Caleb Nichols, musician and poet, just released their new EP Chan Says & Other Songs alongside a digital book of poems – out now on Kill Rock Stars.
The EP begins with ‘stop scrolling’, a 30-second track that reveals a speaking voice with an evasive metallic sound in the background. This gives a taste of the immersive experience the listener is about to have. Lyrics full of imagery, Caleb addresses us directly:
“consider how it feels to be the lone black seed […] of a seedless watermelon”.
Produced by Zach Rogue (of the rock band Rogue Wave), the first two songs present their author at their most vulnerable. Caleb traces their journey into their non-binary identity, exploring questions of uncertainty, identity, and feeling lost in Wicked: “could you tell me your name?”. The music blends synth waves and folk guitar which gives a sense of ethereality almost celestial. With poetic lyrics and melancholic sounds, both tracks could fit on Sufjan Stevens and Angelo De Austin’s latest album, A Beginner’s Mind.
Chan Says is the story of a journey which Caleb takes us through on the following tracks with poems and ambient electronic music in the background, produced by themselves. The variations in intensity are reminiscent of the stages of a story, with a preamble, rising action, climax, and resolution. Caleb reflects on the past traumas with body shaming and present struggles of dissociation in Life Will Form My Body:
“my body, half of someone else”
It’s a touching work that offers itself in a new genre, mixing slam, ambient, and indie folk music. Any curious soul, fan of concept music, poetry, and Aldous Harding will love Chan Says & Other Things.
Find Caleb Nichols at: web | instagram | twitter | bandcamp | killrockstars.com