Owen Ashworth's latest achieves the right mix of eccentricity and pop sensibility.
Best known for his cult lo-fi project Casiotone For the Painfully Alone, Owen Ashworth has a new one up and running called Advance Base, and his second album under the new moniker, Nephew in the Wild, comes out today. Featuring guest singer and co-writer Jody Weinmann, standout track "My Love For You is Like a Puppy Underfoot" combines the endearing and the absurd much like how Stephin Merritt did with the Magnetic Fields and the 6ths, bordering on surrealism and smartly crafted pop music at the same time.
"I recorded my own instrumental demo with just Rhodes & drum machine, but I had a hard time coming up with any lyrics, so I gave it to Jody, who was the original bass player in Advance Base," Ashworth tells PopMatters. "I loved the lyrics she came up with, & the music seemed to fit her voice perfectly. We recorded basic instrumental tracks live in my old Chicago apartment with Edward Crouse and Nick Ammerman back in 2011, but never got around to finishing it. Advance Base stopped being a band proper the following year. It was just too hard for four adults with families & jobs to commit to tours and rehearsal schedules, so my occasional solo shows when the other members couldn't make it eventually became the norm.
"I rediscovered the "Puppy" tape while I was recording Nephew in the Wild, and I thought it sounded great. Jody came over and recorded vocals shortly before she moved from Chicago to New Jersey, and I overdubbed additional Rhodes and drum machine tracks to complete the arrangement. It took four years to finish "My Love for You is Like a Puppy Underfoot", but I think it was worth the wait. I really love how the song turned out, and it means a lot to me that the sound of Jody, Edward, Nick, and me all playing live in a room made it onto the new album."
Catch Advance Base on tour this fall:
September 25, 2015 - Chicago, IL @ Pinky Swear !
October 15, 2015 - Columbus, OH @ Tree Bar
October 16, 2015 - Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr Roboto Project *
October 17, 2015 - Philadelphia, PA @ Sound Hole *
October 19, 2015 - Manhattan, NY @ Mercury Lounge *
October 20, 2015 - Brooklyn, NY @ Silent Barn #
October 21, 2015 - Nanuet, NY @ Nanuet Arcade *
October 23, 2015 - Boston, MA @ Lilypad *
October 24, 2015 - Bar Harbor, ME @ Lompoc *&
October 25, 2015 - Portland, ME @ Apohadion Theater *&
October 26, 2015 - Winooski, VT @ Monkey House
October 27, 2015 - Rochester, NY @ Bug Jar
October 29, 2015 - Detroit, MI @ Lager House
November 2, 2015 - DeKalb, IL @ House Cafe + %
November 6, 2015 - Atlanta, GA @ Drunken Unicorn %
November 7, 2015 - Greenville, NC @ Art Avenue %
November 8, 2015 - Chapel Hill, NC @ Local 506 %
! with Free Cake for Every Creature, More Ease, Fast Femme & Fastness
* with Amy Bezunartea
# with Julie Byrne
& with Lisa/Liza
+ with Elvis Depressedly
% with Nathan K