We may not give you a ton of psychedelic indie/pop, but today we are delivering in a big way with a free, high-quality MP3 download of the standout track “Neighbouring Hotels” from Victoria, B.C.’s Cartoon Lizard! The song, amongst other past musical output, can be found at the group’s Bandcamp here. The five-piece has no weak links as each member is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and producer. With such personal musical accomplishment, there is a collective emphasis within the band on careful collaboration and meticulous experimentation in order to constantly refine their craft.
The guys aim to craft songs that are appealing both on a surface level while also rewarding to those who like a more serious listen to search out all the hidden layers in sound and instrumentation. Each year, the members dedicate months to writing and recording in the woods of Cedar, B.C. where they are surrounded by nature and tranquility. With such dedication, the band often spends days at a time refining individual elements of each composition. It’s an approach to popular music that is rare to find today as compared to the ‘60s and ‘70s.
Commenting on the single, the band collectively stated, “‘Neighbouring’ is a call to those battling lifelong pain and/or mental and physical illness. We want to let them know that they are seen and recognized every day, even though their pain may be hidden. The story simply details a seance happening in a hotel in and amongst many hotels and city buildings where other lives are happening. In our hotel room, a bedridden character is surrounded by friends calling out into the spirit world to bring a potion of healing. With or without a cure our ailing protagonist continues through life showcasing optimism. ‘Neighbouring Hotels’ is a swirling wind of acoustic samples, and high reaching harmonies. You are a wandering soul trying to make your way out of a forest, only to eventually rest in the moss.“
Now that you have downloaded your free copy of the song, check out the music video for “Neighbouring Hotels.”
What inspired the song? Cartoon Lizard: Initially, the song came from me listening to a lot of The Band and Sufjan Stevens and trying to find an interesting middle ground between the two. Lyrically however, it’s been hard not to get political in recent times, and the lyrics here are definitely a product of that. We’ve all felt the change in climate, and have been questioning our beliefs more so than ever. This song is essentially motivation to never stop questioning yourself because nobody has the answer, nobody is perfect, and you have to accept that and be willing to recognize when you’re in the wrong.
Who produced it and what was the recording experience like? Cartoon Lizard: The bed of the track (guitar, drums and bass) was recorded by Trevor (Lang) in his home studio in 2016 following the release of Cartoon Lizard’s debut EP, Not Punk Not Raw. From there it was sent to Ritchie (Hemphill) who decorated the recording with snippets of audio of his grandpa telling his life stories. The clips of audio were pitch modulated via the cassette players speed control to give it a surreal character. In addition to that, he recorded the heavy distorted guitar that comes in within the first couple seconds of the song as well as some other guitar melodies dispersed throughout the rest of the composition.
If you want more, take a look at this video for Cartoon Lizard's "Lay of The Land."
The recording was left dormant for a year before being resurrected in 2018 during the band’s tenure at Risque Disque Records where Brennan (Doyle), Shilo (Preshyon) and Alex (Maunders) added some extra details to the song. The final vocals were recorded after the band had left the Rique Disque, back at Trevor’s home studio where the song took it’s initial form.
What do you want people to take away from the song? Was there a particular mood you were trying to capture? A story you were trying to tell? Cartoon Lizard: I want people to take it as a free pass to admitting you were wrong without any judgement. Everything is always changing and so contextual that you can’t possibly always know exactly what you want, how you feel, and what you believe. I think one’s beliefs are fluid and subject to change, and if more people accepted that maybe we’d live in a more tolerant society.
What are your plans for the next year? Cartoon Lizard: We plan on continuing our work in the studio as well as maintain a steady stream of releases for 2019.