Don’t hate Alexander Cardinale because he has it dialed in. The songwriter, who also sometimes goes by Xander, is coming off a tour with Melissa Etheridge. Cardinale says the exposure afforded him by touring with an established artist like Etheridge was intoxicating. “It’s a performers dream to get to take over a huge stage and have use of full expression,” Cardinale tells EW. “Literally, your expressions get bigger; your performance in general gets bigger; thus your energy is higher, you’re jumping around; the audience is on their feet. I love that.”
Continuing Cardinale’s string of good luck is the release of “Made for You,” the successful single from his forthcoming Digital Youth EP. The song is so expertly drenched in the pop sounds of “now” — acoustic guitars, a soaring, wordless chorus and the campfire sing-along feel of The Lumineers, Mat Kearney, Edward Sharpe or Mumford & Sons — you can almost imagine an accompanying sepia-toned montage of Instagram snapshots.
Cardinale says his intention with the Digital Youth EP was to take the listener through his high school relationship, college girlfriend and finally meeting his wife. “I will always want to play ‘Made for You’ to introduce myself to a new listener,” Cardinale says, “I’ve put everything into this song.” He adds, “I’m really proud of the EP as a whole.”
Playing with Cardinale this time through Eugene is California alt-country group Dead Winter Carpenters, touring in support of 2014’s Dirt Nap EP — blending roots-y harmonies, reckless slide guitar playing, the jingle-jangle of The Byrds and an atmosphere of pure rock ‘n’ roll.
Alexander Cardinale plays with Dead Winter Carpenters 9 pm Thursday, Jan. 8, at Sam Bond’s; $7. 21-plus