Cartwheel’s first EP Best Days will be released on Feb. 15th. The three-piece indie rock band is the creation of guitarist Kristyn Chapman, and marks her debut as a songwriter and bandleader. While she’s played guitar in bands over the last 12 consecutive years, Chapman feels this album is her first complete statement.
“I’m very proud of this record. I wrote these songs in a tumultuous time in my life, following the unexpected death of my brother,” Chapman says. “These songs helped me work through the difficult stages of grief as well as normal things anyone in their twenties experiences, like navigating relationships and becoming yourself. As a whole, it sums up how I view life. Diving into your deepest sorrow allows you to experience the deepest joy.”
The narrative of Best Days covers grief, healing, and reclamation of self in just 22 minutes. While these can be difficult to talk about topics, Chapman’s relatable lyrics and straightforward delivery is at times colored with optimism. The 6-song tracklist explores a spectrum of sounds from Yo La Tengo-inspired indie rock jams like “Cutting Off a Limb,” to harder, 90’s-tinged alt-rockers like closer “Break & Mend.” Even with this variety, the core sound of the band remains steadfast.
Joining alongside Chapman are long time collaborator William Erickson (drums) and Riley Day (bass). The tight, rhythmic interplay between Erickson and Day provides a solid bedrock for some of Chapman’s more wandering and spectral guitar meditations. While this is the first release for the band, the EP effortlessly showcases each player’s unique musical sensibilities, which comes as no surprise considering that the members of Cartwheel have all spent the better part of a decade regularly touring, recording, and writing music.
“I wanted to write songs for a very long time, but I had a perfectionist creative block against it until 4 years ago when I started writing the songs on this record,” Chapman says. “One night a very honest song just fell out of me – the song ‘Nothing.’ The chords, melody, and words came all at once in a rare miracle. Over the next two years I continued writing the songs in my bedroom and worked on forming the band. Will and I were playing together for about a year fleshing out the arrangements, then Riley came into the picture and really filled out the sound harmonically.”
The EP was recorded and mixed by David Lord at Air House Studios in Wichita, Kan., and mastered by TW Walsh (Pedro the Lion).
Best Days will be released on Feb. 15th through Bandcamp, Spotify, Apple Music, and everywhere else music is streamed. A limited quantity of physicals will be available for purchase locally.
released February 15, 2019
Kristyn Chapman - guitar, vocals
Riley Day - bass
William Erickson - drums
Recorded and mixed by David Lord at Air House
Studios in Wichita, KS. Mastered by TW Walsh.
Cover photo by T. Chapman.
Design by Kristyn Chapman.