Genres Fail Us

I spend a bit of time thinking about how to describe Four Day Beard’s musical style. It’s important for the sake of casual conversation, recruiting musicians or promoting the music to bookers, blogs, podcasts etc. The hope is always to give a brief yet accurate description that conveys a bit of what we are doing musically.

As anyone involved with the creation of original music might agree, it can sometimes be difficult to accurately convey what a band sounds like. Everyone’s taste and knowledge of music varies. Not to mention the fact that what is considered a band’s “sound” tends to evolve and change with each new song that is written.

I am always intrigued to hear what people mention to me when they hear Four Day Beard’s music for the first time. As and empathic sensitive music lover, I think there can be a lot of subconscious influence without specifically setting out to sound a certain way. Like, shoegaze for example.

Genre’s are useful in a broad sort of way, but generally they fail us. I’ve come to realize that there is a bit of a shoegaze aesthetic or influence to some of the songs I’ve written. Especially some of the newer material. While I wouldn’t say Four Day Beard is a shoegaze band, the definition seems to be wide and varied enough, that if you used it to describe some of Four Day Beard’s music (and people have), I wouldn’t kick you in the shins. Even without so many swirling guitar layers, theres an introspective dreamy quality to a lot of the songs. Generally speaking, genres fail us, but they can be useful in more broad sort of ways.

When I mention this to my wife, she inevitably asks me what “shoegaze” means. I usually respond with a list of bands she is not very familiar or maybe only ever has heard their name. Bands like The Jesus and Mary Chain, Spiritualized or My Bloody Valentine. Fair enough. For the most part it relates to a specific group of bands from the late 80’s to early 90’s that you would have only heard on college radio. If it weren’t for my older brother, I am not sure I would have ever heard any of these bands or probably a lot of other great music.

So, what is “Shoegaze”?

Pitchfork defines the genre like this: “This music is, above all else, a place to explore the outer limits of guitar texture. And emotionally, shoegaze turns its focus inward.” and “It’s music for dreaming.” I really like that, and it is loose enough to encompass a lot of things while kind of getting specific. As a point of reference, I put together a playlist for my wife. The pitchfork article above is probably a more definitive reference, and if you are interested you should check it out.

Here is my playlist:

Frog & Peach – Nov. 11


Special thanks to our friend Jessica Clogston-Kiner for designing this great poster for our upcoming show at the Frog and Peach Pub in San Luis Obispo on Saturday Nov. 11.

Jessica is a super talented designer from california’s central coast. If you are interested in her work, check out her website at

We are looking forward to playing at the Frog & Peach. We will be opening for Southern California based American Roots and Blues artists, Orphan Jon and the Abandoned.

Tent City Beer Company

It’s been too long since we have played out, so we are excited to bring our beards to Tent City this Saturday evening for an evening of beer and beards. Join us on the patio for a few beers!

Songs are like dreams, sometimes.

I often get stuck while attempting to write lyrics. The same thing happens when I try to write blog posts and so this post, being long overdue, is an exercise in just getting some words out. Lately I have been trying to squirrel away time to work on new songs. There have been some really cool chord progressions and parts we have come up with while jamming a bit at rehearsals recently. I have been taking advantage of those gems, by recording the tasty bits and making notes for later. There are about 4 or 5 new songs in the works and I am starting to feel the mixed pleasure of feeling inspired by working on them, and anxiety about making more progress on them. This creative part of the process is one of my favorites and its easy to get lost in (inspired) and or stuck by (anxiety).

Lyric writing is usually a fairly challenging creative endeavor for me. I think that is why I continue to be intrigued and entertained by the process. Writing lyrics can be a frustrating and labored exercise of fitting logical ideas to music that evokes a feeling, and hopefully support or expand on the feeling. My perfectionist tendencies are usually more of a hurdle than a help. Some of my favorite songs that I have written happen a different way though. Sometimes songs seemingly materialize from the ether. Sounds and words just fall into place. Like the song already existed somehow, as its own thing, and suddenly revealed it’s self.

I’m increasingly interested in going more with the flow and letting a song reveal its self, without forcing a topic. Its hard to do. I tend to want to construct a linear narrative that tells a story, but more and more I am interested in the dream like quality of music. And if you have ever had a dream, you know its not always linear or even makes any sense.

There is a technique in art and writing called “Exquisite Corpse”, invented by surrealists where ideas are assembled collectively without context of the previous part.  William S. Burroughs’ “cut up” technique also comes to mind. This makes me think of some of my favorite artists from a variety of genres who write songs using these techniques, or otherwise just write lyrics that don’t really make much sense. but they are able to tap into some kind of foggy dream like logic that makes some kind of subconscious sense that we as listeners are able to connect with. In a world where so often things are not really what they seem, nor do they always make much sense, these ideas are pretty interesting to me. I am also fascinated by how our brain works to try and make sense of things that don’t necessarily relate, but can string them together on a subconscious “feeling” sort of level or at least inspire deeper thinking to try and find some deeper meaning. Like interpreting a dream.

Here are a few of my favorite songs with lyrics that don’t make much sense, but make me search for deeper meaning:

Wilco, I am trying to break your heart

Syd Barrett, Baby Lemonade

Radiohead, Everything in it’s right place

Cracker, Kerosene Hat

Album Art

A look back at 2016. It didn’t all suck!

I think just about everyone would agree that this was a pretty tough year. If you had told me ahead of time that half of the things that happened this year would happen, I would have said you were crazy. It’s pretty easy to focus on the negatives of the year, so I thought instead I would try to focus on some positive things that happened this year, because there were plenty. Here’s to looking back on some of the best stuff from this year:

Four Day Beard

Four Day Beard Self Titled Album Released this past April

I am proud to have finally pulled it all together for an official release in April. The album is a collection of songs truly from the heart. Inspired by difficult times over the past several years, writing these songs served to keep me sane along the way. Many thanks to Brian Herndon who co-wrote “East Texas” and played a variety of instruments throughout the album. Also, many thanks to Karim Elgobashi who shredded on guitar on several tracks. The album is available on iTunes and Spotify and just about everywhere else you may stream music from. There are still a few CD’s available also, you can get those here!

2nd Place for “Feels Like I Might Disintegrate”

New Time’s Music Award

And as if releasing the album weren’t enough on it’s own, the second song from the album won 2nd place in this year’s New Times Music Awards’ “open” category. I was a little surprised that this song has been so well received. It’s really cool and interesting to see what songs people connect with. It was truly an honor to be included among all of the great musicians awarded at the NTMA’s. I couldn’t be more thrilled.

NewTimes is San Luis Obispo County’s news and entertainment weekly and does a great job of covering local music and supporting local artists in the community.

These beautiful bastards!

New Friends & New Music!

After almost a full year of searching for local musicians to play with in 2015, I finally managed to find an amazing group of musicians here in the SLO area.

Not only have these beautiful bastards taken on the task of learning and adapting the songs from the album to play live, but have been collaborating on some new music that I am super excited about. We are currently working on recording some new tracks and will probably have a new EP ready early next year.

Me & Merril Garbus // tUnE-yArDs

Selfie with Merril

I met Merril Garbus from tUne-yArds at NAMM in January and totally fanboyed her.I am a big fan of tUnE-yArds and was super excited to meet Merril. She was as gracious and lovely as you might expect, and posed for a selfie with me. If you havent heard tUne-yArds do your self a favor and check them out on spotify or  youtube. If you love tUne-yArds like I do, they have some great merch over at the tUne-yArds online shop.

Check them out. Buy some music.

Random Parade

I dusted off the fretless bass to contribute to a track on Random Parade’s EP “The Void Above” released earlier this year. The song is called “Startrails”. You can listen to it below!

If you like the sound of “smoldering post punk, indie gloom rock” and bands like Joy Division, Interpol, Peter Murphy,  you should give Random Parade a listen over at their bandcamp page.

I am trying to lure them up to SLO to play some shows, or head down to southern california some time next year to play a show with them. Buy an album, or a song or a tshirt from their bandcamp page. They are making cool music. Support Independent artists!

The best for last…


I proposed to, Sarah, the love of my life on Valentines day this year. Those of you who know us probably said, “It’s about damn time” as we have been together for 13 years. longer than a lot of marriages.

Sarah continues to challenge and inspire me, while giving unwavering love and support. I’m thinking this thing could last. 🙂

We are having a small wedding in Cambria, CA next spring and I couldn’t be more excited.


May next year be a little kinder to us all, and may we all keep sight of the great things that happen even when things feel like the worst! Happy New Year!

Winners of 2016 New Times Music Awards

Last Friday, the 6th annual New Times Music Awards Show held at the historic Fremont Theater in downtown San Luis Obispo. We had entered our album in several categories, and were excited to accept an award for “Feels Like I Might Disintegrate”, the second track from our debut self titled album released earlier this year. The track earned second place in the “Open” Category. While its not entirely clear what the “Open” category means, I think its perfect for our sound, which doesn’t really belong in most of the other categories.

If you have’t heard the song, you can hear it here:

Joe Schwab Accepts NTMA Award for Four Day Beard

Winning the award was a little unexpected and meant a lot to me. “Feels like I Might Disintegrate” is obviously about feeling out of place and homesick in a new place. I’ve been a stranger in a lot of places over the past five or six years. Winning for this song in particular feels like a warm welcome as SLO is starting to really feel like home.

I am honored to say the least, to be included along side such a talented community of musicians. If you haven’t already you should check out all of the artists who won awards this year.

Big thanks to Glen Starkey of the New Times, who just happened to win this year’s Local Legend award (oh, no big deal). He has written awesome things about us in the New Times and I believe he was instrumental in our placing in the awards this year.

Congratulations to everyone! Here is the list of this year’s winners:

1st Place: Noach Tangeras – “Big Sur”
2nd Place: The Creston Line – “Great Depression”
3rd Place: Natalie Haskins – “Tortured Like Me”

1st Place: Próxima Parada – “Time in a Circle”
2nd Place: Daesha Frawley – “Here We Go”
3rd Place: Doug Groshart / The JD Project – “The Station”

1st Place: Fialta – “Another Lonely Heart”
2nd Place: Four Day Beard – “Feels Like I Might Distrust”
3rd Place: Kristen Black – “Bicycle Song”

Hip Hop / World / Reggae
1st Place: Wynn – “Take it or Leave it”
2nd Place: Yah Perry / Courtney Pinnock – “Hurts this Much”
3rd Place: Who Dem – “Rogue Status”

Rock / Alternative
1st Place: Truth About Seafood – “Butcher and the Bride”
2nd Place: Fialta – “Be Someone”
3rd Place: King Walrus & the Magicians – “Can I be the One?”

Best Songwriter
1st Place: Fialta – “Do the Best We Can”
2nd Place: Noach Tangeras – “Big Sur”
3rd Place: Don Lampson – “Heart of Chaparral”

Best Album
1st Place: Fialta – “Shadow of a Drought”
2nd Place: Shawn Clark Family Band – “Cactus Rose”
3rd Place: Moonshiner Collective – “Consequential Campers”

Reader’s Choice Awards
Fialta –  tied for two of their songs: “Be Someone” and “Another Lonely Heart”

Best Live Performance
The five 1st Place Genre winners all performed and were judged on: stage presence, crowd response, connection to audience, tightness of their set, musical excellence, and professionalism. It was a very tight competition, as all 5 of the bands delivered dynamic and engaging sets. However, a composite score on all criteria lifted this band to the top and were awarded the coveted Bronze “Newtie”: Fialta

The choice is yours. Vote Four Day Beard!

Vote Four Day Beard!

If you haven’t voted for Four Day Beard in the New Times reader’s choice music awards, it’s not too late! Unlike the presidential election, there really are no bad choices here! All of the artists in this year’s reader’s choice are pretty impressive. The New Time Music Awards really did a great job selecting songs. Who knows, maybe you will discover a few great new local artists. Check it out here!

Last shows for awhile. This Week: Thursday & Saturday

img_6423This month  has been a pretty busy month, so we will be taking a little break from shows soon.

But this week this week we are playing two shows! This may be your last chance to see us perform live for a little while.

We have added a few new original songs to our set, and will be performing them for you.

This Thursday night (farmers market night) at the Frog & Peach Pub,  we are opening for Oakland CA based independent rock band Muncie. Our set starts at 8pm, so we won’t keep you up too late on a week night. 🙂

And for those of you in north county, or those who aren’t afraid to drive up the grade, we are playing Saturday evening at the Barrelhouse in Paso Robles starting at 6pm with our friend Bijan.

Shows this week:

Free Show @ Slodoco This Friday!

Join us Friday evening at 7pm for an early sugar coated rockin good time as we unleash a brand new song about everyone’s favorite donut shop, slodoco! Bijan will grace us with his super fun set of originals and covers! If you are lucky, we may throw donuts at you!slodoco-instagram