The Next Great American Novelist’s infectiously alternative new single “Blackberry” embraces insatiable lust, reconciling the act of being an artist with the guilt that comes with it.
I want everything all of the time…
Some people seem like they’re okay with being selfish and taking for themselves. Meanwhile, the rest of us are subject to an endless back-and-forth with a conscience that is constantly pulling toward the other direction, telling us we’re wrong to act a certain way and that we shouldn’t even be thinking certain thoughts. It’s not easy overcoming the urge to put yourself first, but sometimes it’s necessary. The Next Great American Novelist’s infectiously alternative new single “Blackberry” embraces insatiable lust, reconciling the desire to be an artist with the guilt that comes with it.
I’m a child with the heart of a boy
I’ve been out by the road passing time
Blackberry hanging deep in the vine
Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering the song and music video for “Blackberry,” The Next Great American Novelist’s first single in over four years and the lead single (and opener) off their upcoming sophomore album, Careless Moon.
Based in New York City, the loftily titled The Next Great American Novelist (or NGAN, for short) began as the solo indie rock project of Sean Cahill, who released his debut album under that moniker in 2014. For a band with such a suggestive name, NGAN’s music is incredibly relaxed and fun: Their first record was a relaxed alternative pop/rock record akin to some of The Format’s early work. And though it will turn five years old in 2019, NGAN’s debut I’ll See You in the Art You Love has the vivacious cult of personality that will keep it fresh for years to come.
The time since then has seen NGAN develop their sound and grow into a trio of Cahill (songwriter, guitarist and singer), Jason Cummings (guitarist, bassist, keys and vocals), and Danny Sher (of Horse Torso) on drums. “Blackberry” is our very first taste of this new and improved iteration of The Next Great American Novelist, and what a sweet taste it is: Unassuming and pulsing, the track beats with a perseverant indie rock defiance that oozes what one can only describe as “Brooklyn cool.”
Who wouldn’t watch a songwriter in a bathtub full of blackberries and think, Damn… I wish that were me!
Hey severance, it isn’t all that much
I wait here today again
I want everything all of the time
This song is about insatiable lust; finding peace in being selfish and embracing that desire.
“It came from a memory of being a child, standing in front of a massive blackberry vine and reaching through its thorns to get the fruit. As pretentious as our band name may make us seem, we keep the lyrics pretty simple in telling a story,” Sean Cahill tells Atwood Magazine. “The upbeat pacing and dynamics were a good way to open the record. When we were in the studio, we became enchanted with playing the mellotron and found every excuse to use it. We played with atmospheric sounds to float into a psychedelic range. Sometimes all it takes is a delay pedal to tap into feelings of nostalgia and give the impression of a memory.”
For Cahill and co., “Blackberry” represents more than a reintroduction; in truth, it’s their debut.
“Blackberry” enchants with a heavy alternative sound that simply wasn’t present in NGAN’s previous repertoire — and yet, this growth feels natural and exciting. It’s a long-awaited next step for a band had their share of hurdles along the way. Cahill even put down his guitar for a bit, there: “For a while I felt guilty about playing music, playing shows, as if it was a shameful or self-serving pursuit. After some reflection, I’m realizing that music is the best way I can spend my time, as it brings more light into the darkness and opens up an avenue for sharing joy.”
As far as NGAN’s sophomore album is concerned, Cahill believes “Blackberry” to be the perfect starting point for this new journey.
“Careless Moon is about the relationship between romance and indifference. How it’s possible to see different concepts in the same symbol. One night, you could look at the moon and see an illuminating presence, brimming with light, offering clarity to a sky that is otherwise shrouded in darkness. The ridges of its surface appear as something familiar, a face, looking down and bringing you comfort. Other nights the moon can seem callous: an indifferent rock suspended unwillingly by gravity. You remember that the moon drifts from the earth by 3.8 cm each year, orbiting away from you as it barrels out into space. Your life changes but the moon doesn’t, each night you can find it waiting for you. When you realize that it has no attachment to you, it is frightening.”
It’s bigger, edgier, and more alternative; an unabashed outpouring of raw dynamism. The Next Great American Novelist are ready to be your Next Favorite American Band. Stream “Blackberry” exclusively on Atwood Magazine, and catch The Next Great American Novelist at Berlin NYC on March 19!
“Blackberry” – The Next Great American Novelist
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📸 © Shervin Lainez