Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Mike Gentry
It was just the other day, rifling through the pages of a European magazine that I'd never seen before, that I came upon a profile of our old friend Vincent Moon - one of the most important filmmakers of my generation and the former chief shooter of La Blogotheque's Concerts A Emporter. Since the time that he saw his star get brightest, after some high-profile shoots with the Arcade Fire and REM, he decided to stop doing those things anymore. The waters had become clouded and he was unable to find the pure joy in the creation that he'd experienced with all of the work that he'd been chronicling previously. Much of the life - that essence that he couldn't get enough of - had been sucked right out of the experience. He's now off in Columbia, living floor-to-floor, couch-to-couch, mostly off the generosity of the kind people he meets on the other side of his lens, reconnecting with himself and finding out what's really still in there that's ticking, that's making him raise that hand and that contraption to an open eye. Knowing the man, as we do, we picture him sleeping very little, over-stimulated and loving every moment of it, recording beautiful images and sounds that will - at some point - be revealed to the rest of us, letting us take all of the robust and visually aromatic stimuli that we can get from them, like a strong and invigorating inhalation. Moon was quoted as saying something to the effect that it was the only way that he knew to actually get back to hearing himself think again, to actually learn new things about himself and to be in tune with all of his inner murmurings.
It's something not to be lost and it seems as if it's something that River City Extension lead singer Joe Michelini can appreciate as well. For all we know, he's lost himself in Columbia before as well, off to rediscover what he's got tucked away inside. River City Extension music drums up those sorts of swelling and passionate bursts that somehow part the gray clouds while still describing them. It finds joy in the details of mass confusion and utter discontent and longing. It's music that's long on personal touch and closeness, a rousing collection of voices and instruments coming from a small family of people, all of which have found themselves together there in Tom's River, New Jersey, a city that used to produce some of the finest Little League baseball teams in the world. Michelini and fellow singer Sam Tacon follow each other vocally in a way that makes you feel as if they've got their arms around each other, saying, "I know it's hard. I know. But we're here for one another and tomorrow's another day." The songs take on that bottomless feeling of aloneness, as well as that ongoing problem of needing to figure out where we all go from here, what is it that really makes us happy. It's a discussion that gets suspended and dangled and ignored a lot, but we find that it comes right back around, persistently and when we crack those locks and secret passages, the sound coming from the other side of the wall probably sounds a lot like, "The Unmistakable Man." We hear Michelini singing, "I get drunk and I get restless/I get scared and I get stoned/I get scared when I'm alone," on "The Ballad of Oregon" and we sense that this feeling will never go away, no matter how much searching is done.