Tim Foljahn – Fucking Love Songs - March 31, 2015 KRC-21
DIGITAL will be delivered via email on March 31
CD will arrive by March 31
VINYL LP (ONLY 100 copies with handmade art on jackets made by Tim himself) the LPs will ship in May, but you will receive a digital download via email on 3/31
Tim Foljahn’s solo records have always been inward looking. They’re written, played and recorded by the man himself, sparsely set, late night interior monologues intoned in an echoey baritone that pretty much defines the sound of being alone.
Sure Foljahn has played with other people — most notably with Steve Shelley in Two Dollar Guitar, but also as a guitar for hire with Cat Power, Townes Van Zandt, Half Japanese, the Boredoms and Thurston Moore’s Psychic Hearts. Most recently, you could catch him on the hit show Orange Is the New Black. He’s a member of Assistant Warden Caputo’s band Sideboob. (In real life, Sideboob’s songs are written and performed by Adopted Highways; that’s Foljahn, Jennifer O’Connor and Tom Beaujour.) Still, despite all this collaborating as a songwriter and sideman, in his solo work, he seemed up to now, fundamentally solitary.
That’s why Fucking Love Songs is so surprising and ultimately so satisfying. It engages with others, specifically significant others, in a cycle of songs about relationships. “While I was writing the songs, I had relationships starting, relationships ending and relationships starting again,” says Foljahn. “It just seemed natural to write about them. People would ask me what I was working on, and I would say, ‘Oh, a bunch of fucking love songs.’”
But it’s not just the other people in the songs. It’s the ones on the record – including two extra guitar players, two drummers, a bassist, even back-up singers — that make this album so densely collaborative. Consider, for instance, “Wild Tonight,” with its slow, blistering lead, its bluesy in- the-pocket rhythm guitar, its sweet, sweeping gospel chorus, its raucous drums. That’s Smokey Hormel, who has played with Tom Waits, Beck, Johnny Cash, Joe Strummer, Neil Diamond, Norah Jones and Adele, on one guitar. Foljahn met him while auditioning, twice, for a spot in Beck’s band (Hormel beat him out). Tom Beaujour, the album’s producer/engineer, plays another guitar. Jeremy Wilms is on bass, and Jon Langmead, a drummer for Mark Eitzel and Jennifer O’Connor, punches out the beat. (Brooklyn drummer Brian Kantor sits in on two other tracks.) O’Connor and Amy Bezunartea sing harmonies.
The result is a beautifully layered, dense, full-band sound that amplifies Foljahn’s evocative songs. Bend your ear to “Legends” with its cavorting, porch-picked guitar lick (Smokey again), its lilting, group-sung chorus, its sunny, folk-scented lift. Or check out “Etant Donné” a headlong, full-on garage rocker. “For me this is a totally upbeat pop record,” he admits. Foljahn recorded Fucking Love Songs over a two-year period at Nuthouse Recording in Hoboken with Tom Beaujour (Juliana Hatfield, Nada Surf, Jennifer O’Connor ) producing and engineering. “Tom gets such great sounds,” Foljahn says, “To my ears, his records have more resonance than you hear in current albums. There’s almost a sound of the 1970s in it.”
The main thing, though, are the songs, as cracked and individual as ever, but focused this time on love. “When I listen to a song I really like, I’m glad to be right where I am in the song, but I’m also wondering what’s coming next and a little bit sad when it’s gone,” says Foljahn. You might find yourself feeling the same way about Fucking Love Songs.
November 29, 2012
Tim Foljahn - A Winter's Tale (2 track digital single)
Tim Foljahn is a Michigan-born, New York-based singer-songwriter/guitarist who has more than likely played on one of your favorite records.
Some highlights from the tip of his iceberg-sized resume: He was the guitarist on the first two Cat Power records. He toured with and worked on the final Townes Van Zandt recordings. He lent his guitar skills to Half Japanese as well as the Boredoms. He played on the fantastic Thurston Moore solo record Psychic Hearts.
All the while, Foljahn released a series of his own brooding and lovely song cycles and experimental recordings under the moniker Two Dollar Guitar. With Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley on drums and a revolving cast of band and tour mates, including Smokey Hormel, Chris Brokaw and Christina Rosenvinge, the group released six albums on Shelley’s Smells Like Records label.
Songs For An Age Of Extinction is Foljahn's first "song-based" record since Two Dollar Guitar's The Wear and Tear of Fear from 2006 and his first release for Kiam Records. The wait has been long, but worth it.
The seven songs on Songs For An Age Of Extinction are long and languid—the shortest is over four minutes and the longest is over ten. But even marathon tracks like “Dust of Exploded Stars” never wander aimlessly: Foljahn knows just where the songs are headed at all times and you just have the trust and patience to follow him there.
On the album's third track "Faded", Foljahn sings the question, "How do I leave what's gone?" His voice is searching but also somehow sounds comfortable in its sense of unease. It's a defining, poignant moment on a record full of them.
"We really are in an age of extinction," Foljahn said. "Species disappearing in droves - that as a fact and as a metaphor. It's not the end of the world. Time, space, beliefs, people, relationships come and go and other stuff comes in. It's a little corny but it is kind of cycle of life type stuff and how the universe interacts with us."
The sound of the record is typically awash in Foljahn's distinct, lush guitar playing and deep, rich vocal melodies, but also features a new element: piano.
"There are always songs kicking around but I think what made me think I had a record going were the songs I started writing on piano," Foljahn said. "That seemed like a new direction worth exploring. I love the full resonance of the Wurlitzer. Like guitar, it functions so well by itself, can do chords and melody lines. But I think the real reason I was drawn to the piano is that I have lost a lot of the primitiveness and crudeness in my guitar playing, and I think I really missed that sort of simplicity. I have that in spades on the keys. There is nothing subtle or fancy happening there."
Songs For An Age of Extinction was recorded by Foljahn at his home studio over the course of a year and mixed by Tom Beaujour at Nuthouse Recording in Hoboken. Foljahn plays everything on the record (guitar, wurlitzer, crumar synth, lap steel, drums, melodica, clarinet, percussion and korg hammond) with two exceptions: Alexa Wilding plays piano and sings on "War Song" and Kirsten McCord plays cello on "Faded."
Beaujour was particularly impressed with Foljahn's recording skills: "When you get tracks that were recorded in an apartment with less than $500 worth of equipment that sound as good as Tim's did, your initial impulse is to fucking light all the pricey gear in the studio on fire and go fishing. Once that passes, you just want to make sure that you do the work justice and don't make anything worse than it was when it came in the door."
Songs For An Age Of Extinction was released on March 6, 2012 (digital, cd and limited edition blue vinyl.)
TOUR DATES 2015
March 30 NYC, NY Rockwood Music Hall Stage 3 w/ Amy Bezunartea - 8pm, buy tickets
April 10, Montpelier, VT Buch Speiler Records w/ Kris Gruen 7pm
April 11, Hoboken, NJ Guitar Bar w/Smokey Hormel
Time Out Chicago "Foljahn’s Songs for an Age of Extinction, also released on Kiam, is a Wurlitzer-brushed canvas for his unhurried, ornamental guitarwork, awash in psychedelic tones, a solid reminder of why he’s been tapped by so many talents."
The Agit Reader "Though Foljahn is (justifiably) recognized for his guitar mastery, Songs makes the case that he’s a multi-faceted artist in his own right."
Dusted Magazine "Tim Foljahn’s voice was made for the dark hours — a hollowed out, worn down, shadow-smudged baritone that seems to speak always from the corner of the room that you can’t see very well. He takes his time with the words, leaving long spaces between his thoughts so that you have time to think about what he’s said or, if you prefer, to forget about it altogether and start afresh with each hallucinatory phrase."
Daytrotter Session - 4 live cuts from Rock Island, IL