Charlottesville band Gold Connections releases new EP ‘Like A Shadow’

Lead singer Will Marsh discusses the sentimental and progressive EP

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Marsh, the lead singer and guitarist, grew up in Charlottesville and cites his inspirations as Bob Dylan and the Velvet Underground.

Courtesy Jeff Dillenbeck

Gold Connections, the Charlottesville indie rock band headed by Will Marsh, released their second EP, “Like A Shadow” Friday, March 1. The EP comes after their 2017 debut album “Popular Fiction.” 

Marsh, the lead singer and guitarist, grew up in Charlottesville and cites Bob Dylan and the Velvet Underground as his inspirations. Forming Gold Connections while attending the College of William & Mary, Marsh relied on friends to act as band members and play on the recordings of his early music. Some of the songs ended up as rerecords on “Popular Fiction.” 

“Like A Shadow” was recorded in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, where Marsh was able to collaborate with his fellow band members — unlike “Popular Fiction,” for which he used professional musicians. Gold Connections was more specifically inspired by Nirvana and the Jesus and Mary Chain as a “more alternative and less classic rock” release. 

Though “Like A Shadow” is perhaps not explicitly political, Marsh examines “the politics of relationships,” saying “the way you look at a relationship can reveal how you look at the world or … mirror it in some way.” Marsh acknowledges the way recent American politics has influenced his “experience in the world” and “the way [he] looks at everything.” 

The cover of the release features a hazy and ethereal yellow and black image, which Marsh says is meant to portray a shadow. It’s a continuation of the symbols on the “Popular Fiction” cover, which features a rose and a clock “obscured in some way.” 

As for his creative process, Marsh says his method is dependent on his personal circumstances at the time. He describes making up the lyrics for the final track on the EP, “Turn,” as he recorded it, solely working on the music and tracking the guitars in the few days leading up to recording. Songwriting for Marsh begins with “strong emotions” and a process of reflection about those feelings. 

For Marsh, Charlottesville is not just the place where he lives and records music — he grew up here. He started playing violin at a young age and began writing songs at age 12. He learned to play guitar in his parents’ basement, where he recently recorded more demos. 

“There’s still a feeling there that I can connect to,” Marsh said. 

Marsh said making music in Charlottesville is “a very personal experience.… There’s a feeling to every place — the campus, bookstores and record stores and culture and different people.” 

Marsh grew up surrounded by the folk scene, which he remembers as a larger presence a decade ago. For his band today, Marsh said Charlottesville provides “plenty of venues to play.” Based on performance history, it’s clear that The Southern Café and Music Hall is one of these venues, with Gold Connections having performed there several times since their debut. While Marsh continues to make and perform music in the town where he was born, he acknowledged the “particular feeling and history and people” in Charlottesville has not remained constant but has changed with the world around it. 

Marsh says this EP is “harder hitting” and “more psychedelic” than his last album “Popular Fiction.” He hopes listeners will feel “energized in a way or …  invigorated,” or perhaps even “a physical reaction to good music.” Gold Connections presents itself as an example of an up-and-coming band committed to making raw and personal music. 

The EP opens with the single and titular track “Like A Shadow” with a strong guitar introduction, instantly peaking interest and creating a strong hook. The band brings a more alternative sound, but maintains their lo-fi quality. Marsh sings, “Don't cry if it's not dead yet /  Everything's gotta break some time.” Gold Connections remind their listeners that all things, even hard things that feel permanent, truly do end. 

On the wistful “Locust Days,” Marsh asks, “Do you ever feel like the last man standing / Or the girl who fell to Earth?” Marsh seems to remember a lost love, both fondly remembering happier times and sadly reflecting on the absence of innocence and serenity. Though the end of the song includes the building and repeated line, “We want summer all the time,” the melancholic quality suggests a period of time with specific people and feelings are permanently over. “Locust Days” succeeds in portraying the inevitable feeling of nostalgia, where appreciation is only possible after the fact and the “singing trees” are only accessible as memories. 

The third track, “Don’t Tell Me Your Dreams,” is more poppy, with a high-energy and catchy chorus. The separate drums, guitars, and vocals are discernible to the listener and all support one another to ultimately create a layered sound. The EP closes with the track “Turn,” where Marsh’s vocals are more restrained and guarded. Marsh’s description of the band’s move away from classic rock is evident on this track. 

While Gold Connections’ lyrics and music begin from the emotions experienced by Marsh individually, the tracks on “Like A Shadow” are both musically and lyrically relatable, expressing sentimentality for the past and a refusal to stop moving forward. Future widespread success almost seems inevitable for the Marsh and his band, whose promise comes from his individual talent, apparent lack of regard for conforming to fleeting trends and commitment to simply making music. As his lyrics suggest, Marsh and Gold Connections refuse to be complacent, refuse to exist as shadows. 

Correction: This article previously stated that the album was recorded in Charlotte, NC, when it was actually recorded in Chapel Hill. It has been updated to reflect the correct location.

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