|Fucking Love Songs|
Tim Foljahn — Fucking Love Songs
≡♦≡ Two years after his languid, haunted slice of Americana, Songs For An Age Of Extinction, los grillos’s favorite twisted folk troubadour, Tim Foljahn, takes time out from his gig as a member of the Orange is the New Black bar band, Sideboob, to deliver another stellar addition to his ever–impressive body of work. Titled Fucking Love Songs, it’s an album that, from title to cover to contents, perfectly encapsulates Foljahn’s slightly skewed Cohen–isms. Just dig the way the stark, black and white album cover echoes Cohen’s Songs of Love and Hate, and the way Foljahn’s blend of meditative lyrics laced with wry humor reflects Cohen’s own poetic ruminations on life and love. Basically what I’m saying is that, like Cohen, Foljahn is a bad ass songwriting motherfucker. And Fucking Love Songs is another piece of evidence that I’m right.
Location: Brooklyn, New York
Album release: March 31, 2015
Record Label: Kiam Records
01. Wild Tonight 5:02
02. Beloved 4:48
03. Plain As Day 3:59
04. River 5:12
05. Legends 6:11
06. Étant Donnés 3:04
07. Beast 3:53
08. Sun Moon Thing 3:43
09. Thanks 4:24
10. Garden Lady 3:29
By Robert Ham, April 1, 2015 | 5:00pm | Score: 8.8
• Tim Foljahn’s long career in the world we shorthand as “indie rock” has been a remarkable balance of sincerity, sarcasm and occasional bouts of despair. This is the guy, after all, who named an album of moody, rambling folk–pop tunes by his old band Two Dollar Guitar Weak Beats and Lame–Ass Rhymes.
• So when you read the title of his latest solo album, imagine it being said with either a rueful chuckle or a shoulder–drooping sigh. And when you listen to the 10 songs on it, don’t be surprised if you find yourself smiling or trying to wipe away a memory that his point–blank lyrics and spare arrangements stir up.
• The mood of Fucking Love Songs leans heavily towards the ruminative and regretful. Many of the songs find Foljahn exploring the stray memories and still lingering wounds from a breakup (or several different breakups). If you’re not lucky enough to have avoided going through that misery, this one will thrum those latent or still fresh scars. You need only to listen to him croon “It’s not that I deny all the pretty things you said to me/I just don’t think it’s wise to mistake them for honesty” over the gentle swing of brushed drums and electric piano on “Thanks,” or recognize the quiet howl he injects into “Beast” after describing himself as “a monster…alone in the dark” to feel that ache again.
• When he does speak of love’s highs, Foljahn does so using the metaphors of the natural world, a reflection of a flourishing relationship that feels ripe with possibility. He refers to himself as “long and lazy/high and crazy like a river in the rain,” urging his lovers to dive right in, or finds himself looking back at a certain “Garden Lady,” who he compares to “fruit…ripe and on the tree…growing sweeter all the time.” Like some of the best songwriters of the last 50 years, Foljahn’s uncluttered language serves to help the emotions he’s expressing resonate longer and deeper.
• Another signifier of Foljahn’s career is how little he’s talked about when the discussion turns to great modern songwriters. At this point, unless the tide turns, he’ll best be remembered as a member of Sideboob, the fake band seen occasionally in Orange Is The New Black. Let this fine and heartfelt album be the fulcrum that pivots the spotlight on this outstanding musical talent. :: http://www.pastemagazine.com/
• 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. — By Jennifer Kelly ≡♦≡
RIOT ACT MEDIA: http://riotactmedia.com/past-clients/tim-foljahn/
PHOTO CREDIT: Thatcher Keats ≡♦≡
|Fucking Love Songs|