Sarah Rose Janko and Tony Molina combine for a brief but beautiful album of nocturnal indie folk
Tony Molina has softened since setting up as a solo artist. The deconstructed fuzz of his work with Ovens has given way to something more in the sphere of Mr Tambourine Man-era Byrds. The Bay Area songwriter has always had a supreme knack for melody, but this wistful and de-fuzzed turn has made them shine.
That progression continues on In The Store, his second release with The Lost Days, a duo he formed with friend Sarah Rose Janko. The two met at the funeral of a mutual friend and discovered a shared love of jangly, autumnal folk, primarily the afore-mentioned Byrds and Bill Fox, former frontman of criminally underrated Cleveland power poppers The Mice.
Molina and Janko spent evenings into nights at her warehouse apartment, staying up late, playing acoustic guitars and drinking wine. Those nocturnal sessions resulted in the Lost Demos collection the duo released in 2021 but they still echo through their debut full-length, In The Store.
There’s a sense here that these ten songs were born out of playing and singing quietly enough so as not to disturb the neighbours. There’s a whispered quality to their voices – particularly Janko’s, which seems like it might float away at any moment – and even the full-band songs feel muted and hushed. In the spirit of its creation, this is late-night music. Not dark night of the soul music, more the kind you reach for as the party peters out and there’s just a few of you left, basking in the dregs of the revelry, finishing off the last of the malbec.
In true Molina style, only one of these songs crosses the two-minute threshold (the whole album is 14-minutes long), but it feels more like a full meal than a series of snacks. Maybe that’s because every song is so fully formed. There’s an abiding feeling of being there in the room with Molina and Janko, listening rapt as their voices and guitars fill the space. There are few better ways to spend an evening.
Released: 17 March 2023
Label: Speakeasy Studios SF
On Tour: TBC