David Bazan — Care (March 7th, 2017) ■ “Care is bolstered by Bazan’s enlistment of indie~pop renaissance man Richard Swift as producer. Swift brings a marksman’s aim to the dialing in of the warble~and~wash synth tones and his experience as a musician (The Shins, The Arcs) and behind a mixing board (Guster, Damien Jurado) is readily felt in the album’s sturdy sonic framing.” (Will Hodge)
■ The creative force behind Seattle’s Pedro the Lion and a highly respected solo indie singer/songwriter.Born: January 22, 1976
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
Album release: March 7th, 2017
Record Label: Undertow Music
Genre: Indie Rock / Singer~Songwriter
01. Care 4:28
02. Up All Night 2:48
03. Disappearing Ink 3:14
04. Sparkling Water 3:53
05. Permanent Record 4:40
06. Make Music 3:11
07. Lazerbeams 3:04
08. Inner Lives 2:35
09. Keep Trying 2:49
10. The Balad of Pedro y Blanco 4:24
ψ♣ The album was produced, recorded and mixed by David Bazan and Richard Swift at his studio National Freedom, USA.
1.) She almost can’t spit out the question:
‘Can men and women not be friends?'
With you, I feel an old connection
Like having brother back again
2.) Later on, we went out walking
Without ruining our lives
We know the difference between talking
and going just outside the lines
3.) It’s not like we’re immune to it
It’s not like we don’t burn
We’re just surrounded by carelessness
We know how much it hurts
4.) But, come on, you’ll take my breath away
Come on, we’ll never forget
Come on, mistakes that haunt us all our days
And yet, come on
5.) Stop romanticizing cheating
We are cowards, everyone
All of us need major healing
Come and get yours in the Sun
6.) It’s not like you’re immune to it
It’s not like you don’t burn
You’re just surrounded by carelessness
You know how much it hurts © Photo credit Ivan Agerton
By Peter Ellman, Published Mar 02, 2017; Score: 8
ψ♣ Since starting Pedro the Lion in the mid ‘90s, David Bazan has slowly built a reputation as an introspective singer~songwriter. His latest, Care, is a step up in quality from his most recent work and a new direction for the now~middle~aged troubadour.
ψ♣ Bazan more fully embraced synths on last year’s Blanco, and has only refined his approach for Care. An album of almost only synths and voice might be a risk, but it pays off thanks to the crisp production from Richard Swift. Juxtaposed with chilly synths, it’s easy to all the warmth of a fingerpicked acoustic guitar contained in Bazan’s voice alone. Fans of soft~spoken, indie/emo singer~songwriters haven’t heard textures like this since the Postal Service’s Give Up, though thematically, Care is closer to Radiohead’s A Moon Shaped Pool or Father John Misty’s I Love You, Honeybear.
ψ♣ Bazan’s candid songwriting here examines his domestic life as a husband and father. One technique he uses for this is a ‘turn’ or ‘volta’ towards the end of each song, a single line that either changes the meaning or reveals it. In “Care,” it’s “stop romanticizing cheating”; in “Sparkling Water,” he confesses “I don’t want to be alone”; and as “Inner Lives” paints a scene of a morning coffee and joke between spouses, it ends with the line, “in an instant I remembered who we are.” Album closer “The Ballad of Pedro y Blanco” closes with the lyric “put down your guitar, go enjoy it right now,” a poignant idea concerning struggle between touring and domestic life.
ψ♣ The sonic risks and personal openness make Care the best thing Bazan has done in years. ψ♣ http://exclaim.ca/
By Will Hodge | March 8, 2017 | 3:29pm | Score: 9.2
Interview, Bazan by JUCO
ψ♣ “As I’ve gotten older, I feel more and more that I’m just an inconsequential part of this great big whole on one level, but on another level, it’s important what each little cog does. Justice can emerge from millions of little actions, or injustice can emerge from millions of little actions. In that sense, I do have a responsibility; it’s not of no consequence, but I don’t feel particularly important in the scheme of things.”
?Ξ• • David Bazan has never had the answers. His first two solo records, 2009’s Curse Your Branches and 2011’s Strange Negotiations lived inside questions. Questions of politics, of relationships, of addiction, and of God. For anyone looking to art to remove doubt, Bazan is not that refuge. With a catalogue that orbits the darkest corners of the human experience, his songs are the tiny pinprick of light, the first breath coming up for air, the rest stop on a trip with no destination.
?Ξ• • Under the name Pedro the Lion, starting in the late 1990s, Bazan released a series of highly praised records that documented with stark honesty the path from struggling believer to restless unbeliever. With Pedro, Bazan followed a traditional record release path ~ new album every two years, relentless touring, club show blurring into club show with an ever shifting line up of brilliant hired guns, showcasing his penchant for hard hitting rock and roll, his ability to imbue vulnerable melodies with guts and muscle. But it took a toll ~ financially, emotionally, and musically. By 2005, it was time to not just treat the symptoms, but attempt to regenerate entirely. Bazan shed the band name and set out under his own, down the long, obscure path toward some semblance of sustainability; no cure~all, no quick answer, just years of trial and error, and the patience to follow through.
?Ξ• • In 2009 during preparation for the release of Curse Your Branches, Bazan took further steps to reorder his life on the road: he pioneered a new model for touring ~ living room shows. Embarking on tour after tour in the US and abroad, he alternated between these solo house shows for a few dozen people at a time and 300~500 capacity rock clubs with his band. Despite many believing it to be an unwise gamble, the house show format was a quiet triumph. Continuing to work both formats, Bazan managed to keep the rock band plate spinning through multiple club tours in 2011 for Strange Negotiations and the Control 10 year anniversary tour in 2012. As a result, Bazan became the #1 most touring artist on Billions Corp’s enormous roster, accumulating nearly a thousand shows since 2009, an achievement that brought pride, but one that left him bone tired, depleted, and unable to write.
?Ξ• • Driven to figure it out, Bazan gave up the band and focused more on house shows. It was a natural expression of his lyrical vulnerability ~ take away distraction, sing some raw shit, and see who stays. Not only did people stay, more people came, and on top of the tours being successful, it rehabilitated Bazan’s desire for the road, making way for the next experiment.
?Ξ• • Having spent half of the last decade on tour, away from home, Bazan’s new songs reflect the wandering life of a traveling troubadour. And while there is joy in that life, Blanco is born of its challenges. It’s what, and whom, he leaves at home that you hear on Blanco. Made up of tracks that were previously available in a very limited edition 7” vinyl series called Bazan Monthly, Volume 1 and Volume 2, Bazan started the project to see what kind of songs would come if he sat down in a small bedroom in his basement, propelled by a deadline, kids sleeping upstairs, and wrote from the duality that had blocked him from writing before ~ what it means to have a home, and have to constantly leave it to make ends meet.
?Ξ• • At the beginning of the Bazan Monthly project, Bazan turned to northwest indie~rock veteran Yuuki Matthews, who both co~produced Strange Negotiations and co~founded celebrated indie band Crystal Skulls, to help craft the endeavor. “I walked in thinking that we would have to scrap all the ideas I had as garbage once he heard them” says Bazan. “Instead he said ‘these are great, let’s get started.” Over the next twelve months the pair would record over a dozen songs together, ten of which comprise Blanco.
?Ξ• • These are home songs, songs about returning, songs about not quite knowing what it means to return. They long for home with the ache of a child, and they dissect that longing with a surgeon’s precision. They also signal the end of the organic singer/songwriter mode that he never loved but seemed to be mired in anyway, with delay and distortion binding layers of drum machine and synth together. Guitar comes in as a sweet reminder of where he started, but stays sparse. Blanco continues to ask questions, but they are the questions of a man who has found contentment within them. Who has somehow, against odds, made a home in them.
?Ξ• • Publicity requests: Ever Kipp
■ Curse Your Branches (September 1, 2009)
■ Strange Negotiations (May 24, 2011)
■ Blanco (May 13, 2016)
■ Care (2017)
■ Bazan: Alone at the Microphone (October 21, 2008)
■ 7 song demo (1994)
■ Fewer Moving Parts (June 13, 2006)
■ Live at Electrical Audio (March 15, 2010)