Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
"Residents," by Juniper Tar, is a song that you find yourself coming back to over and over, for reasons that you're not entirely sure of. You're positive that there must be a reason that you're so attracted to the strained pain that bounces off of the song. It could just be that you're attracted to pain, but there's got to be more to it than that. Every time we run into the guys in this Milwaukee band - whether it's in Texas, Brooklyn or on their home turf, out on the wooden floor at the Turner Hall Ballroom - we wind up in strong handshakes or hearty bear hugs, talking about how much we love living in the Midwest. It all takes on a very wistful nature, once it all gets rolling and we're a few beers into the conversation. If we're in Brooklyn, we agree that we can't wait to get home. If we're in Texas, sure we're really eating up the great food and the warmer than home sunshine, during a month of the year when warmth seems almost obscene or a flippant tease, but oddly enough, we think about leaving there often and getting back to the snow and our families as soon as possible.
"Residents" is indicative of the kind of character that Juniper Tar have built as a band, something that they've always carried around with them as Midwestern men. Anyone who's never lived here, or has never spent a prolonged time here, doesn't really understand what we're talking about when we drink together in these bigger and more fawned upon places. We'd prefer to wake up to those mornings when the frost has gotten into the house and made some crystalline designs in the bottom-hand corners of our old windows. We'd prefer to carry with us something of a quieting, a soft pain or a lonesomeness that isn't such a bad thing. You see, out here, it's easier to get away from things. In minutes, we can be the only person we see and it allows some kind of secret passage into our throbbing heads. It's simple to understand our place. We would prefer to think and not get drowned out by the slaughter of the noise and the overload.
We'd rather be surrounded by the people we've always been surrounded by, the buddies that we know everything about, the ones who know everything about us too. We live in places where everyone gets invited to the same weddings and everyone shows up to the same funerals. We know when the marriage isn't going to work. We can see it in the eyes, those looks. We know the character. We know the pasts that are involved and they preclude the futures. We can sense when people are generally easy to make happy and we want to be with them - we want to be one of them. Singer/guitarist Jason Mohr, guitarist Aaron Schleicher, bassist Ryan Schleicher, piano player Chris DeMay and drummer Tuc Krueger make music that we find reminds us of the complicated connections that we allow to get most complicated closest to home and, strangely, we love it there, where the complications peak.