Dreamy synths and enthusiastic mellotron accompany Michael Desmond’s reinvention on LOCAL NOMAD, which is also the pseudonym he creates under. Throughout the EP’s five tracks weave illustrious drum beats and vintage synths, melding together Paul Simon’s ‘70s aesthetic and the pop sensibility of Gnarls Barkley for an irresistibly catchy soundtrack to rapid change.
“The idea for this collection of songs was born out of a turbulent time in my life,” Michael says. “I had gotten out of a six-year relationship, my artist name was stolen by someone I knew, my uncle passed away in a tragic accident, and I was gigging full-time while simultaneously working a day job to afford to finish up my college degree. I lost my balance, felt the weight of the world and I couldn’t find the comforts that come with a sense of home. I was at a crossroads and, I don’t want to say I was having a mid-life crisis, but I felt the need to get a lot of things off my chest.”
A native of Long Island, NY, Michael and his orchestral indie-rock band, Gabriel the Marine, garnered regional attention and later performed nationwide with bands like Taking Back Sunday, Glassjaw, Mew, Jacks Mannequin, and The Dear Hunter. On LOCAL NOMAD, he returns as a blue-eyed soul dipped crooner, whose narrative lyrics combine with inviting elements of the future.
The EP kicks off with “Love Is Gone,” an irresistibly fun listen about the inevitable celebration when the clouds clear after a breakup. “I wrote this song when I had gotten broken up with over the phone after being in a relationship for more than six years,” Michael says.
“I wanted this song to be harsh, funny, and authentic,” he continues. “Like the phases of this relationship, it morphed through a series of versions as I grew more and more comfortable being lyrically vulnerable. It ended up as a coping mechanism for me as I discovered humor and came face to face with some harsh realities — we are just different people in the end, and once the love is gone, it’s time to let go.”
“Gates” was written while navigating a close friend’s Xanax withdrawals and, ultimately, it’s about trying to help someone out of a dark place and the different hurdles we jump to overcome hardship.
“At the time I was gigging six nights a week, working a 9 to 5 and driving to New Jersey every weekend to write music with and support this friend,” Michael says. “A song that sounded romantic became an anthem of friendship.”
“Getting Old Is A Bitch” follows, a satirical song that reflects on inner youth and the unstoppable force of aging over time. “‘Invecchiare è una cagna,’ getting old is a bitch, is something I’ve heard my grandma say my entire life,” Michael says.
“She is a 91-year-old Italian immigrant who made it through the Great Depression, the loss of her husband, breast cancer and fought for her family every step of the way,” he continues. “She talks about the life that she wished she could have had and what being a woman at the turn of the century was like. It’s about acceptance of the past and understanding that although life comes with pain, it’s all about being grateful for what we do have.”
“Young Vampires” narrates the transition of becoming the ugliest version of yourself in a relationship. You’re not necessarily trying to hurt one another, but the reasons you’re together seem long forgotten.
“I had this song title for a while and I ended up writing two entirely different versions of it,” Michael says. “I’m a big-time horror movie fan and I enjoy Bela Lugosi movies. I took a lot of cues from these classic horror movies and combined my own personal experience.”
“Summertime” embraces a simpler time, the little joys of younger days. “Growing up, baseball was a huge part of my childhood and it actually saved my life,” Michael says.
“If it wasn’t for baseball, I probably wouldn’t have discovered that I had a tumor, which could have potentially left me paralyzed. Despite the challenges I faced as a kid with my surgery, these were the golden years. I’ll always remember how easy life was, even when things were not the greatest. I’ll always remember summertime and what it meant to me growing up.”
“These are the moments I will cherish forever,” he continues, and that, in a way, seems like an undercurrent of the whole LOCAL NOMAD EP— whether intentional or not. Even when there is pain, the lens we choose to look through can keep the skies sunny and the cloud away.
“It's about seeking the strange and embracing the unknown,” Michael says. “Wondering. Wandering. Young and old. Everywhere and nowhere. As cliche as it may sound, when I pick up a guitar and sing it's the only time I feel at home.”
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