I clicked play, and a beautiful black and white video began to run — images of guitar amps, cables, and effects boxes moved across the screen. The visuals were joined by the sound of a band warming up. Text titles set in a heavy, serif typeface on a textured backdrop popped up. And then, the Smith Westerns began to play — an organ gently moving through a rift of chords, later joined by a bass guitar, then the lovely voice of a lead guitar. “I want to grow up before I grow up…” mews the lead vocalist.
I can’t quite make out all of the other lyrics of the song. But the tone and feel of this tune from the Smith Westerns is the type of music that I live for. The video is a short film created by Ryan McGinley, “the lauded artist-photographer whose heady visuals of cavorting teens (awash with atmospheric blurs, lens flares and flashes of light) have made him one of the most in-demand image-makers of the past decade.” (Nowness.com, 2010) Sadly, the video only includes an excerpt from the Smith Westerns’ performance at the Pitchfork Music Festival. So far, I have been unable to identify the song. The Smith Westerns’ self titled album doesn’t appear to include the track — in fact, most of the music on their first album sounds quite different. Tracks on the album are much more fast paced, rushed, raw. I was felt somewhat disappointed that the rest of the Smith Westerns’ music doesn’t sound quite as mellow and bluesy as their performance captured by Ryan McGinley. However, I am still looking forward to learning more about the band.
Edit: Learned that the song featured in the video is titled “All Die Young” a track on their new album that is scheduled to be released in January. You can be certain that I am looking forward to the new album!
Michael has more than 20 years of experience utilizing Web and new media in higher education, nonprofit, and business sectors. Among his many accomplishments, he founded a Web and new media consulting company—VanPutten Interactive—to serve clients specializing in public works, social work, higher education, documentary film, and professional development. In his current role at Bronson Healthcare, he provides leadership for digital marketing, communications, and innovative utilization of new media. Michael has a master’s degree in educational technology from Western Michigan University.