Sam Ibes (vocals/guitar/harmonica/keyboards/percussion/recorder), Max Zdon (bass,) Aaron Pederson (guitar) and Joe Ramm (drums) are Stereo Library. The project started as a solo project for Ibes. In fact the album Mountain Morning was a solo effort. The four-song EP Happiest Days Of My Life (EP) however features the new line-up. Happiest Days Of My Life (EP) has an older aesthetic in terms of production and even style. There is an Americana type of quality to the songs which reminded me of bands like CCR and Neil Young and Crazy Horse.
The first song “Right By My Side” has a lot of levity to it especially in the vocals. I couldn’t help but think of 69 Love Songs by Magnetic Fields. The instrumentation is pretty fantastic. The guitar is crisp and subtle with a prominent bass line. I also like the fact that the drums were panned hard to one side which is something The Beatles would often do. The other thing that stood out was the vocal harmonies.
Up next is “Stay Here Tonight” which is the highlight. There is a clear ’60s Americana feel to this song mixed with a Johnny Cash undercurrent. The guitar work comes together rather beautifully with the vocal harmonies and harmonica. The vocal hook is memorable and got stuck in my head the first time I heard it.
“Mountain Women (I Can See Only You)” has its moments. I can’t say the vocals were as notable as the previous songs however the guitar parts were interesting. The band gets back on track with “Happiest Days Of My Life.” There is a slightly distant ’60s feel to it. Something about the way he sings, “those were the happiest days of my life” had me wondering if he actually believed it.
The EP is solid and I look forward to hearing more from the full group of musicians. I also hope they keep these drum recordings as is in the future because that’s something you don’t hear often these days.
Become A Fan
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook