Derek Ted

Derek Ted, frontman for San Francisco-based folk-rock trio Owl Paws, concludes his new solo album with a track called “Poison Poetry.”

I can’t think of a better way to describe the songwriter’s music that so often falls somewhere between unendurable pain and heartbreaking beauty with the occasional ray of ephemeral hope thrown in there, a biting bittersweetness with an emphasis on the former rather than latter half of that term. So thanks, Derek, for making my job that much easier.

Though obviously more mellow than his work in Owl Paws, the solo record, entitled “Wilted in Summer,” hits just as hard emotionally as the raucous drums and thumping bass of his full band. Utilizing little more than a voice and acoustic guitar (though sometimes sparse piano and creaky programmed percussion are present), Derek gorgeously depicts inner turmoil fueled by lost love, simmering disappointments and communication breakdowns. The lament of unrequited love in “All I Have,” the haunting imagery of “Hill Ridden Skyline,” the gnawing self-loathing of “Acting Right” — all portray a bleak portrait of human relationships and a glimpse into the dark soul of man. When he sings, “If we all keep on thinking of only ourselves / we’re gonna burn this place to the ground,” on “Murmured Thru The Ages,” you’re not sure, but you have a good idea he’s talking about the world around us, our place in it, and how our interconnected actions can doom us all with myopic selfishness.

The LP is set to drop 4/20 via Danger Collective Records and Sunroom Recordz & Salon which specializes in highlighting the lo-fi folk movement in San Francisco. You can also check out Derek Ted live at The Lost Church next month.

Field Medic, Derek Ted, Stephen Beebout
The Lost Church
May 11, 2016
8pm, $10 (12+)