Exclusive Track Premiere: ‘Bags of Bones,’ Little Sur

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Published May 6, 2015

ABOVE: LITTLE SUR. PHOTO COURTESY OF MARY KANG.

Since releasing their first 2011 EP, California-bred, New York-based collective Little Sur has evolved from a predominately acoustic outfit into something much more experimental. With musical arrangements that employ everything from banjos to organs, their latest work is ethereal and haunting. Here, the band premieres a ghostlike reshaping of “Bags of Bones,” a track off of their most recent album Modern Studies of Ancient Times, released last year. With dreamlike lyrics exploring the relationship between bandleader Josh Meer and his parents, “Bags of Bones” is both lamenting and cathartic—a taste of what is to come as the band works on their next album.

 
“I started writing this song in late 2009, after a series of dreams about my parents and weird insects,” says Meer. “I was living in Santa Cruz, California at a particularly strange time in my life. I came back to the song several years later and reworked it some. I’m not entirely sure why I unearthed it. It’s been gratifying writing to and about my folks though, a real well of inspiration that I didn’t initially understand.”
 
The rerecording is a stripped down version of the original, and features Meer’s vocals as well as the original founding member of the band, Olivia Gerber. “I went back to this song and I recorded layer after layer of the same main guitar part and got this cool chorusy effect. I wanted something heavier this time around, something darker,” says Meer.
 
Recorded using his dad’s old Fender Princeton in the living room of his home in Brooklyn, the engineering process reflects the personality of the song: intimate, sentimental, and introspective. Nostalgia is part of Meer’s makeup—he’s even got his childhood teddy bear tattooed on his left forearm. “That’s Oso. He’s been with me since the jump,” explains Meer. “Best looking member of my family, without question.”

FOR MORE ON LITTLE SUR, VISIT THE BAND’S WEBSITE.