Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Song of the Week: Ducky Boys

The new Ducky Boys album, Chasing the Ghost, is out. I know this for a fact because I tripped over it as I was trying to leave my house on Saturday.  The post man (or woman, or robot or whatever) left the LP in between the screen door and front door. I only wish someone was there to witness my dismount. I totally stuck the landing.  I quickly forget why I opened the front door, don’t worry, it wasn’t because my house was on fire (this time), and brought the record inside.  That’s right, record. It’s a vinyl, anti-environmental conscious, retro, lovely sounding on the turntable, record. I buy most of my music these days in digital form.  It’s convenient, subway listening ready, and it’s instant gratification. Iwanttolistentothissongthisverysecond. But sometimes you just want something tangible. Something to open, to look at. You want to lie on the floor and read over the lyrics and the acknowledgements, look at the artwork, admire the fact that music comes off of this round thing. And sometimes you just need to reorganize your record collection as a means to control the chaos of the world and it is very hard to spread out MP3s on the living room floor.

As I was opening up the package I noticed that my address was handwritten on the front.  Why am I mentioning this? Because it doesn’t happen that often anymore.  The Ducky Boys, who have been around for over a decade, are pretty well known in their native Boston, and have a good size following around the country and world. I saw them a million years ago and I couldn’t tell you a single thing about any of the other bands that night because I was completely blown away by the Ducky Boys set. I have literally worn out copies of their earlier albums due to extended play.   But for reasons all their own they don’t tour much outside of New England and it has been 6 years since their last album. They formed their own record label, State Line Records, to release this album, 100% Do It Yourself (that’s what  all the cool and crafty kids call DIY).  And as impatient I am with other things in life, seriously toaster, I want my toast, I am completely fine with bands taking as much time as they need for a make record. I want the songs to be right.

I pre-ordered the album way back in October. The money from the pre-orders went directly to producing and promoting the album.  But even after all the pre-orders and deserved recognition, members of the band are still probably going to take a financial hit because recording, producing, pressing and mailing an album all yourself isn’t cheap. And as ridiculous as it might sound, knowing that the band sat down and hand wrote all the addresses on the how many cds and LPs and lugged all of it to the post office themselves, is making listening to a great album, that much better.  It goes back taking a risk on doing something you love. Back to the bravery of sharing your life, stories and songs with people, many of which you don’t know. Putting yourself out there in the open, ugly scars and all. And to me, those are some of the most important, and hardest things to do in this little thing we call life. Sometimes I don’t feel that I can be this brave with my own life, but at least I can support others who do.

Now after all those words, let me, finally,  say a couple of words about the album itself, it’s really good. It’s a pretty emotional journey of heartache, starting over, the highs and lows of life and maybe a little bit more heartache. I have to admit that there are a couple of the songs that I have haven't been able to listen to all the way through yet because they strike too close to home. But isn't that the thing about good music, it triggers something familiar within the human story?  Musically it’s pretty simple, in a good way, a very good way. A couple of guys, a couple of guitars, sometimes loud, sometimes not so much, but always with a lot of heart. To quote one of their earlier albums, it’s three chords and the truth.

Want  a little taste?, Here's one of my favorite songs from the new album:

Right now, the entire album is streaming on their website.

Moral of the story: whenever you get a chance, I urge you to support independent music. For bands that I feature on this blog I try to link to their bandcamp page/website if they have one. Buying music directly from the band supports their music and their everyday lives so they can continue to make music. Buy a t-shirt from a touring band, it’s probably how they pay for gas to get to the next gig. Tell your friends of the great new band that you just heard. Empty your pockets of spare change for the  guy or gal playing the guitar on the street corner.  And always, always go early to concerts to see the opening bands even if you have never hear of them, you will find a new favorite band, I promise.


  1. Wow, Katherine - thanks so much. This kind of support means the world to us (as a band, as a label, and as people). To give credit where credit is due, Mark wrote your address on that record which he packed up himself. He ran all of the physical pre-orders single-handedly (though I think Jay may have driven him to the post office). We're starting practices for a string of CTG release shows tonight - reading this post just gave me a shot of enthusiasm for it! Again, THANK YOU for your kind words and for your perspective on music in general. This is why we bother recording these songs at all!
    - Douglas/Ducky Boys/State Line Records

  2. Someone gets it! -Mark