The four-track demo is the musical equivalent of the homemade birthday card. It’s a little rough around the edges, a bit unprofessional, but nonetheless endearing and heartfelt. And it’s certainly preferable to the mass-produced and non-personal sort. Just about every band has put out their own album full of raw, untouched demos, and though they may not sound as good as the finished, mastered versions that came later, they still make for a good listen every now and again.
One such album of late that proves the enjoyability of a nice, home-recorded demo is Everyday Examples of Humans Facing Straight Into the Blow by The Blow, better known as Olympian Khaela Maricich. Many of these songs are unpolished, fuzzy and buzzy, revealing endless imperfections and quirks, the final result being a seemingly voyeuristic, but no less accessible listen. Maricich plays every song alone, usually on an acoustic guitar, though occasionally with the aid of some keyboard and multi-tracked vocals. A more stripped-down and intimate record than this is hard to find, though many artists, undoubtedly, have similar collections of their own archived somewhere in their own homes.
As rough as the demos on Everyday are, they maintain a catchy and fun sensibility that those familiar with The Blow would recognize from better produced albums. Maricich is an extremely talented songwriter, as her barely-there compositions reveal without any studio-polished aid. “Oh Canada” and “My Heart” alone make for a worthwhile listen, though many other tracks here are equally swell. Some songs are a bit sloppier than others, though it’s to be expected with home recordings. And despite the nature of the recordings, Maricich’s songs remain catchy and her voice maintains a consistent gentle beauty throughout.
Everyday Examples is by no means an essential recording. In fact, it wasn’t ever really meant to be an album. Most of these songs pre-date The Blow’s earliest releases and was sold at shows under the name Get the Hell Out of the Way of the Volcano. Regardless, it’s a lovely bit of intimate music from a great songwriter who holds her own with or without extra musicians and production.
All Time Quarterback – All Time Quarterback
Sentridoh – The Original Losing Losers
Mirah – Advisory Committee
Jeff Terich is the founder and editor of Treble. He's been writing about music for 20 years and has been published at American Songwriter, Bandcamp Daily, Reverb, Spin, Stereogum, uDiscoverMusic, VinylMePlease and some others that he's forgetting right now. He's still not tired of it.