The Band You Need to Know

Note: I’d been meaning to write this post for a few days, but it was Randy Murray’s Writing Assignment for January 13, 2012 that helped me get it done. Thanks, Randy!

Every once in a while, a band comes along and becomes the object of my obsession. Suddenly, their music fills my life and changes it for the better. I devour the entire discography, pour over their lyrics, and wake up with their songs in my head. This music is just… incredible.

The Long Winters are one of those bands.

Ironically, no article has given me writer’s block like this one. I adore this band, but I almost can’t articulate why. It’s hard not to resort to gushing about each and every song. This is music that keeps me up at night because I’d rather keep listening than go to sleep.

There are many things that make The Long Winters great, but for your sake, I’ll only pick three.

First, The Long Winters succeed at walking a very fine line, and that is being accessible without sacrificing depth. Rest assured, these are radio-friendly songs. Most fall in the three- or four-minute range, and they are catchy. But, that doesn’t make the band another source of shallow pop music. Rather, each song is a gem: small enough to fit in your pocket, but precious enough to take with you wherever you go.

Second, the lyrics. Lyrics are very important to some people, to the point where they can’t enjoy music without them. I’m happy to say that whether you’re a lyrics person or not, The Long Winters will speak to you. John Roderick is a master songwriter, and his lines are written for you, the listener. Somehow, he knows what you’ve been through. He knows what you’re feeling, and he’s felt the same way. That’s the only explanation for the honesty — the humanity — behind John’s words.

Finally, comfort. The Long Winters have guided me through heartbreak, lifted me out of depression, and made me realize that even in darkness, life remains amazing.

I’m reminded of a favorite quote by Aldous Huxley:

After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music.

The Long Winters prove this fact. Over the course of their two-and-a-half-hour discography, you will discover many moments of musical catharsis. This is music that will have you singing along at the top of your lungs, whether it’s with a smile on your face or tears in your eyes.

I’m not going to tell you my favorite songs for two reasons. One, The Long Winters’ albums stand strong in their entirety. These are records that can and should be enjoyed from start to finish, and not needing to hit SKIP is a hallmark of any great band. Two, my favorite songs may not be your favorite songs. Music speaks to us in ways too diverse to mention, and only you can figure out what songs make you sing the loudest.

Truly, there’s no better time to become a fan of The Long Winters. Their last album, Putting the Days to Bed, was released in 2006, and John Roderick seems to be hinting that we might finally see its long-awaited follow-up this year. Furthermore, you can get The Long Winters’ entire discography on iTunes for less than forty bucks. A small investment for a lifetime of enjoyment.

I can’t guarantee you’ll love The Long Winters like I do, but I can promise you have nothing to lose. Your ears and heart, however, have everything to gain.