Tickets SOLD OUT
of Montreal have announced that they’ll be playing a one-off acoustic UK show to preview material from forthcoming album ‘Lousy With Sylvianbriar ahead of the 7th October release date. of Montreal’s charismatic mainman Kevin Barnes will appear at London’s Electrowerkz on the 25th September to play new songs and old favourites in the legendary Islington venue.
‘Lousy With Sylvianbriar’ is due out 7th October in the UK and 8th October in the US/rest of the world through Polyvinyl, with album track ‘She Ain’t Speakin’ Now’ being aired here.
Initially premiered by Rolling Stone, ‘She Ain’t Speakin’ Now’ fits in the same aesthetic vein as album opener and lead single ‘Fugitive Air’. The track also showcases the new album’s softer side, as it bounces between moment of full-on, plugged-in rock & roll squalor and softly cooed vocals over acoustic guitar.
‘Lousy With Sylvianbriar’ is a dramatic shift in style compared to the band’s last full-length release, ‘Paralytic Stalks’. This new album finds Barnes revisiting his roots, connecting with 60’s / 70’s bands he admires like Bob Dylan, Neil Young, Big Star and other classics.
The album will be available digitally, on tape, CD and 180-gram vinyl. 1500 copies of vinyl will be clear green vinyl and available through Polyvinyl’s E-store exclusively, while the other retail copies will be pink vinyl. Cassette edition limited to 250 hand-numbered copies on green cassettes, courtesy of Joyful Noise Recordings.
About ‘Lousy With Sylvianbriar’
Defining of Montreal is impossible. There are too many perspectives to consider, angles to explore and layers to uncover. Just when you think you have a concept of what kind of creature they are they transform into something unexpected and new. As a result, each album holds the opportunity for re-discovery, re-immersion, re-appreciation.
On ‘Lousy with Sylvianbriar’, this paradigm holds true once more. The record was created with a new songwriting approach, a different recording method, and a fresh group of musicians. Seeking creative inspiration, Kevin Barnes re-located to San Francisco where he spent days soaking in the strange surroundings and channeling the city’s energy into his writing. After a very prolific period there, he returned to Athens, GA and assembled the cast of musicians to begin the sessions.
Barnes eschewed computer recording, with its pitch correction, limitless effects plug ins and editing possibilities. Instead, with the help of engineer Drew Vandenberg (Deerhunter, Toro y Moi), he recorded the new album in his home studio on a 24 track tape machine. With no computer tricks to fall back on, the band – Kevin Barnes (guitars, bass, vocals), Rebecca Cash (vocals),Clayton Rychlik (drums, vocals), Jojo Glidewell (keys), Bob Parins (pedal steel, bass), and Bennet Lewis (guitars, mandolin) – could only get out of the recordings what they put into them. Most of the tracking was recorded live with the band in the same room together. They worked quickly, with the band members composing their parts on the fly with little second guessing. The album was recorded in just three weeks.
“I knew I wanted the process to be more in line with the way people used to make albums in the late 60s and early 70s,” reveals Barnes. “I wanted to work fast and to maintain a high level of spontaneity and immediacy. I wanted the songs to be more lyric driven, and for the instrumental arrangements to be understated and uncluttered”.
Opening track ‘Fugitive Air’ feels like a Stones-y anthem, with sparks of Philip K Dick’s psychedelic prose, Ralph Bakshi’s cartoon violence and William S Burroughs’ hyper-paranoia. ‘Belle Glade Missionaries’ finds Barnes lyrically at his most political, backed by a soundtrack that is pure Dylan circa ‘Highway 61 Revisited’.
Female vocalist Rebecca Cash makes several appearances on the album, taking the lead on the plaintive ‘Raindrop In My Skull’, where her and Barnes share a Gram Parsons/Emmylou Harris-inspired duet.
‘She Ain’t Speakin’ Now’ ranks among of Montreal’s all-time great songs, transforming its brooding acoustic guitar intro into a visceral angst-ridden rocker that sounds like the best moments of Neil Young & Crazy Horse. The album’s closer ‘Imbecile Rages”, a caustic and doleful epitaph for a crumbling relationship, is one of Barnes’ most raw and personal statements.
Like the classic albums that inspired it, this is an album to be explored, to be lived with, to be listened to in happiness and in darkness, to be dissolved into. To be played very loudly at parties and with eyes closed, in headphones, alone. It should become dog-eared and dirty with use and it should lessen the blow of our enemies, in all of their forms.