Download: CAVES’ Summer-Bummer Ode “The End Of June”


Yes In My Backyard is a semiweekly column showcasing MP3s from new and emerging local talent.

Brooklyn trio CAVES make expansive gloom-pop–mysterious, dubby, darkness-soaked and caked in reverb. It has the nostalgic synths and cavernous murk of chillwave, but none of that microgenre’s inward-gazing bedroom sulk; they’re a pop band through and through, and you can hear their extroverted energy in their nervy post-punk drumming, their new-romantic moans and the chiming melodies lurking under their bellowing noise. They self-released a lovely piece of green vinyl last year in the form of the Face The Wall 7″ and have returned with the sprawling digital single “The End Of June.” This seven-minute ode to summer bummers has a downright lovely This Heat-meets-Panda Bear vibe, if both of them used vocoders and took a lot more guitar solos. Come for the shadowy muck, stay for the Joshua Tree coda.

Download: [audio-1]

CAVES frontman Zak Shepard on “The End Of June”

What is “The End of June” about?

“The End of June” is about a kind of summer dissatisfaction that I’ve encountered. I think summer is all about freedom, or the promise of freedom. It’s this juvenile thing that I’m still attached to. There’s all this anticipation for summer to come and then it does, and it never quite delivers. I usually realize this around mid-to-late June. And then I spend the rest of the summer pretending not to notice it’s even summer. Because I’m mad at it.

What inspired it lyrically?

With the lyrics, I’m kind of reminding myself that I can be happy and, coincidentally, unhappy under any circumstances. That things can be perfectly idyllic and I can still be dissatisfied. Also, at the end during the triumphant parts I was imagining a sort of utopian endless-summer type of situation.

You moved from San Francisco to Brooklyn. What do you miss the most? The least?

Moving my whole life across the country was really stressful. I got this rather small moving company to ship all of my music stuff. It was something like 700 pounds of equipment. And I just brought everything to this shady San Francisco warehouse, paid them, and left my stuff there. I still agonize over that. But it showed up here in Brooklyn just fine. Honestly, the change has been great. I was in kind of a rut in San Francisco after 12 years there and I had been debating on moving here for a long time. I still miss a lot of my friends there, though it seems like many of them are moving here. And, of course, I miss the landscape of Northern California. I’ll never miss that weird, lazy, stoner mentality.

You just tweeted “Quit your job.” What do you do for a day job?

I work in a store in Manhattan, packing and shipping very expensive things. Before that, I was an art handler. Before that, a bartender. I come from a long line of “Quit your job” type of jobs.

You definitely use lots of caves in your press material and album art… What’s been your favorite experience in a cave?

I had the most amazing experience in this cave called “the Black Chasm” in Northern California, near Nevada City. I had been unsure of whether or not I could use the name CAVES. There was a band called caves in Portland who threatened to sue me if I didn’t change the name. But somehow I sensed that it was important for me to keep it. So, I went to this cave and it was really incredible. I just knew that this was the source of life. I felt completely safe. I have never since in my life felt that comfortable. The Portland caves broke up and I knew that this was my destiny. To me, Caves represent a very primal sort of sanctuary. One that you sense, but don’t necessarily understand.

Do you have any advice for visiting caves?

Don’t be afraid of the dark. Never go alone. Bring a reliable light source, but be willing to go without it. Be prepared to have an experience you may not understand at first.

What’s the most memorable show you’ve played in Brooklyn?

We played at Cake Shop during a very popular club night. At the end of the show, I brought a bunch of the drums out to the crowd for the audience to play. People were going crazy. Now, I didn’t actually see this, but other people confirmed it for me: this guy was apparently so moved by the moment that he peed on some of my equipment. No joke. It was gross. Kind of amazing, but mostly gross.

What’s your favorite place to eat in Brooklyn?

I’m not really a food person. Paulie Gee’s in Greenpoint has amazing pizza.

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on April 12, 2011

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