A large pile of leaves announces a new album “Pono”: listen to “Beat Up Shoes”
July 4th didn’t quite live up to our national holiday goal “Everyone back to normal”, but I hope you had the chance to spend last weekend getting back to normal. with the concept of summer life in the fore-time: going to the beach, remembering the intoxicating smell of sunscreen and feeling the burning sand on your feet, delaying the return home to sleep in freezing cold from air conditioning or sweating through the sheets. In other words, live out your typical A Great Big Pile Of Leaves song. Perhaps you shared the experience described in the chorus of “Beat Up Shoes”, the first single from their long-running third album. Pono – “Fall from the roof / Spend the night with your head out of the window.” There is a lot more where this is coming from on Pono. Summer, just like A Great Big Pile Of Leaves, is more or less exactly as you remember it.
The official word on Pono will be that it took eight years to complete A Great Big Pile Of Leaves. It’s actually a compromise between two plausible truths: it’s been in the works for over a decade, as frontman Pete Weiland admits some of the riffs, melodies, and other writing nuggets predate 2013. You are always on my mind. We can also say that Pono actually took a month to complete. For that, we can thank Weiland’s wife, who gave him New Year’s Eve 2020 as a deadline to put the album to rest. “And she said that in early December. It was just the push I needed.
It’s a hugely inefficient workflow that suits AGBPOL’s temperament nonetheless – it’s meticulous and sophisticated music about life as relaxed as it gets. Some of their best-loved songs have titles like “Snack Attack,” “Pet Mouse,” and “Back To School,” which are all about the things they promise: trying to find something to eat late at night, getting done. friends with a parasite who won’t leave the apartment, and try to have so many pool parties before the semester starts. The subject of Pono doesn’t stray far from Weiland’s wheelhouse: there are songs about drinking popsicles and ice cream, watching soap operas, wearing flip flops and pajamas, and the creative impact of writing and cooking utensils (“Kitchen Concert” can be taken literally). But there is an inevitable and new urgency to Pono as people continue to adjust to a summer where the most basic social interactions always seem to be the most exciting shit imaginable. Weiland compares his last 18 months to LostThe episode “The Constant” of “The character is stuck on an island and flashes between the island where he is stuck and the place that matters most to him with the people who matter most to him,” explains Weiland. “So that’s kind of how I felt throughout the year. It glorified a lot of memories, causing you to miss out on some of the things you didn’t even like when you were there.
There are dozens of shadows PonoIt’s floating on Weiland’s hard drive, filled with alternate lyrics, unique experiences, and demos where the songs are mostly intact, though GarageBand’s mechanized drummers keep the pace going. “I usually choose rap [drummer]Weiland jokes. “This is my future side project that will probably never happen, but I would love to rap someday.” The updated version of Pono solidifies the endearing model that Weiland, drummer Tyler Soucy and Tucker Yaro set on their previous two albums – Weiland’s slow, low vocals explaining the shoulder and ignoring the demands of life over dashing drums and Quirky, a version of Dismemberment Plan that successfully followed their muse into daddy-rock and daddy jokes after Switch. As the trio worked on their own schedule after setting up a home studio, they quickly identified their main directive as doing everything possible to deviate from the eight-year expectation of making an album – getting rid of any overdub or arrangement that Weiland recalled being in a crowded Guitar Center. “We tried to really simplify and not overcomplicate any of the parts, so we didn’t want to add unnecessary flash anywhere,” Weiland notes. “I think it’s something that takes time to master.”
The group is again based in Connecticut, where Weiland and Soucy met before moving to New York. “Back in MySpace days, we probably put Brooklyn in our profile,” Weiland recalls, and they continued to be labeled as a “Brooklyn band” although they had no connection to the chillwave, l art-rock and shitgaze that characterized the last days of indie rock hegemony in the late 2000s. After recording AGBPOL’s first EPs in a room without an electric guitar, they humbly made their way through concerts and showcases in the basement to go out Have you seen my prefrontal cortex? in 2010 on Topshelf Records (key songs: “Meet Me At The Mall, Bring Your Swim Trunks”, “Bring Back Breakfast”). There wasn’t much financial success or critical acclaim, but Weiland recalls one particular show at a church in Rockaway, New Jersey, which convinced the group that there was something legitimate about it. . They were surprised that the children in the crowd knew the lyrics, especially since “even though the parents in the room came towards us [afterwards], saying ‘I don’t usually like my son’s bands, but it’s really cool,’ ”Weiland recalls. “We’re like… OK, the moms are in it.”
Ten years later, Weiland has become a parent himself; He and his wife work in education, and Pete led his distance college special education classes during the pandemic while also playing the role of a stay-at-home dad to their two-year-old son, Desmond. “Weekends and naps is when I got down to writing songs,” he says. Before asking, the child is not named after the protagonist of the above Lost episode, although Weiland admits that there may have been some subconscious influence due to his affinity for the character of Henry Ian Cusick. It is also interesting to note that Pono is not a reference to Neil Young’s hapless Toblerone-shaped MP3 player, but a Hawaiian term for “justice” that Weiland uses as a nickname for Desmond and first heard in the 1999 Disney movie Johnny Tsunami. Desmond has largely dictated his father’s listening habits lately – the soundtrack of Daniel Tiger’s neighborhood is a household favorite, although it is linked to his formative years revisiting the Professional skater Tony Hawk Soundtracks: “It’s a good mix of music that makes me feel like I’m 14 again, trying to make ollies out of trash cans.”
Weiland considered taking steps to ensure that AGBPOL LP3 doesn’t become a Wrens-like joke on Twitter, like releasing a single EP or single to break the silence. But as with many bands that have had full-time careers outside of music, A Great Big Pile Of Leaves wasn’t in a position where they felt pressured to release content to the world just to keep their momentum going. . In fact, Weiland’s main goal for A Great Big Pile Of Leaves is that it can be sustainable without being a job. They would love to turn, but after that the “insane COVID bottleneck” opens for groups at their level. He’s only done a handful of interviews in the band’s history and, perhaps ironically, Soucy works as a music publicist.
He is also the only member of the group who maintains an active social media presence, and thus serves as Weiland’s gateway to the cult audience that has sustained the hype since 2013. Although Weiland is agnostic to the “emo” tag, he understands how they took advantage of it and fully aware of why he stayed in the first place. You are always on my mind featured the guest voices of Justin Pierre from Motion City Soundtrack, and Weiland identified their opening for Appleseed Cast as one that really taught them about being a band. “We used to drive all night and get to the scene hours in advance, and we were all so tired because we weren’t asleep,” Weiland explains. “Chris [Crisci] was like, ‘Guys, what are you doing? You should be outside the venue within the hour, get a good night’s sleep, get up early and leave. Afterwards, the driving was safer, we were more rested, the shows were better, we got along better, everything was better.
During the summer of 2013, major publications began to launch their thoughts on the ’emo revival’, and most of them centered on albums recently released on Topshelf Records – Have Mercy’s. The land pushed back, The rhino crash ‘ Knots, and the vein, the world is a beautiful place and I’m no longer afraid of dying When, if ever. These all fell within about a month of You are always on my mind, which looked nothing like AGBPOL’s label mates. Had it been posted on, say, Captured Tracks – a very feasible possibility given their Brooklyn residency – it might have been a big hit with Mac DeMarco fans.
Maybe they still could be. Weiland speaks in bemusement about his experience working with radio consultants who immediately marked “Beat Up Shoes” as their lead single. “They were really excited, they thought it would look great in the radio they’re working on… alternative or something,” Weiland said with a shrug. “Maybe it has to do with the tempo, the melody… what does everyone like?” It’s a very, very likable song – never selling too much, a rare case where a breakdown in handclaps doesn’t feel forced. And if he does manage to smash A Great Big Pile Of Leaves on Spotify playlists, Weiland probably won’t notice – he follows “maybe 50 accounts” on Twitter, and the only ones he remembers out of the dome are Rory McIlroy, Thrasher and his band mates. “The only decision [about completing the album] was: “Are you still motivated by this project? Says Weiland rhetorically. “The answer was, yes, at all levels. “