Barney Cortez is selflessly raising money from his music sales to help his friend and artistic twin Tiger Merrit’s family. Merrit fronted the amazing Morning Teleportation and was one of the white hot burning stars of the contemporary psych movement. he is dearly missed.

I hope you will read this and contribute on Bandcamp. The loss of young musicians is becoming something of an epidemic lately. Let’s keep them here.

On the intriguingly-named “The Big Swirl” a wild opening sequence  draws you in with a sweep of stomping, psyched-out energy.  Fuzzed-to-the-max garage riffs are matched with stately horn accouterments.  Barney comes at you with silky smooth vocals that belie the hard truth as he spills forth when detailing his journey.  Apparently the song was originally titled “Runaway” but “The Big Swirl” seemed a better fit once it was laid down on tape, denoting the expansive and fast moving feel of the track. The concept of the big swirl comes from a song called “Sir Rockaby”,  by Frank Black. Black’s use of the term moved Barney. He told me,  “”It’s what he calls the sky and the universe and I came to use the phrase as the spectrum of human emotions and experience. Sort of like a rebirth.”

Despite its jaunty and casual vibe, the track is ripe with world weariness. Cortez sings of failure traps and being a coke freak and running away. It could be fact. It could be fiction. But it’s definitely mythological in a way that only the best songwriting ever is. Skilled at crafting a catchy opening sequence, he is equally adept at spinning an ending that just doesn’t fade out, with the track taking on a whole different direction in the closing seconds, complete with arcade bleeps and a notably late ’90s Beck-esque dragged baseline. Ear worms ooze from just about every surface of this song.

“The Big Swirl” possess Cortez’ trademark rollicking riffs and a vocal style that courts depth yet remains breezy in its mannerisms, and the whole swirling mess is wrapped up in crisp melodies and a glorious grab bag of auditory elements. Tom Petty at his most playful comes to mind. What Cortez has delivered here is the perfect glazed nugget for the dawning of spring.

Tina Romano