Tag: The Washington Post

Currently comprised of founding members  and primary songwriters Chuck Cleaver (vocals, guitar), known for being a member of Ass Ponys  and Lisa Walker (vocals, guitar), along with Mark Messerly (bass, keys), John Erhardt (pedal steel, guitar), and Joe Klug (drums), the Cincinnati, OH-based shoegaze quintet Wussy can trace their origins back to 2001 when its founding duo began playing together as a dare during a brief run of solo Cleaver shows. The first show they played together while being largely unplanned went without incident, so they agreed that they should continue as a fully fleshed band. Cleaver and Walker recruited Dawn Burman (drums) and Messerly in 2002 And as a quartet, Wussy released three full-length albums and a critically applauded EP that received praise from a number of major media outlets including Rolling StoneSPINVillage VoiceNPRThe Washington PostUncut and the legendary Robert Christgau, who placed the Cincinnati act’s first two efforts Funeral Dress and Left for Dead on his best of the decade list, and their third, self-titled release on his best of 2009 list.

After receiving critical success, the band went through a series of lineup changes, as Burman left the band and was replaced with Cincinnati music scene vet Joe Klug, who joined the band for Attica! and Forever Sounds. The band’s newest member John Erhardt has helped evolve the band’s sound, adding a twangy psychedelic vibe as they’ve expanded their profile with recorded sessions for BBC 6 Music and KEXP, appearances at SXSW and CMJ, touring with the likes of The Afghan Whigs, and have shared stages with Yo La TengoThe BreedersBest CoastMudhoneyOkkervil RiverThe MekonsCOMEWreckless Eric and Jeffrey Lewis.

The Cincinnati-based indie rock act’s seventh studio album What Heaven Is Like is slated for release later this month through Damnably Records in Europe and Shake It! Records in the States, and as you may recall, earlier this year, I wrote about “Gloria,” a song that was reportedly inspired by the protagonist of Fargo‘s Season 3, Gloria Burgle, played by Carrie Coon — but in a much larger sense, the song is meant to paint a portrait of an inscrutable everywoman, who dares to stand up to an omnipresent, almost supernatural, villain. The album’s latest single “Cake,” while continuing in a similar, cinematic yet 90s inspired vein of its predecessor is arguably one of the album’s bleaker songs, evoking the sort of existential dread and anxiety that feels inescapable and pervasive. Shit has gone bad and quickly, and it’s time to start hunkering down because it’s about to get much worse.

 

 

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Currently comprised of founding members  and primary songwriters Chuck Cleaver (vocals, guitar), known for being a member of Ass Ponys  and Lisa Walker (vocals, guitar), along with Mark Messerly (bass, keys), John Erhardt (pedal steel, guitar), and Joe Klug (drums), the Cincinnati, OH-based shoegaze quintet Wussy can trace their origins back to 2001 when its founding duo began playing together as a dare during a brief run of solo Cleaver shows. The first show they played together while being largely unplanned went without incident, so they agreed that they should continue as a fully fleshed band. Cleaver and Walker recruited Dawn Burman (drums) and Messerly in 2002 And as a quartet, Wussy released three full-length albums and a critically applauded EP that received praise from a number of major media outlets including Rolling StoneSPINVillage Voice, NPRThe Washington PostUncut and the legendary Robert Christgau, who placed the Cincinnati act’s first two efforts Funeral Dress and Left for Dead on his best of the decade list and their third, self-titled release on his best of 2009 list.

After receiving critical success, the band went through a series of lineup changes, as Burman left the band and was replaced with Cincinnati music scene Joe Klug joined the band for Attica! and Forever Sounds. The band’s newest member John Erhardt has helped evolve the band’s sound, adding a twangy psychedelic vibe as they’ve expanded their profile with recorded sessions for BBC 6 Music and KEXP, appearances at SXSW and CMJ, touring with the likes of The Afghan Whigs, and have shared stages with Yo La Tengo, The Breeders, Best Coast, Mudhoney, Okkervil River, The Mekons, COME, Wreckless Eric and Jeffrey Lewis.

Wussy’s forthcoming seventh studio What Heaven Is Like is slated for  May 18, 2018 release through Damnably Records in Europe and Shake It! Records in the States, and the album’s latest single “Gloria” is reportedly inspired by the protagonist of Fargo‘s Season 3, Gloria Burgle, played by Carrie Coon — but in a much larger sense, the song is meant to paint a portrait of an inscrutable everywoman, who dares to stand up to an omnipresent, almost supernatural, villain. As the band’s Lisa Walker explains in press notes, “This season of Fargo was so bleak and unrelenting. The V.M. Varga character seemed like an undefeatable entity, something between a robber baron and whoever’s secretly watching you from the other side of your screen in real-time. Gloria’s purity of heart made her this bright shining light.. the only person actually impervious to the enemy. But even beyond that, I was very inspired this year by several women who dared to put everything on the line, even their own lives, to stand up for what is right. I tried to show my respect for this great courage in the re-telling of Gloria’s story.” Interestingly, the band pairs this narrative story within a song that manages to be cinematic yet intimate while nodding at Americana and early 90s Pearl Jam — i.e., “Tremor Christ,” off Vitalogy and so on.

 

Currently comprised of founding members Willy Vlautin (vocals, acoustic guitar and electric guitar) and Dave Harding (bass, backing vocals), along with Sean Oldham (drums, percussion, vibes and backing vocals), Dan Eccles (guitar) and Paul Brainard (pedal steel, piano, acoustic guitar, trumpet, backing vocals), the Portland, OR-based alt country quintet Richmond Fontaine can trace its origins back to 1994 when the band’s founding duo met at  Portland Meadows Racetrack, where they bonded over betting on the ponies and their mutual love of Husker Du, Willie Nelson, X, The Blasters and The Replacements, and they quickly decided to collaborate together. After a lineup change with the band expanding to a quintet, they developed  reputation for a sounda that frequently meshed elements of rock, country, punk, folk and Americana paired with Vlautin’s narrative-like songwriting, which resulted in praise from the likes of nationally and internationally recognized media outlets including UncutQ MagazineMojoThe IndependentThe Sun and others.

Interestingly, over the past decade, the band’s Vlautin has developed a reputation as a critically applauded and commercially successful novelist with his debut novel The Motel Life winning a Silver Pen Award from the State of Nevada and landed on the The Washington Post’s Top 25 Books of 2007 — and later, the book was adapted into the critically acclaimed motion picture, The Motel Life which starred Emile Hirsch, Stephen Dorff, Dakota Fanning and Kris Kristofferson.  Vlautin’s 2008 sophomore novel, Northline was a San Francisco Chronicle Top Ten Bestseller. 2010’s Lean on Pete won the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction and was named Hot Press’ book of the year. 2014’s The Free continued an incredible run of prolificacy which included the band’s 9 preceding full-length albums, an instrumental soundtrack for Northline, two live albums and an EP.

After a three year hiatus from recording, the  members of Richmond Fontaine returned to the studio with their long-time producer and collaborator John Askew to write and record, 2016’s You Can’t Go Back If There’s Nothing To Go Back To, which was released by one of my favorite labels, Fluff and Gravy Records across North America and Decor Records across Europe. And if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you may recall that I wrote about album single “Wake Up Ray,” a jangling bit of old school country-influenced alt country with Vlautin’s novelistic attention to detail, which managed to created a very real, lived in world in which the song’s characters wake up every single day to a lonely life and an even lonelier house that they’ve learned to hate — and yet they’re aware that because of the choices they made, that their position (if not, their very fate) is largely inescapable. But underneath the surface, is a wistful and mournful recognition of life and love’s impermanence.

Following the release of You Can’t Go Back If There’s Nothing To Go Back To, the members of the band formally announced that it would be their final traditional album and tour; however, as the band’s Vlautin was putting the finishing touches on his fifth novel, Don’t Skip Out on Me which is slated for a February 13, 2018 release through HarperCollins, he was able to round up the band to record an instrumental, companion soundtrack, and while a digital download of the soundtrack will be bundled with the book, Richmond Fontaine’s long-time label home felt that it deserved it’s own release — February 16, 2018 with an extremely limited vinyl release both in the States and in Europe, through Decor Records.

Soundtrack single “Horace And The Trophy” while clearly nodding to classic, 60s and 70s Renegade Country, 70s AM rock possesses an obvious cinematic quality, as though it should be part of the soundtrack of a deliberate, thoughtful road trip movies, featuring rugged, heartbroken and rootless loners crisscrossing the continent, fleeing a troubled past or an uncertain future.

 

 

Comprised of Chuck Cleaver (vocals, guitar), Lisa Walker (vocals, guitar), Mark Messerly (bass, keys), John Erhardt (pedal steel, guitar), and Joe Klug (drums), Cincinnati, OH-based shoegaze quintet Wussy can trace their origins to when the band’s founding members and primary songwriters Chuck Cleaver, formerly of Ass Ponys and Lisa Walker began to perform together on what was supposed to be a brief run of solo shows for Cleaver back in 2001. The first show Cleaver and Walker played together was largely unplanned and went without incident, so they agreed to continue and expand the band. The band’s first drummer Dawn Burman and Meserly were recruited and joined the band in 2002 and the quartet released three full-length efforts and an EP that received praise from a number of media outlets including Rolling StoneSPINVillage Voice, NPRThe Washington PostUncut and the legendary Robert Christgau, who placed the Cincinnati quintet’s first two efforts Funeral Dress and Left for Dead on his best of the decade list and their third, self-titled release on his best of 2009 list.

After quickly achieving critical success, the band went through a lineup change as Burman left and was replaced with Cincinnati music scene vet, Joe Klug with whom the recorded Attica! and their sixth and most recent effort, Forever Sounds, which was released last month through Shake It/Damnably Records. The quintet recently released subtly shoegazey cover of Joy Division/New Order‘s “Ceremony” which retains the spirit of the original while adding layers upon layers of reverb drenched guitars with the boy/girl harmonies of Cleaver and Walker throughout. Interestingly, Cleaver and Walker’s harmonies bring the swooning Romantic urgency of the song out into the forefront. But perhaps more important, it’s a reminder of how a timeless song can reverberate a generation or two after its initial release.

Check out how the Wussy cover compares to the Joy Division original below.

 

Currently comprised of Willy Vlautin (vocals, acoustic guitar and electric guitar), Dave Harding (bass, backing vocals), Sean Oldham (drums, percussion, vibes and backing vocals). Dan Eccles (guitar) and Paul Brainard (pedal steel, piano, vibes, acoustic guitar, trumpet and backing vocals), the Portland, OR-based alt country quintet Richmond Fontaine can trace its origins back to 1994 when the founding duo of Vlautin and Harding met at Portland Meadows Racetrack and pored over the racing form and talked about music. Bonding over their mutual love of Husker Du, Willie Nelson, X, The Blasters and The Replacements, the duo decided to write and play music together. After expanding to a quartet, Richmond Fontaine developed a reputation for a sound that meshed elements of rock, country, punk and folk and paired them with Vlautin’s narrative-based songwriting (which has interestingly enough have been compared favorably to the short stories of Raymond Carver and Larry Brown). And as a result, the band has been praised by a number of nationally recognized and internationally recognized outlets including UncutQ MagazineMojoThe IndependentThe Sun and others.

Interestingly, over the past 8 years or so Richmond Fontaine’s Willy Vlautin has also developed a reputation as a critically acclaimed novelist. His debut novel The Motel Life won a Silver Pen Award from the state of Nevada and landed on the The Washington Post‘s Top 25 Books of 2007 — and it was later adapted into the critically acclaimed movie, The Motel Life which starred Emile Hirsch, Stephen Dorff, Dakota Fanning and Kris Kristofferson. Northline, Vlautin’s second novel was published in 2008 and was a San Francisco Chronicle Top Ten Bestseller. His third novel, Lean on Pete was published in 2010 and won the Ken Kesey Award for Fiction and was Hot Press’ book of the year. And his last novel, The Free was published two years ago. Along with nine full-length albums, an instrumental soundtrack for Northline, two live albums and an EP,  Vlautin and company have been incredibly (and exhaustingly) prolific.

After a three year hiatus from recording, the members of Richmond Fontaine returned to the studio with their long-time producer John Askew to write and then record their forthcoming tenth full-length effort, You Can’t Go Back If There’s Nothing To Go Back To, which is slated for a March 18 release through Fluff and Gravy Records across North America and Decor Records across Europe.  The album’s first single “Wake Up Ray,” is a jangling bit of alt country that tells a story with such exquisite narrative details that it creates a very real, lived in world in which the song’s characters wake up every day to a life and a house that they hate and yet feels largely inescapable — all while reminiscing over the time that’s passed and a love that’s long been over. And although wistful and mournful over the things that can’t be, there’s an acceptance of things being impermanent and a quiet joy in once knowing those things.