Gold Connections is Charlottesville-based musician Will Marsh, a new Fat Possum signee with a self-titled EP on the way this spring. The record was actually recorded back in 2014 when Marsh was an undergrad at William & Mary, with help from Marsh’s classmate: Car Seat Headrest mastermind Will Toledo, who produced, engineered, and mixed it in addition to contributing drums, electric guitar, bass, and backing vocals. Marsh briefly played guitar in Car Seat Headrest, and Toledo spent time drumming for Gold Connections. Their history with each other runs deep; in an excerpt below, Toledo cites Marsh’s influence on his own music. But “New Religion,” the Gold Connections track we’re premiering today, is an animal of its own. Languid atmospherics give birth to howlingly aggressive rock ‘n’ roll that ultimately builds to a richly arranged climax. Here’s Marsh with some background on the track:
“New Religion” was written one dirty afternoon in in a cramped off-campus apartment. I was reacting to anxiety and melancholy by melding images which characterize that psychological space. It’s a unique song in that I channel the nonsense stream in my head with very little filter. I usually have a vague narrative in mind when I begin writing, yet here I can only look back to assemble the story. “New Religion” joins my repertoire in spirit rather than form — as the ecstatic affirmation of a broken situation.
Hear the song below, then stick around for some quotes from Toledo and Marsh.
This is Toledo writing about his history with Gold Connections and their influence on his instant-classic Teens Of Denial:
When Will Marsh strolled into his first WCWM meeting with his solo EP tucked under his sleeve, like I had done the year before, I knew I’d found a worthy competitor. I asked him to play guitar in Car Seat Headrest. He deigned to for a time, then told me to eat a peach, and formed Gold Connections instead. I walked in on their first practice and started playing drums. He told me I could play with them at the show, then stole Car Seat Headrest’s drummer, who moved away, so I came back and drummed with them again. I also recorded an album for them. I thought it was good but Will didn’t like it, so I started working on songs with rock riffs like Gold Connections did that I could play on my own, and eventually put them on my album Teens Of Denial. Two years later, I phoned his manager and pleaded for Will to release the master tapes to the college album. Instead he suggested I remix the best tracks for a debut Gold Connections EP, so I did. This time he liked them, I think.
And this is Marsh with his own take on the EP:
I was that kid with the EP in hand. My slick studio exposé in folk rock was placed on A-list rotation, chafing against the newest lo-fi relic by sophomore Will Toledo. I met him weeks later at a show. My solo act was harmonica and acoustic guitar, troubled fingerpicking, original tunes and Dylan covers. Then a rock band hauled their gear on stage. That night they asked me to play rhythm guitar for one show, and I agreed to go electric. What they pitched as a “collective” was actually Car Seat Headrest. I had been duped. Will and I soon recognized that I was both too wild for rhythm guitar — judging by the icy side-glances on stage — and equally stubborn as a songwriter. I had to take my newfound ruckus somewhere else, so I formed Gold Connections. I don’t remember stealing a drummer…at least none with any strong allegiance to Car Seat Headrest. When he left town I handed Will the sticks. But he didn’t just drum: Toledo was determined to produce the project. Why settle for your own campus band when you could rule all two? We tracked during finals in my moldy basement, and by mid-summer Will proclaimed the mixes ready for public consumption. Yet take note of the complications. I wanted to sound more like the Stones than Guided By Voices. My new drummer who wished to play so bad moved to Seattle. I had a taste of the peach. Going into my last fall semester, William and Mary’s library was far more promising than its rock scene. A year later, when I graduated and fell out of the academic illusion, I got back to my first dream. And yes, I dig the new mixes! Are you happy now, Will?