Every day on Facebook, someone posts a quote or a meme about the dangers of addiction to social media and other contemporary forms of communication.
This week, it was none other than Albert Einstein, quoted as saying "I fear the day technology will surpass our human interaction. The world will have a generation of idiots."
Whether or not the good professor actually said that - which is the source of some debate - it's food for thought. And/or food for texting, I suppose.
This very idea is the nucleus of Whaleboat's intoxicating new single, "Socialist," which will be celebrated Friday, Jan. 25 with a live performance by the band, along with Cusses and the Columbia band Can't Kids.
"‘Socialist' is about trying to make people aware that social media and technology are taking over our lives, in the personal and human interaction scheme of things," says singer, songwriter and guitarist Brent Collins. "The first verse, ‘pardon me sir do you have the time to socialize, these pardons will be served in our own so just wait in line' mainly talks about how it seems like we don't have personal conversations any more, face to face. We seem to have our phones, iPads or some type of computer occupying our time and mind. It seems like we have to wait in line to get a chance to interact."
Whaleboat bassist Jeremiah Stuard co-authored the melody and arrangement of the song, which is being released as a limited edition 7" on translucent blue vinyl.
It's a four-minute snapshot of what's so good about this relatively young Savannah band. While it's rooted in atmosphere and guitar reverb like vintage British shoegaze music, it has an unforgettable dreampop melody, driving bass and almost freshpunk drums, from Whaleboater Donald Moats.
"For a guitar sound for myself," says Collins, "yes I love shoegaze music and I love the dreamy side of the guitar sound. But we all have different kinds of music we like. And I think that makes it special, when you have three different people who can have three different ways of playing. It makes it its own, original idea."
Stuard also plays bass for the aggressive rock outfit Sins of Godless Men, and Moats' other band is the rocking trio Habitat Noise.
Whaleboat, meanwhile, is working on its second EP, the followup to Navigator; "Socialist" is a standalone release and won't be among its tracks.
"The chorus," Collins explains, "just reiterates that in ‘did you know that we're falling away from the good ole days, did you know you better watch what you say in these good ole days,' stating we're getting away from what were put here to do - ‘interact personally,' not through a Facebook friendship or a tweet.
"I'm as guilty as the next person about this issue, but I just wanted to make a statement in this song to put your devices down and go have a cup of coffee with someone without your phone. Go swimming with friends. Go on a camping trip.
"Have long conversations about life and not be so consumed with social media as much, because if we aren't careful it will take over our lives."
The Connect Sessions: Whaleboat stopped by the Connect office for some informal chat, and gave us an exclusive live, unplugged performance of ‘Socialist.' You can watch the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bQptPTgWEEQ
Or if you really want to honor Albert Einstein's ideals, swing by the office and we'll play it for you over a cup of coffee.
Cusses drummer Brian Lackey co-produced the final version of Whaleboat's "Socialist," with original producer Peter Seeba. "I loved the sounds that I heard, but it sounded like a live recording at the same time," Lackey explains. "We kind of re-arranged the song, put some dropouts in the song, we added as lot more guitar and we changed some of the guitar sounds. And we changed some of the drums around. We even used some of my drum sounds, kinda sliced them in there to give it a really big sound."
After this weekend's shows with Whaleboat and Can't Kids, here in Savannah and in Columbia, Cusses embark on a "winter tour" that will lead almost immediately into a "spring tour" of the continental U.S.A. They've got around 60 dates booked.
The band's recent win in mtvu.com's "Freshman" contest, vocalist Angel Bond says, was a great way to launch their first-ever big schlep.
"We heard from old friends and new friends from all over the country," she explains. "People told us how many times they voted. Even if we didn't win, I thought it was so nice to see how much support we had out there. It was encouraging, to say the least."
Guitarist Bryan Harder is taking a leave of absence from his job as an architect to go on the magical mystery tour. Says Bond: "So I felt a little more pressure: ‘We've really gotta win it now.' It started off the new year good, and to make his family feel good about what he's about to endeavor on, and the risk that he's taking."
A few more
@ Who better than our very own Conquistadork, Phil Keeling, to host a night of standup comedy called "Lunatics For Mental Wellness"? The Wormhole event, starting at 9 p.m. Jan. 25, will feature fellow Savannah standups Brooke Cochran, Chris Davison, Brandon Keiffer, Wrath Nasty and Peter Van Pelt. Your $5 admission goes to the organization Mental Health America.
@ Milwaukee rapper Dana Coppafeel (great name, don't you think?) plays the Sparetime with Savannah's prodigious Knife (of Dope Sandwich and Blackmale fame) Jan. 25. The bill also includes DJ Redlab and Word of Mouth's Miggs the Artist. Knife (aka Kedrick Mack) and Miggs have been writing, recording and performing together; as reported here a few issues back, they're knee-deep into Hangman, a combination graphic novel and hip hop soundtrack.
(Due to space limitations, an edited version of this column appears in our print edition.)