The latest album release from Idiot Spit brings together lo-fi 90s influences with modern issues that still plague our world for an honest and profound album. With 'Needlework,' Idiot Spit proves you don’t need a professional recording in order to make a difference with music. 'Needlework' was recorded with no extensive equipment, and any proceeds for the album go to homeless youth in Seattle, WA. Its imperfections give it character, and it is definitely worth the listen. The perfect whimsical opening to 'Needlework' is Idiot Spit’s “Wandering Song” which will remind you of the simplicities of life with its instrumentation.
With the soft island strum of the guitar and the mellow double-layered vocals, “Wandering Song” has all the earthy tones needed for a song about being lost. The song’s character is wandering the realms of the earth after losing something, or someone, that gave them a sense of purpose and belonging. Unable to accept the fate that leads to someone leaving forever, they are left wandering alone.
Transitioning into track two of 'Needlework,' a similar acoustic performance makes its way into the hearts of listeners. The plucking pattern of “Strange Attractors” is soft and soothing, a beautiful compliment to the simple melody of the lyrics and conflicting thoughts. The waltz-like time signature helps “Strange Attractors” with its flowing, ethereal atmosphere.
“Black Cloud Cuckoo Land” adds a little piano to the classic guitar strums and prominent harmonies that ease your soul. The concept of being the reason for your own destruction, told through metaphors, brings the song to life. During the bridge, a little guitar melody is added that gives “Black Cloud Cuckoo Land” an impassioned climactic point.
Nostalgic “Experiments Running Experiments” is quite a lyrically strong song on 'Needlework' with many layers to unpack. The 80s/90s chord progression style has a nostalgic feel that gives this song a connection for listeners. Lyrics such as “Keep your color inside these arbitrary lines, they were not drawn for us” paint a clear picture of the tone of this album as a whole. The single-layered vocals draw focus to the lyrics and give the listener headspace to reflect.
The short but sweet 5th track “Damage III” is quicker paced with the light-hearted guitar but laced with the numbing thoughts of hitting rock bottom. This emotional track outlines the turmoil of being your own worst enemy and feeling helpless. Idiot Spit shows his ability to relay emotions through his vocal tones in “Damage III”, sparking empathy in all who listen.
The second half of the 'Needlework' album is kicked off with “Balancing Act”, a melancholy track about someone turning out different than they portray themselves as. Limited backing melodies allow you to sink into the lyrics and enjoy Idiot Spit’s gentle and sedative vocals.
“Cloud 7” has a simple but lengthy instrumental freestyle intro, introducing this meaningful and tender song. The pressure of feeling like a let-down for everyone you love takes a toll, and those emotions come out and adhere to the lyrics of this one. The theme of seven, whether it be wonders or sorrows, underlies “Cloud 7”. A spew of spoken thoughts closes out the song, a creative insert that makes “Cloud 7” stand out.
The title track of the album, 'Needlework,' encompasses the spiral of addiction, and what happens when you are overwhelmed by the guilt of pushing people away. With the characteristic guitar strums and vocal patterns of the entirety of the album, 'Needlework' summarizes the feelings spread out over the other heartfelt songs. The repetitive melody gives a sense of familiarity when you’re feeling like a stranger to yourself.
“Empty Light” is the longest song on the album at nearly 8 minutes. The elaborate introduction displays a beautiful plucking pattern that is followed by the now-familiar delicate vocals by Idiot Spit. This song will have you closing your eyes and swaying to the serine melody, just appreciating the stimulating lyrics.
“Haunted Safehouse” features more distorted guitar and fuzzy, abuse-ridden thoughts. Nearing the end of the story, this song centers around finding your way out of the darkest places but fighting with yourself on your way to the light. It’s difficult to see the bigger picture when all you have known for so long is pain, and the intricate lyricism takes you through the story.
The final track on Idiot Spit’s eye-opening album is “Perceptual Motion” with the same deep and softening lyrics that he has provided throughout the length of this album. The simple, stripped-down songs provide raw emotions, and the lack of production lets the message and melodies shine. 'Needlework' is the result of many years of falling to weaknesses and not quite knowing where to turn. Bravery won out in the end, and Idiot Spit is using his platform to raise awareness for homeless youth.
Discover 'Needlework' here.
It's incredible how long you have been working on “Needlework” and seeing how intricate and meaningful it turned out to be. How has “Needlework” changed from seven years ago to now? Did you always know you wanted any proceeds to go to charity? If I remember correctly I originally wanted it to be a concept album like “The Downward Spiral” or “Antichrist Superstar”; closer to a story than a collection of songs. However, I realized I wasn’t very good at writing that way so I just wrote the songs I wanted to write at the moment with no grand future plan. I did that for 3 years alongside an ever-growing drug addiction. It got bad enough, as drug addictions do, that writing had become the least of my concerns, and finding a safe place to sleep was at the top. On perhaps one of my worst nights, ROOTS Young Adult Shelter in Seattle provided that place. Much later once I was in a better place I decided I wanted to finish the album, so I went back and collected all the songs I had written over those years. The goal now was to create something raw and authentic that detailed the progression of my addiction. That’s when I decided that I wanted all proceeds to go to ROOTS. I wanted to be able to give back. So, in the end, I guess the album does tell a story, just not the one I originally imagined. What is the biggest challenge you encountered when creating “Needlework?" How did “Needlework” help you get through your own worst times, and how do you hope it will help others? The biggest challenge was definitely getting it recorded. I had all the recording equipment any DIY artist would ever want, microphones, guitars, software, a keyboard, a preamp. In the end, I choose not to use any of it. I recorded the entire album on a laptop microphone. Instead of trying to get away from sounding poorly produced I decided to fully embrace it. I think that lo-fi quality ends up working well for the album. Writing the songs that would eventually become “Needlework” was one of the few ways I was able to escape from the dark, scary, world I had made for myself and try to create something meaningful from it. I hope it will help others who are struggling with anything feel not so alone and to know that the ugliest/darkest parts of anyone’s life can be used to make something beautiful. The beautiful metaphors sprinkled all throughout your lyrics stood out greatly during “Needlework”. How long have you been writing music? How do you stay motivated to write when it feels impossible? Thank you. I idolize the Patti Smith’s and Leonard Cohen’s of the world who drive their music with poetry. Aspects of “Needlework” certainly emulate that. I wrote my first song about 12 years ago and my passion for writing music evolved into a passion for writing in general. Whether I’m working on a song, a poem, or a novel I’ve found patience and revision is key. My writing tends to suffer when I try to force something that just isn’t coming at the moment. So, when it feels impossible I just take a break for an hour...or a month. Which song on “Needlework” started the album process? Which song are you the proudest of? No one song really started the process. However, “Wandering Song” was the first song I wrote that I thought was any good. So, in a sense, that started it since it gave me the confidence not only to keep writing but to keep exploring ways to write better songs. I think I’m most proud of “Strange Attractors” because it’s such an odd chord progression that I was able to make work. There’s something unique about how it sounds that transport me somewhere else. After the long process and countless days it took to make “Needlework”, where do you see your art going from here? That’s a good question. I’ve produced a lot of work this past year (“Needlework”, a novel, and a bunch of poems). I may go into creative hibernation and recharge for a bit while continuing to promote the projects I’ve done. What has been keeping you inspired throughout 2020? My beautiful wife Jill and our two cats.