Monday Motivation: Simmer


If you’re anything like me, you probably started the day by recognizing that the start of a new work week had indeed arrived and then immediately began shaking your fists at the sky in anger. Monday is rarely anyone’s favorite day, and from what I have seen firsthand it feels safe to say it’s the one day of the week some people outright hate. I guess to them the arrival of the work week symbolizes the end of their quote/unquote freedom, and as a result they head into the office/factory/restaurant/store with a negative outlook already on their mind. This leads to bad attitudes, which only makes the experience of being at work worse, and for some reason it also seems to make time slow to a crawl. We’re not about that life, and we hope this post can do the same you that the song contained within it did for us.

This morning I woke to the sight of my cat, Paws Von Trier, staring out the window with a look that was slightly different than the one I’ve grown customer to greeting with each new day. He glanced at me after I rustled the sheets, then looked back out the window again. I asked if he was looking at birds, but his head did not swivel as it usually would, nor did his voice crack with the half-squeak half-meow sound that he typically omits whenever attempting to make conversation. That momentary silence told me everything I needed to know about what was happening outside. Paws wasn’t quiet and still because he was worried the birds might catch on to his voyeuristic intention, but rather because he was witnessing the first real snow to hit Boston since Winter began. I don’t know much about the longterm memory of cats, but having survived New England’s worst winter in over a decade with Paws by my side just a year ago, during what would have been his first winter ever on this planet, I’ve grown to believe that he associates any snow falling from the sky as a sign of an impending blizzard.

Of all the ways one could choose to wake up, I’d wager that opening your eyes to almost immediately recognize the fact snow has fallen since you fell asleep is rarely, if ever, someone’s first choice. Knowing the world outside is not only cold, but likely filled with small tasks requiring varying amount of physical labor (snow shoveling, scraping ice off cars, etc), makes an already stressful work day infinitely worse. It also starts your day with a negative outlook, which never bodes well for your personal goals or your interactions with the outside world. You may try to wash off the bad vibes in the shower, or perhaps attempt to drown them in two or four cups of coffee, but more often than not these efforts are futile at best. Nature’s decision to surprise you with snow has cursed your entire Monday, and as a result everyone you meet must feel your wrath.

This is where music comes in. For whatever reason, and scientists will agree, music has the ability to ease the worried mind and relax a tired heart. When all hope seems lost and you feel as if you will soon come apart at the same there is always a better than decent chance a well timed song with just the right sound or feel will save the day. Hell, it may even save your life. Music, and by that I mean the kind of song crafted by one or more people working together in a small space out of a desire to do nothing more than express themselves, is the best medicine outside of actual medicine, and it can work wonders that words fail to properly describe. I cannot tell you exactly why a song or album saved my day, but I can tell you how it made me feel when it hit my body via my ear canal. I can describe to you the way the colors of the world around me grew brighter with each note plucked from a guitar played by Koji, or how the chaos of traffic in a city setting felt somehow complimented by the crashing drums of an overlooked song from Have Heart, but my ability to convey my experience immediately falls apart when asked to explain the mechanism behind it.

I really did begin the day as described above, and I did attempt to shake the negativity from my bones with a hot shower and a gluttonous amount of coffee, but truth be told neither effort made much of a difference as far as my mood was concerned. The snow had chilled my heart, and it had lead me to believe the day would be as dull as the world now appeared to be from my office window. It wasn’t until I had sat down at my desk and began pouring through emails overlooked during the weekend that I stumbled upon a cure for my Monday morning blues. As with all the best surprises, the music that saved my day came from a group I had never known on a label I did not know existed prior to today. My guard was down and my mind was open, allowing me to be blown away by anything truly deserving of my attention, and just as I thought the day was doomed I came across a record that I now believe will soon be changing lives around the globe.

Simmer is a three-piece rock band that brings to mind the glory days of early punk and channels its ethos through a slow and expressive indie-tinged sound that is both ambient and experimental in ways that are endlessly enthralling. Their upcoming debut release for Dog Knights Productions, Paper Prisms, boasts the instrumentation of an angsty Explosions In The Sky combined with lyrical themes of growth, loss, love, and evolving world perspective. As the album plays you get the sense that the members of Simmer are soaking in life and the way it has changed with the passing of time, but they have yet to fully accept that we can never go back. This is a sentiment I am sure most you reading this now can relate to, though you might hate to admit it. There are people, places, and times in our life we spend weeks, months, and even years hoping to return to, even though we know such feats are never possible. Those memories, frozen in time forever, exist to remind us not of what we have lost, but of all the magic that can be found in our everyday lives. We as humans tend to forget that fact, choosing instead to believe those moments point to a time better than the one we have now, but as time carries on we grow to see things for what they really are in our own ways.

Take for instance, “Charles,” the first song from Paper Prisms to be made available to the public. The song sounds like a mix of shoegaze and punk influenced emo conveyed through a wall of sound approach that engulfs the listening from the opening moments and never lets up. You’re carried away in the band’s overall sonic expression before the vocal hit, and when they do their presence only adds to an already rushing wave of sound that you have no hope of escaping unhooked. Like all the best songs, “Charles” sucks you in and refuses to let you go. If you’re willing, “Charles” will allow you to get lost in a world of music far, far away from the inconveniences of daily life. You see, there is no pain in the world of “Charles,” just a journey through Simmer’s art that is both endless interesting and repeatedly jaw-dropping, just like Paper Prisms as a whole.

Whether you’re a post-rock kingpin in need of something new or an aging emo kid turned progressive punk loving adult hoping to find the next band that will change you life I assure you Simmer is a band you need to know. Paper Prisms is the first great indie rock album of 2016 that defies simple classification, and with the right marketing the record could very easily establish Simmer as one of the bands to beat in this still very new year. Even if that doesn’t happen, the record will still be great, and you would be a fool to not make room for it in your personal music library. This is the kind of album that can save you even on the worst days, and really, what more could you hope to find in any work of art?

Paper Prisms will be released on March 6, 2016 by Dog Knights Productions. Click here for pre-order information.

James Shotwell is the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. He is also a professional entertainment critic, covering both film and music, as well as the co-founder of Antique Records. Feel free to tell him you love or hate the article above by connecting with him on Twitter. Bonus points if you introduce yourself by sharing your favorite Simpsons character.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company's podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.