The 10 track effort features the previously released “Mr. Tillman,” along with highlights “Disappointing Diamonds Are the Rarest of Them All” and “Just Dumb Enough to Try.” God’s Favorite Customer was produced by Tillman and recorded with Jonathan Rado, Dave Cerminara, and Trevor Spencer and was written largely in New York between Summer 2016 and Winter 2017.
The limited Loser edition on metallic purple vinyl
A standard LP on black vinyl
God’s Favorite Customer Tracklisting 1. Hangout at the Gallows 2. Mr. Tillman 3. Just Dumb Enough to Try 4. Date Night 5. Please Don’t Die 6. The Palace 7. Disappointing Diamonds Are the Rarest of Them All 8. God’s Favorite Customer 9. The Songwriter 10. We’re Only People (And There’s Not Much Anyone Can Do About That)
[Photo credit: Emma Tillman]
Father John Misty Tour Dates + Ticket Links
Father John Misty’s 2018 international tour schedule resumes April 28th in Cincinnati, OH for the National’s Homecoming Fest and currently runs through November 17th in Rust, DE at Rolling Stone Park. Highlights include a performance at the Hollywood Bowl with Gillian Welch on June 24th and Red Rocks with special guest TV on the Radio on August 15th.
There will be additional live dates announced soon. Apr. 28 - Cincinnati, OH - The National Homecoming Festival at Smale Park Apr. 29 - Fort Worth, TX - Fortress Festival May 11 - Bloomington, IN - Granfalloon: A Kurt Vonnegut Gathering! at Upland Brewing Company (solo show) May 25 - Belfast, IE - BBC Music The Biggest Weekend May 26 - Halifax, UK - The Piece Hall May 27 - London, UK - All Points East Festival May 28 - Dublin, IE - Vicar Street May 29 - Dublin, IE - Vicar Street May 30 - Dublin, IE - Vicar Street Jun. 01 - Barcelona, ES - Primavera Sound Festival Jun. 02 - Nimes, FR - This is Not A Love Song Festival Jun. 03 - Paris, FR - We Love Green Festival Jun. 05 - Warsaw, PL - Palladium Jun. 07 - Porto, PT - Primavera Sound Festival Jun. 08 - Aarhus, DK - NorthSide Festival Jun. 10 - Hilvarenbeek, NL - Best Kept Secret Festival Jun. 12 - Oslo, NO - Sentrum Scene Jun. 14 - Bergen, NO - Bergenfest Jun. 15-17 - Hunter, NY - Mountain Jam Jun. 16 - Minneapolis, MN - Rock The Garden Festival! at Walker Art Center Jun. 24 - Hollywood, CA - Hollywood Bowl* Jul. 13 - Louisville, KY - Forecastle Festival Jul. 20 - Jacksonville, OR - Britt Pavilion Jul. 22 - Seattle, WA - Capitol Hill Block Party Jul. 27 - New York, NY - Panorama Music & Arts Festival Aug. 01 - Raleigh, NC - North Carolina Museum of Art Park Theater ^ Aug. 04 - Toronto, ON - Historic Fort York & Garrison Commons $ Aug. 10-12 - San Francisco, CA - Outside Lands Festival Aug. 15 - Morrison, CO - Red Rocks Amphitheatre** Aug. 17-19 - Omaha, NE - Maha Music Festival Sep. 09 - Vancouver, BC - SKOOKUM Festival Nov. 03 - Groningen, NL - TakeRoot Festival Nov. 09-10 - Weissenhäuser Strand, DE - Rolling Stone Weekender Nov. 16-17 - Rust, DE - Rolling Stone Park * w/ Gillian Welch ** w/ TV on the Radio ^ w/ Jenny Lewis $ supporting The National
Their Prime will be available May 25th worldwide from Sub Pop Records, with the exception of Canada through Royal Mountain Records.
Jo Passed have delivered an official video for “Glass” from the group’s forthcoming album, Their Prime. Director John Mutter offers this of the video: “Members of Jo Passed’s lives are turned upside when they receive some unwanted news. Can they conquer their fears and face their conflict head on?”
Jo Passed previously announced headlining dates in support of Their Prime begin May 25th in Vancouver, BC at Red Gate Arts Society and ending June 29th in Seattle at Barboza. Along the way the band will co-headline with Hardly Art’s Dick Stusso (June 6th-18th) and make an appearance at Calgary’s Sled Island Festival (June 21-23). Preceding the tour, the band will appear Canadian Music Week (for Royal Mountain Records Showcase) in Toronto at The Garrison on May 12th.
May 12 - Toronto, ON - The Garrison / CMW (Royal Mtn. Records showcase) May 25 - Vancouver, BC - Red Gate Arts Society May 27 - Oakland, CA - Starline Social Club May 28 - Los Angeles, CA - Moroccan Lounge May 30 - Phoenix, AZ - Valley Bar May 31 - El Paso, TX - Lowbrow Palace Jun. 01 - Austin, TX - The Sidewinder Jun. 02 - Fort Worth, TX - MASS Jun. 04 - Nashville, TN - The End Jun. 05 - Durham, NC - The Pinhook Jun. 06 - Washington, DC - DC9* Jun. 07 - Philadelphia, PA - Boot & Saddle* Jun. 09 - Allston, MA - Great Scott* Jun. 10 - Providence, RI - Fete Music Hall* Jun. 11 - Montreal, QC - Bar Le Ritz* Jun. 12 - Ottawa, ON - Makerspace North* Jun. 13 - Detroit, MI - Marble Bar* Jun. 14 - Columbus, OH - Ace of Cups* Jun. 15 - Cincinnati, OH - TBC* Jun. 16 - Chicago, IL - Sleeping Village* Jun. 17 - Milwaukee, WI - The Cactus Club* Jun. 18 - St. Paul, MN - Turf Club* Jun. 19 - Winnipeg, MB - The Good Will Social Club Jun. 20 - Saskatoon, SK - Amigos Jun. 21-23 - Calgary, AB - Sled Island Festival Jun. 27 - Portland, OR - Mississippi Studios Jun. 29 - Seattle, WA - Barboza *w/ Dick Stusso
Jo Passed’s Their Prime will be available on CD/LP/CS/DL worldwide through Sub Pop Records, with the exception of Canada through Royal Mountain Records on May 25th. The album, which features the aforementioned “Glass,” along with “Millennial Trash Blues” and “MDM,” and was recorded during the fall / winter of 2016/17 at Thor’s Palace & KW Studios, both in the band’s hometown of Vancouver, British Columbia.
Preorders for Their Primeare now available through Sub Pop and Royal Mountain Records. LP purchases through megamart.subpop.com and select independent retailers will receive the limited Loser edition on clear vinyl (while supplies last).
Wolf Parade have extended more their 2018 international tour schedule in support of album Cry Cry Cry. The newly added summer US dates (August 17th-31st) includes stops in Ithaca(NY), Millvale(PA), Columbus(OH), Louisville(KY), Nashville(TN), St. Louis(MO), Indianapolis(IN), Carrboro(NC), Baltimore(MD), Hamden(CT), and Holyoke(MA).
The band have also scheduled a fall run of Canadian dates (September 26th; October 10th-16th) that will have the band visiting Quebec City(QC), Winnipeg(MB), Saskatoon(SK), Calgary(AB), and Nelson(BC).
Early pre-sales for these new shows begin Tuesday, April 17th at 10am (local time), with tickets on sale to general public Friday, April 20th at 10am (local time).
Wolf Parade’s previously announced North American spring dates (May 19th-24th) will have them play Santa Teresa Music & Arts Festival in Sainte-Thérèse (QC) and Sasquiatch Music Festival main stage, as well as a joint run with Japandroids visiting Kansas City(MO), Denver(CO), Boise(ID), and Salt Lake City(UT). Meanwhile, The band’s EU jaunt will have stops in Switzerland, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovenia, and Croatia.
May 19 - Sainte-Thérèse, QC - Santa Teresa Music & Arts Festival May 21 - Kansas City, MO - The Truman ** May 22 - Denver, CO - Ogden Theatre ** May 23 - Salt Lake City, UT - Urban Lounge ** May 24 - Boise, ID - Knitting Factory ** May 25 - George, WA - Sasquatch Music Festival May 31 - Zurich, CH - Bogen F Jun. 01 - Dornbirn, AT - Conrad Sohm Jun. 02 - Kleinreifling, AT - Seewiesenfest Jun. 03 - Prague, CZ - Underdogs Jun. 05 - Ljubljana, SI - Kino Siska Jun. 06 - Zagreb, HR - K-Set Jun. 07 - Graz, AT - Orpheum Jun. 08 - Vienna, AT - Flex Aug. 17 - Elora, ON - Riverfest Elora Aug. 19 - Ithaca, NY - The Haunt Aug. 21 - Millvale, PA - Mr. Smalls Theatre Aug. 22 - Columbus, OH - Ace of Cups Aug. 23 - Louisville, KY - Headliners Aug. 24 - Nashville, TN - The Basement East Aug. 25 - St. Louis, MO - Off Broadway Aug. 26 - Indianapolis, IN - Hi-Fi Aug. 28 - Carrboro, NC - Cat’s Cradle Aug. 29 - Baltimore, MD - The Ottobar Aug. 30 - Hamden, CY - Space Ballroom Aug. 31 - Holyoke, MA - Gateway City Arts Sep. 26 - Quebec City, QC - Imperial Bell Oct. 10 - Winnipeg, MB - The Garrick Centre Oct. 11 - Saskatoon, SK - Capitol Music Club Oct. 13 - Calgary, AB - Commonwealth Bar & Stage Oct. 16 - Nelson, BC - Spiritbar at the Hume Hotel ** w/ Japandroids
Wolf Parade’s Cry Cry Cry, is available now on CD / 2xLP / DL / CS worldwide from Sub Pop right here, except Canada from Universal Music over here. The album was produced by John Goodmanson at Robert Lang Studios in Seattle and mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound in New York.
As described by director, Shayne Ehman (who has directed 3 out of 3 of the videos from Strange Peace), the video examines: “…the crumbling remnants of civilization…a broken justice system…a consumer wasteland… Was it all part of the plan?” Watch the video for “Mr. Plague” here to find out.
METZ have added new dates to their previously announced and comprehensive 2018 international tour schedule. New Canadian and European headlining and festival dates include: Quebec City at Festival D’été on July 11th; Leipzig, Germany at UT Connewitz on July 18th; Berlin, Germany at Cassiopeia on July 19th; August 16th in Wiesbaden, Germany at Schlactof; Reading Festival on August 25th; Leeds Festival on August 26th; Cardiff, Wales at The Globe on August 27th; and Asten-Heusden, Netherlands for the Misty Fields Festival on August 31st. Sub Pop labelmates Moaning will open a number of these EU shows.
Apr. 17 - Lisbon, Portugal – MusicBox * Apr. 18 - Porto, Portugal – Hard Club * Apr. 19 - Amsterdam, NL - Paradiso Noord Apr. 20 - Rotterdam, Netherlands – Motel Mozaique Apr. 21 - Esch-sur-Alzette, LU - Out of the Crowd Festival Apr. 23 - Milan, IT - Magnolia * Apr. 24 - Bologna, IT - Freakout, Bologna * Apr. 25 - Munich, DE - Strom * Apr. 26 - Cologne, DE - Gebaude 9 * Apr. 27 - Belfort, FR - Impetus Festival Apr. 28 - London, UK - Test Pressing Festival* Apr. 30 - Glasgow, UK - Stereo * May 01 - Dublin, IE - Whelan’s May 02 - Manchester, UK - Soup Kitchen * May 03 - Ramsgate, UK - Ramsgate Music Hall * [Sold Out] May 04 - Brussels, BE - Les Nuits Botanique [Sold Out] May 05 - Leffinge, BE - De Zwerver * May 23 - Taipei, Taiwan - The Wall May 25 - Beijing, China - TBC May 26 - Shanghai, China - TBC May 29 - Hong Kong, China - TTN Livehouse May 31 - Manila, Philippines - Mow’s Bar Jun. 01 - Singapore - Decline Jun. 02 - Bangkok, Thailand - Norma Jun. 04 - Tokyo, Japan - Fever Jun. 05 - Tokyo, Japan - Fever Jun. 06 - Nagoya, Japan - Tight Rope Jun. 07 - Osaka, Japan - Conpass Jun. 13 - Boston, MA - Brighton Music Hall Jun. 14 - New York, NY - Rocks Off Cruise w/ Holy Fuck Jul. 11 - Quebec City, QC - Festival D’ete Jul. 12 - Ottawa, ON - Babylon Jul 18 - Leipzig, DE - UT Connewitz, Jul. 19 - Berlin, DE - Cassiopeia Jul. 21 - Tromso, Norway - Bukta Festival Aug. 16 - Wiesbaden, DE - Schlactof Aug. 25 - Reading, UK - Reading Festival Aug. 26 - Leeds, UK - Leeds Festival Aug. 27 - Nottingham, UK - Rescue Rooms Aug. 29 - Cardiff, UK - The Globe Aug. 31 - Asten-Heusden, NL - Misty Fields Festival Sep. 14 - Vancouver, BC – Rickshaw Theatre (Westward Festival) Oct. 26-28 - Gainesville, Florida - The Fest * w/ Moaning
Strange Peace is available now on CD / LP / DL / CS worldwide (except in Canada) from Sub Pop here. In Canada, Strange Peace is available from Royal Mountain Records over here.
U.S. East Coast Living Room Tour Is Underway Now Through April 24th.
On May 25th, 2018, Sub Pop will release Return of the Frog Queen, the newly remastered debut solo album from Jeremy Enigk. Return of the Frog Queen has been out of print since its original 1996 pressing. This reissue includes the original album, remastered in 2018, plus digital bonus tracks from Enigk’s 1996 live session on Seattle radio station The End.
Jeremy Enigk performed with legendary indie rock band Sunny Day Real Estate from 1993 to 2000. In 1996, following Sunny Day Real Estate’s first breakup (which lasted from 1995 to 1997), Enigk released Return of the Frog Queen.
Return of the Frog Queen represents a major shift from the sound of Sunny Day Real Estate. The album features a 21-piece orchestra backing Enigk as he performs striking, dramatic, chamber-pop compositions that demonstrate the full breadth of Enigk’s talents as a singer, musician, and songwriter. The album was produced by Greg Williamson, who also produced Sunny Day Real Estate’s 1998 comeback album, How it Feels to Be Something On.
Return of the Frog Queen is now available for preorder from Sub Pop. The vinyl edition of the album will be available on a limited run of purple vinyl (while supplies last).
Return of the Frog Queen Tracklisting
1. Abegail Anne 2. Return of the Frog Queen 3. Lewis Hollow 4. Lizard 5. Carnival 6. Call Me Steam 7. Explain 8. Shade and the Black Hat 9. Fallen Heart 10. Abegail Anne* 11. Return of the Frog Queen* 12. Lizard* 13. Carnival* 14. Explain* *The End Sessions CD and digital-only bonus tracks
Tour Dates + Ticket Links
Jeremy Enigk 2018 tour schedule is underway, with a U.S. east coast Living Room tour through April 24th. Additional live dates will be announced soon. Please visit Jeremy Enigk’s website here for more info.
[Photo Courtesy of the Artist]
About Jeremy Enigk’s Return of the Frog Queen
Three good reasons why it’s hard to remember a time when an album like Jeremy Enigk’s Return of the Frog Queen sounded shocking:
1) At the time of its release in 1996, there was no other album like it.
2) In the 22 years between then and now, its marriage of seemingly opposing sensibilities—English folk and American punk; orchestral chamber pop and progressive rock; surreal, pastoral, fanciful lyrics that burn to express personal, emotional, and spiritual quandary—has become the blueprint for so much great music that a young listener can be forgiven for thinking that things were always just like that.
This isn’t to claim some kind of Velvet Underground/Big Star status for the album, but it is to say that you can draw a straight line between Frog Queen and elements of Elliott Smith, Belle & Sebastian, Rufus Wainwright, Destroyer, the Decemberists, Fleet Foxes, Sufjan Stevens, Beirut, Grizzly Bear, Joanna Newsom, Bon Iver, and many, many other artists who have come to define the past two decades of indie music.
3) It’s getting harder to remember anything anymore.
But Return of the Frog Queen is worth remembering. Or discovering. And most definitely celebrating. Though you rarely see it turn up on lists of 50 Best Things of Whatever Year We Wish We Still Lived in Because the Present Is Such a Consummate Drag, the album was an indisputable innovation in the world of ‘90s indie rock, rewriting a litany of unwritten rules about sound, subject matter, and solo identity for lead singers of successful bands.
As you probably know, Enigk was the singer/guitarist of Sunny Day Real Estate, the Seattle quartet widely credited as the Big Bang of the post-hardcore, indie rock variant of emo that would spend the next decade morphing into a massively commercial enterprise.
You can’t blame Sunny Day Real Estate for that, though. They were just a young, powerhouse band who happened to be several years ahead of their time.
SDRE’s debut album, Diary, and its first single, “Seven,” was a seismic event, not least in the lives of the band members. It was released in May of 1994, one month and two days after Kurt Cobain’s suicide was discovered. Diarybecame Sub Pop’s biggest-selling album since Bleach—a distinction that lasted until the next decade.
The story of the band’s splintering during the making of their follow-up album (LP2)—and triumphant reunion a few years later—has been well-told elsewhere. But for our purposes, it’s worth bearing in mind that the break-up drama formed the background from which Return of the Frog Queen emerged.
In the space of about two years, Jeremy Enigk had joined a band with some friends, toured the world, sold way more records than anyone had anticipated, been heralded with hyperbolic—not to say unwarranted—praise, become a significant voice to a lot of young listeners, experienced a religious epiphany that he spoke of publicly, and watched the band buckle and fall apart, much to the dismay of a public that was only just starting to figure out how to broadcast its anxious speculations and judgments on the internet.
By the time the band broke up, he had been loved, respected, celebrated, criticized, vilified, and reproached. He was 21 years old.
One might expect a person might respond to all this sturm und drang by making noisy, chaotic, electric guitar-driven music of the kind his now-defunct band made its name with. One might expect someone whose character and even sanity had been widely debated in public might want to write a definitive statement about his identity, his ideology, his id.
But Jeremy Enigk didn’t do either of those things. He made Return of the Frog Queen instead.
ENTER THE FROG QUEEN
The songs that formed the basis of Enigk’s first solo album were about as far from the sound of Sunny Day Real Estate as you could imagine—unless all you’d heard of them was “Pheurton Skeurto,” the little piano songlet that sounds (delightfully) out of place on Diary.
Spare acoustic guitar figures and solemn, almost plainsong melodies are the foundational elements, which Enigk and his two key collaborators, producer Greg Williamson and arranger/conductor Mark Nichols, build up into astonishingly dynamic worlds of sound. But for all the swoops and bends, the unconventional entrances and exits, the arrangements remain organic, and perfectly united behind the singular human voice at the center of it all.
From the very first strum on “Abegail Anne,” the music is stately, mysterious, vaguely mystical, and not even remotely interested in the ironic detachment still popular in those days.
If anything, the arrangements, and the stupefyingly strong vocals, are flagrantly theatrical. Enigk sang hard over loud instruments in SDRE, but nothing prepared you for the versatility of his voice on Frog Queen. From a raspy whisper to conversational chest voice to clearly differentiated levels of high end—choked scream, melodic scream, head voice, falsetto, whatever you want. (And just a wisp of an unconscious British accent.)
But even at the peak of crescendo, as on the staggering climax of “Shade and the Black Hat,” on which Enigk wails “WON’T YOU STAY TONIGHT?” at the top of his range while the orchestra whips up a maelstrom—this music feels unfailingly intimate, while somehow remaining intensely private.
This is the central enigma (enigkma?) of the album: How can a song be both intimate and private? How can music that feels like fearless personal revelation grow more opaque the more closely you examine at it? Consider the author, and what his life was like at the time these songs were written and recorded. It’s easy to imagine a 21-year-old rock star manqué feeling overwhelmed, overexposed, overanalyzed, hungry for a kind of solace in which sound precedes meaning.
And yet, meaning is all over the record if you’re looking.
In among the pleasing, suggestively abstract imagery—“dallow water,” and “this dubious day,” and “window morning dream paradise”—Enigk plants lines that don’t require much interpretation at all if you’ve ever been anywhere near a break-up of a band or any other relationship, ever worried about what strangers might be saying about you, ever felt unseen, ever re-ran edited versions of old arguments in your mind, ever believed in something so fiercely that you were willing to lose friendships over it.
“Wait for, wait for me…”
“I’ve heard rumors…”
“No one knows my name…”
“What I’ve seen tears me inside…”
“Then the writing on the wall said he is only the way You said it was bad timing at least we had timing at all.”
These lines are crucial, but they’re also non-sequiturs, there for you to discover if you’re looking, but the songs still work beautifully if you never do.
But beyond the literal, there’s a spirit of fabulism in the lyrics—hardly a surprise on a record named after amphibian royalty. Who is this “Abegail Anne”? Where is this sleepy, enchanted “Lewis Hollow”? What does “hi, hey” mean? And how does he proceed so artfully from idle, drowsy contemplation of a lizard in a castle, observing the tremors of its “dreary heart,” to the roaring, soaring cascade of frustration bursting forth at song’s end? Who is being addressed, and by whom?
Trying to tease out the puzzle of these artfully esoteric lyrics has proven to be one of the album’s most durable pleasures (or possibly frustrations, if you prefer things spelled out). As time passes, the words might seem meaningless or profound depending on who you are, not who Enigk was.
It makes for an odd spin on the idea of self-revelation. The album unquestionably opens a window onto an unorthodox artist, pursuing an unorthodox process, to arrive at a most unorthodox production. But as with any great artwork, the real subject is the person looking at it.
ONWARD AND INWARD
Even after two decades, it’s difficult to find a name for the atmosphere conjured by the album. There are traces of Incredible String Band pastoralia, but also a strain of Pink Floydish unease. Bowie between Man Who Sold the Worldand Hunky Dory. It’s not dark exactly, but only because your eyes have adjusted to candlelight. It feels mystical, even metaphysical.
Emphasis on “physical.”
Jack Rabid of The Big Takeover nailed it in two sentences from his review:
“He pounds a piano and howls like his wife just left him for his best friend, as the violins, violas, and cellos scrape at their strings as if to break them, and the flutes, piccolos, trumpets, trombones, French horns, and clarinets blow like they were hired by a wolf to blast a few recalcitrant pigs’ houses down. The waves of classical countermelodies are extraordinary, adding on to each other to create an 1812 Overture anvil clarion call, a roar so dense, so overpowering, it’s like gasoline exploding, even more so as they back Enigk’s fevered wail as if he were long past desperation.”
Return of the Frog Queen was the very last thing anyone would have expected to come out of the singer of Sunny Day Real Estate, or really, the Pacific Northwest at that time—which was not long past a different kind of desperation.
Without knowing or intending it, Enigk and his collaborators made a record that pointed the way out of Seattle’s mid-‘90s post-boom-years malaise, which had no shortage of talent and desire, but lingering ambivalence about ambition, and no clear sense of cultural direction.
And then all of a sudden, here came an utterly singular demonstration that when all else fails, the most reliable direction is usually inward.
It’s unlikely that a generation of hopeful teenage garage bands formed as a response to eager suburban teens getting an earful of Return of the Frog Queen. Maybe it’s just a coincidence then, that in the years following the record’s release (and the breathtaking live shows Enigk played with a stripped-down version of the 21-piece orchestra that plays on the record), indie music from the Pacific NW outwards, got more expansive, more idiosyncratic, a little riskier, and a lot weirder.