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DAMIEN JURADO

Damien Jurado

What's New, Tomboy?

    What’s New, Tomboy? is an album that seeks respite in bare minimums and barren revelations: sometimes frail, sometimes affirming, sometimes wry, and usually a threadbare mix of all those sentiments. It could be considered Damien Jurado’s finest collection of music to date, with songs exuding the inviting warmth of a lone porch light gleaming amidst the disorienting darkness. Though more stripped and grounded in their execution, songs like “Sandra”, “Ochoa” and “Alice Hyatt” are generous and candid in their vocabulary, eschewing the sometimes abstruse imagery of Jurado’s previous releases. “There is no hiding on these tracks.” Though What’s New, Tomboy? is the first Damien Jurado record that ends with a question mark, he has never sounded more assured and content in giving up his ghosts: “I’m only living sentences // That were long before I got here.”

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    LP includes MP3 Download Code.

    Damien Jurado has always worked fast, but In the Shape of a Storm came together with unprecedented speed. Recorded over the course of two hours one California afternoon, it’s Jurado’s sparsest album to date. Gone are the thundering drums and psychedelic arrangements that defined the trilogy of concept albums he made with his longtime collaborator and close friend Richard Swift. Gone even is the atmospheric air that hovered above his early albums for Sub Pop. Here, there’s only Jurado’s voice, acoustic guitar, and occasional accompaniment from Josh Gordon, playing a high-strung guitar tuned Nashville style, rendering its sound spooky and celestial. Though fans have long requested a solo acoustic album, the prospect never made sense to Jurado, until one day it simply did. “It just felt like it was time,” Jurado says. The idea of an unadorned album became its own medium in his mind, like a painter who sets down his brushes and instead opts for charcoal pencils instead.

    “There is nothing left to hide,” Jurado sings on “Lincoln,” which opens the record. It’s something of a thesis statement for these songs. Everything here is clear and laid bare, two-tone, like the drawing Jurado crafted for the record’s cover. Originally written for 2000’s The Ghost of David, “Lincoln” was shelved and forgotten about until Damien came across it on an old cassette tape. The discovery inspired him to go about gathering up songs that had never found proper homes. As a result, In the Shape of a Storm is like an archive of previously abandoned songs. Damien Jurado’s discography is filled with songs written as miniature movies, cinematic vignettes that capture people, the places they are from, and where they are going. In the Shape of a Storm is his first black and white picture. It’s both a snapshot of two hours in a California recording studio and a document spanning 19 years and a life of music. It is the sound of a singer pouring out possible futures and visions. “I believe songs have their own time and place,” Jurado says. For these ten, that time has finally come.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    says: Voice, guitar and glorious song-craft. Damien distilled.

    Like previous albums, The Horizon Just Laughed started with a dream – though that’s where things change, as they often do. It is Damien Jurado’s first self-produced album in a 20+ year career, more personal and more rooted than even his Maraqopa trilogy, as though after so much time on the road he’s stumbled upon his home.

    The album feels like a beautiful collage — its narrative pieced together through letters and postcards, with each part contributing to its greater whole, and providing snapshots of ones journey to find a sense of place and connection to a changing world.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    says: Jurado just goes from strength to strength, and this continues that trajectory. Beautiful production mixed with his singular songwriting ability make for a spellbinding and nuanced ride.

    Over the weekend of August 21-22, 2010, not long after Damien Jurado and Richard Swift first collaborated to produce Damien’s 2010 record, ‘Saint Bartlett’, the pair hunkered down with a 4- track recorder and one Coles 4038 ribbon microphone to record a collection of cover songs that run the gamut from John Denver to Chubby Checker to Kraftwerk.

    The timing was perfect. On ‘Other People’s Songs Volume One’ one can see the scaffolding of what would become a creative turning point for the pair - later seen with the release of Damien Jurado’s ‘Maraqopa’, the first record in his Maraqopa trilogy - less than two years later. The opening drum hits of ‘Be Not So Fearful’, the falsetto vocals of ‘Sweetness’ and the Spaghetti-Western swing of ‘Radioactivity’ are, by now, hallmarks of the Jurado / Swift sound but ‘Other People’s Songs Volume One’ is a transitional fossil, a marking of the pair’s collaborative evolution.

    This is the first time ‘Other People’s Songs Volume One’ is available on CD and LP.

    Damien Jurado

    Visions Of Us On The Land

    Providing the ideal entry point for neophytes and an intoxicating aural high for the faithful, Damien Jurado’s new opus extends the hot streak ignited by 2012s Maraqopa and its 2014 follow-up Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son. Cut once again with label mate and super producer Richard Swift at the latters National Freedom recording facility in rural Oregon, Visions of Us On The Land, out 3/18 on Secretly Canadian, completes the tale of an individual who has had to disappear from society in order to discover some universal truths. Today, we’re excited to share the song “Exit 353,” premiered by NPR Music.

    There was no grand scheme to make a trilogy at the outset. Exuberantly prolific, its creator simply wanted the first record to be “a quick snapshot,” says Jurado. “Maraqopa is this peaceful place I can go to in my mind. A little bit psychedelic, but youre not using substances. The brain is such a powerful thing. In that uncharted territory I was able to tap in and find this place. Which was called Maraqopa. Similar to the fictional towns in television or books.”

    Maraqopa the album introduced a character deliberately unnamed, intended to represent anyone feeling that way who stumbles upon the titular locale then gets into a car crash… which only frees him further. Brothers and Sisters of the Eternal Son. It picked up the narrative after the accident, in a commune inhabited by Silver Timothy, Silver Donna, and Silver Malcolm. Visions of Us On The Land journeys further into the subconscious mind, a symbolic road trip spotlighting the people and towns that our central figure and his travelling companion, Silver Katherine, encounter upon leaving the commune. Hence the capitalized track titles, alluding to real American locations refracted through ones third eye in the rear view mirror. Like all great art, its about life and death and love and freedom. A sonic map with no set destination, revealing more with each ride.

    STAFF COMMENTS

    says: I was a massive johnny-come-lately with this guy, whilst my shop customer-friends had been extolling his virtues for years. Well, they were right! This is proper, deep, cavernously produced Americana with a subtle psych twist, and again, just huge, huge songs throughout. There's a lot on here and it is all good. Now for his OTHER ten records!!

    FORMAT INFORMATION

    2xLP includes MP3 Download Code.

    "Saint Bartlett" opens up with a grandiosity yet unheard on a Damien Jurado album. It strips away the many layers of paint from the house down the street where we know Jurado has occupied for the last decade. The new coat is exhilarating. It makes the whole neighbourhood shine. It's a modest grandiosity; still homegrown. The mellotron swells, heavenly handclaps ring in stereo and big drums create a sky for the songs to fly in. And the words. Words spring forth from within the volcano of Jurado, full of hope. There's so much hope, in fact, that album opener "Cloudy Shoes" turns into a call-and-response with himself, as though it were a dialogue between two halves of himself.

    'I wish that I could float up from the ground / I will never know what that's like'

    Heavy stuff. Richard Swift's Spector-esque production is spot-on. He ferries Jurado across the river, where the metamorphosis occurs. He then ferries him back, and it is through Swift's lens that we see Jurado not as a folk singer, but as a mystic - somewhere between Van Morrison, Scott Walker and Wayne Coyne. "Saint Bartlett" was made entirely at Swift's National Freedom studio in Oregon, in just under a week with only Jurado and Swift as the performers.


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