Posted on February 21, 2012
(This is the first in a series of essays on the songs from the new release ‘The Foundry EP,’ out Tuesday.)
I wrote “Apparition” in a cabin on the Vermont/New Hampshire line over a July 4 weekend. A rough breakup, a bottle of rosé, and that open major-7 chord full of mixed feelings pushed it right along. The narrator is a regretful character who drinks too much and doesn’t quite know where things went wrong. He is consumed by an ex-lover and only half-tries to keep himself together. The images in the lyrics are borrowed from a number of places, most notably a trip to Alaska (“float plane”), Greenpoint, Brooklyn (“O’Neil’s place” being a stand-in for an Irish pub on Franklin), a certain literary Brooklyn-based rock band (“Lucky Mr. Finn”), and a story my mom told me about the river in Cleveland catching fire (“watch the river fire unfurl”).
In the studio, we shot for a T Bone Burnett vibe but it didn’t entirely come together. We’d recorded it in the key of G and realized that the vocals weren’t quite right. We spent a few agonizing nights deciding what to do and then went for it. Then, the band re-did it in G# and it fell into place. It crystallized even further when the talented singer-songwriter Joan Hutcheson came to record background vocals on the bridge and co-producer Quinn McCarthy at the Creamery Studio finalized the arrangement.
Download “Apparition” here.