Oliver Kalb released the fourth record from his project Bellows last month titled The Rose Gardener. Our Song of the Day was the fifth single off the record to be shared ahead of its release, “The Tower.” This is what Kalb had to say about the indie pop opus:
"The Tower" is partially based on an interpolation of the song "WTF" by Gabby's World, the other band I'm in. Those first lines are about the experience of hearing "WTF" and having a memory of the power of touring in a band and singing someone else's beautiful songs night after night. In a moment of extreme chaos and conflict in my life, the context and meaning of the song changed for me. It suddenly felt like a rallying cry to stick with music despite it feeling like a hopeless endeavor: "I will not back down."
The Tower in tarot symbolizes upheaval and change; the image on the card is literally a tower being struck by lightning. We build up towers of worldly ambition and narcissistic insistence on our own constructed images of ourselves. These towers of careerist striving, however, are built on faulty foundations – we have to destroy the towers we build up if we really want to change ourselves, or get out of the ruts we're in.
"The Tower" is a declaration of defiance against a seemingly insurmountable obstacle, the recognition that although everything in my life seemed to be crumbling away, that nevertheless making art and continuing to live my life despite hardship was the most important thing. But that realization came with a caveat: that if I was going to continue with art, I needed to fundamentally change myself, and my relationship to having a life in music. "Deep in the stars, or wherever you are, I need to find you" – these final lines, sung in the same pitched register as the quotation from 'WTF' are about the universality of music, how hiding somewhere deep in the universe is a primal force we can sometimes tap into to create beauty, and to rise above the pettiness of earthly experience. Art is the only thing that connects us to something higher than ourselves, and I need to live life in search of something greater than me.
The Rose Gardener was written and recorded in a home studio in Woodstock, NY in early 2018. Kalb wrote all the music and lyrics and worked with several musical collaborators including Jonnie Baker (Florist), Ian Cory (Lamniformes, Sharpless), James Wilcox, Henry Crawford, Gabrielle Smith & Felix Walworth. The album was mixed by Jack Greenleaf, Gabrielle Smith and Oliver Kalb and was mastered by Paul Gold. Below, watch the video for The Rose Gardener track “What Can I Tell You About the World?”
Today’s song, featured on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is "Satellites” by New Age Healers, from the 2019 self-released album Debris.
Today’s song, featured on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is "The Dark Side of the Sun” by Sol Oosel, from the 2018 self-released album Janus.
Today’s song, featured on The Afternoon Show with Kevin Cole, is "(I Blame) Society” by Titus Andronicus, from the 2019 album An Obelisk on Merge Records.