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Trip to the West Coast with Ross Goldstein's Soft, Psychedelic "California"

The latest single from the New York State-based artist is as uncluttered and unhurried as his forthcoming LP, 'Inverted Jenny.'

Psychedelically-inclined musician and visual artist Ross Goldstein's forthcoming album, Inverted Jenny, doesn't have a lot of lyrics. After laying down tracks and hummed melodies at his home in the Catskill mountains, Goldstein decided to scrap swaths of vocal tracks in favor of instrumental scene-setting and gentle invocations. Taken as a whole, the record is built for immersion—Goldstein opens the record with three delicately-worded, minimal pop songs before allowing the album to breathe and stretch out without his own narration. He drops in and drops out to point things out, to outline an anecdote, but there's no clutter.


"California," premiering on Noisey today, is the latest single to come from Inverted Jenny, captures the stillness, even when Goldstein's singing through a road trip. Chord progressions that seem to be built for vocal interventions go unbothered—take the "Strangers"-like rise at the top of the chorus—and Goldstein's vocals are given no superiority in the mix over strummed acoustic guitars, soft slides, or muffled horns. The words that he does let out are gentle placement: "Arizona highway / Travelling out of sight," he sings at the beginning; "Arizona highway / Travelling through the fog," in the second verse.

The video for "California" is as carefully minimal as the record itself. Goldstein, barefoot and sunglasses on, sitting on a sand dune, playing the song alone. There are a handful of cutaways, one to a broken-off Cadillac rim, the rest to wide shots of the ocean. Nothing is hurried or forced in the video any more than it seems to be for Goldstein himself—this is his second LP and his debut came out a decade ago. Watch the video at the top of the page. Inverted Jenny is out August 11 on Northern Spy.

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