The Golden West, the debut full-length from San Francisco’s NRVS LVRS puts perfectly to lyrics and music what has been an issue central in the minds of the west coast music community for years. Lots of bands, particularly in the Bay Area, have written songs and albums about the huge cultural and economic changes they face, but never have they seemed to push past the glib neo-punk “fuck tech" narrative. Indeed, not until hearing The Golden West did I feel that I’d heard this story told in a way that rang true for me.
Rising rents and reckless development in our beloved cities shine bright lights on the scars we’ve gathered over the years from a life dedicated to music, which might be the least lucrative, most expensive artform and lifestyle. This illumination calls into question the values we uphold and pulls out from under us the very cultural context we operate within.
“If it’s the same to you, we’ll build our walls on top of your heart.”
The Golden West feels like the sequel to a coming-of-age tale that picks up just as the glow of self-actualization has faded and the game has changed for our dear hero. And even as we stare in fury down the barrel of the loss of what feels like our place in the world, we know that what’s being demolished lives on inside us.
“We’re only starting and this ghost will be wherever you are.”
We’ve known our cities. We’ve sat alone in a park at sunset while the fog came in and the wind was heavy and wet, whipping bangs in our eyes and the grass soaked through our sneakers. When the sky and streets have turned grey, we’ve driven out to the ocean to smoke. We’ve stared, in a daze, at a solitary torta, the taquero behind the counter knowing full well that we’ve had one drink too many. We’ve lived in anonymity among countless painted apartment buildings in which surely everyone was finding a way to misbehave. It was almost always cold, but in a way that felt soft and forgiving, even comforting. We’ve been too young to know better.
As Adrien at Popmatters aptly quipped this past week in the exclusive premiere of The Golden West: “So we pronounce it 'nervous lovers' then, right?”
That’s exactly right, Adrien. Thnks fr skng.