The song “Crystal Caving” sometimes plays from the personalized choices Apple Music serves up on its “Steve’s Station” playlist while I prepare the toppings for our traditional Saturday pizza, for pizza and movie night.
My sweety simmers marinara sauce in large batches and freezes it, and creates the crust. I make the toppings and bake the crust, broiling the cheese at the end. Each week, I vary the toppings. However, we often repeat a few (like ground pork or turkey fried with onions, garlic and rosemary, topped with spinach, sometimes mushrooms or tomatoes, then grilled yellow and orange peppers on top of a mixture of various kinds of cheese; almost every other time, we skip the meat). And every time, we say, “that was the best one ever!”
I don’t know any other songs by the Boston, Massachusetts, USA, indie folk band, Darlingside. There is an in-depth write-up by the band on their website, and here are some excerpts that stand out for me: “But in addition to the usual vocal charms and wordsmithing within verse, Fish Pond Fish makes a finer point on the band’s broader storytelling philosophies. The story here, it seems, is submitting to forces larger than yourself in the same way you do when heading outside — throwing your head back to the stars or diving down to the ocean floor, looking for something without really knowing why. ‘In every walk with nature,’ naturalist John Muir wrote over a century ago, ‘one receives far more than he seeks.’ Nature is a looking glass, with songs like Ocean Bed, Green + Evergreen, Mountain + Sea, and Crystal Caving making metaphors of their titles. An experience of nature is an experience of self…” and “In some cases, repetition and return are a desirable way to deal with uncertain times (‘Every little thing and large is off its track and banking hard’); in others, the stagnancy of the present is overwhelming (‘Nothing growing but the trees erupt in black light and gold / you can’t repurpose what was never there.’) Much of the album considers how repetition and change complement one another — how either one can be a stress or a salve depending on the circumstances, and how even change itself predictably repeats (‘Things will change and change again.’).”
On the site, the band also talks extensively about the experience of completing an album during the Covid-19 quarantine in early 2020. And, website excerpts aside, I haven’t figured out the significance of the song title, “Crystal Caving,” though that doesn’t affect my enjoyment of the track.
Going down a little internet rabbit hole, I read over the band’s discography and on their Bandcamp page, I noticed a song titled “Lindisfarne” from a 2018 album (the piece also appears on a 2020 instrumentals album). The name jumped out to me as there is a tidal island on the northeast coast of England called the Holy Island of Lindisfarne. Sweety and I visited there with my cousins, their partners and children on a sprawling, seven-day road trip through northern England, Wales and southern Scotland in 2011. The tide was in on the day of our visit so the causeway onto the island was underwater, but we toured around the mainland village in light rain. The most remarkable place we saw was the ruins of a monastic priory established around 634 AD. The pub we stopped in was much newer.
“Dial a light for a natural fade
Seasons can change
Menus scroll and the needs are met
All I’ve got left
Feed a family and we’re all grown up, yet we’re all still
Here nothing growing, crystal caving in the atmosphere
Natural and the disasters
And everything after
On the hour, every hour, yes
At your convenience
One of many, and the many make the garden grow
Here nothing growing, but the trees erupt in black light and gold
“Crystal Caving,” by Don Mitchell, Auyon Mukharji, Harris Paseltiner, Dave Senft.
Lyrics retrieved from the band’s website.
“Crystal Craving” is the second part of an opening medley (with “Woolgathering”) from Fish Pond Fish (2020), the third album by the current four-person lineup of Darlingside.
Now you know a little about why this is my Song of the Day for Today. Thanks for joining me here. Please enjoy, while I go figure out what tonight’s pizza toppings will be…
Here’s the audio for “Warning Signs” from the official Darlingside YouTube channel:
With my best wishes,