|Better Than Ezra
|All Together Now
Better Than Ezra — All Together Now
♣ New Orleans trio whose dark, intricate storytelling over swampy alternative rock led to impressive run of hits, including 1995's "Good."
Location: New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Album release: September 9, 2014
Recorded: The Hobby Shop (Highland Park, CA)
Record Label: The End Records
01 Crazy Lucky 3:12
02 Gonna Get Better 3:07
03 Undeniable 3:12
04 Insane 3:04
05 Sunflowers 3:11
06 The Great Unknown 3:58
07 Before you 3:17
08 Dollar Sign 3:19
09 One Heart Beating 3:23
10 Diamond In My Pocket 2:41
11 I Fly Away 3:25
12 Shut Up and Dance 3:14
℗ 2014 The End Records
Background and recording:
♠ On February 10, 2014, it was announced that the band had signed with The End Records for the release of their eighth studio album.
♠ The band entered producer Tony Hoffer's studio, The Hobby Shop in Highland Park, CA, in the summer of 2013 to record the album. Singer/guitarist Kevin Griffin described the process with Hoffer to CBS News in June 2014:
♠ "Tony's aesthetic is different than maybe ours — production–wise. He wants to have less elements do more. Our default when we produce...is like, 'We need more guitars!"...And Tony is like, 'No we're going to do one guitar and make it sound great and interesting."
♠ In an interview with Pollstar published on March 26, 2014, bassist Tom Drummond explained the gap between the band's 2009 release Paper Empire and All Together Now:
♠ "We decided that we were going to put this out on our own terms. Nobody was going to tell us we had to put one out right now and then we’d rush through a bunch of songs to put out. We didn’t want to do that. We wanted to make the album we wanted to make ... So we took our time with it, we hired the right producer and we’re very excited about it."
♠ The band aimed for a sound that would please old fans and at the same time attract new ones. "We made an album that was poppier and more concise songwriting," says lead singer and songwriter Kevin Griffin. "We wanted to give our old fans something familiar, but we wanted to attract new fans."
♣ Better Than Ezra, known for their hits “Good,” “Desperately Wanting,” “Juicy,” and selling out venues for nearly 20 years, will release their eighth studio album titled All Together Now via The End Records on September 9, 2014. The band unveiled the album’s artwork and track listing today.
♣ USA Today provided a first taste of All Together Now in the track “Crazy Lucky” that has been climbing the charts ever since. CLICK HERE to listen.
♠ The catchy first single “Crazy Lucky” as well as the rest of the album was produced by Grammy nominated mixer/producer Tony Hoffer (Fitz and the Tantrums, M83, Beck, Silversun Pickups). “Crazy Lucky” is now available on iTunes, CLICK HERE
Better Than Ezra quickly became a staple in the ‘90s pop/rock scene following their debut album Deluxe in 1995 via Elektra and immediately releasing two new albums within three years of being signed. Friction, Baby,released in 1996, and How Does Your Garden Grow? In 2001, Better Than Ezra released the critically acclaimed Closer, followed by Before the Robots in 2005. The latter featured the hit “Juicy,” licensed by several commercials and brands, was also featured in the promotional advertisements for the popular ABC television series Desperate Housewives.
♠ The band recently signed to The End Records and this marks the band’s first release since 2009′s PaperEmpire. Better Than Ezra will be hitting the road for their second leg of their US tour in support of the upcoming album.
By Chris Payne | September 02, 2014 10:35 AM EDT
♣ Better Than Ezra, the New Orleans-based rock trio behind such ’90s hits as “Good” and “Desperately Wanting,” are back with a new studio album.
All Together Now (via The End Records) was produced by Grammy–nominated mixer/producer Tony Hoffer (Fitz and the Tantrums, M83, Beck, Silversun Pickups), who got the trio rocking out together throughout the recording process.
♣ “We hadn’t actually all gotten in one room to record in such a long time,” admits frontman Kevin Griffin. “These days with digital recording, Pro Tools etc., you can really put an album together piecemeal… Tony Hoffer has a magical room in Highland Park, CA, and we just set up shop there. It’s no coincidence that the record has a vibrancy that I think our last album lacked.”
♣ Aptly titled All Together Now, the new album isn’t a big departure for Ezra — the songs are quite catchy, they don’t take themselves too seriously, and they win big points for likability. It fits nicely into the BTE catalog.
♣ Griffin explains how he poured influences new and old into his favorite tracks. “I find myself listening to ‘Insane’ a lot as well as ‘The Great Unknown.’ With ‘Unknown’ we were going for that Tom Petty ‘You Got Lucky’ vibe. I think we nailed it. Cool noir-ish drums samples and delays. Had to throw a tip of the hat to Tom in the lyrics. I’m also a big fan of ‘Undeniable,’ probably because it reminds me of Broken Bells… one of my favorite acts.”
♣ And after all these years in the music business, don’t think that BTE don’t know how to have a blast while recording,
♣ “We found out in short order that Tony Hoffer and his assistant Cameron were hardcore pranksters,” Griffin tells Billboard. “I mean like, barricaded bathroom doors, buckets of water over thresholds, etc. That said, we rose to the challenge and gave back as good as we got. Tony and his assistant Cameron finally had to raise the white flag. Score one for Ezra!”
♣ Along with such similarly styled outfits as the Goo Goo Dolls, the New Orleans-based trio Better Than Ezra helped open the floodgates for countless alt-pop acts of the late '90s (including Semisonic, Matchbox Twenty, and Third Eye Blind) by merging college rock influences with mainstream aspirations. Originally formed in 1988 as a roots rock outfit with slight elements of country and punk, the group's first incarnation consisted of four college students from Louisiana State University: Kevin Griffin (vocals, guitar), Joel Rundell (guitar), Tom Drummond (bass), and Cary Bonnecaze (drums). The band's early performances were expectedly held at college bars and fraternity houses, and their debut cassette–tape recording, 1990's Surprise, received positive press and comparisons to such alt–punk stalwarts as the Replacements and Dinosaur Jr. Despite these accolades, Better Than Ezra's future was thrust into doubt when Rundell committed suicide on August 8, 1990.
♠ The remaining bandmates initially opted to go their separate ways after Rundell's passing, but they reunited as a trio before the end of the year. Deciding that a change of scenery would be helpful, Better Than Ezra relocated to Los Angeles shortly thereafter, where they laid down tracks at a friend's home studio to create their 1993 independent release, Deluxe. The album continued to raise the band's profile and eventually drew the attention of several major labels. The trio signed with Elektra Records, and Better Than Ezra's new label reissued Deluxe two years after its original release. The album spawned a sizeable radio hit with "Good," which helped push the album to platinum status by the end of 1995. But despite enjoying a hit right off the bat, Bonnecaze opted to leave the group in early 1996 and was replaced by a fellow New Orleans native (who, at the time, was living in San Francisco), Travis McNabb.
Shortly after welcoming their new member into the fold, the revised Better Than Ezra entered the recording studio to work on their second major–label release, 1996's Friction, Baby. Although the album was musically similar to its predecessor, it failed to match the commercial success of Deluxe and departed rather quickly from the charts, with the singles "Desperately Wanting" and "King of New Orleans" only achieving modest rotation on modern rock radio. The group proceeded to create their own recording studio in New Orleans (dubbed Fudge Studios), where they recorded 1998's How Does Your Garden Grow? The album failed to reestablish the group as a commercially viable rock act, and Better Than Ezra parted ways with Elektra before issuing a compilation of rare tracks, Artifakt, through their official website.
♠ Undeterred, the trio then signed with the independent Beyond Music label and issued their next release, Closer, in 2001. "Extra Ordinary" fared well on several charts, but Beyond Music declared bankruptcy before the band could issue a second single. ♣ Understandably, Better Than Ezra took a break before resurfacing in 2004 with a live album documenting a hometown show at the House of Blues. A greatest–hits collection was issued the following year, but to the delight of the group's devoted fan base (the "Ezralites"), Better Than Ezra were not finished. After signing with the New York–based Artemis Records, the band released Before the Robots in May 2005 and departed for a summer–long tour. Drummer Travis McNabb left the lineup four years later, having been recruited to join the country duo Sugarland instead, and Better Than Ezra tapped Michael Jerome as his replacement before unveiling their seventh album, Plays Paper Empire in 2009.
♣ Borne from the fact that Griffin was intent on only releasing further Better Than Ezra material if he thought that it would be an essential addition to their canon, a hiatus ensued. During this period he kept his focus on music, but concentrated on writing material for other artists such as James Blunt, Barenaked Ladies, and the aforementioned Sugarland. Then, following sessions with Tony Hoffer — the Grammy–nominated producer who had previously worked with many acts including Beck and Belle and Sebastian — Better Than Ezra announced that they planned to release an eighth studio album in September 2014 entitled All Together Now.
Press: Ashley Lanaux at Press Here
Agent: WME — BAhern@wmeentertainment.com
|Better Than Ezra
|All Together Now