However, in reality, I sort of have a Bacon number of two: I interned on Conan O’Brien’s show in college, and Kevin Bacon’s been on that program numerous times. Bob’s your uncle.
- I saw Pussywolf at The Hop Shoppe on Van Duzer Street, but I can’t remember if it was The Hop Shoppe at the time or if it was something different. I do recall, however, that I did crash someone’s birthday party. I don’t remember if I tried to hit on one of the band members. My absolute late apologies if I did. My God! I was a mess at twenty-two.
- Speaking of Staten Island, shouts out to Everything Goes Book Cafe on Bay Street.
- Speaking of nothing in particular, shouts out to Roberta’s Pizza off of the Morgan Avenue stop in Brooklyn. I’m just naming businesses now. Hats off to Barnes & Noble. High praise to the Gap. (Just kidding about the Gap.)