With a fifties style grain, circus-y organ, and possibly maracas, New Orleans indie jangle-rock mainstay Max Bien Kahn wades the river of loss in his latest single, “Lose,” which greeted the world on June 23rd.
Prevalent themes in his work involve grief, self-sabotage, and fleeting youth, which find their way into the lyrics of “Lose:” “First your love and then my mind / Watch me I’m losing it all,” he sings. To live is to lose, the things you love seem to slip away, but Bien Kahn can get you to dance the pain away nonetheless.
The percussion is toe-tapping, the faint guitar binds everything together, and when Bien Kahn brings in the organ, the music tells the body to move. Yes, youth may be deteriorating, but if it were to go somewhere, it would be in his music, forever encapsulated, and on the dance floor to boot.
The song seems to be a reluctant acceptance of age, evolving relationships, and what lies ahead, but in simple context. It’s also an experiment to see how much can be regained through the power of music.
There’s an air of garage rock mixed with modern indie pop-rock in Bien Kahn’s “Lose,” but the fifties dancing-through-the-radio vibe cannot be shaken, and it’s most welcomed. It makes his work feel unique, timeless, and honest, like he’s singing for you, not to you.
Born in San Francisco, the indie songwriter has since called New Orleans home for quite a few years, where he played traditional jazz and classic country on the streets. Now, he’s a pillar of the NOLA indie folk scene. He’s a member of Tuba Skinny and started his own band, Max and the Martians, in 2015.
Max Bien Kahn has a charm rarely seen in modern music today, and we can imagine his new album, When I Cross It Off, will further cement his status as one of the more unique voices in the indie folk rock world.