Sounds Local: ‘Feel Good Everywhere’ with indie rock band Spouse

  • Jose Ayerve, J.J. O’Connell and Marc Seedorf of Spouse. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

For the Recorder
Published: 1/19/2022 3:00:19 PM

It’s a well known fact that the pandemic hit musicians hard. When live music stopped, they were instantly stripped of their livelihood and faced with some serious financial struggles. The forced isolation, which was difficult for all of us, took an even bigger toll on those whose lives consisted of constant travel and forming connections with audiences everywhere.

Many musicians turned to their music as a way to deal with all this uncertainty. The latest album to come out of these trying times is “Feel Good Everywhere” by indie rock band Spouse.

Spouse, which was formed by vocalist, songwriter and guitarist Jose Ayerve in the mid-1990s, has a long history on the local music scene. Over the years, the band has gone through various lineup changes and has released numerous recordings, won over college radio and even had its music used in some television shows.

While viewed as a local band, Ayerve actually left the Pioneer Valley back in the ’90s, first living in Portland, Maine and later settling in Ecuador, while most of the lineup remained here in the valley. This geographical gap, combined with the fact that the band took a seven-year hiatus from 2010 to 2017, has impacted the frequency of the group’s live performances.

In February 2020, the current lineup — Ayerve, J.J. O’Connell on drums, Peyton Pinkerton on guitar, and Marc Seedorf on bass and guitar — played a handful of shows in the Northampton area. Then it was back to Ecuador for Ayerve who, like most of the world, found himself in lockdown by the time March 2020 rolled around.

“It was a very scary and uncertain time for so many people,” Ayerve said in his press release for the album. “Somehow, the shared experience brought us back together and inspired us to collaborate virtually.”

In April, when the band started work on this project, it wasn’t members’ first time collaborating virtually as they had made “Emergency,” an album they released last year with a slightly different lineup, in the same manner.

“I’d track an idea and send it out to them, they’d track their parts. Songs evolved a bit, changed, grew stronger and different,” he said. “We worked off some demos from a session we did at J.J.’s place in October of 2015 and added a bunch more tunes until the record began to take shape,” Ayerve said. Seedorf and O’Connell did the mixing and Mark Alan Miller of Sonelab recording studio in Easthampton mastered the project.

“Feel Good Everywhere” was released Jan. 7 and is available on Bandcamp.com.

Spouse is known for creating indie rock music that is steeped in memorable melodies, and songs like “15 Seconds” pretty much fit that description. As does the poppy “La buena suerte,” one of two songs here sung in Spanish, which is something else we have come to expect from a Spouse album.

When Ayerve launches into lines like “We have our reputation/But no money, no respect/We feel a little different/We feel a little sick/We can’t afford our records/We can’t afford our rent/ And how are we going to take this show on the road?” on the tune, “Show on the Road,” he captures the anxiety felt by every musician who has had to cancel countless gigs over the past couple of years. It’s that feeling of not knowing and fearing what’s around the next corner that pops up throughout this disc.

“Feel Good Everywhere” finds Ayerve channeling the unrest and the anger of our current times into his songs, which results in some sublime music. This album is a bit darker and rocks a lot harder than past releases, but is thoroughly enjoyable. Judging from the propulsive drumming, searing guitars and Ayerve’s scratchy vocals, “Feel Good Everywhere” was as cathartic to make as it is to listen to.

A song like “Denied” starts out with a simple strumming guitar and Ayerve singing in a hushed voice, “Would you pull me into your arms?/So I can feel your warmth/and be nothing but charmed?” Once the chorus kicks in so does the fierce guitars and crashing cymbals. The band uses the loud/quiet/loud dynamic to great effect here, and by the end a chorus of voices is singing “Denied, denied, denied” while the band delivers a full sonic assault that begs the listener to crank up the volume.

Even a mournful song like “Hold Each Other” with a dreamy psychedelic sound uses some sludgy guitar that makes the sound lovely and heavy at the same time. And the grungy vibe of “Camera” lends a heaviness to the music, but the song ends with Ayerve repeating the phrase, “I feel good everywhere.”

And that’s what he wants the album to be about — being content, being grateful and feeling good wherever you might find yourself.

“The songs on this record are definitely meant to celebrate life, but part of life is feeling and experiencing some pretty scary, dark and unnerving things,” he said. “Some of which are captured here.”

Spouse is currently putting together a tour in the spring and it should include some local stops, so stay tuned.

Moon Hollow at The Brewery at Four Star Farms

If you are looking to enjoy some tunes and a cool brew, head to The Brewery at Four Star Farms in Northfield, which is located at 508 Pine Meadow Road. The brewery has music every weekend and Friday night you can enjoy the acoustic sounds of Moon Hollow, a trio from southern Vermont that plays original music and a mix of bluegrass, Americana, alt-country, folk and early jazz.

The band will play from 6 to 9 p.m.

In an effort to ensure everyone’s safety, The Brewery at Four Star Farms requires that masks be worn at all times except when eating or drinking. The business has recently implemented some additional safety measures that include having masks available at all entrances and exits, more hand sanitizing areas available and using single-use compostable cups. The brewery has also added three new high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) purifiers in addition to its own ventilation system, and staff remain committed to frequently sanitizing seating and high-traffic areas.

New date for Jeffrey Foucault

Jeffrey Foucault was slated to perform at Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center in Greenfield on Friday, Jan. 28, but the show has been rescheduled to Saturday, March 5, and moved to The Parlor Room in Northampton. The show is now part of the eighth annual Back Porch Festival, which is presented by Signature Sounds Presents.

All tickets purchased for the Greenfield show will be honored. Tickets for this new date and all Back Porch Festival shows are on sale now at signaturesoundspresents.com.

I should mention that tickets for the Green River Festival — including weekend passes, single-days passes, parking passes and camping — are on sale now at greenriverfestival.com. Lineup to be announced soon.

Sheryl Hunter is a music writer who is a native of Greenfield and currently resides in Easthampton. She can be reached at soundslocal@yahoo.com.


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