Bay Area's Ash Reiter premieres the single “Ishi” from her recently released album HOLA following up the Heatwave EP and 2010's full-length Paper Diamonds. Joined by the brothers Drew and Scott Brown on guitar, Ash's boyfriend Will Halsey on drums, and keyboardist Anthony Ferraro; Reiter and crew create an enduring style of modern-era-steeped indie pop to give listeners something to smile about.
The legend of the last of the Yana people, “Ishi” gets set to a golden era arrangement that commences with an electric wah-wah keyboard that gives way to the song's piano center drive. In empathy toward the Historic California figure's situation of alienation, the synth provides an introductory voice of solidarity to the protagonist who speaks with a Yahi tongue. “We speak like Ishi,” Ash turns back the clock to 1911 where our hero emerges from the Butte County wilderness into Oroville, California. Creating an aesthetic that is more homecoming dance than anthropological spectacle; Reitner keeps the music full of heart and wonderment, displaying an understanding of both the vernacular and plight of the last of the so-called wild men.
A song built out of the school dance charms of enchantment and affection, Ash also expresses concern for the vulnerability of a native in the foreign patches of his homeland. “Ain't got no money, ain't got shit to do…what's a guy like you to do?” Instead of treating the Yahi survivor as a specimen, concern for Ishi's happiness and well-being are paramount while the scientific world probes him about his homemade tools and hunting / gathering traits. “Arrows there all twisted, they don't shoot straight anymore,” presents the subject at a crossroads of finding himself in a new world of new customs, new tools, new expressions, new opportunities and new fans.
Ash Reiter's new album HOLA is available now from 20 Sided Records.