Arts Desk

One Track Mind: Caz and the Day Laborers

Standout Track: No. 2, the smooth, soulful “Grateful,” captures what Caz and the Day Laborers frontwoman Caz Gardiner calls the “gourmet” experience that she and bassist Jorge Bañales set out to create on their new self-titled EP, which channels ’60s rock, mod, and garage rock, but especially rocksteady.

Musical Motivation: The song’s cheerful melody contrasts with its lyrics’ rocky emotional terrain. Last year, Gardiner went to the dentist thinking she might have a cavity. Next thing she knew, a neurologist had diagnosed her with trigeminal neuralgia, a chronic condition that can trigger severe facial pain. “It felt like someone taking a knife to my head and carving around my face,” Gardiner says. “I’d be talking to someone and my teeth would start to tingle and I’d start tearing up.” She’s on medication now, and Gardiner considers herself lucky for escaping a grimmer diagnosis. “I know to be grateful, grateful, grateful,” goes the song’s chorus. “I know I could be worse off, this is true.”

Grin and Bare It: The EP doesn’t limit itself, subject-wise. “You Know You’re Wrong” responds to the 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin. (“We’re more scared of you than it appears. Always on guard when you are near.”) “Don’t Let Me Down,” meanwhile, extols the stress-relieving capability of dancing. (Gardiner likes to get down at U Street Music Hall and Marx Café.) Then there’s “Intentions”—what does that one mean? Gardiner laughs. “All I’ll say is, I know someone who smiles and I think they mean me harm.”

Listen to "Grateful" after the jump.

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