ACL Interviews: David Bazan

I first discovered David Bazan and his work in Pedro the Lion when I was just a young lad in my early high school years. I was always drawn to Bazan’s early post-emo work and have continued to follow his career for the last 10 years or so. Being such a big fan of his work in Pedro, Headphones, and now solo, I was pretty excited to land an interview with Bazan to preview his spot on the ACL festival roster this weekend. Sometimes this job has it’s perks. Follow the jump to read more from the conversation between David and I.

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2009 Top 50 Albums

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Creating a Top 50 Albums list is never easy.  You have to battle with what you think the world believes, and what you truly believe in your heart, to be solid jams.  We have even more trouble because we have to three writers, all who have different ideas, and we have to make those ideas fit into a neat box.  Well, we got it done, and honestly, our criteria was based on two things: how great we thought the album was, artistically speaking, and how long we listened to it without getting bored.  That’s it. It’s fool proof; you might not like it, but it’s our list, so here it is… Read more

ATH Intervews: J. Tillman

jtillman_interviewWe had the incredible opportunity this week to speak with solo songwriter J. Tillman about his musical endeavors.  Mr. Tillman talks about his new solo record Year in the Kingdom and his work with indie powerhouse Fleet Foxes.  This interview should serve as a nice preview to the J. Tillman show coming up on Friday at Mohawk.  Follow the jump for full interview.

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David Bazan on Daytrotter

20030467-110733Fresh off the release of his critically acclaimed album, Curse Your Branches, David Bazan stopped into the Daytrotter studios and laid down three tracks from the afformentioned album.  Bazan and his band embark on a cross country tour, in their new van, on October 1st, showing up in Austin at the Mohawk on the 7th.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/david-bazan-bless-this-mess.mp3]

Download: David Bazan – Bless This Mess (live) [MP3]

David Bazan – Curse Your Branches

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Rating: ★★★★ ·

With Curse Your Branches David Bazan returns with his second release with Barsuk Records (his first being 2006’s Fewer Moving Parts EP), and his first full length since the Headphone’s 2005 self titled album.  After collaborating with TW Walsh on both Pedro the Lion’s Achilles Heel (2004) and the aforementioned Headphones LP, Bazan once again finds himself the captain of the ship, as well as its only crew member.

Curse Your Branches is a fascinating record in that it feels both new and familiar at the same time. The same plaintive singer/songwriter is still present in Bazan that we’ve come to know and love (or loathe) for almost fifteen years now. Tracks like ‘Hard To Be’, ‘Curse Your Branches’ & ‘In Stitches’ feel lived in upon first listen. That’s not to say that these songs are stale. These songs have an urgency that was missing on the Fewer Moving Parts EP. Bazan brings a newfound confidence to these recordings, both musically and lyrically.  On ‘Bless This Mess’, ‘Please Baby, Please’, & ‘When We Fell’ Bazan exhibits a Randy Newman-esque smirk, exuding a swagger not usually found on past Pedro the Lion records.

To address the elephant in the room: David Bazan has written a, as Jessica Hopper put it, “harrowing breakup record” in which he dumps God.  I feel that that is an apt description of a heartbreaking record.  The lyrics on Curse Your Branches have catalogued the both public and private struggles Bazan has had since Pedro the Lion dissolved in 2004, from alcoholism to his departure from a lifetime of faith. This isn’t your feel good Summer road trip record. It’s weighty with its subject matter, it’s the story of growth, departure, and haunting, like the itch on a phantom limb.  This haunting is evident in the album’s closer, ‘In Stitches’: I might as well admit it/ Like I even have a choice/ The crew have killed the captain/ But they still can hear his voice/ A shadow on the water/ A whisper in the wind/ On long walks with my daughter/ Who is lately full of questions about you.

Something must be said about one man in a studio with a clear and concise vision of what he wants to put on tape. Everything, from the reverse playback of the melody at the beginning of ‘Hard to Be’ to the howl of a man with a broken heart on ‘In Stitches’, is in it’s right place. On Curse Your Branches, David Bazan has turned in the most focused album of his career.

David Bazan will be playing at the Mohawk on October 7th.

[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/blessthismessgfp.mp3]

Download: David Bazan – Bless This Mess [MP3]

New Music From David Bazan

davidbazan_faceDavid Bazan, the man who sometimes calls himself Pedro the Lion, is about to drop his first full length album under his own name.  The album will be called Curse Your Branches and will be hitting stores September 1st via Barsuk Records.  Here’s the very first single from the new album called “Bless This Mess”.  We likes it.

[audio: http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/08/blessthismessgfp.mp3]

Download: David Bazan – Bless This Mess [MP3]