“Catalonia Weekend” is a gripping new track from Old Red, a project formed by previously featured Dashel Hammerstein, who impressed with the tracks “Down Down Boy” and “I Should Know Better By Now“. Hammerstein’s pop chops have always been evident, with eclectic range stretching from the surfy-country-psychedelic of the former track to the latter’s quaintly twangy exterior. He’s an artist I’m always excited by in terms of new releases, and “Catalonia Weekend” is no exception. Nonchalant verses begin unassumingly, leading to a very hook-y chorus that touts some Ariel Pink-like charm in the ability to expand from sparse developments to pop effervescence, especially as the “run to the light” high-pitched vocals add an extra infectious fervor.
“Old Red is a project that began when I found out that my long-lost cousin was a virtuoso jazz guitarist with a recording studio in rural Connecticut,” explains project leader Dashel Hammerstein. “He started producing and engineering new versions of some old songs of mine with the expressed intention of making them weird. We agreed that if it sounded familiar, it wasn’t worth putting out. Sessions were all about more noises, more programmed drums, more hair band guitar solos, mistakes that were fine-tuned into something intentional. Overall I just wanted the music to be more funny.”
“Cut to November and we have a short album worth of songs, all thematically tied together under the umbrella of life in Modern America. ‘Catalonia Weekend’ is in some ways an exception, but the kind that proves the rule. The Spanish Civil War was unglamorous, even by the standards of war. Troops were so low on ammunition and supplies that they would often arm one solider with a megaphone, tasking him with yelling across the battlefield to enemy trenches in an attempt to convince them with words. It actually worked more than one might think. Tie that to Modern America as you see fit.”
“The song itself is unabashedly poppy. Like the rest of the album, I’ve tried to strip away all but the meaty hooks of the song. Life’s too short.”