In their fifteen years together, there’s been more “time off” than “time on” for Blunderbusst but, fortunately for us, it’s back to “time on” thanks to our exclusive premiere of the band’s latest song “James Alex Chilton.” The Reno, Nevada shoegaze, pop group follow a motto of making music more when the time feels right, rather than when it feels obligatory, thus they felt it was a good time to get back into the game with the release of a new EP titled Monarch of The Mountain, due out August 9th through Texas-based label, Slow Start Records (which you can pre-order now, via the band’s official website). Originally formed in 2005 by the songwriting combo of singer, guitarist Jen Scaffidi and drummer Carolyn Gates, the duo finally got around to releasing their debut record Will This Knife in… 2010! Two years later, guitarist and synth specialist Carson Cessna joined the fold and the Aphasia EP was issued in 2014.
Despite the momentum they had begun to build, Blunderbusst decided the time was right for a hiatus. But it wasn’t as if the band members were abandoning their interest in creating music. Scaffidi and Cessna had a side-project going called Wizard Colors, which was structured around more of an improv noise sound. Consequently, that side project turned into a significant influence on this latest Blunderbusst release Monarch of The Mountain, in terms of sound and vibe. The songs contained on the EP are largely a product of the inspirations that Scaffidi and Cessna were feeling at the time. They sound very much like the artists that the two chose to listen to derive some creative inspiration during the writing of the EP. You’ll find traces of Aimee Mann, Neko Case and Brandi Carlile strewn all through Monarch of the Mountain. This combined with the trio’s longtime influences of My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth and Swervedriver create a sound and vibe like no other. Lyrically, Scaffidi doles out cathartic and at times unsettlingly candid lyrics for a truly original audio experience.
Listen to Blunderbusst’s brand new song “James Alex Chilton:”
“James Alex Chilton” stands out as one of the highlights contained on Monarch of The Mountain. Elaborating on the song, Jen Scaffidi said, “The title is a portmanteau: James Alex, singer, guitarist for Beach Slang, was in a band called Weston in the ‘90s, (and) resurfaced with Beach Slang in 2014. Beach Slang doesn’t shy away from writing about being an adult but feeling like a teenager and their live shows are all about unabashed joy. James also wears his love of the Replacements pretty loudly/proudly on his sleeve. Alex Chilton, singer, guitarist for Big Star, and the name of a Replacements tune about the dude. As I was writing it, the chord progression in the verses reminded me of the Replacements. I’d never pulled that off before.”
Carson Cessna added, “Early on in the writing process, Jen let me know of her intentions to have a drawn out bridge in the song where I would be free to take the reins and wage sonic warfare on the track in whatever way I felt was appropriate. I decided to pay homage to the two-guitar bands of my youth like Pavement, Cursive, Blur and Sonic Youth by doing an off-kilter call-and-response style guitar solo that slowly devolves into a swirling pool of chaos and noise. This is the moment in the album I’m most proud of and the song that I think serves as our mission statement; it’s pretty, it’s ugly and it’s definitely going to hug you… after it punches you in the face.”
With five years of ideas poured into an EP of new songs, Blunderbusst have come back with their best material to date. Let’s just hope it doesn’t take another five years to hear more from this refresingly unique band.
Listen to more “Wicked” new material from Monarch of The Mountain:
Upcoming Tour Dates:
08/09 – Reno, NV @ Park Place
08/16 – Sacramento, CA @ Cafe Colonial (Jen Scaffidi solo)
08/17 – Virginia City, NV @ Canvas Cafe (Jen Scaffidi solo)
08/24 – Carson City, NV @ Shoetree Brewery
09/05 – San Francisco, CA @ El Rio
09/14 – Salem, OR @ Space Concert Club
09/15 – Portland, OR @ Hawthorne Hideaway
09/20 – Nevada City, CA @ Miners Foundry Cultural Center
10/16 – Norman, OK @ Red Brick Bar (Jen Scaffidi solo, w/ The March Divide)
10/17 – Wichita, KS @ Kirby’s Beer Store (Jen Scaffidi solo, w/ The March Divide)
10/18 – Lawrence, KS @ Gaslight Gardens (Jen Scaffidi solo, w/ The March Divide)
10/19 – Kansas City @ KC House (Jen Scaffidi solo, w/ The March Divide)
Here’s the colourful cover artwork for Blunderbusst’s latest EP Monarch of The Mountain: