Trace Mountains guides us through its “House of Confusion” track by track


It can be difficult to distance yourself from your past music production when your old band was as valued as LVL UP was in several different pockets of DIY music and beyond. Still, Dave Benton did a quick job of rewriting his own narrative as Trace Mountains, a project that only started a few years ago but quickly went from an experience of writing solo songs to a cohesive vision of a songwriter who not only moved away from his a former label band he helped start up, but who are completely leaving town in search of more lonely pastures and sounds that suit them. If that wasn’t clear enough on his LP 2020 literally called Lost in the country, the steel pedal, fingerpicking guitar and brushed snare ironically do House of confusion only sound more self-confident.

That same pinch of irony shines through on the opening track of the record “Seen It Coming,” the incredibly calm first track written for the record in the wake of Benton’s dismissal from his warehouse job at the start of the pandemic – a series of events what I think we can safely assume he did not see it coming. From there, the record comfortably goes in and out of alt-country and more rock aesthetics until its latest track “Heart of Gold”, obviously paying homage to the guy who first married those genres. so seamlessly. For a more in-depth analysis on both tracks and any that fall in between, read on for Benton’s track-by-track breakdown. House of confusion below.

1. “I saw it coming”

It was the first song I wrote after the pandemic stopped everything. I was fired from my job and was home everyday with my roommates. It was the feeling of watching what lies ahead and having a little idea of ​​what might happen, but really no idea. I wanted to channel Kath Bloom My baby is crying … in the vocal. JR BohannonThe pedal steel really shines here and I think it works really well with vocals. This is one of my favorites in this collection, which is why I chose it to open the disc, although I really wanted an album opener with a bit of space before the vocals came in. – I always jump very quickly into words. Maybe next time!

2. “If you do”

“If You Do” is a simple song. This is what I wanted to write and I left it there. There is a bit of melancholy in the lyrics and melody, but I tried to keep it a bit light with the AC / DC benchmark. I did my duty as a millennial guy in my thirties and jammed country rock from time to time. We still have time for AC / DC, however.

3. “On your knees”

This is a description of my psychological self-flagellation. Or something. I think I had Tom Petty in mind. He’s got all these great songs about getting knocked over and getting up, so I was thinking about it in the context of my own experience. I’m still falling apart and I have to rebuild myself. I’m not sure if my words mean a lot on this one, but they felt right to me.

4. “7 angels”

I felt good that I was able to write an intro for this song. Like I said, it’s hard for me to write a song without getting to the heart of the matter. It’s another very simple song that just felt right to me. The words are quite simple and I was quite happy with it – over the years I tried to simplify my songs and get to the essence of the ideas so I felt I was able to do it. do here. It’s that moment when you go through something that’s not working in your life, and for a while you feel totally free and good. There are complicated feelings and they are always changing.

5. “IDK”

I do not know What is this song about. It’s a bit of a joke at the end of the song. At one point when I was writing I just started singing “I don’t know / I make it up as I go”, because I didn’t have anything else. I just wanted to write a fun rock song and channel those Petty vibes. Our engineer Matt Labozza asked us to add some acoustics to the Nashville to get that sunshine sound.

6. “The Moon”

This is the last song I wrote for the record. This happened about a month or two before our recording session. I was leading one of my songwriting workshops and it came out of one of the prompts I presented to the class. I really felt like Greg had killed him on this one with the big alt-country drums. The whole band really did it, by the way – there are also some really good rhythm guitar licks in the pocket that Jim wrote. I also loved our live interpretation of the song. It’s much heavier and electric, so I would love to capture it again someday while recording.

7. “Late”

“Late” is a song I picked up from my demo graveyard. It’s a real stylistically outlier on the record, but I liked how it broke the tracklist and kept things fresh. I had so much fun writing the bassline for the synth and seeing how everything could fit together with the drum machines, acoustics and synths. Matt really crossed the finish line. The first time I listened to his mix, I had a big smile on my face and I was laughing a little. It sounds really good on headphones and that’s because of it.

8. “America”

I learned a lot from “America”. In a way, it taught me a new way of singing, which I hope I can explore more in the future. I don’t know if it’s my favorite song on the album, but I think it’s going to end up being an important song for me. It really showed me that I can do things in a different way, especially with vocals. This is the way things sometimes work. It doesn’t sound like a totally realized vision, but I feel like I’m on my way to something new with my songwriting, which is exciting.

9. “Morning star”

It’s just a little lo-fi song. I loved the words and the story and it was good to have a song without drums here. The whole record is like a road trip, for me, so it’s that inevitable moment of desperation and hard realization.

10. “Eyes on the road”

“Eyes on the Road” launches the last part of the disc. This song and the next really epitomize the long drive home. I wrote this song and was very happy with the idea, but I struggled with the recording and the production. Jim helped me a lot, adding the amorphous synth that serves as the basis for the recording and other guitar arrangements that helped keep it interesting.

11. “Heart of gold”

Once “Eyes on the Road” was understood, this ending fell into place very easily. I had the idea of ​​this fingerpicking and the melodic pedal steel which carries the song quite easily. I wanted to end the record with a feeling similar to when it started – a vague idea of ​​the state of affairs in this vast opening.


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