Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
When this session was imported into my iTunes, the genre that got arbitrarily applied to the Los Angeles project House of Wolves is blues. Musically, this doesn't make sense. Lyrically, this could be very close, though it would be something like Sufjan Stevens' take on lyrical blues, not Howlin' Wolf or Billie Holiday's. Sure, we're stretching appropriations and assimilations here, but what's a little comparison without some leniency and latitude? Rey Villalobos, the man who makes up this primarily one-man outfit, is keen to take us into those lonesome caverns that can often swallow a person whole, getting them to feel like they're being consumed by all of the forces of nature. They're getting used as fuel in an out-of-control fire. They're getting swept up in crashing open watered waves. They're getting blown up against the wall, shaken by the impact. They're getting thrown into the prairie by monumental wind gusts set on throwing off all recognizance. This could be the blues, but it feels gentler and more adaptable to some antidote than real blues.
This is more like the young man's blues, before anything has happened that could ever lead to lasting despair - like a broken home, a split marriage, child support or bankruptcy. This is the blues that comes when we're still talking about yearning friendship and compassionate relationships with those we think we could love, but aren't at all sure about yet. We might think we're in love. We might hope for it, but if we were to be frank, we'd never go that far yet. That's just too damned serious and we're still too damned young to commit, but all indications seem to point toward some dicey times with the heart.
"Tomorrow's lovers will be found," as Villalobos tells us. It seems like that might be what his protagonists are most afraid of. He adds, "Love me like I'm unending/There's something more when you're around/Destroy me/I know you're pretending/Come back to me when you're found," and it seems that this is where the blues lie - needing the love that you fear might ultimately destroy you.