A moon shot, a no-doubter, a goner, a deep drive — for these not up on their baseball lingo, these are all phrases for a ball hit terribly far. We’re not speaking merely over the fence, however to the higher deck or out of the park totally. Moon Shot can be the title of the fourth full-length album from The Lees of Reminiscence, the Volunteer State alt-rock trio that includes Superdrag co-founders John Davis and Brandon Fisher together with drummer Nick Slack.
“I guess it’s kinda cocky, huh?” says Davis. “Like calling your shot.” The singer-songwriter-guitarist is an avowed fan of the San Francisco Giants and, throughout a traditional summer time, an everyday at Nashville Sounds video games.
With Moon Shot, Davis got here to play. The final album from the veteran tunesmith that sounded this hi-fi was Superdrag catalog standout In the Valley of Dying Stars, launched 20 years in the past. The widespread denominator: producer-mixer Nick Raskulinecz, a Grammy winner for his work on Foo Fighters’ 2002 LP One by One. Moon Shot was recorded partially in Davis’ Inglewood jam room and partially at Rock Falcon off Music Row. Davis calls it the primary true occasion in his profession “the place my dwelling studio and the huge studio obtained collectively.” Metro Nashville’s stay-at-home order, which was issued again in March, meant that Raskulinecz was unable to meet the band in particular person for mixing periods. Amazingly, he combined the whole file at his dining-room desk.
Energy pop, in a nutshell, is gloomy sentiments in pleased packages, and Moon Shot is a reminder of Davis’ mastery of the shape. The Superdrag-Lees continuum is stuffed with sincere, heartfelt, hard-rocking tunes, however the brand new ones pack an emotional wallop within the traumatic present second.
“I’m lonely on a regular basis,” Davis declares on Moon Shot’s hovering opening salvo “Lonely In all places.” Through cellphone from his dwelling in Knoxville, Fisher tells the Scene that “Lonely” set the tone for the complete course of of creating the file “from the recording to the guitar sounds.”
A whole of 30 songs had been written, and the trio settled on 10 to file. Those that made the reduce dial again the retro-psych trappings of the final Lees file, 2017’s long-form The Blinding White of Nothing at All, with the next share of co-writes. There are flirtations with New Wave punk (“Dwell With out”), Beatles-esque bops (“Free and Straightforward”) and even Prince-inspired funk-rock (“Far Past”). It’s eclectic but cohesive. When Davis penned two of the album’s centerpieces — the dreamy “No Flooring No Ceiling” and the rousing “Crocodile Tears” — on back-to-back days, a lyrical by means of line started to emerge.
“There’s quite a lot of actually unhappy songs on this file, which ended up being completed at a fairly unhappy time in historical past,” Davis says. “I undoubtedly didn’t imply for it to be a downer, however that’s simply what spilled out. ‘No Flooring No Ceiling’ I don’t assume I spent greater than 15 minutes on. It’s near the floor typically.”
A highly effective marriage of blurry shoegaze guitars and sunny multipart harmonies, “Crocodile Tears” is an ode to discovering therapeutic by way of music in instances of grief. Because the refrain goes: “The radio may assist while you really feel blue / That’s what rock ’n’ roll’s speculated to do / Data raise me up once I can’t transfer / That’s what rock ’n’ roll’s speculated to show.”
“That may very well be the corniest line of all time or probably the most triumphant line of all time, I’m unsure,” says Davis. “I simply needed to sing it like Robert Pollard would.”
With Davis in Nashville and Fisher in Knoxville, exchanging drafts of songs and rewriting sections as they noticed match — versus making real-time solutions and edits — allowed for materials to evolve in shocking methods. The plangent, Teenage Fanclub-esque verse of “Drift Right into a Dream,” for instance, is Fisher; the bridge — a baroque, psychedelic vocal mélange — is all Davis. “It comes out of nowhere, but it surely’s intentional,” Fisher says. “Transport the listener someplace, then come again.”
Illustration: Stirling Snow with Mark H. Roberts
One could be remiss to not point out Moon Shot’s attention-grabbing paintings. It was drawn by illustrator and friend-of-the-band Stirling Snow, with an help from DC Comics colorist Mark H. Roberts. Impressed by Skinny Lizzy’s iconic Jailbreak and RZA’s Bobby Digital in Stereo album artwork (each by comic-book artists), it may simply move for a classic hip-hop album cowl or sci-fi film poster. Followers will wish to personal it on vinyl. Talking of which, the bodily LP of Moon Shot is nonetheless within the works on the urgent plant, however the band fast-tracked the discharge to streaming platforms — you’ll be capable of hear and preorder it by way of Bandcamp on Friday.
“We all the time appear to launch information at a horrible time, it doesn’t matter what we do,” says Davis with fun, remembering how Superdrag dropped its 2009 swan tune Trade Giants on the nadir of the final international recession. “This time, I’ve no thought what to anticipate. However I simply really feel like it might be a mistake to simply sit on it and look ahead to a very good time to place it out. I don’t know if that’s coming.”