Surrounded by ferns and the wood paneling of a Bushkill, Pennsylvania cabin, Jake Ewald of Slaughter Beach, Dog gave a stirring performance for today’s virtual Free at Noon. The setlist included songs from the band’s new album At The Moonbase, as well as an unreleased cut and a cover.
Ewald’s music centers around comforting melodies, observational storytelling, and masterful lyrics, and the set opened on the acoustic fingerpicking of “A Modern Lay” from Moonbase, where quips about romance and pop cultural references to Punch Drunk Love and fan fiction circle into the refrain “American kids swing the American way / what do you learn from your lover?”
The introspective new ballad “To Live Again” hits strongly (though perhaps not in the way Ewald intended) now that a light at the end of the pandemic tunnel is visible: “I wondered how it felt to get up and live again,” he sang, with harmonica accents in the mix.
A cover of the Rolling Stones’ classic “Dead Flowers” followed, intertwining nicely with Ewald’s own song “Van Morrison.” (The latter is about ennui moreso than Morrison, with Ewald singing “My spirit is dull and strange.”)
The set closed out with mutual birthday greetings: Ewald shouted out XPN midday host Helen Leicht for her birthday today and sent out the closing “Jonathan” to her, while Leicht reciprocated by sending out birthday wishes to Ewald as well (his b-day is Sunday).
Watch Slaughter Beach, Dog’s entire Free at Noon performance below; At The Moonbase is available now, via Lame-O Records. For more, check out the virtual Free at Noon archives.
A Modern Lay
To Live Again (unreleased)
Dead Flowers (Rolling Stones cover)
Tags: Free At Noon, Free At Noon Archives, slaughter beach dog