There is something purely hopeful about the vibrato on Mat Davidson's Silvertone guitar at the start of Twain's "Young God (gotta lotta feeling)." It is the song's first sound – a quavering, rising and falling phrase that sounds first like a question and then like an answer. On this new song about the fresh shoots of gratitude that follow heartbreak, it is a perfect scene setting.
"Young God (gotta lotta feeling)" is the lead single off an upcoming EP called New Miami Sound. The song is from the same reels that became Twain's breakout 2017 record Rare Feeling, and it was recorded in the same tool shed (belonging to Scott McMicken from Dr. Dog) as that album. Along with physical circumstance, "Young God" shares that record's benevolent quietude.
Davidson wrote the song on Thanksgiving Day in Ditmas Park several years ago. That neighborhood is a center for indie and folk music in New York City, and its unexpectedly stately homes often house a rotating cast of nomadic performers.
"There used to be this house – an impossible looking house in Ditmas because it's surrounded by these huge apartment buildings ... and it kind of became this flop house for travelers and musicians," Davidson tells NPR Music. That house and holiday is where the song begins. "It's more or less just an honest statement about what was happening in my life," he says. "The disintegration of a really important relationship, and surrendering to that, and then feeling at the end a sort of weird gratitude for being alive in spite of or because of all the heartache and turmoil that that was bringing about."
Twain's music often has the quality of something half-remembered. It's a sense Davidson crafts here with his impressionistic lyrics, and his continued commitment to his Tascam 388 — a hulking, self-contained portable studio that records directly to tape. This anachronism means that Twain songs retain a live energy with little editing. Like an old cassette, the sounds on these records are limited to a mild and pleasant midrange and swathed in a lisping hiss. Even as "Young God" rises from its quiet, glimmering opening to a thumping, full band apotheosis, the coloring of that sound frames it like a photo in an album.
"And sitting on the floor I know there's nothing more from life that I could ask," Davidson sings at the end of the last verse. It's a memory of a small moment with the seed of a very Twain recognition — that a moment spent alive and aware at all is at once the most a person can ask, and the best the world can answer.
2 E.P.s — featuring the New Miami Sound and Alternator EPs — comes out Jan. 25 via Keeled Scales.