Listen to this track by one-time Hushdrops-honcho turned solo artist John San Juan. It’s”Someone’s Birthday”, a cut as taken from his new solo record, Smashed. The new record will be released on June 1, 2017.
That’s an historic date when it comes to album releases, of course; especially this year. Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band was released fifty years from that date. Among the celebratory effusions that will no doubt follow the golden anniversary of that venerable musical offering, this release from San Juan is a token of allegiance to the spirit of that work. You’ll certainly find the same optimistic sheen on this new record, even if there are shadows to be found in the corners, too.
As much as there are hints to a summer of love now long past on songs featured on Smashed, the record represents a step forward into a new phase for its creator. Being a Hushdrops fan, it was a treat to chat with John and talk about this track, “Someone’s Birthday”, about the making of the record off of which it comes, and about what comes next for him. Here’s what he had to say. Read more
Listen to this track by Chicagoan power-psych trio and returning pop contenders Hushdrops. It’s “Tomorrow”, the lead track from their most recent double-album, and long awaited follow-up to 2003’s Volume 1 – Tomorrow.
This new record is a double, and expands on the band’s well-observed synthesis of ’60s psych, orchestral pop, British Invasion-inspired power pop, and jagged MBV drone-distortion melodicism across a generous 21 tracks. Tomorrow was a long time coming (as it were!), with each member of the band involved in various side projects over the years, touching on other acts including Veruca Salt, Plush, and The Waco Brothers. As mentioned, a wide spectrum of rock music tradition is touched upon here.
This opening and eponymous track reflects an interest in riff-driven rock music from multi-instrumentalist and singer John San Juan, singer and drummer Joe Camarillo, and bassist Jim Shapiro, and delivering what a listener might expect to hear when catching the band live on the floor. But, since that spectrum is pretty wide, it’s really only a part of the whole story.
I had the chance to talk with John San Juan and Joe Camarillo from Hushdrops via email about their return to the studio, about the creation of a follow-up record with a pretty wide span of time having passed, and about re-engaging and re-inventing what Hushdrops means in 2014. Here’s what they said.
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Listen to this track by Midwestern psyche-pop masters Hushdrops, made up of John San Juan, Joe Camarillo, and Jim Shapiro. It’s “Divine” a sumptuous Brian Wilsonesque tune featured on the group’s 2003 album, Volume 1. The song reveals the band’s love for the Beatles and the Beach Boys, along with heavy dollops of late ’60s chamber pop, so much so that the Webb Brothers (sons of Jimmy) covered one of the songs (“Summer People”).
When it comes to “Divine”, this is one of those songs that you don’t so much hear, as be enfolded by, taken up to some sonic high place via strings and ah-ah backing vocals, along with drummer and co-writer Joe Camarillo’s plaintive lead vocal.
Yet, this isn’t the whole picture with the band, who regularly played shows that demonstrated their live rock chops. As such, the group seems to live quite comfortably in the ‘slash’ in pop/rock.
Well, I talked to the song’s co-writers, multi-instrumentalist John San Juan and with drummer and singer Joe Camarillo, via email about this song, about the record, about that slash between pop and rock, and about ‘making the listener feel loved’…
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