John's Track of the Week: "American Low"

Song: American Low
Artist: Cassino
Album: Sounds of Salvation
Year: 2007

For some readers, the name Northstar may ring a bell.  The Alabama-based band, led by Nick Torres and Tyler Odom, set up shop in the NYC-Long Island area in the late 1990s to early 2000s, and was soon associated with groups such as Taking Back Sunday, Piebald and Hot Rod Circuit.  After two full-lengths, the band called it quits in 2005.  This was mostly due to creative differences within the band, as their sound was seemingly straying from their southern roots and was melting into the noise of the emo scene.  As a result of the break, Torres and Odom formed Cassino.

Cassino, unlike Northstar, is a project much more focused on folk rock, and the Alabama sound that seemingly comes naturally to Odom and Torres.  No screaming, no wailing guitar solos.  Instead, it's just creative and natural music, a relaxing and soft juxtaposition to their old sound.  This track in particular, "American Low," is a moody and active melody that touches on the flaws the authors see in current American life, and their grappling with the associated feelings.  Political undercurrents may or may not be present here, but if they are, I'll choose to ignore, so as not to take away from its quiet simplicity.

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