NJ rockers LKFFCT have graced these Impose Magazine digital pages a number of times over the years, but it’s their latest album we’re featuring today that shows them at the height of their powers. Full of fuzzy, ear-worm riffing and dealing in golden-era slacker-rock and indie-rock, Dawn Chorus is one of our favorite releases of fall 2017 so far.
To celebrate the release of Dawn Chorus, we had LKFFCT break it down for us track by track. Check it all out below and be sure to order Dawn Chorus out now via Sniffling Indie Kids here.
“Hatchling” was the first song that we wrote for the record. I was messing with an old MXR analog delay pedal from the 1970’s, and it gave the rhythm guitar a sorta psychedelic vibe. Keith wrote a cool angular & slinky riff that complemented it really well. Ryan laid down a motorik beat & I believe him and Brian came up with the noisy freak-out towards the end. The lyrics are about self-maturation and learning to empathize with people who may not share the same life experiences or beliefs as you.
“Down the road” was written out of a jam session. We were joking around at first with the main riff.. It made us laugh because it sounded like a silly buzzcocks (or worse, Green Day) rip-off. We changed the rhythm up a bit to make it a little more danceable. The s#^+show that was the 2016 election was going on at the time so the lyrics touch a little on that and on our hope for a more progressive/socialist society.
“Anesthesia” is a song that I wrote at home and then took to the band. I had been listening to a lot of 70’s power pop at the time (Todd Rungren’s “Something Anything” & Big Star’s “#1 record”) and I was inspired to write a very immediate & direct love song. The song came to life when the rest of the band brought their parts to the table. Brian added a melodic & snappy bass line, Ryan made the groove bounce and Keith added lead guitar that managed to be both heartwarming and heart-wrenching. I especially love the guitar solo at the end. To me it sort of mimics the crazy mix of emotions that we feel when we’re in love.
“Sleeves” is a song that Keith wrote after a bad breakup. What’s ironic is how this song naturally ended up after “Anesthesia” in the track-list. Keith had originally planned on using this song for his solo project but when I heard the demo I became hooked on the hook & overall feel of the track. I asked if we could use it. We rearranged the song as a band quite a few times until the tempo felt right. Once we laid down the main tracks Keith envisioned a horn part for the choruses. Our friend Harrison Bieth played sax which filled out the track very nicely. According to Mr. Williams, the lyrics are about falling out of love and learning what real intimacy requires.
“Flavor” is a song that has been in our live set for a while now. It’s probably the most agro track on the album. I was listening to Uncle Tupelo’s “No Depression” a lot and wanted to try blending a bit of Americana into a grungy punk song. The whole thing seemed very in line with the sound of one of my favorite New Jersey based bands -C.R & The Degenerates. Luckily the main singer-songwriter Chris Gennone also happens to be one of my good friends. He added some extra muscle to the choruses with a snarling guest vocal. The lyrics reference my own struggle with depression, anxiety and self-loathing.
“Starling” was written collaboratively in a very modern way. I had a voice memo on my phone of some chords that I thought sounded really nice together. I sent it to Keith and he replied back with a beautiful vocal melody and a full set of lyrics. The song was originally called “Dawn Chorus” which spawned the album title. What really excited me about this track was how different it was from anything that we’ve ever done. The music has a soft melodic sensibility while the lyrics maintain a sad vulnerability. The song is about losing touch with a loved one and trying to reconnect, all-while facing the harsh reality that too much time has passed and it is no longer possible. James Abbot added some wonderful lap steel & lead guitar on this track which really brought the melancholic feel to the next level.
“Ayy Lmao” was another song that we arranged in a collaborative way. I had written the main riff prior to that though. It always reminded me of “This can’t be today” by The Rain Parade. Production wise, I was consciously trying to channel the sound of certain paisley underground bands from the 1980’s. Hence the 12 string guitar, organ and overall psychedelic-pop vibe. Keith as he usually does, came up with a complementary lead guitar part that kind of reminds me of “Dancing Days”. Once this song was written it definitely felt as if the record had an definitive identity. Lyrically the song is about not allowing your past failures to discourage the continued pursuit of your dreams.
“Bridget” was another one of Keith’s solo songs that we rearranged as a full band. Liz Lee, who has previously sang with Keith contributed a beautiful backing vocal. I recall us trying many different things in terms of arrangement, & tempo. This song was the most difficult for us to hone in but one night the ending sort of wrote itself and we added a really smooth natural fade. The song is about the death of a someone close to you and how their memory lingers on in your heart & mind.
Keith brought a demo of “Phobic” to one of our practices and we hashed out the arrangement collaboratively. I remember we were very excited about this song because the tempo was a bit slower and the vibe felt a little more nuanced than our older material. We tacked on the little reggae part and the whole thing just felt smooth. Evan Luberger of Rosey Bengal laid down some really interesting keyboard parts in the outro. The lyrics deal with the concern that the public is devolving into prejudiced idiocracy.
“Punching Bag” is the closest thing to a folk song that I’ve ever written and one of the few tracks on the record that ended up being pretty similar to my demo in terms of arrangement. The song is about only feeling connected to those who have been hurt in the past. I always feel like a strange mix of Bob Dylan and Michigan J. Frog when I sing it, but I think that’s why I like it so much. Our friends Harrison Bieth and Ken DePoto laid down a dynamite brass section for the end, while Evan Luberger ripped some rag-time style piano. This is definitely the wild-card song of the record and probably the wild-card of our career thus far.
“Bluejay” is probably the oldest song on the album and I never truly intended to use it for LKFFCT but when the record started to take shape I realized how well It would fit. The song is about slowly coming to terms with your grief at the loss of a loved one and how it effects the people around you. The intro sample is from a home movie that was filmed before I was born (June 1st, 1986) I wanted this track to feel and sound like an old dusty relic from another time.