Three Music Thingz with Castle Black

Three Music Thingz with Castle Black
feature image photo credit: Jen Meller

Holy moley, it's another rendition of Three Music Thingz, the blogseries where I ask musicians for three thingz that are essential to their music-making.

Up on deck today are Castle Black, a two-person band (Leigh Celent on guitar and vox, Joey Russo on le drums) who represent an important concept: Rock's Not Dead, It's Literally Just Living In New York City. I'm very on the record as a horn-tooter of the wonderfully and consistently vibrant rock scene in NYC, which is full of cool people who enjoy annihilating the sound systems of venues from Alphaville to TV Eye. Castle Black is right there in the mix, having put out high-drama, genre-agnostic rock music since 2015.

After a handful of EPs released over the years, Castle Black are about to put out their first full-length release, The Highway at Night. They've been dropping singles over the past few months to build that sweet sweet album anticipation: first the forlorn, math-rock / goth-rock (math goth??) "Bright-Eyed", and now the jauntier "Heart Can't Feel," which has a shifty syncopated chorus ("The heart can't feel / What the eyes can't see"), a sharp, clean riff that reminds me of peak rock revival times, and a killer video directed by Jen Meller that has tap dancing in it. I'm throwing up the Sign of the Horns for Castle Black...

🤘🤘🤘 let's find out what goes into their tasty concoction of rock. Leigh Celent sent over some real good thingz...

  1. Voice Recorder on iPhone
    Ideas for song parts pop into my head often when I’m nowhere where I can actually capture the idea properly. I can’t tell you the number of times I have had to steal off to the bathroom, or find a quiet spot on the street, or pull over while driving, so that I could record a quick idea for a song on the voice recorder. I’ll record lyrics, vocal melodies, guitar parts, bass parts, whatever, with my voice and then have that recording if I forget the idea, which I generally do. Voice recorder has really saved so many ideas from being lost.

    I also use it when I’m working on the song at home, so I’ll record sections as I have them, usually with guitar and vocals. Sometimes, once the song is fully done and professionally recorded for the album, I’ll go back to the very first recording of the song that I have on voice recorder and see where it all started. That can be quite funny. For “Heart Can’t Feel” the first recording that I have is much slower and has this guitar riff in between vocal lines on the chorus making it sound like it belonged in a Western movie.
  2. A Variety of Instruments
    Even if we don’t use a particular instrument on a recording, it’s great to have choices around, in case we just want to try something out. I will often do that when I’m writing the guitar and vocal parts - pick up the bass to see if it’s better as a bass line, pick up the baritone to see if it should be played there, see how something sounds on keyboard, etc. I think it's really important to have instruments around to hear how things sound elsewhere. It's very inspirational.
  3. Ranger and Jetta (the dogs)
    To clarify, they are not things, but our dogs are really important to the process! I usually write songs and lyrics at home. The dogs are always there with me, providing solid support. They let me sing things at them or play a guitar part for them and are really just the best little sounding boards one could have. Ranger is a bold and inquisitive French Bulldog/Boston mix and Jetta is a cat-like and curious Cattle Dog/Chihuahua mix (primarily). They lended their paws to the “Heart Can’t Feel” music video and it really wouldn’t be the same without them.
Jetta and Ranger!!
Heart Can’t Feel, by Castle Black
track by Castle Black

Thanks Castle Black! Check out their link aggregation, and definitely listen to "Heart Can't Feel." And thanks for reading I Enjoy Music. If you like it, tell a friend about it.