Sep 17, 2018

Folk punk gets a bad rap. Performing with Christopher Gordon (aka Roman Candles) at house shows all over Southern California (with the likes of Blackbird Raum, Spoonboy, and an acoustic iteration of Joyce Manor) are some of my fondest memories. Being able to throw shows with only an empty living room and some pawnshop instruments was a way for suburb-sick teenagers to let loose. But, as the adage goes, time marches on. People bought amps, some completely disappeared, and others went woefully mainstream, but through it all, Gordon remained true to himself: releasing records, touring, and publishing his zine, The Stowaways. Fortunately, Gordon never quit writing heart-rending songs on his acoustic guitar because Can I Kiss You? is his finest achievement—personal yet painfully relatable. Songs like “In the Kitchen” and “Ryan” devastate with their penetrating honesty: “Ryan always thought she’d make it to the top / But she never wants to dance when she’s falling apart.” The world desperately needs songwriters like Christopher Gordon, but we don’t always deserve them. –Sean Arenas (Self-released, [email protected],