“Golden State” by The Indigo is Smooth Indie Rock with Feeling


“Golden State,” the tenth track off of The Indigo’s debut album Future Self Only Dreams, is an unusually warm indie rock song. The Indigo, a post-angst rock band hailing from Birmingham but based out of Nashville, have previously described themselves in three words as, “Not-Genre-Settling.” Equal parts indie rock, R&B, pop, folk, and psychedelia, the Southern-rooted band refuses to be pigeon-holed. It’s a commendable goal, and one that is apparent in this track.

“Golden State” starts out with slow and smooth folksy flair, but when Tanner Gray’s vocals enter the song really jumps to a start. “Things are hard to swallow / You moved to Colorado,” Gray sings. “I’m not the lonely one / The party’s just begun.” Gray’s voice is deliciously sonorous and reminiscent of 60s rock, meshing perfectly with the subtle electric guitars and nostalgic bass riff to bathe the song in a layer of sunlight.

For such a warm sounding track, the lyrical content, in all honesty, is anything but light. A line like, “Never felt a night sky / With you in the hindsight” conjures feelings of restless discontent as much as it recalls past romance. Or, take the line, “Drinking on a Tuesday / Something to amuse me / Something to bring up the pain / I’d like to wash away.” These revelations might be made out of pain, but the instrumentation never betrays this. “Well, what can I say when I’m feeling so hazy?” Gray wonders in the chorus. “I could have stayed, but it would have been wasted.” When they reach the final line of the chorus, this description of what seems like a deteriorating relationship morphs into a negotiation: “You take the altitude, I’ll take the golden state.” But even then, the band is careful not to cast a pall over the song. After all, “I’d rather feel the sun / And not get swept way.” Even if they’re ‘settling,’ at least they’re settling on warmth.

The song, with a runtime over five minutes, includes a delightful two-plus minute outro. A little jazzy, a little bluesy, it is the perfect cushion for the listener to land on as they reflect on the lyrical content that came before. A sound bite of a voicemail from a female voice, perhaps an old lover, ultimately wraps up the track. “I hope all’s going well,” she whispers as the track ends. “I love you.”

The four-piece band of Tanner Gray, Colby Wilson, Chase Porter, and Zach Corder was only founded in 2019 and Future Self Only Dreams is their debut album. But it is clear that The Indigo have been playing music for far longer than that, obvious in their effortlessly warm harmonies and tremendous band arrangements (they also have a number of live sessions on their YouTube channel that I can’t hype up enough—they sound incredible). In “Golden State,” they bottle up an intimate portrait of pain and chase it away with hard-won sunlight. This is a band that I know I’ll be keeping an eye on for years to come.


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