“Hold On” – Windsor For The Derby
     “Hold On” indeed: this song begins with an extended introduction, featuring a rhythm both brisk and soothing. Listen closely and for all the apparent movement you really can’t discern a whole lot of obvious activity: there’s a guitar strumming without quite wanting to call too much attention to itself, there’s a fuzzy organ that seems to dissipate as soon as you hear it, there’s a bass that appears to be playing only one note the whole time, and all one minute and six seconds of the intro features an alternation between just two chords, separated by a simple half-step.
     Then the vocals start, rather wispy and mixed down in that Yo La Tengo, resolutely-indie sort of way. But pay attention at 1:20–we finally hear a third chord. It’s a great moment but it flows quickly by, and is itself easy to miss except that the song shifts and deepens at this point. Though exactly towards what end we still don’t know. (Remember: hold on.) The melody leads us through a few more chords rather quickly (considering the context), the verse repeats, and then, at long last, two full minutes in, the chorus arrives, complete with–of all things–soaring, Brian Wilson-inspired backing harmonies. Nothing about this song signaled that it was going there. It’s a startling juxtaposition, and well worth the long and subtle buildup.
     Led by Dan Matz and Jason McNeeley, Windsor For The Derby has gone through a number of personnel changes since the group’s formation in Austin in the mid-’90s. The band is now a quintet; Matz and McNeeley, recently relocated to Philadelphia, are the only the remaining original members. “Hold On” is a song from the CD How We lost, the band’s eighth, released last month on Secretly Canadian records. MP3 via the Secretly Canadian web site.




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