You say love is a cage/and now you’re on the inside/in the dark light/of your mind/everybody will leave/when they’re searching for something/you will never be enough.
Nate Lehner from Clearview Productions shot this video at the Oshkosh, Wisconsin beauty-shop-turned-practice-space Redshift Headlights shares with a few other bands (note orange rinse sinks in back and hairdo portraits on walls). In fact, Redshift Headlights’ sophomore record, entitled Oshkosh, was all recorded in this space from January to May 2018, which was then mixed by the great Marc Golde at Rock Garden Studio in Appleton, WI and mastered by the pristine ear of Justin Perkins at Mystery Room Mastering in Milwaukee. The album itself is a love letter to the band’s town, a kind of kaleidoscopic assemblage of Oshkosh references, images, people, and stories that all sort-of exist in Oshkosh culture and lore.The song “We’re Electric” seems to be a song about the burden and commitment of romantic relationships, the tension between what love offers and the fear of losing it, along with the worldly burdens that accompany and obscure whatever came as that initial spark: “the city from this height/is just a circuit board/and we’re electric,” McCabe sings. “You say love is a cage/and now you’re on the inside/in the dark light/of your mind/everybody will leave/when they’re searching for something/you will never be enough.” The song is moody and rife with texture from delayed guitar, vibraphone, and Rhodes piano, the pulsing kick drum and bass guitar building to a climax like some sloppy garage rock version of Ravel’s Bolero. It’s a dark, longing, and nostalgic vision of love, culminating in jealousy and suspicion: “are the kids alright/in bed on time/or are they all out wandering?/and what’s her name/and where are you?/you know what I will do tonight.”
Redshift Headlights began as the solo album project (Inside Voices) of songwriter Stephen Michael McCabe (formerly The Willis, Cookie Bug, Congratulations on Your Decision to Become a Pilot) and evolved into a band in an effort to support the release in the form of a short Midwest tour, radio appearances, and a taping for Wisconsin Public Television’s 30 Minute Music Hour. Paul Van Auken sings backup and plays vibraphone, marimba, guitar, and trumpet on the album, Dean Hoffman plays bass and sings harmony, Todd Farber plays drums and percussion, Jay Spanbauer plays guitar and percussion, Justin R. Mitchell plays pianos, synthesizers, and trumpet, and Stephen Michael McCabe sings and plays guitars. Guest performers include Stephanie Tschech (Auralai) who sings harmony, as does Eric Van Thiel (Haunted Heads), and Renée Millard (Redhawks, Tyler and the Streeters) plays trumpet and flugelhorn.
The album Oshkosh will be released on CD and digitial media (including iTunes, Spotify, etc…) with a Sept. 21st pre-release show at Linneman’s Riverwest Inn in Milwaukee with Mighty Deerlick and The Glacial Speed and a Sept 22nd five-band release show at Gibson Music Hall in Appleton with Reality Something (Nashville, TN), Ultrasounds (Winona, MN), Jim Pullman Band (Eau Claire, WI), and Redhawks (Appleton WI), music starting at 6:30pm. The band will also tape a Rock Garden Live episode on Thursday, Sept. 27th in Appleton, WI, doors at 6:00. show at 7:00, tickets available at the door. The vinyl version of the record will be released October, 27th at Bare Bones Brewery in Oshkosh.