If I tell you Cheekface is one of California’s and also the world’s freshest and most original indie trios out there right now, you’d better believe it, pal. Look through my bias and form your own opinions, of course. You have your own identity and can make your own decisions. But I sure do hope in my heart of hearts that you come to the same conclusion that I have made about Cheekface.
Cheekface — Greg Katz, Amanda Tannen, and Mark Edwards, of the corn-fed city of Los Angeles — released their debut album Therapy Island earlier this year, and folks have clamored for more songs from the group since. The band has blessed fans with a new single called “Listen to Your Heart.” “No.”, a track with a title that seems awkward to type in an article. You would think that they’d have used a parenthetical, like “Listen To Your Heart (No)”. But that kind of formatting wouldn’t allow the point of the song to come across. This track — like most of Cheekface’s catalog — channels the voice of Depression which lives in the band members’ heads. The formatting of the title tells us that this song is supposed to feel like a conversation with that voice.
Katz’s deadpan vocals deliver comic lyrics including a chorus listing responsibilities that Depression’s repression keeps us from doing. For example: Pay your parking tickets. (No.) Turn the other cheek. (No.) Keep on keeping on. (No.) Depression wants us to lie in bed and stare at the ceiling and maybe check Twitter and draft a few tweets in response to something that makes us even more depressed, but because we get even more depressed, we don’t finish the drafts. Depression wants us to open the fridge, realize we’re not hungry, close the fridge, get hungry again, and trap ourselves in a loop of fridge anxiety. How do we stave off this Depression? As the song suggests: Perhaps light snacks? A giant pretzel? Ativan? Despite the attempts, Depression will always linger, and it will always open up its ugly maw to say “No” to any necessity for our physical, mental, and financial well-being.
Boy howdy, folks, can I tell you about some times I’ve had. I remember specific moments in the years right after college where — with a low-paying job, no relationship or care for a relationship, and a too-expensive apartment — I would spend hours watching the same Vines (RIP) over and over, eating salsa straight from the can, and playing the same A-Dmaj7 chord structure on my guitar without writing anything down. (I still play that chord progression today, but at least I use it for something.) Depression can deal you a nasty goddamned deck of cards, all stinking like a third-rate casino in some forgotten corner of the Sunset Strip. When you get those cards, you may feel — as I often did — like the only thing you can do is fold.
But Depression touches plenty of people, which means you’re not alone. You can throw that deck of cards right back in Depression’s face, grab the other players who got that same hand, all go together to the bar, and chat about your troubles over a few rounds of ginger ale. Depression won’t go away; it’ll stare at you bewildered that you just played them play 52 Pickup. But until it picks up those cards and storms over to give you the business, you can find a few minutes of peace, maybe. It’s possible!
I lost the thought I had for how I would end this article, so please enjoy this picture of Cheekface with an oversized bread pillow, via the photographic talent of Shabnam Ferdowsi. Look at how happy they seem! How lucky would we all be to find our own bread pillows in the world. +