Every now and again, jaded though we are, we get a little excited about some new musical gem we encounter. For example, yesterday we stumbled upon the dreamy, trip-a-delic sounds of Celebrator.
It's the latest project of Boca Raton resident David Barnard. If you didn't know any better, listening to the soulful, reverb-ified, honeyed loops of his debut EP Save Yourself, you might think you've unearthed some rare, early Portishead demo session. But you'd be mistaken, my friend. This chimerical creation was brought to life right here in the suburban confines of Barnard's mother's residence. Some parts were recorded straight from the white noise resonance of Barnard's iPhone.
South Florida music aficionados will remember Barnard from other projects. He was the one with the Dylan-esque 'fro who struck the gargantuan guitar licks for Jordy Asher's blues-infected garage rock creation Stone Fox (which later became Blond Fuzz and then morphed into Young Circles). He may have been quiet over the past few years since Jordy moved to the Big Apple and lucked upon working with Queen Bey, but Barnard has come back in a serious fashion with this little 4-song nugget of lo-fi mastery.
It's been a long time coming for Barnard, who spent the last few years overcoming addiction problems. Now sobered up and with a new-found faith in the man upstairs, Celebrator is his major ticket back into musical relevancy.
New Times was lucky enough to catch up with the newly reformed Barnard earlier this week. The skillful musician told us this project came to light after he "got sober, went to church, and reconnected with old friends from the local scene." We thank the heavens for that (agnostic though we may be). We need more songwriters like Barnard around in our parts, enchanting our ears with heavenly tunes.
Barnard's a musician who not afraid to put his belief system on blast. "I think religion is so big in my music because I was surrounded by it since I was young, I have hated it/loved it, since I was little, in similar fashion with sobriety and drugs, but I've taken away tons from these experiences," explained Barnard.
Since cleaning his act up, Barnard has had the good fortune of teaming up with another stellar local unit that we hold in high regard, Sweet Bronco. Barnard plays lead guitar in this syrupy, college radio-affected troupe, and it was in this band that Barnard serendipitously teamed up with Celebrator counterpart Brittanny Larevitzear (who plays the keys in Sweet Bronco and fronts her own group the Psymatics).
Adding to Larevitzear's lush harmonies in Celebrator is Barnard's old high school pal and former Stone Fox/Young Circles cohort drummer Jeff Rose, who makes cameos on the record. "We've been in a bunch of bands together, so naturally when I needed to record drums, I called my brother up," said Barnard.
We couldn't help ourselves, we asked if Barnard still keeps in touch with his other Stone Fox bandmate, who now goes by the name Boots? "Yeah we talk sometimes," admitted Barnard. "We were really close, and I'm glad we got to share six years of musical history together." We wondered what the chances were of Boots dropping a copy of Save Yourself on Jay Z's lap? Barnard laughingly told us he thinks it's highly unlikely. "Believe it or not, he is still working on establishing himself."
Getting back to the lo-fi splendor of Barnard's work, Save Yourself was self released on Tuesday, and readers can experience it on his Bandcamp page or by simply pressing play here: