Des Ark is an indie rock/ “southern punk” band based in Chatham County, North Carolina. Frontwoman Aimée Argote is originally from Arkansas, and currently based in a rural part of North Carolina that’s close enough to Chapel Hill to enjoy the glory of living “in Chapel Hill”, with the added benefit of not having to pay Chapel Hill real estate prices. She has ties to my hometown of Greensboro, and has performed as Des Ark (both as a solo performer and with a full band) for many years. She just released an album, her third, called Everything Dies via the Savannah, Georgia-based label Graveface Records. That label was founded by Ryan Graveface, who discovered and is a member of Casket Girls. They have released two albums, including True Love Kills the Fairy Tale, which topped my top 41 records of 2014. You can see that whole 2014 list here, and the details of my top five here. Casket Girls also have a new album coming out on Friday. I haven’t heard it, but I’m sure that it’s going to be fantastic, even if their live performances leave something to be desired.
I don’t wish this to be about Casket Girls, or even about Graveface Records. This is about the brand new Des Ark album, which just came out on October 6.
Today’s song has actually been around for a long time. Way back in 2007, Argote performed the song as a solo performer (and giving the song a different title) during a studio performance at Duke University’s radio station, WXDU. This one has a full band behind it, and it kind of reminds me of Wye Oak. Other songs from this album remind me of Leslie Feist. Other albums have an entirely different sound.
“Ties” by Des Ark
It’s a lovely song, anchored by Argote’s very capable guitar and her soft, beautiful voice. On some of her older stuff, she was more prone to shout-sing, but on the new album it’s all about proper singing and highlighting that dulcet voice.
It may be a pretty song from an aesthetic standpoint, but the subject matter isn’t pretty at all. There are references to drug abuse, alcoholism, and child abuse. To wit:
If you lay another hand on your son, sir
I swear to god I’m gonna waste you
You can holler, you can cry
Sober up, apologize
But still what good are you
I don’t give a fuck about the ties that bind a father to his son
If he’s just some dead weight deadbeat drunk
I kind of adore the fact that in that line, she’s very polite in saying “sir”, even while threatening to tear this guy a new one.
You can buy Everything Dies in your choice of limited edition colored vinyl, cassette, CD or digital download via the Graveface Records bandcamp here.