Small Black-Boy’s Life

hello august

Fall is creeping into my life earlier and earlier down in the south, despite the rising unbearable temperatures and half of the country still enjoying vacations. School seems to start too soon and the preparation for the year is always a big production. Have you noticed that school supplies are stocked in all of the stores already? I can barely resist fresh notebooks, Ticonderoga #2 pencils, smooth gel pens, art supplies, and all of the lovely decorated push pins and magnets.  They are all my weakness.


school supplies

What is it about the changing of a season that makes me so nostalgic? Perhaps it is the loud reminder, time can’t be stopped and we have no choice but to move on with our lives. Tick tock goes the clock, another calendar month is torn off (goodbye July!), and we must hit the ground running, despite the feelings of wanting to stay in one place and be still.

Very still.

Unfortunately, there is not one thing we can do to turn back time. But we can revisit the past as often as we want with pictures. Pictures are so important to me. I cherish the moments that were captured from my own childhood and school days. I cherish the pictures of my loved ones as well. Each photo tells a story, and if the subject wishes to share the background, it can become a beautiful experience of learning all about another person’s moment in time. You know what they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.

old photos

Today’s music arrived when my feelings were whispering these rolling, sentimental thoughts. Therefore, my music choice is so meaningful. “Boy’s Life” is one song on an upcoming album, Best Blues, inspired by the discovery of hundreds of damaged personal family photos after Hurricane Sandy. Listen with me.

 “Pictures of youth, picturing you”


Small Black is an indie band from Brooklyn, NY. The band is Josh Kolenik (lead vocals/guitar), Ryan Heyner (guitar/keyboards), Juan Pieczanski (bass/guitar), and Jeff Curtin (drums). Josh explains his discovery of memorabilia in an old shed that was under five feet of water to T magazine author, Alexandria Symonds...

“In the melting boxes and floating Sega Genesis games, I found a slew of images and letters of my parents that I’d never seen before — stuff that maybe nobody had seen in 20 to 30 years,” Kolenik explains. “I didn’t know who a lot of the figures in the photos were, or who the letters were to, so I spent a week out there trying to preserve and figure out the story. I scanned all of them, bay bottom residue and all, and attempted to solve the mystery that often eludes, even as it’s right there in front of us: Where did I come from? Who made me?”


 According to Small Black’s independent record label, Jagjaguwar,

“To put it simply, Best Blues is an album about loss, the specific loss of precious people in our lives, but also the loss of memories and the difficult fight to preserve them. I spent months trying to scan all these images and letters, most covered with ocean dirt, and in doing so discovered what people often find in their family’s past: that they are a hell of a lot like those who’d come before,” says Kolenik.

One of his father’s photos made it as the album cover, and you can see it on the Soundcloud. The release of Best Blues is October 16th. “Boy’s Life” is full of swirling sound and hazy voices, mysterious and lovely in its progression and beat. A powerful musical interlude is filled with haunting murmurs and a pounding drum with crashing cymbals. Interestingly the musical arrangement was also a rediscovery of an earlier tune they reworked. What is temporarily put aside can become new again with creativity and purpose. Small Black is not new to me (1st Small Black blog post), but this song is fresh and mature while not hiding their unique, dreamy indie sound and soothing vocals. I am anticipating this album with crazy excitement. How ’bout you?

We are lucky here in Atlanta to be #2 on their tour list this fall. They will play The Earl on Oct. 13th, surely they will share their new music (hint hint!). Check out the full tour schedule.


Sun. Oct. 11 – Richmond, VA @ Strange Matter *

Tue. Oct. 13 – Atlanta, GA @ The Earl *

Wed. Oct. 14 – New Orleans, LA @ Gasa Gasa *

Fri. Oct. 16 – Austin, TX @ Red 7 *

Sat. Oct. 17 – Dallas, TX @ Club Dada *

Tue. Oct. 20 – Phoenix, AZ @ Valley Bar *

Wed. Oct. 21 – San Diego, CA @ Casbah

Fri. Oct. 23 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Roxy Theatre

Sat. Oct. 24 – San Francisco, CA @ The Independent

Mon. Oct. 26 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir Lounge *

Tue. Oct. 27 – Vancouver, BC @ Biltmore Cabaret *

Wed. Oct. 28 – Seattle, WA @ The Crocodile – Back Bar *

Thu. Oct. 29 – Boise, ID @ Neurolux *

Fri. Oct. 30 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Urban Lounge *

Sat. Oct. 31 – Denver, CO @ Larimer Lounge *

Mon. Nov. 2 – Kansas City, MO @ The Tank Room *

Tue. Nov. 3 – Iowa City, IA @ The Mill *

Wed. Nov. 4 – Minneapolis, MN @ 7th St Entry *

Fri. Nov. 6 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall *

Sat. Nov. 7 – Detroit, MI @ UFO Factory *

Sun. Nov. 8 – Toronto, ON @ The Garrison *

Tue. Nov. 10 – Montreal, QC @ La Sala Rossa *

Wed. Nov. 11 – Burlington, TV @ Signal Kitchen *

Thu. Nov. 12 – Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall *

Sat. Nov. 21 – Brooklyn, NY @ Baby’s All Right *
* w/ Painted Palms

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