Gordon Gano and his band the Violent Femmes helped define post-punk’s nerdy cool wile crafting himself into one of rock’s finest singer/songwriters. For the first time in seven years, he is emerging again to offer his bittersweet tunes to a whole new generation of fans. Gordon Gano & The Ryans releasing Under the Sun, a collaboration between Gano and Brendan & Billy Ryan, to be released September 15th 2009.
In 1983, Gordon Gano and his band the Violent Femmes released their self-titled debut, still believed to be by many critics one of the best rock albums of our time. Described as, “The Grandfathers of folk-punk…rock’s dadaist improvisers…the sonic personification of anxiety…blues cubists,” and “…spokesmen for misfits,” the band would go on to define 80s teen angst and be the unlikely poster children for the still nascent alternative music movement, making it clear there was as yet untapped powerful dimension of artists and consumers lurking beneath the current pop mainstream of the day. Violent Femmes is famously the first album to ever gain platinum status without ever charting on the Billboard Top 100. To date, the album has sold nearly two million copies [*Note: this is since the advent of Soundscan in 1992 and therefore missing nearly a decade of sales].
The music that inspired his collaboration with the Ryan brothers spawned during fertile sessions in the café’s, bars and laundromats of New York City’s West Village. Known for their own band The Bogmen and a healthy film score career (Fever Pitch, The Heartbreak Kid, MO) Brendan and Billy Ryan bring musicality and new color to Gordon’s visceral lyricism and signature adenoidal drawl. A filled-out next chapter to the music of the Femmes, Under the Sun is the music of a mature band, a band made of men not boys, men who have supplanted wonder for angst, controlled passion for reckless abandon. But any album that contains the lyric “I was crappin’ and a-nappin’ “ can’t be all business. Gano-ian playfulness surely makes more than one appearance.
Largely record at the Carriage House in Stamford, CT, Under the Sun features Gordon Gano on vocals/guitar/violin, Brendan Ryan on keyboards/accordion/horns, Billy Ryan on guitar/backing vocals, Frank Ferrer (Guns N’ Roses, Psychedelic Furs) on drums and Lonnie Hillyer (Maggie’s Dream, Bernie Worrell) on bass. Phil Palazzolo (The New Pornographers, Neko Case) engineers and mixes.
A direct inspiration to today’s indie folk and pop artists alike (The Arcade Fire and Gnarls Barkley both regularly perform Gano’s songs, the latter recording ‘Gone Daddy Gone’ for their latest album St. Elsewhere) Under the Sun is only Gordon’s second solo offering and surely his most cohesive. The ever-swimming shark, Gano and company move toward another chapter in the canon of rock.