Thank you, Einstein, for this brilliant candor. Under such a definition, however, I would constitute most people as insane, especially those in their mid-twenties- myself included. Though each morning signals a new opportunity to align with an impassioned plan, to moving ever so slightly toward the goals we’re driven to obtain, days succumb to the comfort of the Groundhog mentality. We revisit the same cafes, peruse the same social media, lament old peers residing Manhattan high rises with their stockbroker significant others- all these shattering moments bring explosive deprecation to our not-so-valiant attempt at enacting change; they stand as testaments to our toxic addiction to complacency.
For Jon Conant, singer of local band Penicillin Baby, these factors are inextricably intertwined with “the man,” “the system,” the cookie-cutter boxed-out lives carved by laziness and a fear to dream. “I have this idea that life can be a lot better if people just challenged themselves and got out of their comfort zones every now and then,” says Conant. “’The Man’ just wants you to be fat and happy, watching reality TV all day, gushing over celebrity drama and never really ever considering if there’s more to life than your couch, your house, your car…All that stuff that keeps us comfortable.”
And there’s only so much time that one can spend sleeping in, watching the days laze by as time ticks slowly to another decade of desolation. So when I happened upon Penicillin Baby’s new LP, “You’re Not Getting Any Younger,” I knew it would immediately spearhead my quest to celebrate the not-so-serious remainders of my youth. It is “basically just challenging folks to make the most out of life and live a little. Find out what really makes you tick as a person, rather than just accepting what’s thrown at you from the typical channels.” Which is why I’ve foregone an advanced study into the Knowles-Carter elevator feud, muting the TMZ-soaked buzz around me with earphones blasting Penicillin Baby.
The psychedelic sounds of Penicillin Baby are laced in pop-structures and swirling guitar lines that serve as danceable prompts; catchy and melodic, the group touts the urgency in enjoyment. From Murfreesboro to Nashville, the band formed after an ebb and flow of rotating members. Trial and error, exposure playing in various bands, and a deep love for guitar-driven music lead singer Jon Tyler Conant to the unique pop sounds he and the band now create. “I really just try to write simple pop songs that are catchy as hell… aren’t we all?” he says. Conant gains inspiration from a multitude of artists, from the foundation of sixties pop, to seventies proto punk bands a la the Talking Heads, psych-trenched Brian Jonestown Massacre, and the stripped-down honesty of songwriters like Townes Van Zandt. Having picked up the guitar at age nine, and delving into infinitely different musical terrains, Penicillin Baby has indeed succeeded in crafting these catchy pop compositions, showered in original color and personality.