Kevin Basko released more albums in 2019 than most artists do in their entire career. The New Jersey indie rocker released handfuls of records in the first seven years under the moniker Rubber Band Gun — not to mention producing, engineering, and performing with everyone from Eric Slick to the Lemon Twigs. But when Basko’s friend and collaborator Jonathan Rado of Foxygen quipped that he should release 25 albums in a single year, the Rubber Band Gun 25 sprang to life. And at the heart of that diverse collection of records is Cashes Out, a record that not only stands as the first vinyl release for the project, but also showcases the dazzling and dizzying heights that Rubber Band Gun psych-tinged bedroom rock can reach.
“Be Together” is being hypnotized by hypotheticals. It’s playing basketball with balled up love notes and missing every one. It’s the cheesiest Disney movie with the most unsatisfying ending; How To Save Your Heart, cookie-cutter type stuff. It’s the feeling a torch song gives you, but pulled out of your speakers and staring back at you. Unrequited-keep-you-up-at-night-day-dreaming kind of love that follows and haunts you like that Owen Wilson horror movie from the ‘90s. I think Catherine Zeta Jones was in it, it’s called The Haunted or something. I’ll fact check this later. Point being is, it sticks on you and comes up in press pieces years later. Spooky.
Someone once told me, “Songs written on the piano are the most honest, it’s easy to tell the truth behind a large wooden box,” but I wrote this at an ex-girlfriend’s place on a tiny keyboard, so you tell me. Sometimes writing a song can be like inhaling helium, disguising your voice and pretending to be someone else. Sometimes it’s filming yourself in the bathroom mirror. Some lyricists write things where they don’t know what they mean, at least not at first and sometimes not for years but they know when it feels capital “T” True. Maybe not to your life, but to somebody. You write it down because it works with the melody and feels good to sing and while it MIGHT be true, that’s not the meal. The meal is point of view, no matter who’s serving it. Now, we all show pieces of ourselves in our music whether we know it or not, and while we might not see it today, eventually truth makes its way to the front of the line and slaps your rims off. I’m still here clutching my glasses but I see the ropes moving.
This song was recorded live with some incredible friends/musicians in Los Angeles, California at Sonora Recorders under the magic of Jonathan Rado. I remember Michael Daddario suggesting we all play it live and I believe that is an important part of this song’s identity. Everyone really nailed it, Johnny Costa played some of my favorite RBG bass to date — he was hot off the tour we just did with Jackie Cohen and I think he even surprised himself with how locked in he was with the band. Brian D’Addario played piano and helped work out the arrangement and layering synths, Rado played the B3 organ, and I sang some rough lead and acoustic guitar in the vocal booth. I think another staple for this song was everyone singing backups live and letting that bleed into all the room mics. Tristan Rodman ran the tape from the control room, and besides a lead vocal redo and a few overdubs, that live take is basically what you hear on the recording.
The music video for “Be Together” was done by the talent of Ben Montez, and here are some words from him:
“With this track, I love how Kevin was able to find a unique expression of a timeless sentiment: I wanna be with you, bad. In the video, I wanted to explore how, throughout different time periods with different means of communication, humans have always been trying to express that same sentiment. The quest to articulate our love has always existed and will continue to exist until we are all, inevitably, dead, and the robots have taken the reins, in which case they, too, will find new ways to say I love you.”
For those of you who know the past albums I’ve made, you know this song aligns with some of the more conventional popular song formats of our time. I wanted it to be as accessible as it could be, basic but true. As simple as the sentiment. This song, like the whole album, was written/recorded in a flash, quicker than most in my discography. It’s funny how much fuss is being put into the release of something that was created in a weekend but I think the beauty in that is the story of wanting more for yourself is the oldest in the book and shifts along with our lives. It happens fast and stays with you forever.
— Kevin Basko