Alumni LP Highlight: Fort Lean - "Quiet Day"
No, Fort Lean is not a real place (though I did spend some time looking for it due to their mischievously misleading bandcamp bio). It's a platonic ideal, a state of mind, a utopia - but one where the shadows are a little bit darker and longer than they should be, where the edges are a little sharper than you'd expect. There's gold in them thar hills, but there's a lot of grit there, too.
At first listen, Quiet Day is a cheerful indie rock record. But Fort Lean didn't wait 4 years before releasing their debut album for the "first listen". They did it for the second listen, where you notice a menacing presence behind the danceable basslines. And the third listen, where you hone in on lyrics like "I'd like to have a drink, and also not get in a fight". And the fourth and fifth and umpteenth times where the glittering guitars and infectious stomp of the drums don't just transport you to a daydream land - they also make you question the forces keeping you from feeling that sense of pleasure 24/7.
Frontman Keenan Mitchell describes their music as a "bootleg vacation, the idea of an escape that is compromised or somehow undercut". We'd describe it as the sly grin and shrug that transforms a simple night out into something that shapes your whole year. No matter what the phrase "quiet day" might mean, Fort Lean's album is anything but.