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Review: Jeff Linden Drops New, Stripped Down EP; Sad Bastard Songs

Sad songs say so much

When it feels like mainstream music has lost its raw, emotional edge, look beneath the surface. Literally.

Jeff Linden has spent the past two years in New Jersey’s underground music circuit, performing in various bars and basements with his backing band, The Black Spot Society.

With three EP’s, a full-length album, and a solo single under his belt, Linden is no stranger to the scene. His most recent EP, Sad Bastard Songs, dropped July 22, 2017.

Stepping away from electric guitars and the high-energy sound found on his full-band tracks, Sad Bastard Songs takes a more bare-bones approach with stripped down instrumentals and a focus on Linden’s passionate vocals.

The title track, “sad bastard song.” opens the EP up on a rather melancholy note. This is a song of aching discontentment and desire dampened by resignation. Linden’s vocals truly convey the feeling behind this song, giving the lyrics an extra layer of power and meaning.

Listeners get into the head and look through the eyes of someone who’s used to being down and out and lives a life were “even on the good days everything feels wrong.” “Sad bastard song.” also features singer-songwriter Rebecca Emontwho’s passionate vocals complement Linden’s perfectly.

“Stories of the moon.” is a love song that isn’t really a love song at all. The soothing guitar tune meshes well with the harmonica accenting the melody, creating a dreamy vibe while Linden sings wistfully of a false romance that has yet to begin, and possibly never will.

The third track on the album, “three thousand miles,” paints a vivid picture of a long-distance love that stretches from coast to coast. The sudden power given to the previously calm song near the end is absolutely spine-tingling in the best way.

“A new place.” is arguably the most poetic song on the EP. Right from the get go it hits listeners with deep, though-provoking lines that are sure to make them feel some sort of way. “I made a nest of the things that i loved as a child to protect me from the things i love now” is the line that opens the song, and it is simple, yet beautiful. Linden’s vocals are alway on-point, but with this song especially, the passion in his voice is undeniable.

The EP ends with a rather ambient track titled “summer skies.” This short song has a grainy, recording of a recording quality, adding an artistic flair to the end of the Sad Bastard Songs. It is also arguably the most upbeat song on the EP. The detached sound to the audio mirrors the sense of disconnection and exploration expressed through the lyrics:

“Back in the grass, and i open my eyes
I’ve been looking for god in the summer skies
I left my friends and the party behind
To wander down a neighborhood that isn’t mine”

All in all, Sad Bastard Songs is a beautifully unplugged experience with tracks that tug at the heartstrings. Definitely worth the listen.

Rating: 4.5/5

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