Friday, March 31, 2017

Online Sounds: Saltland's A Common Truth

An album both despairing and lovely, I’ve been listening to Saltland’s second LP, A Common Truth, over the last week or so. The solo moniker of Rebecca Foon, co-founder of Esmerine and member of Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, Saltland’s latest LP is a composed reflection on climate change and its environmental and social impact. With a fascinating marriage of electronic/ambient elements and rich, textural string arrangements, plus instrumental assistance from Warren Ellis of The Dirty Three and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Foon’s commanding presence, both instrumentally and vocally, moves through this piece with a captivating blend of emotion and warmth. I find her vocal in “I Only Wish This For You,” particularly haunting, her inflection breathy and kind of devastating. On the instrumental track “Forward Eyes I,” it’s as if you can hear the promise of a new day being slowly eradicated as time elapses, opportunity fading into the ether as daylight fades.

A Common Truth is out now via Constellation Records. A full-stream of the album is available at Tiny Mix Tapes, but you can also listen to the album below courtesy of Rarely Unable PR.

If you like what you hear, please support the artist and purchase the album.

All information regarding A Common Truth were provided by Rarely Unable PR.



Saltland, cellist and composer Rebecca Foon, is now streaming her new album A Common Truth in its entirety via Tiny Mixtapes. A Common Truth is a remarkable song cycle, punctuated by ambient soundscapes, that reflects Foon’s complex web of emotions around the topic of climate change.

The album exudes grace and power, demonstrating a striking ability to compose music that balances sonic heaviness with beautiful textures. The album’s instrumental tracks feature Warren Ellis (Nick Cave, Dirty Three). It is out today on Constellation.


A Common Truth is a sonic meditation on climate change: the hope, diligence, anxiety, sadness and desperation of the climate movement and of our collective consciousness as social fabrics become increasingly frayed and scorched by fossil fuel dependency and environmental degradation. A Common Truth channels these themes through immersive, restorative music of austere warmth, constructed almost entirely from Foon’s wide palette of cello sounds, evenly balanced between instrumentals and songs featuring her voice and lyrics.

Foon co-founded the Juno Award-winning contemporary chamber group Esmerine in 2002 and was a core member of the celebrated cult post-punk band Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra from 2001-2008 and the experimental instrumental collective Set Fire To Flames. Foon was also a founding member of the instrumental trios The Mile End Ladies String Auxiliary and Fifths of Seven. Alongside over a dozen albums as a composer and player with the aforementioned projects, Foon has a long list of recording and performing credits as a guest player, and several soundtrack projects under her belt (including the award-winning tar sands documentary H2Oil). Most recently, she has been a member of Colin Stetson’s acclaimed “Sorrow” orchestra (performing Gorecki’s 3rd Symphony) and part of the band for the live documentary performances of filmmakers Sam Green and Brent Green Saltland is Foon’s ‘solo’ project, the seeds of which were planted with a series of local Montréal performances under her own name in 2010-2011. As a first album took shape in 2012, Foon wished to give the music its own moniker and identity, and to leave room for the project to take on various members and configurations.

Saltland’s 2013 debut record I Thought It Was Us But It Was All Of Us was released to broad critical acclaim and featured a long list of Foon’s friends and past collaborators as guest musicians, including Jamie Thompson (The Unicorns, Islands), Richard Reed Parry and Sarah Neufeld (Arcade Fire), Mishka Stein (Patrick Watson) and Laurel Sprengelmeyer (Little Scream). The record was produced by Grammy-winning engineer Mark Lawson (Arcade Fire). For her second Saltland album A Common Truth, Foon set out to create a more rigorously solo work, using her cello as the predominant source for all the music and sounds on the record. Working with producer/engineer Jace Lasek (The Besnard Lakes), Foon combines both unadulterated and processed cello to forge the entire sonic landscape – the notable exception being violin and pump organ contributed by special guest Warren Ellis (Nick Cave, Grinderman, The Dirty Three) for the album’s four instrumentals. Foon sings on the other five songs in a voice that UK music magazine Mojo has described as “an instrument of somnolent, gossamer allure which floats gracefully amid the eddying, amniotic music”.

A Common Truth is also an album about climate change and an attempt to musically translate a complex mix of emotional, social and political resonances in this regard. Foon unfolds an atmosphere and pace on the album that allows for the coexistence of optimism and despair, resolve and resignation, the intimacy of the local/personal and the hope of the global/collective.

Climate action is of particular importance to Rebecca Foon as she has devoted much of her life in recent years to working for decarbonization, land conservation, renewable energy and urban green strategies – as a member of the Canadian cooperative consultancy Sustanability Solutions Group, as founder of the Peruvian-based rain forest conservation charity Junglekeepers, and as co-founder of Pathway to Paris, an international concert series bringing together musicians, writers and environmental activists to help raise consciousness and create action in support of a robust international climate agreement.

Rebecca Foon’s new Saltland album A Common Truth is the fullest expression and coalescence of the multiple trajectories this committed and inspiring artist, activist, teacher and organizer has been living and pursuing in recent years.

Foon will be celebrating the release of A Common Truth at National Sawdust in Brooklyn on April 7th. Tickets and further information is available HERE.

SaltlandA Common Truth
(March 31st, 2017 – Constellation Records) 

Order A Common Truth: 

1. To Allow Us To Breathe 
2. Under My Skin 
3. I Only Wish This For You 
4. Light Of Mercy 
5. Forward Eyes I 
6. Magnolia 
7. This Other Place 
8. A Common Truth 
9. Forward Eyes II

Official Site | Facebook | Twitter | Constellation

Letters From A Tapehead 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

TRAX!: Big Walnuts Yonder, Chuck Berry, HOTT MT, Jaimie Branch, Kikagaku Moyo, Ghost Bath, Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble, Obituary, Benjamin Muñoz

Big Walnuts Yonder: "Sponge Bath" (via Us-Them Group/Sargent House/Sterogum/Soundcloud)

Chuck Berry: "Big Boys" (via Big Mouth Publicity/YouTube)

HOTT MT: "At Night in China Town" (via Tell All Your Friends PR/YouTube)

Jaimie Branch: "Theme 002" (via Clandestine Media/International Anthem Recording Co./YouTube)

Kikagaku Moyo: "In A Coil" (via Tell All Your Friends PR/Wonderland./Soundcloud)

Ghost Bath: "Ambrosial" (via Earsplit PR/Nuclear Blast/YouTube)

Laetitia Sadier Source Ensemble: "Galactic Emergence" (via mutante/Drag City/YouTube)

Obituary: "Ten Thousand Ways to Die" (via Relapse Records/YouTube)

Benjamin Muñoz: "Melle" (via XLR8R/Push & Run/Soundcloud)

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Music Pounding In My Head: OOZEPUS

Your Limit EP
Malignant Records
Released: 2.24.17

Indecipherable words are gargled over chugging bottom end bass riffs and ten-ton drums and I'm taken back to the days when Godflesh, Swans and The Jesus Lizard were crafting loud and abrasive anthems for malcontents designed to strike fear into the hearts of Babyboomer parents, a generation in love with its own tired, pop-laden runoff and convinced of its progeny's inferiority.  OOZEPUS, a supergroup of sorts comprised of members from Coffins and Linekraft, provide the type of aural pummeling you yearn for if you grew up hearing sounds both muddy and grinding, their new EP, Your Limit, a four-song ode to the mechanics behind grotesque, huge and heavy music.

As rattling as an intro as you could hope to hear from a band like this, the title track plays like some fucked up march that leads into a slow skip.  OOZEPUS maintain a necessary trudge and assembly line repetition throughout most of Your Limit, a mouthful of viscous fluid spewed across every track.  For "Insult," a wailing guitar melody pierces through the track's industrial crawl.  It's probably the album's most humanizing moment, that expressive tone trailing across the ugliness beneath.

Truly the only speed OOZEPUS manage is via "CYN," its pace burdened by the music's weight.  With surges of guitar sound coursing though its rhythmic upswing, "CYN" cuts a carnage-riddled path to "Farmers," a fractured, doom-laden near-9 minutes that, at points, seems to recall Greg Ginn's numerous attempts at Iommi'izing Black Flag.  The track eventually shifts into multiple fits of percussive turbulence until the song ends.

I bet this would sound great on a cassette.

Letters From A Tapehead

Monday, March 20, 2017

Chuck Berry (1926-2017)

Image from
Chuck Berry, rock pioneer and American icon, passed away on March 18th.  He was 90 years old.

Being a key factor in the creation and development of what's come to be known as rock and roll, not to mention a source of inspiration and material for many of rock's most significant and subsequent acts like The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Jimi Hendrix, The Yardbirds, and Motörhead, Berry's multiple contributions to what is rock's celebrated musical dialect and cherished songbook cannot be overstated.  He gave us "Johnny B. Goode," "Roll Over Beethoven," " No Particular Place to Go," "You Never Can Tell," and, (almost quite literally), "Rock and Roll Music."  His legacy as an artist is forever preserved in America's cultural conversation as is his influence on how that conversation sounds. 

It was announced late last year that Berry was working on a new album called, CHUCK.  As a response to fans eager for details regarding what will now be a posthumous release, the Berry Family issued the following statement:

Since Chuck’s passing on Saturday, the Berry family has received many inquiries from friends, fans and media about the status of his forthcoming album CHUCK, which was originally announced on his 90th birthday, 18th October 2016.

Working to prepare the release of this record in recent months and in fact over the last several years brought Chuck a great sense of joy and satisfaction. While our hearts are very heavy at this time, we know that Chuck had no greater wish than to see this album released to the world, and we know of no better way to celebrate and remember his 90 years of life than through his music.

For months now plans have been in place, and preparations have been made with our friends at Dualtone Records, to reveal further details and music from the album this week. As a tribute to Chuck Berry, and with gratitude to his fans around the world, we will be following through on those plans in the coming days.

The Chuck Berry Family

(A special thanks to Big Mouth Publicity for the info.)  

Thanks for the music, Chuck.  Rest in peace.   

Letters From A Tapehead

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Monday, March 13, 2017

Phawker: Pissed Jeans

Body Spray
M Ax Noi Mach
Pissed Jeans
Boot & Saddle
Philadelphia, PA

Photo by Josh Pelta-Heller

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Pontiak: "Tomorrow is Forgetting"

A subtly dialed up metronome set to an expansive and hypnotic red-eyed blues, “Tomorrow is Forgetting” is the first single from Virginia’s own Pontiak, their new album, Dialectic of Ignorance, releasing March 24th via Thrill Jockey Records. An altered gaze set to the horizon as its minutes glide by, “Tomorrow is Forgetting” stays with you long after the track is finished, Pontiak’s fluid riff and thick low end a veritable slow ride through some ever-long sonic flatland.

You can listen to the track below:

All information on Pontiak and Dialectic of Ignorance was provided by Thrill Jockey Records.

Virginia brothers Pontiak fuse hard riffs with blistering harmonies on new single

Dialectic of Ignorance out March 24th

Pontiak have announced dates in UK, Austria, Germany, Belgium, The Czech Republic and Luxembourg, with more coming soon

With their new album Dialectic of Ignorance out later this month, Pontiak have unleashed the merciless first single "Tomorrow is Forgetting".

Dialectic of Ignorance’s expansive structures echo the rugged, hazy climbs of the Blue Ridge Mountain setting of Pontiak's lives, but don’t be fooled; this is no mere collection of pastoral instrumental landscapes. Having opened their own brewery in August 2015, the Carney brothers have had the opportunity to reassess their creative process through brewing. The lessons learned from this experimentation have had a formative effect on the both the process underlying and subsequent sound of Dialectic of Ignorance. 

Potent from the first note, “Tomorrow Is Forgetting” fuses Van Carney's tenacious, stony guitar riffing with his brothers' blistering vocal harmonies, in a five minute minimalist stoner opus that relentlessly cranks up the intensity. While Dialectic of Ignorance is not directly a political album per se, guitarist/vocalist Van Jennings asserts that “The message we want to get across is the importance of being present in the moment. Maybe everything is fucked. But you can do something about that.”

Dialectic of Ignorance is out on Thrill Jockey on March 24th.

In support of Dialectic of Ignorance, Pontiak will also be embarking on tours throughout Europe and the U.S., including a set at Berlin's Desertfest. 

Pontiak tour dates:
21.04.2017 | Vienna, Austria | Fluc
22.04.2017 | Karlsruhe, Germany | Dudefest
23.04.2017 | Tilburg, Netherlands | Roadburn Festival
26.04.2017 | Luxembourg | De Gudde Wëllen
27.04.2017 | Brussels, Belgium | VK
28.01.2017 | London, UK | Desertfest
29.04.2017 | Koln, Germany | Stereo Wonderland
30.04.2017 | Berlin, Germany | Desertfest
01.05.2017 | Leipzig, Germany | UT Connewitz
02.05.2017 | Prague, Czech Republic | Lucerna Music Bar

Pre - Order 'Dialectic of Ignorance' here:

Pontiak on Facebook:

Pontiak on Instagram:

Pontiak on Twitter:

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

TRAX!: NAH, Chastity Belt, Dinosaur Jr.

NAH: "hiver en neuf morceaux / IV" (via kinsman and meng pr/YouTube)

Chastity Belt: "Different Now" (via Hardly Art/YouTube)

Dinosaur Jr.: "Knocked Around" (via Jagjaguwar/YouTube)

Letters From A Tapehead

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Aseethe: "Sever the Head III"

If you're in the mood for bleak, you're welcome.

Aseethe's scorching track, "Sever the Head III," gets the visual accompaniment it deserves: a grim series of murders captured following the act(s), the violence inferred from their visualized aftermath(s).  The track was lifted from the band's very recent new release, Hopes of Failure, which was put out via Thrill Jockey Records.  You can check out the video below:

All info, tour dates, and links were provided by Thrill Jockey Records.

Aseethe's bleak vision embodied in the deadly, unforgiving video for "Sever the Head III"

Monolithic masterpiece Hopes of Failure out now

Aseethe touring throughout the U.S. this Spring & Summer

Watch Aseethe's video for "Sever the Head III", directed by Joshua Ford

After releasing their acclaimed Thrill Jockey debut Hopes of Failure last week, Aseethe have shared their bleakly unforgiving video for "Sever the Head III," directed by Joshua Ford.

Aseethe’s unrelenting slow-doom is often compared to drone music because of its core repetitions. This distinctly non-metal approach combined with harsh vocals and unusual samples gives Aseethe a unique voice among metal’s boundary pushers. On
Hopes of Failure, the Iowa band’s primary influences of doom and drone share a similar ethos, but rarely do they converge with as much restraint, and patience, drawing on inventive sound sources and distorted, just enough, to add some sludge. Aseethe is the direction that heavy music is moving in.

Aseethe will embark on an extensive U.S. tour this Spring and Summer, including sets at, Daytrotter Downs Festival, and Not So Fun WKND with Thou.

Aseethe Tour Dates:
Mar. 4 - Davenport, IA - RME Redstone Room @ Daytrotter Downs Festival
Mar. 15 - Tulsa, OK - Soundpony
Mar. 16 - Austin, TX - The Lost Well - Austin Terror Fest *
Mar. 17 - Dallas, TX - Deep Ellum - Not So Fun WKND #
Mar. 18 - Columbia, MO - Cafe Berlin $
Mar. 31 - Milwaukee, WI - Quarters Rock and Roll Palace^
Apr. 1 - Davenport, IA - Daytrotter
Apr. 2 - Chicago, IL - Subterranean
Apr. 3 - Grand Rapids, MI - Firehouse
Apr. 5 - Pittsburgh, PA - Howlers
Apr. 8 - Providence, RI - Machines with Magnets
Apr. 9 - Woonsocket, RI - Hex Museum of Dark Arts
Apr. 10 - New York City, NY - St. Vitus
Apr 12 - Baltimore, MD - Sidebar
Apr. 13 - Raleigh, NC - Slim’s
Apr. 14 - Knoxville, TN - Birdhouse
Apr. 15 - Nashville, TN - Autograph Rehearsal Studio
Jun. 2 - Colorado Springs, CO - The Black Sheep: 71 Grind Volume II

* w/ North, Pinkish Black + more
# w/ Thou


1. Sever the Head
2. Towers of Dust
3. Barren Soil
4. Into the Sun

Order Hopes of Failure here:

Aseethe on Facebook:

Aseethe on Instagram:

Letters From A Tapehead

Six Organs of Admittance: "Adoration Song"

Six Organs of Admittance, the work of one Ben Chasny, has released a new album called Burning the Threshold.  Following a psychedelic/post-rock/experimental phase with 2012's Ascent and his two Hexadic releases, Burning the Threshold marks a return to Chasny's acoustical, folk-based output and it's a worthwhile listen.  The first video from the album surfaced today for "Adoration Song."  You can watch the video below:

All information on the release, tour dates, and links were provided by Rarely Unable PR.  Burning the Threshold was released on 2.24 via Drag City. 


On the cusp of two full decades of music-making, Six Organs of Admittance has ridden winds and waves spanning passion and logic and myth. The brand-new full length, Burning the Threshold, exudes a warmth not always found in Ben Chasny's music - but that's how life works, taking us up and down over time. Ben's records have charted that passage, making his arrival at this seemingly sweet moment a special pleasure, and as always, a magic and musical one as well. It is now available for all to hear via vinyl, CD, cassette and digital files, with US tour dates starting in less than a week. What more can Ben Chasny do? Well, how about a brand new music video to unveil in anticipation of his forthcoming tour? Done!


For the first music video and third single from Burning The Threshold, "Adoration Song" enervates and elevates ones mind, with images of the raw majesty of nature and haunting reminders of the unknowable. Directed by Elisa Ambrogio, the sun hangs over the moss and lichen, the cliffs and sandy shores of wintery northern California. Ben's melody and lyrics work as layers with the sharp focus and gauzy allegorical bent of the video, which features Ben as elephant man, a remote wanderer fearful of the world around him, until he removes his sheath, obtains the third eye and rises up, to become a part of the natural world, moving forward with two sets of footprints in the sand behind him.

Just the way you do everyday you walk through this world. Breathe IN and out again, with "Adoration Song" and rise up...

02/03/17 Thu in Vancouver, BC at The Cobalt
03/03/17 Fri in Seattle, WA at Fremont Abbey Arts Center
04/03/17 Sat in Portland, OR at Bunk Bar
06/03/17 Mon in San Francisco, CA at The Chapel
07/03/17 Tue in Los Angeles, CA at Bootleg Bar
08/03/17 Wed in San Diego, CA at Soda Bar
23-26/03/17 in Knoxville, TN at Big Ears Festival
28/03/17 Tue in Atlanta, GA at The Earl
29/03/17 Wed in Asheville, NC at Mothlight
30/03/17 Thu in Raleigh, NC at Kings
31/03/17 Fri in Washington, DC at DC9
01/04/17 Sat in Brooklyn, NY at Union Pool
02/04/17 Sun in Boston, MA at Great Scott
03/0417 Mon in Portland, ME at Space Gallery
05/04/17 Wed in Philadelphia, PA at Johnny Brenda's
06/04/17 Thu in Pittsburgh, PA at Club Cafe
07/04/17 Fri in Cleveland, OH at Beachland Tavern
08/04/17 Sat in Detroit, MI at Third Man Records
09/04/17 Sun in Chicago, IL at Empty Bottle
10/04/17 Mon in Minneapolis, MN at 7th St. Entry
12/04/17 Wed in Milwaukee, WI at Collectivo Coffee
14/04/17 Fri in St. Louis, MO at Duck Room at Blueberry Hill
15/04/17 Sat in Louisville, KY at Zanzabar

Six Organs of Admittance Online:
Drag City-

Official Site-

Letters From A Tapehead

Music Pounding In My Head: Earthen Sea & Lawrence English

Earthen Sea
An Act of Love
Released: 2.17.17

Earthen Sea’s An Act of Love was conceived as a meditation on a quiet night in a city. The solo tag of Jacob Long, former bassist for the jarring D.C. band Black Eyes and the ritualistic dance punk band Mi Ami, Earthen Sea constructs atmospheric pulse-scapes which, at times, pose ethereally charged sounds and soft and distant textures against club beats. This is especially true of “About That Time,” its pensive disposition layered and slowly realized next to the beat that pushes everything forward.

While contemplative in mood, there is a calm and a bliss to this work, its introductory track, “The Present Mist,” offering entry into Long’s perspective, which seems more concerned with the faraway gaze as opposed to the granular exploration. Romance is exchanged for grit and there’s so much air here despite sounding so full. Long’s attempts at conveying what he calls, “the concept and reality of being out in the city at night,“ are mostly successful, though his more tonal excursions sound incomplete relative to tracks like “Exuberant Burning” or “The Flats 1975.” Even on nights when the city is at its least active, there’s an energy to the environment that never seems to rest, which is why the more percussive tracks resonate with me a little more.

With all that said, what I hear is a very strong EP, Long’s narrative best told when motion is paired with the album’s more thoughtful and absorbing moments.

Lawrence English
Cruel Optimism
Released: 2.17.17

A few blast beats, some throat scraping vocals… Lawrence English could’ve made a black metal album.

English pulled the title Cruel Optimism from a text by author Lauren Berlant and acknowledges its influence on much of you’ll hear in Cruel Optimism (his record), an album of protest which plays as an array of tonal mood pieces and ghostly cries from a damaged orchestra comprised of Mats Gustafsson, Mary Rapp, Brodie McAllister, Heinz Riegler, Thor Harris, Norman Westberg, Tony Buck, Chris Abrahams, Vanessa Tomlinson, and Warner Dafeldecker.  Listen deep enough and you may find a melody, (“The Quietest Shore” is reductive enough early on to allow this to happen, a vibraphone handled by ex-Swans Harris), but your ears will be otherwise tasked with sifting through the sonic mire of English’s vision.  The unsettling thunderous shocks of “Hammering a Screw” standout as does “Exquisite Human Microphone,” busy rounds of left handed piano strokes from Abrahams buried beneath a series of weighty swells from Gustafsson’s saxophone.  “Negative Drone” can be taken literally.

While the album’s chilling language is meant to acknowledge, with a dark perception and implied uncertainty, the world as we currently know and understand it, it’s easier at points to consider this work as more of an icy realization of the way things are than a product of meaningful resistance. He captures isolation and distance well, his structures anxious and heavy.  “Somnambulist,” however, is one of English’s rallying pieces, a suggested righteousness that’s compelling to hear. But as it transitions into “Moribund Territories,” with some of the prior track’s elements still in place, its spirit settles and slowly grows cold.  Powerful, but cold:  As perfect a summary of Cruel Optimism as can be expressed.

Letters From A Tapehead

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Big Walnuts Yonder: "Raise the Drawbridges?"

The Indie Rock: Then & Now of bands: Big Walnuts Yonder brings together Mike Watt (Minutemen, fIREHOSE), Nels Cline (Wilco), Greg Saunier (Deerhoof), and Nick Reinhart (Tera Melos), combining over thirty years of fringe-based rock n' roll lineage.  The group's first single, "Raise the Drawbridges?," captures well the distinct musical sensibility of each member, from Watt's unmistakable low-end harmonic to Saunier's thunderous snare, synthesizing their respective personalities into an energized and very fun two-minutes and twenty seconds. 

The song premiered over at Consequence of Sound.  The cover illustration is from the able hand and characteristically dark mind of Raymond Pettibon.    

Big Walnuts Yonder's self-titled debut is scheduled to release on May 5th via the reliably awesome Sargent House label.  You can listen to "Raise the Drawbridges?" with the Soundcloud link below.  All info and links were provided by Us/Them Group. 

Big Walnuts Yonder share first song from forthcoming album via Consequence of Sound  
Big Walnuts Yonder: Mike Watt, Nels Cline, Greg Saunier and Nick Reinhart

Hear & share "Raise The Drawbridges?" (Soundcloud) (CoS

Big Walnuts Yonder premiere the first track from their forthcoming debut full length today via Consequence of Sound.

Big Walnuts Yonder is bassist/vocalist Mike Watt (Minutemen, The Stooges), guitarist Nels Cline (Wilco, Nels Cline Singers), drummer Greg Saunier (Deerhoof) and guitarist/vocalist Nick Reinhart (Tera Melos). It is not a supergroup. "It's worlds colliding," says Mike Watt.

Four exceptional musicians whose work spans multiple genres and generations, Big Walnuts Yonder is a monumental endeavor that's more than the sum of its parts. The results are a truly epic album defying categorization, where one might hear elements of proto-punk, free jazz, power pop, experimental music, psych-rock and your first teenage acid trip all in one.

The impetus for Big Walnuts Yonder came about way back in 2008 from a conversation between Watt and Reinhart while their bands toured together in Japan. The two discussed recording together and who they might bring in to the sessions.
"Nick gets a hold of my first opera," Watt explains. "Made in 1997 with Nels Cline. He said 'what's it like playing with Nels?'"

"So Watt says, 'if you want to know the man, play with the man,'" Cline elaborates. Cline agreed to join if Reinhart picked the drummer. Reinhart quickly mentioned Saunier, unaware that Cline had previously brought Watt to see him perform at a Deerhoof show years before. "Greg immediately came to mind," Reinhart says. "His drumming has highly influenced my guitar playing over the years." The lineup solidified in its mutual appreciation and they began making plans to write and record - while circumnavigating the schedules of 4 extremely busy musicians. "We had planned it for so long," Saunier says. "Then several years passed in which nothing occurred due to everyone's schedules. It was 2-3 years of warm, leisurely prep time, then suddenly made in a panic with time and money on the line."

Prior to recording, Watt sent the band demo recordings of 8 song structures of just him playing bass, unaccompanied. (Cline and Saunier also later brought 1 song each to the session, to which the band contributed their parts, making the album 10 songs total.) Reinhart worked out guitar parts to fit Watt's riffs and the two traded files back and forth.
"I'm pretty sure the other guys didn't have parts set before going into the studio," Reinhart says. "Maybe we hadn't discussed what we would do. But it's interesting how a lot of the songs began as Mike Watt basslines, and everyone was able to pull songs and melodies out of them."

The album was recorded in just 3 days in summer 2014 in Brooklyn, NY with producer and former Pere Ubu bassist Tony Maimone engineering at his Studio G. "
It was this concentrated sort of freakout," Saunier says. "We basically had to invent a new band on the spot. And, people might have a stereotype of what each person does, but we all showed up to do what we're prevented from doing in other groups." The band would play through each song a couple of times to make up parts, then hit record. "Nels can improvise with anything," Watt notes. "It was trippy to watch the huge pedal dance! Both those guys have like 35 pedals each. And, Greg's not just a drummer man, he's incredible." The album's 10 tracks were recorded primarily live with very few overdubs. Although Big Walnuts Yonder was created under somewhat spontaneous circumstances, the group endeavored to ensure the album wouldn't sound like a jam session. "It was very clear among us," Saunier notes: "Let's not overindulge and make it a 'musician's recording'."

It wasn't until many months later that vocals were added to the songs, with Reinhart recording vocals to 7 songs and Watt singing on 2 tracks at their home studios.
"It was actually a surprise that it ended up having vocals on it," Cline admits. "But it added a layer of accessibility that I didn't expect." Saunier, a revered producer in his own right, volunteered to mix the album - a fact that the other 3 musicians each express as a major boon for the album. Saunier was able to take his time to mix each song very differently from the others. This, too, gives the album the unique feel of all rock history condensed into a single explosive, compelling whole.

As Watt and Reinhart note, the 30-year span between the ages of Big Walnuts Yonder members is also a contributing factor to its magic. And, likely a key to the band's iconoclast sound.
"That's insane playing and connecting with someone who's almost 30 years older than me," Reinhart says. "Observing how these dudes are just hammering away so much later is inspiring. They're still learning and exploring." Watt adds, "it's interesting that people are much more open-minded now. We were all just trying to be adventurous with music."

Asked how he might describe Big Walnuts Yonder, Cline succinctly nails it on the head:
"It's sick. It has an extreme quality and kicks ass."

Big Walnuts Yonder features a cover illustration by punk art legend Raymond Pettibon. The album will be available on LP, CD and download on May 5th, 2017 via Sargent House. Physical pre-orders are available at

Artist: Big Walnuts Yonder
Big Walnuts Yonder
Label: Sargent House
Release Date: May 5th, 2017

01. All Against All
02. Sponge Bath
03. Flare Star Phantom
04. I Got Marty Feldman Eyes
05. Raise the Drawbridges?
06. Ready to Pop!
07. Forgot to Brush
08. Rapid Driver Moon Inhaler
09. Pud
10. Heat Melter

On the Web: 

Letters From A Tapehead

Gritty Death Mask...

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