ROADKEEPER – Single Review: “Take the L”

From the moment I first heard their single “Old Man’s War” back in the spring of 2019, I’ve been a big fan of Texas alt-rock quartet Roadkeeper. Blending dreamy shoegaze and dramatic psychedelic rock with complex melodic structures, they craft lush soundscapes that are a perfect backdrop for their intelligent, socially conscious, sometimes political, and always thought-provoking lyrics. Formed in 2018, the band consists of songwriter/producer John Hetherington (vocals, synths, rhythm guitar), Trevor Tull (lead guitar), Nick Cogdill (drums) and Daniel Griffith (bass). All long-time friends, Roadkeeper is completely independent and self-produced, doing their recording, producing and mixing in John’s studio, and releasing their songs on their own label Equal Temperament

I last featured Roadkeeper in January when I reviewed their magnificent single “Enemy Mine” (which spent more than four months on my Weekly Top 30). The song is a scathing attack on far-right white nationalist professional pundits who radicalize vulnerable young people by feeding them propaganda on social media and YouTube. Continuing in a similar vein, on June 24th, they dropped their 8th single “Take the L“, which addresses the ongoing immigrant and refugee crisis along the US/Mexico border, which has had an especially profound impact on Texas.

Written during the Trump administration and recorded in the Biden administration, the song shines a light on the fact this issue hasn’t gone away with the change in the White House. In an article in the webzine Clash, John explained “The song serves as an important reminder that the two major political parties in the US are just punting this issue back and forth to one another, so when is real change going to happen?

Roadkeeper never fails to amaze me, and with “Take the L”, they once again deliver an exceptional single. The layered mix of psychedelic and shimmery guitars are gorgeous, backed by sparkling atmospheric synths and thumping rhythms, all creating a melodic and captivating backdrop for the powerful lyrics. John has a wonderful and mellifluous singing voice, and here his smooth vocals remind me at times of Mark Foster (of Foster the People) as he laments “Just take the L and go, so we both get our way. We’ll burn at both ends and say ‘Who started it anyway?’. All these stolen kids who die in their sleep don’t mean anything.”

Connect with Roadkeeper:  Facebook / Twitter  / Instagram
Stream their music on Spotify / Soundcloud / Apple Music
Purchase on Bandcamp / iTunes

Top 30 Songs for June 6-12, 2021

  1. NOT DEAD YET – Lord Huron (3)
  2. BREATHE – Ships Have Sailed (1)
  3. SHY AWAY – twenty øne piløts (2)
  4. ROSE HIPS – Dawning (4)
  5. FLATLINE – Two Feet (11)
  6. I NEED YOU – Jon Batiste (6)
  7. METRONOME – Polarizer (8)
  8. FOLLOW YOU – Imagine Dragons (9)
  9. AT HOME IN THE DARK – Au Gres (12)
  10. SAVE YOUR TEARS – The Weeknd (13)
  11. HYPOTHETICALS – Lake Street Dive (14)
  12. BREAK MY BABY – KALEO (15)
  13. BED HEAD – Manchester Orchestra (16)
  14. LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN – Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic (7)
  15. ALL MY FAVORITE SONGS – Weezer (5)
  16. BLACK DAYS – Amongst Liars (17)
  17. WAY LESS SAD – AJR (18)
  18. CAN WE GO BACK – The Frontier (20)
  19. TYPHOONS – Royal Blood (21)
  20. WELCOME TO THE PARTY – Jack Droppers & the Best Intentions (22)
  21. WE ARE BETWEEN – Modest Mouse (28)
  22. ENEMY MINE – Roadkeeper (10)
  23. COME FIND ME BACK – Philip Morgan Lewis (24)
  24. MARTYR – Oli Barton & the Movement (25)
  25. SINNER – Young Decades (26)
  26. YOUR POWER – Billie Eilish (27)
  27. BETTER – Michigander (30)
  28. MY EX’S BEST FRIEND – Machine Gun Kelly featuring blackbear (19)
  29. CRAWLING KINGSNAKE – The Black Keys (N)
  30. ALL YOU EVER WANTED – Rag’n’Bone Man (N)

Top 30 Songs for May 30-June 5, 2021

  1. BREATHE – Ships Have Sailed (2)
  2. SHY AWAY – twenty øne piløts (1)
  3. NOT DEAD YET – Lord Huron (3)
  4. ROSE HIPS – Dawning (7)
  5. ALL MY FAVORITE SONGS – Weezer (4)
  6. I NEED YOU – Jon Batiste (8)
  7. LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN – Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic (6)
  8. METRONOME – Polarizer (9)
  9. FOLLOW YOU – Imagine Dragons (10)
  10. ENEMY MINE – Roadkeeper (5)
  11. FLATLINE – Two Feet (17)
  12. AT HOME IN THE DARK – Au Gres (12)
  13. SAVE YOUR TEARS – The Weeknd (13)
  14. HYPOTHETICALS – Lake Street Dive (14)
  15. BREAK MY BABY – KALEO (15)
  16. BED HEAD – Manchester Orchestra (16)
  17. BLACK DAYS – Amongst Liars (18)
  18. WAY LESS SAD – AJR (19)
  19. MY EX’S BEST FRIEND – Machine Gun Kelly featuring blackbear (11)
  20. CAN WE GO BACK – The Frontier (22)
  21. TYPHOONS – Royal Blood (23)
  22. WELCOME TO THE PARTY – Jack Droppers & the Best Intentions (24)
  23. PATCHWERK – Sub Urban & Two Feet (21)
  24. COME FIND ME BACK – Philip Morgan Lewis (25)
  25. MARTYR – Oli Barton & the Movement (26)
  26. SINNER – Young Decades (27)
  27. YOUR POWER – Billie Eilish (29)
  28. WE ARE BETWEEN – Modest Mouse (30)
  29. ESTELLA – Kenny Hoopla featuring Travis Barker (19)
  30. BETTER – Michigander (N)

Top 30 Songs for May 23-29, 2021

  1. SHY AWAY – twenty øne piløts (1)
  2. BREATHE – Ships Have Sailed (3)
  3. NOT DEAD YET – Lord Huron (6)
  4. ALL MY FAVORITE SONGS – Weezer (5)
  5. ENEMY MINE – Roadkeeper (2)
  6. LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN – Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic (4)
  7. ROSE HIPS – Dawning (8)
  8. I NEED YOU – Jon Batiste (9)
  9. METRONOME – Polarizer (10)
  10. FOLLOW YOU – Imagine Dragons (11)
  11. MY EX’S BEST FRIEND – Machine Gun Kelly featuring blackbear (7)
  12. AT HOME IN THE DARK – Au Gres (13)
  13. SAVE YOUR TEARS – The Weeknd (14)
  14. HYPOTHETICALS – Lake Street Dive (15)
  15. BREAK MY BABY – KALEO (16)
  16. BED HEAD – Manchester Orchestra (17)
  17. FLATLINE – Two Feet (20)
  18. BLACK DAYS – Amongst Liars (19)
  19. ESTELLA – Kenny Hoopla featuring Travis Barker (12)
  20. WAY LESS SAD – AJR (22)
  21. PATCHWERK – Sub Urban & Two Feet (23)
  22. CAN WE GO BACK – The Frontier (24)
  23. TYPHOONS – Royal Blood (25)
  24. WELCOME TO THE PARTY – Jack Droppers & the Best Intentions (26)
  25. COME FIND ME BACK – Philip Morgan Lewis (28)
  26. MARTYR – Oli Barton & the Movement (29)
  27. SINNER – Young Decades (30)
  28. THE BANDIT – Kings of Leon (21)
  29. YOUR POWER – Billie Eilish (N)
  30. WE ARE BETWEEN – Modest Mouse (N)

Top 30 Songs for May 16-22, 2021

  1. SHY AWAY – twenty one pilots (1)
  2. ENEMY MINE – Roadkeeper (3)
  3. BREATHE – Ships Have Sailed (4)
  4. LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN – Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic (2)
  5. ALL MY FAVORITE SONGS – Weezer (6)
  6. NOT DEAD YET – Lord Huron (7)
  7. MY EX’S BEST FRIEND – Machine Gun Kelly featuring blackbear (5)
  8. ROSE HIPS – Dawning (10)
  9. I NEED YOU – Jon Batiste (11)
  10. METRONOME – Polarizer (12)
  11. FOLLOW YOU – Imagine Dragons (13)
  12. ESTELLA – Kenny Hoopla featuring Travis Barker (9)
  13. AT HOME IN THE DARK – Au Gres (15)
  14. SAVE YOUR TEARS – The Weeknd (16)
  15. HYPOTHETICALS – Lake Street Dive (17)
  16. BREAK MY BABY – KALEO (18)
  17. BED HEAD – Manchester Orchestra (19)
  18. SLEEP – The Frontier (8)
  19. BLACK DAYS – Amongst Liars (21)
  20. FLATLINE – Two Feet (29)
  21. THE BANDIT – Kings of Leon (14)
  22. WAY LESS SAD – AJR (23)
  23. PATCHWERK – Sub Urban & Two Feet (24)
  24. CAN WE GO BACK – The Frontier (25)
  25. TYPHOONS – Royal Blood (26)
  26. WELCOME TO THE PARTY – Jack Droppers & the Best Intentions (28)
  27. PEACHES – Justin Bieber featuring Daniel Caesar & Giveon (22)
  28. COME FIND ME BACK – Philip Morgan Lewis (N)
  29. MARTYR – Oli Barton & the Movement (N)
  30. SINNER – Young Decades (N)

Top 30 Songs for May 9-15, 2021

  1. SHY AWAY – twenty one pilots (6)
  2. LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN – Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic (1)
  3. ENEMY MINE – Roadkeeper (4)
  4. BREATHE – Ships Have Sailed (5)
  5. MY EX’S BEST FRIEND – Machine Gun Kelly featuring blackbear (3)
  6. ALL MY FAVORITE SONGS – Weezer (8)
  7. NOT DEAD YET – Lord Huron (10)
  8. SLEEP – The Frontier (2)
  9. ESTELLA – Kenny Hoopla featuring Travis Barker (7)
  10. ROSE HIPS – Dawning (11)
  11. I NEED YOU – Jon Batiste (12)
  12. METRONOME – Polarizer (13)
  13. FOLLOW YOU – Imagine Dragons (14)
  14. THE BANDIT – Kings of Leon (9)
  15. AT HOME IN THE DARK – Au Gres (18)
  16. SAVE YOUR TEARS – The Weeknd (19)
  17. HYPOTHETICALS – Lake Street Dive (20)
  18. BREAK MY BABY – KALEO (24)
  19. BED HEAD – Manchester Orchestra (25)
  20. FIRE – Two Feet (16)
  21. BLACK DAYS – Amongst Liars (23)
  22. PEACHES – Justin Bieber featuring Daniel Caesar & Giveon (21)
  23. WAY LESS SAD – AJR (26)
  24. PATCHWERK – Sub Urban & Two Feet (27)
  25. CAN WE GO BACK – The Frontier (28)
  26. TYPHOONS – Royal Blood (29)
  27. ALL ABOUT YOU – The Knocks featuring Foster the People (15)
  28. WELCOME TO THE PARTY – Jack Droppers & the Best Intentions (30)
  29. FLATLINE – Two Feet (N)
  30. WAITING ON A WAR – Foo Fighters (17)

Top 30 Songs for April 25-May 1, 2021

  1. LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN – Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic (1)
  2. SLEEP – The Frontier (3)
  3. THE BANDIT – Kings of Leon (2)
  4. MY EX’S BEST FRIEND – Machine Gun Kelly & blackbear (6)
  5. ALL ABOUT YOU – The Knocks featuring Foster the People (4)
  6. ENEMY MINE – Roadkeeper (9)
  7. BREATHE – Ships Have Sailed (11)
  8. ESTELLA – Kenny Hoopla featuring Travis Barker (8)
  9. ALL MY FAVORITE SONGS – Weezer (12)
  10. FIRE – Two Feet (5)
  11. NOT DEAD YET – Lord Huron (16)
  12. WAITING ON A WAR – Foo Fighters (10)
  13. ROSE HIPS – Dawning (15)
  14. I NEED YOU – Jon Batiste (19)
  15. METRONOME – Polarizer (20)
  16. FOLLOW YOU – Imagine Dragons (26)
  17. SHY AWAY – twenty one pilots (27)
  18. BEAUTIFUL DISGUISE – Melotika (18)
  19. AT HOME IN THE DARK – Au Gres (21)
  20. SAVE YOUR TEARS – The Weeknd (22)
  21. TIME TRAVELER – Matt Jaffe (17)
  22. HYPOTHETICALS – Lake Street Dive (25)
  23. LET DOWN – Michigander (7)
  24. PEACHES – Justin Bieber featuring Daniel Caesar & Giveon (23)
  25. YOU – Benny Blanco with Marshmello & Vance Joy (24)
  26. LEVITATING – Dua Lipa featuring DaBaby (13)
  27. HEAT WAVES – Glass Animals (14) 21st week on list
  28. BLACK DAYS – Amongst Liars (29)
  29. BREAK MY BABY – KALEO (N)
  30. BED HEAD – Manchester Orchestra (N)

Top 30 Songs for April 18-24, 2021

  1. LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN – Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic (3)
  2. THE BANDIT – Kings of Leon (1)
  3. SLEEP – The Frontier (4)
  4. ALL ABOUT YOU – The Knocks featuring Foster the People (5)
  5. FIRE – Two Feet (2)
  6. MY BEST FRIEND’S EX – Machine Gun Kelly & blackbear (8)
  7. LET DOWN – Michigander (6)
  8. ESTELLA – Kenny Hoopla featuring Travis Barker (10)
  9. ENEMY MINE – Roadkeeper (11)
  10. WAITING ON A WAR – Foo Fighters (12)
  11. BREATHE – Ships Have Sailed (13)
  12. ALL MY FAVORITE SONGS – Weezer (14)
  13. LEVITATING – Dua Lipa featuring DaBaby (7)
  14. HEAT WAVES – Glass Animals (9) 20th week on list
  15. ROSE HIPS – Dawning (17)
  16. NOT DEAD YET – Lord Huron (22)
  17. TIME TRAVELER – Matt Jaffe (18)
  18. BEAUTIFUL DISGUISE – Melotika (19)
  19. I NEED YOU – Jon Batiste (21)
  20. METRONOME – Polarizer (23)
  21. AT HOME IN THE DARK – Au Gres (24)
  22. SAVE YOUR TEARS – The Weeknd (25)
  23. PEACHES – Justin Bieber featuring Daniel Caesar & Giveon (26)
  24. YOU – Benny Blanco with Marshmello & Vance Joy (27)
  25. HYPOTHETICALS – Lake Street Dive (28)
  26. FOLLOW YOU – Imagine Dragons (29)
  27. SHY AWAY – twenty one pilots (N)
  28. DRIVERS LICENSE – Olivia Rodrigo (20)
  29. BLACK DAYS – Amongst Liars (30)
  30. SOFIA – Clairo (16)

Top 30 Songs for April 11-17, 2021

  1. THE BANDIT – Kings of Leon (2)
  2. FIRE – Two Feet (1)
  3. LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN – Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, Silk Sonic (9)
  4. SLEEP – The Frontier (6)
  5. ALL ABOUT YOU – The Knocks featuring Foster the People (7)
  6. LET DOWN – Michigander (8)
  7. LEVITATING – Dua Lipa featuring DaBaby (3)
  8. MY EX’S BEST FRIEND – Machine Gun Kelly & blackbear (11)
  9. HEAT WAVES – Glass Animals (4)
  10. ESTELLA – Kenny Hoopla featuring Travis Barker (12)
  11. ENEMY MINE – Roadkeeper (13)
  12. WAITING ON A WAR – Foo Fighters (14)
  13. BREATHE – Ships Have Sailed (15)
  14. ALL MY FAVORITE SONGS – Weezer (17)
  15. 1ST TIME – Bakar (5)
  16. SOFIA – Clairo (10)
  17. ROSE HIPS – Dawning (18)
  18. TIME TRAVELER – Matt Jaffe (19)
  19. BEAUTIFUL DISGUISE – Melotika (20)
  20. DRIVERS LICENSE – Olivia Rodrigo (16)
  21. I NEED YOU – Jon Batiste (21)
  22. NOT DEAD YET – Lord Huron (22)
  23. METRONOME – Polarizer (23)
  24. AT HOME IN THE DARK – Au Gres (24)
  25. SAVE YOUR TEARS – The Weeknd (27)
  26. PEACHES – Justin Bieber featuring Daniel Caesar & Giveon (28)
  27. YOU – Benny Blanco with Marshmello & Vance Joy (29)
  28. HYPOTHETICALS – Lake Street Dive (30)
  29. FOLLOW YOU – Imagine Dragons (N)
  30. BLACK DAYS – Amongst Liars (N)

Top 30 Songs for April 4-10, 2021

  1. FIRE – Two Feet (1) 4th week at #1
  2. THE BANDIT – Kings of Leon (5)
  3. LEVITATING – Dua Lipa featuring DaBaby (4)
  4. HEAT WAVES – Glass Animals (2)
  5. 1ST TIME – Bakar (3)
  6. SLEEP – The Frontier (8)
  7. ALL ABOUT YOU – The Knocks featuring Foster the People (9)
  8. LET DOWN – Michigander (10)
  9. LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN – Bruno Mars, Anderson .Paak, SilkSonic (17)
  10. SOFIA – Clairo (6)
  11. MY EX’S BEST FRIEND – Machine Gun Kelly & blackbear (11)
  12. ESTELLA – Kenny Hoopla featuring Travis Barker (12)
  13. ENEMY MINE – Roadkeeper (13)
  14. WAITING ON A WAR – Foo Fighters (14)
  15. BREATHE – Ships Have Sailed (15)
  16. DRIVERS LICENSE – Olivia Rodrigo (7)
  17. ALL MY FAVORITE SONGS – Weezer (19)
  18. ROSE HIPS – Dawning (20)
  19. TIME TRAVELER – Matt Jaffe (21)
  20. BEAUTIFUL DISGUISE – Melotika (22)
  21. I NEED YOU – Jon Batiste (23)
  22. NOT DEAD YET – Lord Huron (24)
  23. METRONOME – Polarizer (26)
  24. AT HOME IN THE DARK – Au Gres (27)
  25. DIRTY – grandson (16) 20th week on list
  26. CAN YOU FEEL THE SUN – MISSIO (18) 20th week on list
  27. SAVE YOUR TEARS – The Weeknd (N)
  28. PEACHES – Justin Bieber featuring Daniel Caesar & Giveon (N)
  29. YOU – Benny Blanco with Marshmello & Vance Joy (N)
  30. HYPOTHETICALS – Lake Street Dive (N)