William Tyler: Lost Colony EP

William Tyler wants to be a cross "between Waylon Jennings and Neu!" Tyler is already pushing his own limits and excelling on his own terms.

William Tyler

Lost Colony EP

Label: Merge
US Release Date: 2014-04-29

One could fault instrumental guitarist William Tyler for egotism, releasing a three-song EP so quickly on the heels of his acclaimed 2013 album, Impossible Truth. Containing two songs from his back catalog and a cover, Lost Colony may seem a vanity project on its surface were it not for Tyler’s exploratory nature of his own music in a full band setting.

Birthed from a conversation with former tour mate M.C. Taylor (Hiss Golden Messenger) on American psychologist Julian Jaynes’ The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind, Lost Colony opens with “Whole New Dude”, a reworking of Tyler’s 2008 piece, “Man of Oran”, which appeared under his former solo moniker, the Paper Hats. Echoes of Led Zeppelin’s “Over the Hills and Far Way” and “Traveling Riverside Blues” are recalled amid pedal steel swells and Tyler’s electric fingerpicking that finds the four-piece group settling into a comfortable groove of fits and starts. Quietly transitioning into the more melodic second act of “Whole New Dude”, Tyler et al lure the listener in through repetitive passages that increase crescendo before renting the air with guitar squalls that give way to three minutes of bridled Neil Young and Crazy Horse chaos.

“We Can’t Go Home Again”, a composition from Impossible Truth, loses none of the dexterity Tyler showed on his solo version. Rather, the ensemble arrangement changes the tone of the original’s droning mountain stomp into a ringing country waltz that quietly circles its way back around on itself. As the centerpiece of Lost Colony, the expanded sound of “We Can’t Go Home Again” demonstrates Tyler’s urge for musical exploration and sonic dynamics.

Bridging this gap is the EP’s closing piece, a psych-country rendering of Michael Rother’s (Neu!) Krautrock “Karrussell”. “I am trying to explore the territory between country rock and Krautrock," noted Tyler. Building on Rother’s original electronic and guitar pairing, Tyler’s take is true while exuding an ebullient revelry that could only be delivered in the context of the full band setting of Lost Colony. Such exploration is, in Tyler’s words, “something I would like to go into more when approaching my next album."

A Nashville native and son of a songwriter, Tyler’s own pedigree speaks for itself. Having played with the likes of Lambchop, Silver Jews and Wooden Wand, Music City’s formulaic process is not one Tyler is soon to embrace. In a recent interview with BOMB Magazine, Tyler cited inhabiting a dream musical landscape where he can establish a position “between Waylon Jennings and Neu!”. If Lost Colony is the precursor to such a recording, like the outlaw Jennings, Tyler is already pushing his own limits and excelling on his own terms.


In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

In the wake of Malcolm Young's passing, Jesse Fink, author of The Youngs: The Brothers Who Built AC/DC, offers up his top 10 AC/DC songs, each seasoned with a dash of backstory.

Keep reading... Show less

Pauline Black may be called the Queen of Ska by some, but she insists she's not the only one, as Two-Tone legends the Selecter celebrate another stellar album in a career full of them.

Being commonly hailed as the "Queen" of a genre of music is no mean feat, but for Pauline Black, singer/songwriter of Two-Tone legends the Selecter and universally recognised "Queen of Ska", it is something she seems to take in her stride. "People can call you whatever they like," she tells PopMatters, "so I suppose it's better that they call you something really good!"

Keep reading... Show less

Morrison's prose is so engaging and welcoming that it's easy to miss the irreconcilable ambiguities that are set forth in her prose as ineluctable convictions.

It's a common enough gambit in science fiction. Humans come across a race of aliens that appear to be entirely alike and yet one group of said aliens subordinates the other, visiting violence upon their persons, denigrating them openly and without social or legal consequence, humiliating them at every turn. The humans inquire why certain of the aliens are subjected to such degradation when there are no discernible differences among the entire race of aliens, at least from the human point of view. The aliens then explain that the subordinated group all share some minor trait (say the left nostril is oh-so-slightly larger than the right while the "superior" group all have slightly enlarged right nostrils)—something thatm from the human vantage pointm is utterly ridiculous. This minor difference not only explains but, for the alien understanding, justifies the inequitable treatment, even the enslavement of the subordinate group. And there you have the quandary of Otherness in a nutshell.

Keep reading... Show less

A 1996 classic, Shawn Colvin's album of mature pop is also one of best break-up albums, comparable lyrically and musically to Joni Mitchell's Hejira and Bob Dylan's Blood on the Tracks.

When pop-folksinger Shawn Colvin released A Few Small Repairs in 1996, the music world was ripe for an album of sharp, catchy songs by a female singer-songwriter. Lilith Fair, the tour for women in the music, would gross $16 million in 1997. Colvin would be a main stage artist in all three years of the tour, playing alongside Liz Phair, Suzanne Vega, Sheryl Crow, Sarah McLachlan, Meshell Ndegeocello, Joan Osborne, Lisa Loeb, Erykah Badu, and many others. Strong female artists were not only making great music (when were they not?) but also having bold success. Alanis Morissette's Jagged Little Pill preceded Colvin's fourth recording by just 16 months.

Keep reading... Show less

Frank Miller locates our tragedy and warps it into his own brutal beauty.

In terms of continuity, the so-called promotion of this entry as Miller's “third" in the series is deceptively cryptic. Miller's mid-'80s limited series The Dark Knight Returns (or DKR) is a “Top 5 All-Time" graphic novel, if not easily “Top 3". His intertextual and metatextual themes resonated then as they do now, a reason this source material was “go to" for Christopher Nolan when he resurrected the franchise for Warner Bros. in the mid-00s. The sheer iconicity of DKR posits a seminal work in the artist's canon, which shares company with the likes of Sin City, 300, and an influential run on Daredevil, to name a few.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.