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Sing In A World That’s Falling Apart
Released: 24th January 2020
Indies-only deluxe red vinyl edition (FIRELP573X), comes with a die cut spot gloss sleeve & poster.
Boasting an unapologetic southern-fried twang, the twelve-track collection marks the quintet’s most pronounced dalliance with country music yet, with a clang and harmony that is unmistakably the inimitable sound and feel of the Black Lips. While the songcraft and playing is more sophisticated, Black Lips were determined to return to the raw sound roots that marked their early efforts. Recorded and co-produced with Nic Jodoin at Laurel Canyon’s legendary, newly reopened Valentine Recording Studios (which played host to Beach Boys and Bing Crosby before shuttering in 1979) without Pro-Tools and other contemporary technology, the band banged the album out directly to tape quickly and cheaply, resulting in their grimiest, most dangerous, and best collection of songs since the aughts.
Like The Byrds, who flirted with pastoral aesthetics before going all-out with the radical departure that was Sweetheart of The Rodeo, the Black Lips have been skirting the edges of country since “Sweet Kin” and “Make It” from their eponymous debut. But eschewing Gram Parson’s earnestness, Black Lips are careful not to hint at authenticity, wisely treading into their unfeigned rustic romance with the winking self-awareness of Bob Dylan’s “You Ain’t Goin Nowhere,” Rolling Stones “Dear Doctor,” or The Velvet Underground’s “Lonesome Cowboy Bill.”
The band’s stylistic evolution and matured approach to musicianship and writing is, in part, due to the seismic lineup shifts they have undergone over the last half-decade. Worn down after a decade of prolific touring and recording, longtime guitarist Ian St Pé left the group in 2014, followed shortly thereafter by original drummer Joe Bradley. Jeweler/actress (and now Gucci muse) Zumi Rosow, whose sax skronk, flamboyant style, and wild stage presence had augmented the team before the duo’s departure, assumed a bigger writing and performance role in their absence. Soon drummer Oakley Munson from The Witnesses brought a new backbeat and unique backing vocal harmony into the fold. Last year the quintet was rounded out by guitarist Jeff Clarke of Demon’s Claws. The newly forged partnership, all of whom collaborate as songwriters, vocalists, and instrumentalists, has breathed new life into their sound. The result is akin to the radiance of the impulsive, wild nights where you find yourself two-stepping into the unknown.
It’s country music but not as we know it which begs the question: Have these Bad Kids of 21st Century rock ’n’ roll finally grown up on their ninth studio album? Are they at peace with themselves? Have they made a record their parents could listen to? The Black Lips new album ‘Sing In A World That’s Falling Apart’ continues to flick the middle finger to one and all. This ain’t another gaggle of bearded southern sons fleeing their collective suburban upbringings and collegiate music education. There aren’t the
usual clichés about drinking, honkytonks, and heartbreak. These are, after all, the same Black Lips who rescued the waning garage punk subgenre by not sounding or dressing their musical predecessors. They also dug contemporary hip-hop and punk and actualized themselves Like so many dramatic moments in the Black Lips career, ‘Sing In A World That’s Falling Apart’ was born out of crisis. The band’s stylistic evolution through decades of prolific touring and recording took them where no garage punk band had gone before - huge venues, network television shows, and major music festivals. Here Black Lips are at their grimiest, most dangerous and equipped
with the best collection of songs since the aughts. Skidding onto the asphalt in a shower of sparks, they roll on with an unapologetic southern-fried twang, pacing the beast, every now and then dropping a psycho howl into the rubber room madness lurking underneath the truckstop fireworks. This ain’t your granny’s country album. And conversely this ain’t your mama’s Black Lips.